New alliance for a more democratic UN makes demands

Civil society commitment needed in the fight for minority rights worldwide (Press Release)

On the occasion of the International Day of Multilateralism (April 24), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls – together with an international group of over 80 civil society organizations – for a more democratic UN. In addition to the STP, organizations such as Avaaz, Greenpeace, and Open Society Foundations are among the first signatories of the joint declaration – which is titled "We the Peoples", as a reference to the first words of the preamble to the United Nations Charter. The new campaign calls on the UN to implement three concrete reforms that will give the general public, elected representatives, and the civil society a stronger voice in the world organization.

"In line with our guiding motto 'A voice for those who have no voice', the STP is especially committed to help persecuted nationalities, minorities, indigenous peoples, and other victims of serious human rights violations who are barely noticed by the public. The institutions called for in the joint declaration could make the voices and interests of those affected more audible – thus allowing the civil society to advocate on their behalf. Therefore, we strongly support these plans," stated Jan Diedrichsen, the Federal Chairman of the STP.

The declaration calls for the instrument of a World Citizens' Initiative, which would allow citizens to put issues on the agenda of the UN General Assembly or the UN Security Council, provided that a proposal is supported by a sufficient number of signatories among the population. Furthermore, the declaration calls for the creation of a parliamentary assembly at the UN, composed of elected representatives, which should function as an oversight body, establish connections between the people and the UN, and reflect a broad global spectrum of opinions. Finally, the document recommends the establishment of a UN Civil Society Envoy, whose goal it would be to implement a strategy to make the UN more open to public participation and civil society voices. The campaign is led by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Democracy International, and Democracy Without Borders.

"In order to strengthen and revitalize multilateralism, it will be necessary to allow more input and participation beyond the governments of the member states. This is what our three proposals aim to achieve," stated Andreas Bummel, executive director of Democracy Without Borders and STP honorary member. Since its founding, the STP has always aimed to strengthen the international legal order, and the program of the human rights organization states that a strengthening of the international system is of key importance to effectively protect minorities, nationalities, and indigenous peoples. Its aim is – through further development of international law, by strengthening the UN and furthering democratization – to protect civilians from the most serious human rights violations, and to ensure a better representation and more voice for minorities, nationalities, and indigenous peoples.

The declaration and list of signatories can be found at wethepeoples.org