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PEN International is the world’s leading association of writers which promotes a culture of peace based on freedom of expression, dialogue, and exchange. We are dedicated to linguistic and cultural diversity and to the vibrancyof languages and their cultures whether spoken by many or few.
Through our Writers for Peace Committee, PEN seeks to address issues of conflict and to promote peaceful exchange and dialogue. We recognize that writers are an integral part of the place in which they live, whether community or environment, local or global. We not only need the environment to survive, but we also create within it.
The Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International has approved a Manifesto demanding the universal right to peace, based on the Lugano Declaration for Peace and Freedom of 1987, on the 2009 Appeal of Linz Protesting Against the Degradation of the Environment, and on the Belgrade Declaration of 2011 that promotes dialogue as the path to peace.
1. Members of PEN seek to develop an idea of citizenship that brings together people from around the world through literature and discussions amongst writers and with the broad public.
2. One of the main principles of PEN is to facilitate and promote discussion and dialogue among writers from countries in conflict and across regions of the world where political will is unable to address these tensions. .
3. Freedom of expression and creativity in all its forms is a fundamental value as long as it respects other basic human rights, in keeping with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
4. PEN calls for the respect of the environment in conformity with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992). We condemn the excesses of technology and financial speculation that contribute to the impoverishment of a large part of the world’s population.
5. PEN members consider one of the world’s greatest challenges to be the transition from violence to debate, discussion, and dialogue. We aim to be active participants in this progress promoting where necessary the principles of international law.
6. We acknowledge that it is of primary importance to be permanently committed to creating conditions that can lead to ending conflicts of all kinds. There is neither freedom without peace, nor peace without freedom, social and political justice.
7. PEN will confront injustice and violence wherever it is found, including oppression, colonisation, illegal occupation and terrorism. It will respect and defend the dignity of all human beings.
8. In accordance with the principles of freedom of expression and justice, every individual or group involved in conflict may submit petitions and appeals to international institutions and government authorities.
9. Children everywhere have the right to receive peace education in school programmes. PEN will promote the implementation of this right.
10. The right to peace should be recognised by the United Nations as a human right.