3rd International Conference of Chief Justices of the World
December 6-8th, 2002
City Montessori School
My Response to the Children's Appeal®
I am delighted and feel highly privileged to share this podium with such a distinguished gathering and at the behest of such an extraordinary and timely appeal.
I am aware that orbiting above our collective heads 238 miles in space is the ISS, the International Space Station. On November 25th, three fellow humans boarded it from a space shuttle replacing three other humans who spent six months circling our home planet at a speed of 17,178 miles per hour. Living in ubiquitous space, they are experiencing the reality of unity while we on earth are still under the illusion of division. They see directly and immediately the world and humanity as one while we here divide the world into we-and-they. From their vantage point, they see no artificial national lines crisscrossing the planet. And during this short conference while we discuss how to make peace on earth, the human astronauts will pass over armed national frontiers hundreds of times .but without need of passports or visas. Moreover, with their cameras, each time an astronaut clicks the shutter aimed at earth, he or she will have taken a picture of half the human race. While they circle the earth, millions of humans will be born from the inner space of the womb to the outer space of earth then legally claimed as exclusive "nationals" with potential enemies outside those artificial borders when in reality they are actual citizens of the world... And when they return to earth, they need present no national passports to suspicious border guards to prove their right to return and no national immigration officials will control their reentry.
After receiving the invitation to attend this conference addressed primarily to supreme court justices, I confess I was intrigued but puzzled. In the name of 2 billion children on our planet, the students of this unique school have requested of the United Nations, then the heads of state and now national supreme court justices to make a world parliament to enact laws to outlaw war. After being rejected by the United Nations and heads of state, they are seeking "the support of world judiciary to ensure a safe future for the world's children."
But if the world's judiciary could ensure them a "safe future," I asked myself, why then did it not do so without having to be asked by innocent children? Why did the national wars continue unabated unresisted by national courts? Why, even after an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, the highest judicial body on the planet, that the production and use of nuclear weaponry was illegal, did nine nations, including their own, still possess this ultimate destructive instrument which evidently threatens all humanity?
I myself understood that national judges on whatever level were bound by national constitutions. And when states were threatened by other states, the supreme national law was silent. United States Supreme Court Justice Charles Evan Hughes on March 4, 1939 remarked upon the high court's lack of power: " We are a separate but not an independent arm, of government," he wrote to the two other main branches of government, the legislative and executive. "You, not we, have the purse and the sword " He was admitting that in dealings between states, the national law was silent
Mr. Gandhi's letter to you high court judges maintained that "Since the leaders of various countries of the world are ignoring the children's plea to safeguard their future, the World Judiciary has become the last hope for humanity's survival." I at once realized the dilemma. In desperation, the children were calling upon a "World Judiciary" to make world peace through law when they were in fact addressing a "national judiciary" bound by national constitutions, all of which, with few exceptions, condone war itself as a "final option."
While their concern is undoubtedly genuine, timely and seemingly logical, none of these institutions , despite their frequent allusions to peace, freedom, security and human rights, can fulfil the children's rational request.
As Secretary-General Kofi Annan pointed out in his response, the United Nations itself possesses no independent authority in itself being composed of exclusive nation-states with the infamous veto in the Security Council . While lauding their initiative, a few heads of state responded that they are only managers of these exclusive political units with no mandate or reason to extend their power over a larger and especially a world population.
As for the high court judges, you are of course not lawmakers but only adjudicators of law once made by others.
Who then is left?
The question answers itself: the people of the world as the sage Bahaullah noted in his assertion that: "The world is one country and all mankind its citizens."
Moreover the answer was spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations, December 10, 1948. Article 21(3) states unequivocably that "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government " and that "this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by univeral and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures." Article 28 further provides that "Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedom set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized."
And that naturally brings up the crucial question of sovereignty claimed by the nation-state.
The notion that sovereignty must be "surrendered" by nation-states in order to create a world government has been a stumbling block in the minds of peace advocates since the 19th century. What is wrong with that common idea?
In his 1945 book, The Anatomy of Peace, in the chapter on sovereignty, Emery Reves writes that "The real source of sovereign power cannot be emphasized too strongly and must never be lost sight of it if we would understand the political problem we face." His next sentence explodes the false but common notion that states are sovereign : "It is the people who create governments and notas the Fascists saygovernment that make nations."
According to Reves, "Those who talk of 'surrendering' the sovereignty of the United States, of Great Britain, France or of any other democratic country, simply do not understand the meaning of 'sovereignty'".
He asserts that "The nation-states as they were set up in the eighteenth century, and as they are organized in the democracies today, are nothing but the instruments of the sovereign people, created for the specific purpose of achieving certain objectives. Should the people realize and come to the conclusion that in certain fields they would be better protected by delegating part of their sovereignty to bodies other than the nation-states, then nothing would be 'surrendered.' Rather something would be created for the better protection of the lives and liberties of all peoples . Democratic sovereignty of the people," notes Reves, "can be correctly expressed and effectively instituted only if local affairs are handled by local government, national affairs by national government, and international world affairs, by international, world government."
In short, people are sovereign, not states.
You students have personally claimed to be citizens of the world, as I have. By what right? Your nation, India, certainly does not condone or recognize that assertion. The United Nations does not either. And no head of state can admit that your claim of world citizenship outranks his or her political and executive status. And yet you have exercised sovereignty the right of political choice.
When an individual claims to be a citizen of the world, he or she is asserting sovereignty as a member of the total community of humans. Nothing is surrendered. Lower levels of sovereignty remain intact. Further, that individual declaration is a sovereign act of world peace between others who so declare as well as with humanity itself, the ultimate sovereign.
Reves concludes that "Only if the people. in whom rests all sovereign power, delegates part of their sovereignty to institutions created for and capable of dealing with specific problems, can we say that we have a democratic form of government. Only through such separation of sovereignties, through the organization of independent institutions, deriving their authority from the sovereignty of the community, can we have a social order in which men may live in peace with each other, endowed with equal rights and equal obligations before law.." And finally, " to transfer certain aspects of our sovereign rights from national legislative, judiciary and executive bodies to equally democratically elected and democratically controlled universal legislative, judiciary and executive bodies is not 'surrender but acquisition."
In other words, in adding the status of world citizenship, you are declaring to the Indian nation-state that in terms of peace, freedom and your happiness, your protection in the 21st century, lies in a government beyond its mandate.
Why then ask anyone else to do what you and we have already done exercised our inalienable right of political choice for our own safety and well-being as well as humanity's?
The crucial question then is: If the world's people are in legal fact already sovereign, how are these global bodies to be created?
Again, we have an answer from the past, this time from citizen Tom Paine, the protagonist of three major revolutions in the 18th century:
"It has been thought a considerable advance," he writes, "towards establishing the principle of freedom to say that government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as men must have existed before governments existed, there once was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government."
As a stateless person, my own legal credentials reside solely in the word "citizen." For the past 54 years, however, I have wilfully chosen to place "world" in front of it. After serving in World War II as a bomber pilot for the US Air Force, on May 25, 1948, I stood before a United States consular officer in the Embassy in Paris and was administered the 'Oath of Renunciation' of nationality. I then issued a statement to the international press via AP that "In the absence of an international government, our world, politically, is now a naked anarchy....This international anarchy is moving swiftly toward a final war.
"I no longer find it compatible with my inner convictions to contribute to this anarchy, and thus be a party to the inevitable annihilation of our civilization, by remaining solely loyal to one of these sovereign nation-states."
I claimed that "I must extend the little sovereignty I possess, as a member of the world community, to the whole community, and to the international vacuum of its governmenta vacuum into which the rest of the world must be drawn if it is to survive, for therein lies the only alternative to this final war.
Finally I said that "I should like to consider myself a citizen of the world."
Five years later, after registering upwards of 750,000 individuals throughout the world as world citizens, on September 4, 1953, in the City Hall of Ellsworth, Maine, I declared our own world citizen government in the following terms:
"By the authority vested in me as a world sovereign, it is my duty and my responsibility to myself and to my humanity, to hereby proclaim for myself a World Government with full legal powers and prerogatives based on the 3 Prime Laws of one God, One World and One Mankind. This government for the moment exists only in my person, but since all (humans) are world citizens with full world sovereignty based on a full recognition of the 3 Prime Laws if they but affirm them, the proclamation of world government is every (person's) right, privilege, and responsibility."
Three years later, my own mentor, Nataraja Guru of Travancore, the parampara disciple of Shri Narayana Guru of Kerala, in the Preamble of his Memorandum on World Government, wrote that
"The World Government is an accomplished fact Humanity is one. This is the a priori given basis of the World Government outlined in this memorandum."
" World Government came into being (in principle at least) at Long. 63o 25' West, Lat. 44o 32' North on Sept. 4, 1953" the guru explained. "The World Government has no territory other than the surface of the globe. It is not conceived as a rival to any existing government. It does not intend to duplicate any of their functions. Neither does it wish to be a parallel government, nor has it ambitions to be a super-state. ..It has an absolute status of its own as understood in the light of the science of geo-dialectics . It does not rule by threat, force, or the power of the magistrate or the police. Knowledge is its power it relies in the truth of the dictum that a word to the wise will suffice. .. "
And now, given the existence of a world government in embryo, we can finally address the crucial question of a world parliament.
A parliament is obviously composed of people, people who were individually selected. But how? By definition they have been chosen or elected by other people to represent their needs and interests in the given political, economic, social space. For elections to take place, however, two corollary elements are necessary: electors and electees. And here is our present dilemma. Who and where are the candidates for world parliament? And what is their platform?
Municipal councils are chosen by municipal citizens from candidates of municipal citizens. National parliaments are composed of national citizens chosen by other national citizens as declared candidates. A world parliament then composed of declared world citizens must be elected by world citizens to represent them. But a parliament does not exist in a political vacuum. It is an integral part of the instrument of government. For its laws to be effective, they must be executed, enforced and adjudicated as justly balanced beween the individual and common good. That presupposes the concept of government as its proper and necessary corollary.
Therefore for a world parliament to evolve from the citizenry, four preliminary conditions are implicit:
unifying principles underlying the humans concerned;
a declared constituency or de facto citizenship;
a political ideology or governmental instrument to effect the
citizens decisions; i.e. enforcement power;
a declared citizenry candidacy.
The unifying principle has been enunciated by humanitys masters, gurus, and wise elders for thousands of years, Baha Ullah being a modern example. In holy books such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Bible, the Talmud and such, the fundamental principles are unity and universality.
The political ideology of world govenment also enjoys an ancient heritage beginning with the ancient Greeks and, given the total interdependence of the planetary human community in terms of virtually instantaneous worldwide communication, has already been given actual manifestation.
The declared citizenry is being registered and identified since 1953 following the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights via the World Service Authority, the administrative organ of the World Government (of World Citizens).
But a declared global candidacy has yet to appear publicly.
The first three conditions therefore are already fulfilled at least in part. The fourth awaits fulfilment.
Upon receipt of my invitation to assist in the conference, I sent Mr. Gandhi the draft of a World Court of Human Rights, first announced after a human rights trial in Mulhouse, France in May, 1974 in which I was convicted by the French government for issuing a world passport to refugees of North Africa based on Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The government's vague charge was "confusing the public mind." My defense was based on the very human right of freedom of travel already provided for in the French Constitution of 1789 and updated by the UDHR to which France was a signatory. That conviction allowed the French immigration authorities to confiscate the World Passport as an accessory of a "crime" according to French law. The obvious dichotomy between national law and human rights practice led inevitably to our call for a new type court we designated "The World Court of Human Rights." Draft copies are available here for your perusal and comments.
As for your honorable judges' response to the request of the children, Mr. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer has written in the CMS booklet: "Be you ever so high, human rights justice is above you." And further that "With this goal in mind, you must have not merely an innocuous international committee of human rights which will be a talking shop or behave as a debating club or be a functional ineffectual angel, but a more positive, potent instrument with power to investigate, adjudicate and enforce .We need more than a teasing illusion or promise of unreality. Mandates and santions and writ power with obligation of compliance make for credibility. "
Then in confirmation, the Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. S. Pathak advises us that "From the earliest times, the concept of a world order governed by law and assuring the welfare and happiness of its citizens has in one form or the other, engaged world leaders, statesmen, jurists and philosophers A World Order functioning through international organs structured on democratic principles, would be most effective in ensuring the maintenance of international peace and security and in promoting the progressive development of international society ..International law ceased long ago to be confined to the regulations of relations between states, It must now deal also, and in increasing measure, with matters concerning the welfare and advancement of the global community."
Finally the Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ranganath Misra confirms that:
"What was being doubted five or ten years back has really come true in the sense that we have really become one world, one world by compulsion, one world by clamping of some thing over which you have no control. One world on account of the fact that if you don't do certain things together, humanity is about to perish, the homo sapiens race might not be able to live on this planet. Violation of the ecology, the environment is not done within and if it is done in any part of the world it affects the entire globe. Therefore time has come when we have become global without doing anything ourselves, and time has come when we cannot resist globalisation .To have a Lucknow declaration that we want an International parliament, a parliament of man, will not be effective unless it is followed up. We are prepared to associate ourselves with a move of that type. I am sure that every sane person, a decent person, would really join a move for a world parliament .So therefore to campaign for an international parliament for mankind will not be enough. It will be our obligation if we want our demand to be satisfied to generate and create the situations which will be helpful to bring in or help us to achieve our aim .Society must be preserved before parliament can come at the international level."
Today, as a declared World Citizen, speaking in the name of humanity, and given this reasonable appeal by the world's children, I am enjoined to ask the distinguished assembly before me here, respectfully, are you, in your capacity as high court judges, prepared to endorse, at least in principle, a declared world government and subsequent world law enacted by a sovereign world parliament? And if so, are you prepared, here addressing the frontierless and innocent children of the world, to issue an immediate de facto "world injunction" in the name of a legitimate humanity to all state leaders prohibiting the war option for the resolution of disputes? Indeed, minus a world constitution, and dedicated to the principle of justice itself, what other function can supreme court judges perform given the plight of humanity in these desperate times? Or if you are not prepared to act on the children's request, are you then willing to admit your judicial impotence before the children of the world?
As a concrete gesture of your commitment to world peace through law, I invite you to register your world citizenship with the World Government of World Citizens.
In conclusion, may I paraphrase the words of World Citizen Tom Paine which are as appropriate for our times as well as his:
"I view things as they are without regard to place or person; my country is the world;
my religion is to do good, and all humans are my brothers and sisters."