Last modified on 30 October 2014, at 11:09

Alfred de Zayas

Alfred Maurice de Zayas

Alfred Maurice de Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, an expert in the field of human rights and international law, a peace activist, President of PEN International Centre Suisse romand, and since 2012 the United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (also known as Special Rapporteur), appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

QuotesEdit

  • I would call the human right to peace an ultimate or “end right”, in that the state of peace is the result of the promotion and protection of human rights. Indeed, a society where human rights are upheld is a society that is free of the kind of structural violence that leads to armed conflict. Now, as it has been said many times, peace is not the mere absence of war. Peace in a holistic sense, peace in its individual and collective dimension, entails a state of internal and external harmony.
    • AEDIDH Consultation 16. May 2011 [1] : The United Nations Human Rights to Peace Consultation
  • Blithe spirits bringing a myriad colours to our gardens, magic, ephemeral wings -- butterflies -- with short life-spans of a week to a few months. But why such an unpoetic name for a delicate daughter of nature? The Germans call them Schmetterlinge (even less onomatopoetic), the Russians call them бабочка (not to be confused with Бабушка, which means grandmother), the Greek πεταλουδα (which makes you think of petals), the French call them papillons (which is closer to the Latin papilio). Perhaps the more congenial, smoother descriptions are the Spanish mariposa and the delicate Dutch vlinder.
    • Alfred de Zayas on personal website [2]
  • Democracy is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve the sacred promises of human dignity, justice and peace
    • Alfred de Zayas' aphorisms [3]

2012Edit

  • Self-censorship as a result of intimidation or social pressures, sometimes referred to as “political correctness”, constitutes a serious obstacle to the proper functioning of democracy. It is important to hear the views of all persons,including the “silent majority”, and to give heed to the weaker voices.
    • Interim report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred Maurice de Zayas [4]
  • While the outward face of democracy may be a multiparty system and regular elections, some observers contend that there is a substantial difference between the right to vote and the right to choose policies. If the choice of candidates for election does not correspond to the desires of the people, then a pro forma election among candidates who have been put up by political machines does not further the credibility or legitimacy of such democracies. This is not democracy but “partitocracy”. If the only choices are between candidates A and B, whose programmes are often very similar, the electorate does not have a real voice and the election does not satisfy the essence of what democratic government must be. In such cases, the two-party system shows itself to be twice as democratic as the oneparty system. True democracy requires real choices as well as transparent and accountable governance and administration in all sectors of society.
    • Interim report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred Maurice de Zayas [5]
  • World peace is threatened not only by weapons of mass destruction but also by conventional weapons which have led to countless violations of human rights, including the rights to life and to physical integrity. A strong treaty can contribute greatly to international and regional peace, security and stability.
    • Statement by the United Nations (UN) Independent Expert about how countries must regulate arms trade to prevent human rights violations – [6]
  • Lip service to disarmament is insufficient; the goal is to find ways to redirect the resources used for the military and reduce the danger of war while liberating funds to finance development and all-inclusive growth.
    • Interim report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred Maurice de Zayas [7]
  • As all human rights derive from human dignity, it is important to recognize that human dignity is not a product of positivism but an expression of natural law and human rationality. Although an abstract concept, human dignity has engendered concrete norms of human rights, a practical mode d’emploi strengthened by enforcement mechanisms.
    • Interim report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred Maurice de Zayas [8]
  • Bearing in mind that “the market” is not an invention of capitalism but that it has existed for thousands of years in many different societies, social justice logically requires that the profits resulting from the operation of markets and infrastructures created by society be equitably shared within societies and in a larger context within the human family.
    • Interim report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred Maurice de Zayas [9]
  • Education is necessary to unlearn privilege, unlearn exclusion, unlearn discrimination, unlearn prejudice, unlearn war.
    • Interim report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred Maurice de Zayas [10]
  • When negotiations are at an impasse, when States dig their heels in, it is time to ‘undig’ them in a spirit of compromise. We all need to unlearn the predator in us, unlearn discrimination, unlearn privilege.
    • Statement by Alfred de Zayas statement on International Day of Peace, 21 September 2012 - [11]

2013Edit

  • At its 10th December Conference in Geneva the Future of Human Rights Forum endorsed new structures and mechanisms to advance the realization of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly 65 years ago. Among important initiatives discussed by a high level panel was the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly aimed at empowering world citizens and giving them direct participation in the political processes that affect them. Democracy lives from consultation and participation and a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly can meaningfully advance this goal.
    • 2013 Future of Human Rights Forum [12]
  • I condemn the lack of proper investigation of the massacres and the impunity of those responsible for them.
    • UN experts urge Iraq to establish the whereabouts of the seven missing residents of Camp Ashraf [13]
  • Grave crimes of this nature, and the impunity that has accompanied them, entail violations of numerous international treaty provisions and constitute an assault on the rule of law, an affront to the international community and a threat to the international order.
    • UN experts urge Iraq to establish the whereabouts of the seven missing residents of Camp Ashraf [14]
  • The families of the killed and disappeared are entitled to the right to know what happened to their loved ones, and to adequate reparation for the suffering endured.
    • UN experts urge Iraq to establish the whereabouts of the seven missing residents of Camp Ashraf [15]
  • Moving the human rights agenda forward requires the promotion of a social and economic environment conducive to respect for human dignity. It is patent that individuals subjected to violence, coercion and war cannot fully exercise their rights. It is thus important to reaffirm the credo of the Charter of the United Nations that peace is a condition for the enjoyment of all human rights. The human right to peace also has important economic, social and cultural components. Following the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 5 May 2013, individuals can invoke violations before the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Thus, the right to, inter alia, health, a safe environment, food, water and education has acquired even more resonance in the life of each individual.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [16]
  • The unfair composition of the Security Council is largely acknowledged. The principal defects are the anachronistic privileges of the five permanent members of the Council and the Council’s insufficient representativeness.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [17]
  • The abuse of the veto power has become so predictable that frequently resolutions are not even tabled because of the certainty of a veto against their adoption. Necessary discussion is thereby suppressed. Concerted action by the Security Council, the General Assembly and other United Nations agencies is necessary to prevent major human rights violations, stop ongoing breaches and provide remedies to victims.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [18]
  • The root causes of armed conflict, among them the race for natural resources, economic imbalances, and ethnic and religious tensions must be resolved, respecting the obligation to settle disputes by peaceful means under Article 2 (3) of the Charter. The obligation to negotiate is jus cogens, “negotiation” meaning dialogue and compromise, not the dictates of the stronger over the weaker.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [19]
  • While in totalitarian regimes, government controls the media and criminalizes journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders who do not echo the State’s propaganda, in numerous democratic countries, the media are largely in private hands — too few hands. Often media are controlled by conglomerates responsive to corporations and advertisers who determine the content of news and other programmes, frequently disseminating disinformation or suppressing crucial information necessary for democratic discourse. Indeed, the media blackout on important issues constitutes a grave obstacle to democracy, since absent sufficient information and without free and pluralistic media, democracy is dysfunctional and the political process, including elections, becomes a mere formality — not an expression of the will of the people.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [20]
  • Disclosures about the magnitude of covert State surveillance and well-known examples of intimidation of human rights defenders shock the conscience and require public discussion and corrective action in each country and by the international community. In a democratic society, it is crucial for citizens to know whether their Governments are acting constitutionally or are engaged in policies that violate international law and human rights. It is their civic duty to protest against Government secrecy and cover-ups, the chilling effect of disproportionate surveillance, acts of intimidation and harassment, arbitrary arrests and defamation of human rights defenders, including whistleblowers, as unpatriotic or even traitors, when in fact they may be the most effective defenders of the rule of law. These acts of surveillance and intimidation are hallmarks of totalitarianism, not of democratic governance.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [21]
  • There is no lack of diagnoses of the manifold ills that beset the international order, coherent and even convincing diagnoses by foremost think tanks, universities and outstanding individual researchers all over the world. Obstacles to an improved world order are evident, but remedies do not materialize. Is it because the real power no longer resides in States and Governments but rather in the economy, the intelligence community, the military-industrial and financial-industrial complexes, which are neither democratic nor transparent and operate impervious to reasons other than power or profit? The answers are complex and require further research, which may contribute to future reports on the vast menu of General Assembly resolution 67/175.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [22]
  • States should practice multilateralism and abandon unilateral actions that adversely affect a democratic and equitable international order, refraining from the threat or use of force. They should apply international law uniformly, abandon overreliance on “positivism” and efforts to circumvent treaty obligations or invent loopholes. As “nature abhors a vacuum” (Spinoza, Ethics), human rights law abhors “legal black holes”
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [23]
  • Some observers compare elections in some countries with sports events, where people are but spectators. Moreover, elections must not be mere interludes for pushing a lever and then retreating to passivity, for democracy demands committed participation in the daily workings of society.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [24]
  • World peace is continually threatened by the paranoia of power, as internal and international conflicts plague humanity. Confronted by the danger of weapons of mass destruction, humanity must take effective measures towards disarmament. Albert Einstein warned us: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [25]
  • Austerity measures constitute retrogression in human rights, in contravention of articles 2 and 5 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, imposed top-down and never legitimized by popular referendum. Moreover, the “bail-out” of the banking system was undemocratic and inequitable because a “private debt” was rescued through public money, namely, by increasing the public debt, at the expense of social justice. The general feeling of malaise was expressed in the statement that Governments seem to have adopted the elitist view that “banks are too big to fail and bankers too big to jail”, concern being expressed about the dangers of privatization of essential services, including water, and the widespread phenomenon of privatizing profit and socializing cost.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [26]
  • A neutral observer would have no difficulty in identifying instances of disconnect between government and people, most obviously in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes where civil society’s voices are muzzled and where peaceful protests are prohibited or severely suppressed,24 but also to a lesser degree in democracies, particularly “representative democracies” that do not genuinely represent, business-driven democracies and so-called “lobby-democracies”, where elected officials tend to be more responsive to the lobbies than to the population.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [27]
  • Reinhold Niebuhr tells us that man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. Yet, democracy means different things to different people. It is more than the ballot box, more than just majority rule. It means participation in decision-making and the opportunity to choose policy.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [28]
  • Any reform of the Security Council will require an amendment of the Charter of the United Nations under Article 108. Some observers feel that the veto power as practised since 1945 is the Achilles heel of the United Nations and of the contemporary international order. While a majority of United Nations Member States and observer States would agree to amend article 27 (3) of the Charter, this may be blocked by any of the members possessing the power of veto. Abandoning the veto, therefore, will have to envisage a substantial quid pro quo. Workable trade-offs could be enhanced voting weights for the permanent five in the General Assembly in a reformed and more empowered Assembly.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [29]
  • The Independent Expert is persuaded that recognition of peace as a human right will promote a democratic and equitable international order and that national and international democratization will reduce conflict, since peoples want peace. It is Governments that stumble into war.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [30]
  • Attention must be given to the penal consequences of violations of the right to peace, including the punishment by domestic courts or in due time by the International Criminal Court of those who have engaged in aggression and propaganda for war.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [31]
  • Developing a culture of peace requires education for peace. Everyone — not only children — should be educated in compromise, cooperation, empathy, solidarity, compassion, restoration, mediation and reconciliation.6 Negotiation skills must be taught so as to prevent breaches of the peace and other forms of violence as well as to ensure a peaceful continuation of life after conflict. A philosophical paradigm change is necessary to break out of the prevailing culture of violence, the logic of power, practices of economic exploitation, cultural imperialism and impunity. A road map to this culture of peace entails a strategy to identify and remove obstacles, among which are the arms race, unilateralism and the tendency to apply international law à la carte.
    • United Nations General Assembly - Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [32]
  • If you censor yourself, if you cannot articulate your needs, if you cannot articulate your priorities, then whatever you do, putting a little cross in a ballot box, etc, does not represent your view. It is an act of desperation.
    • UN expert on democracy highlights importance of free expression, information [33]
  • You should not be subjected to the pressures, the intimidation, whether by Government or by the private sector, which would force you into self-censorship.
    • UN expert on democracy highlights importance of free expression, information [34]
  • One of the problems that we have in the human rights community is that special interests often forget the interests of other victims, and there’s competition among victims expressions that are unnecessary.
    • UN expert on democracy highlights importance of free expression, information [35]
  • The UN system is not very democratic, everyone knows that the Security Council is not democratic.
    • UN expert on democracy highlights importance of free expression, information [36]
  • You cannot turn the clock back, you cannot give the island of Manhattan back to the indigenous, but on the other hand, you can ensure that the indigenous can maintain their way of life.
    • UN expert on democracy highlights importance of free expression, information [37]
  • Specific protection must be granted to human rights defenders and whistleblowers who have in some contexts been accused of being unpatriotic, whereas they perform, in reality, a democratic service to their countries and to the enjoyment of human rights of their compatriots.
    • Alfred de Zayas' Report to the United Nations Human Rights Council [38] UN expert calls for concrete protection to support civil society voices, including ‘whistleblowers’
  • The essence of being an independent expert is not only the expertise, which must be a given and is conscientiously assessed by this Council before appointing rapporteurs, but the capacity to carry out the mandate free of intimidation or interference, free of thinking barriers, or of political correctness. An independent expert would fail the mandate and the Council if he or she were to rehash existing wisdoms and engage in rhetoric that only confirms the status quo.The essence of the independent expert is his independence to think outside systems, beyond prejudices, to give impulses, offer new perspectives -- and to make bold proposals to the Human Rights Council.
    • Alfred de Zayas' comments to the remarks made by NGOs and States during the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Session [39] Comments by Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, following the Interactive Dialogue on the presentation of his thematic report
  • The war industries in many countries and the enormous trade in weapons of all kinds generate corruption and fuel conflict throughout the world. The existence of an immensely powerful military-industrial complex constitutes a danger to democracy, both internationally and domestically, because it follows its own logic and operates independently of popular participation.
    • Alfred de Zayas' comments to the remarks made by NGOs and States during the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Session [40] Comments by Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, following the Interactive Dialogue on the presentation of his thematic report
  • Many observers have exposed the democracy deficits of the international and domestic order; identified threats to international peace; warned against the military-industrial and military-financial complexes; and denounced the retrogression in social justice associated with so-called “austerity measures”. The diagnoses of think tanks universities and researchers are fairly clear, their recommendations sensible and implementable, but changing the status quo has proven difficult, primarily because of lack of transparency and accountability in political processes, and because of powerful vested interests. Not without irony it has been noted that often those who are elected do not govern, and those who do govern are not elected.
    • Alfred de Zayas' comments to the remarks made by NGOs and States during the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Session [41] Comments by Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, following the Interactive Dialogue on the presentation of his thematic report
  • The manipulation of public opinion both by governments and corporate media, and the manufacturing of consent undermine the essence of democracy, which is genuine participation. The harassment, imprisonment and killing of human rights defenders, including journalists, in many countries shocks the conscience. But also certain aspects of the war on terrorism and the abuse of anti-terrorist legislation have significantly eroded human rights and fundamental freedoms. In a democratic society it is crucial for citizens to know whether their governments are acting constitutionally, or are engaged in policies that violate international law and human rights. It is their civic duty to protest against government secrecy and covers-up, against disproportionate surveillance, acts of intimidation and harassment, arbitrary arrests and defamation of human rights defenders, including whistleblowers as unpatriotic or even traitors, when in fact they are necessary defenders of the rule of law.
    • Alfred de Zayas' comments to the remarks made by NGOs and States during the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Session [42] Comments by Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, following the Interactive Dialogue on the presentation of his thematic report
  • In a democracy, it is the people who are sovereign. Therefore, with regard to the promotion of democracy at the local, country and regional levels, civil society must have a stronger voice in all political processes.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[43]

  • Representative democracy frequently manifests a disconnect between parliamentarians and the people, so that parliamentarians have agendas that do not correspond with the wishes of the electorate. This has led in many countries to apathy, cynicism and large-scale absenteeism in elections. What is needed is not only parliaments, but parliamentarians who genuinely represent the wishes of the electorate.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order [

[44]

  • Representative democracy betrays the electorate when laws have no roots in the people but in oligarchies. Studies on the concept and modalities of direct democracy are therefore becoming more topical
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[45]

  • No country has a perfect report card. While some countries have strong points in specific areas, they may have serious lacunae in other areas. For instance, some countries have made enormous progress on civil and political rights, but lag in the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[46]

  • The diagnosis is clear, but changing the status quo has proven difficult, because often those who are elected do not govern, and those who do govern are not elected.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[47]

  • Democracy entails a correlation between the public interest as expressed by a majority of the population and the governmental policies that affect them. The term encompasses various manifestations, including direct, participatory and representative democracy, but Governments must be responsive to people and not to special interests such as the military-industrial complex, financial bankers and transnational corporations. Democracy is inclusive and does not privilege an anthropological aristocracy.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[48]

  • Although founded on majority rule, a democratic society must recognize and apply individual, minority and group rights. In other words, majority rule must be understood within the context of the rule of law and human dignity… This resolves the tension between populism and human rights, since democracy must not be abused to diminish human rights, e.g. by legitimizing torture or capital punishment, even if public opinion could be invoked or manipulated to demand it. Thus, it is necessary to strengthen the enforcement of national and regional bills of rights to provide a process and atmosphere for democracy to flourish, ensured by an independent judiciary that provides the necessary protection of both majority and minority interests.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[49]

  • Democracy is not the end product, but the means to the end, which is the enjoyment of human rights by all.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[50]

  • A democratic and equitable international order is inherent in the fundamental human rights that humanity shares. It is achievable, step-by-step, when every country and people act at the local, regional and international levels, aware that such an international order must be based on the United Nations Charter and the human rights treaties, which together make up what we can safely call the Constitution of the modern world.
    • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 2013 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

[51]

  • Let us abandon the obsolete division of rights into artificial categories of first, second and third generation rights – with their intrinsic prejudices. Let us consider redefining human rights in functional terms.I am suggesting a functional paradigm of enabling rights (such as the rights to peace, food, health and homeland), inherent rights (such as equality and non-discrimination), procedural rights (such as access to information, freedom of expression and due process) and what I would call outcome rights, that is, the practical realization of human dignity in the form of the right to our identity, to achieve our potential and to be just who we are, free to enjoy our own culture and opinions. The absence of this outcome right to dignity and self-respect is reflected in much of the strife we see in the world today.
  • Those who sell or facilitate weapons to individuals that will commit human rights violations know that they have responsibility for the death and misery caused by those weapons and at some stage may be liable to face the International Criminal Court for complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
    • 2013, UN rights expert hails Arms Trade Treaty and urges States to do more to also regulate production [52]
  • Codification and mechanisms do not sufficiently ensure the right to peace. What is crucial is to develop a true culture of peace. This requires education for peace. Everyone – not only children – should be educated in compromise, cooperation, empathy, solidarity, compassion, restoration and reconciliation. In short, we must learn respect for others and how to live in harmony, even if we agree to disagree. Negotiation and mediation skills must be taught so as to prevent breaches of the peace and other forms of violence. A philosophical paradigm change is necessary, so that we are not caught in the old mind-set, in the prevailing culture of violence, the logic of war, aggressive attitudes, practices of economic exploitation and cultural imperialism.
    • Statement by Alfred de Zayas, 20/2/2013 [53]
  • With the growth of the world population, the global climate change and the need for a greater healthy environment, access to water resources has become a crucial condition for the realization of an equitable international order, where the needs of the peoples are effectively addressed. In this regard, the need for international cooperation, including in joint effort with relevant non-state actors, is paramount to ensure water is made available to all without discrimination. Water is a human right, an enabling right, not a mere commodity.
    • Statement by Alfred de Zayas on World Water Day 22 March 2013 [54]
  • The mandate entails a generous synthesis of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The title requires the expert to be truly independent, keep an open mind, conduct his/her research objectively and without ideological prejudices, listen to all sides of an argument and seek the opinion of all stakeholders.
    • Alfred de Zayas Statement by on his personal website [55]
  • Peace is what today’s world needs most urgently, in Egypt, in Syria, in the Middle East, in Africa. Peace and reconciliation. Peace with rehabilitation of victims. Peace with understanding of causes. Peace with a plan for reconstruction – but not only material reconstruction. Moral reconstruction, value reconstruction, commitment to human dignity, faith in the future – this is essential to achieve peace with justice.
    • Peace and reconciliation in the Egypt and Syria uprisings [56]
  • “Respect for human rights requires transparent and accountable institutions and governance as well as the effective participation of all individuals and civil society, who are an essential part of realizing social and people-centred sustainable development.”
    • India: Urgent call to halt Odisha mega-steel project amid serious human rights concerns [57]

2013 - International Peace DayEdit

  • The United Nations is the best hope to spare humanity from the barbarity of war, from the senseless death, destruction and dislocation it brings about.
    • Rights expert urges the UN General Assembly to adopt a more decisive role in peace-making (For International Day of Peace, Saturday 21 September 2013) [58]
  • It is time to reinvigorate the UN General Assembly so that it can exercise a more decisive role in peace-making and peace-keeping, consistent with the will of the international community.
    • Rights expert urges the UN General Assembly to adopt a more decisive role in peace-making (For International Day of Peace, Saturday 21 September 2013) [59]
  • It is the responsibility of all of us to remind governments of their commitments to settle disputes by peaceful means and to negotiate in good faith under the UN Charter, and to denounce war agitation particularly by the media.
    • Rights expert urges the UN General Assembly to adopt a more decisive role in peace-making (For International Day of Peace, Saturday 21 September 2013) [60]
  • Without peace and the rule of law, civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights cannot be enjoyed, when killing, maiming and mutual poisoning prevail.
    • Rights expert urges the UN General Assembly to adopt a more decisive role in peace-making (For International Day of Peace, Saturday 21 September 2013) [61]
  • If we want world peace, we must break the vicious circle of violence and reprisal, of an eye for an eye, of endless hate.
    • Rights expert urges the UN General Assembly to adopt a more decisive role in peace-making (For International Day of Peace, Saturday 21 September 2013) [62]
  • Peace is not the silence of cemeteries, but the song of social justice.
    • Rights expert urges the UN General Assembly to adopt a more decisive role in peace-making (For International Day of Peace, Saturday 21 September 2013) [63]

2014Edit

  • Disarmament for Development is a win-win strategy for States and Peoples. It is time to reduce the spiral of military expenditures and to invest in research into the root causes of conflicts and in the development of strategies of conflict-prevention and resolution.
    • Disarm and develop – UN expert urges win-win proposition for States and peoples

[64]

  • The cost in human lives of every armed conflict is staggering, but the economic cost of wars can continue for generations.
    • Disarm and develop – UN expert urges win-win proposition for States and peoples.

[65]

  • Even a cursory review of the situation worldwide reveals that, in many countries, accurate and understandable information on military expenditures is not available. In some countries, military activities are concealed by placing them under different rubrics such as energy, research or homeland security.
    • Disarm and develop – UN expert urges win-win proposition for States and peoples

[66]

  • Participation by the public in decision-making, which requires full information, transparency and accountability, is essential to the democratic order. Parliaments have a special responsibility to oversee the adoption of national budgets and to monitor the actual use of appropriations so as to ferret out corruption.
    • Disarm and develop – UN expert urges win-win proposition for States and peoples

[67]

  • Excessive military expenditures have their own logic and their own dynamic. The profit-driven character of the armaments industry may well undermine the otherwise legitimate aim of protecting the population from outside threats.
    • Disarm and develop – UN expert urges win-win proposition for States and peoples

[68]

  • As Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly said, ‘the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded’. A major shift in priorities is vital for both States and peoples.
    • Disarm and develop – UN expert urges win-win proposition for States and peoples

[69]

  • Since a democratic and equitable international order requires peace, States must engage in good faith negotiations for disarmament and significantly reduce military expenditure and the arms trade.
    • UN expert urges States to be more transparent on military expenditure

[70]

  • Every democracy must involve civil society in the process of establishing budgets, and all sectors of society must be consulted to determine what the real priorities of the population are. Lobbies, including military contractors and other representatives of the military-industrial complex, must not be allowed to hijack these priorities to the detriment of the population’s real needs.
    • United Nations expert urges states to cut military spending and invest more in human development [71]
  • Global military spending levels constitute an unconscionable use of resources and remain at an all-time high, reaching a total of USD 1.75 trillion in 2012, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
    • United Nations expert urges states to cut military spending and invest more in human development [72]
  • In a world where millions of human beings live in extreme poverty, die of malnutrition and lack medical care, where pandemics continue to kill, it is imperative to pursue good faith disarmament negotiations and to shift budgets away from weapons production, war-mongering, surveillance of private persons and devote available resources to address global challenges including humanitarian relief, environmental protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, prevention of pandemics, and the development of a green economy.
    • United Nations expert urges states to cut military spending and invest more in human development [73]
  • I urge Governments to considerably reduce funds allocated to the military, not only as a disarmament issue, but also as a potential contributor to social and environmental protection and call for the holding of referenda on this issue worldwide.
    • United Nations expert urges states to cut military spending and invest more in human development [74]
  • A ten per cent reduction in military expenditures per year would be reasonable, coupled with a programme of retraining the workforce and redirecting the resources in a manner that creates employment and advances social welfare. I also encourage all States to contribute to the UN’s annual Report on Military Expenditures by submitting complete data on national defence budgets.
    • United Nations expert urges states to cut military spending and invest more in human development [75]
  • Transnational Corporations must be legally accountable for the negative human rights impacts of their activities.
    • Statement by Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order Ecuador Workshop 11-12 March 2014 [76]
  • This new declaration which emphasizes the necessity of global disarmament is based on the purposes and principles of the United Nations, in particular the prohibition of the threat and use of force, and on the obligation to negotiate disputes in conformity with the UN Charter. It is a strong and positive example for the entire world.
    • CELAC / Zone of Peace: “A key step to countering the globalization of militarism” – UN Expert [77]
  • Its effects will be even broader than the establishment 45 years ago of Latin America and the Caribbean as a nuclear-free zone by the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
    • CELAC / Zone of Peace: “A key step to countering the globalization of militarism” – UN Expert [78]
  • This reduction implies the release of funds for development and a shift of the labour force previously dedicated to military industries toward peaceful activities, protection of human rights, conservation of the environment, the eradication of illiteracy, promotion of education and scientific research together with enhanced efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals and implement the agenda for the post-2015 period.
    • CELAC / Zone of Peace: “A key step to countering the globalization of militarism” – UN Expert [79]
  • The CELAC Declaration is a positive sign towards the advancement of an international order which can and should be more democratic and equitable, based on the principles of the sovereignty of States and peoples and on international solidarity.
    • CELAC / Zone of Peace: “A key step to countering the globalization of militarism” – UN Expert [80]

UNPA - World Parliamentary AssemblyEdit

  • Participation is a hallmark of democratic governance.
    • Post-2015 Agenda should include elected UN Assembly to strengthen democratic participation [81]
  • As far as domestic democracy, all here present know that democracy means government of the people by the people. While we agree that consultation and participation are essential to every democracy, this is seldom achieved in practice.
    • Statement by the Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, Prof. Dr. Alfred de Zayas. Brussels Conference on a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, 16/17 October 2013 [82]
  • A World Parliamentary Assembly functioning outside the United Nations, or a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly set up as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly pursuant to article 22 of the UN Charter, could start initially as a consultative body and gradually develop into a legislative assembly.
    • “Time for a World Parliamentary Assembly” [83]

Report submitted to the UN Human Rights CouncilEdit

  • Downsizing military budgets will enable sustainable development, the eradication of extreme poverty, the tackling of global challenges including pandemics and climate change, educating and socializing youth towards peace, cooperation and international solidarity.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [84]
  • Budget and fiscal transparency are necessary tools to prevent the hijacking of the international order by the international military-industrial complex.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [85]
  • The ideal of direct democracy, including the power of legislative initiative of citizens and control of issues through genuine consultation and referenda has been partially achieved only in few countries.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [86]
  • Representative democracy deserves the predicate “democratic” only if and when parliamentarians genuinely represent their constituents.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [87]
  • Democracy and self-determination serve the overall goal of enabling human security and human rights.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [88]
  • Frequently, military expenditures are “secret” or concealed, thus frustrating the right of citizens to know how their taxes are being spent.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [89]
  • Disarmament is not just an idle promise; it is also a commitment under article 26 of the Charter of the United Nations.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [90]
  • The existence of zero nuclear weapons may sound utopian, but the effort is required in the name of humanity.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [91]
  • In the light of continued warmongering by some States, it is apparent that resolutions of the General Assembly, including its resolution 68/28, have not succeeded in reducing tensions.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [92]
  • It would be preferable to teach that honour and glory can also be won through civil courage and working for social justice.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [93]
  • A truly democratic country must proactively inform the public so that the public can decide on spending priorities.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [94]
  • According to a 2014 report, the European Union is spending at least 315 million euros on drone-related projects.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [95]
  • In totalitarian States citizen have no voice. In democratic countries, however, citizens bear responsibility for the decisions taken by their democratically elected officials. If crimes are committed in their name, it is their responsibility to demand accountability.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [96]
  • Reduced military budgets will release funds for the promotion and protection of human rights and for addressing global problems such as pandemics, climate change, deforestation and acute water shortages.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [97]
  • Austerity is necessary in the military – not in the progressive achievement of economic, social and cultural rights.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [98]
  • States should significantly reduce military spending and develop conversion strategies to reorient resources towards social services, the creation of employment in peaceful industries, and greater support to the post-2015 development agenda.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order exploring the adverse impacts of military expenditures on the realization of a democratic and equitable international order [99]

Report submitted to the UN General AssemblyEdit

  • In its essence, the right of self-determination means that individuals and peoples should be in control of their destinies and should be able to live out their identities, whether within the boundaries of existing States or through independence.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination [100]
  • There are multiple ways of looking at self-determination. One understanding of the right focuses on the legitimacy of choice, so that every people may choose the form of government that it deems appropriate to its culture and traditions. Another perspective focuses on the right of two or more peoples to unify into one single State.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination [101]
  • World peace and security are best served when States observe treaties in good faith.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination [102]
  • There is consensus among States, judges of international tribunals and professors of international law that self-determination is not only a principle but also a right that has achieved the status of jus cogens.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination [103]
  • World peace and security are best served when States observe treaties in good faith.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination [104]
  • Norms cannot be applied à la carte.
    • Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination [105]

Quotes about Alfred de ZayasEdit

Report submitted to the UN Human Rights CouncilEdit

  • The Independent Expert presents us in his report and his helpful introductory remarks a broad survey of the landscape in which we find ourselves. Governments are unable to fulfil their human rights and other legal obligations due to ‘unavailability of resources’. And yet the world community can spend 1700 billion dollars every year on the military system. Despite undoubted economic advances, millions still subsist without the basic decencies of life, while we somehow find the money for over 16,000 nuclear weapons and huge conventional arsenals. And this 25 years on from the end of the Cold War! Large sums of public money will be needed to fund the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Likewise, they will be needed to meet the challenge of climate change. Such sums exist – but they are allocated elsewhere.
    • International Peace Bureau [106]

Other topicsEdit

  • An account of British and American acquiescence in the brutal expulsion of millions of Germans from their homes in East-Central Europe at the end of World War II. The author ... makes much of the legal (and moral) implications of the issue while understating its historical complexities.
    • Christoph Kimmich in Foreign Affairs, 1977. [107]
  • A young legal scholar from New York, Alfred de Zayas, has written a book on a subject long taboo and ignored by German writers -- the brutal expulsion of 16 million Germans from their homelands in Central and Eastern Europe after the Red Army moved in... Mr. de Zayas, who is 29 years old and has a fellowship at the University of Göttingen emphasized: ... 'I had taken a number of courses in history at Fordham and Harvard and this was just never mentioned. I don't think people outside Germany know much about it.' Truman, Churchill and Stalin agreed at Potsdam in 1945 that the German populations of Eastern Europe should undergo 'transfer to Germany' but 'in an orderly and humane manner'. The de Zayas book makes clear that the last provision was not fulfilled.
    • Craig R. Whitney in the New York Times on 13 February 1977 and in the International Herald Tribune (IHT), 17 February 1977. [108]
  • The author, effectively using maps and photographs, traces the history of the expellees. Aided by Marshall Plan funds the millions of displaced persons, still longing for their homelands, recognized the futility of resort to force and turned to hard work to rebuild their lives by absorption in a democratic and peaceful society. The Helsinki Conference of 1975 in effect acknowledged that the provisional Oder-Neisse demarcation line implied de facto annexation. The lesson from this well organized and moving historical record is not merely that retribution which penalizes innocent human beings becomes injustice, but that acceptance of political realities may be a better road to human fulfillment than the path of violence. Alfred de Zayas has written a persuasive commentary on the suffering which becomes inevitable when humanitarianism is subordinated to nationalism.
    • Ben Ferencz in the American Journal of International Law, Vol. 72, October 1978, p. 960. [109]
  • This is a revealing account which is timely, and it accurately portrays the tragic fate of the dramatic transfer of millions of Germans from Eastern Europe to the West, as the Second World War ground to a halt...It was advertised that the transfers should be made under 'humane' conditions. There was no controls or authoritative supervision, so that the individual refugee had no recourse or protection. It is true that the United States State Department voiced proper regard for the humanities, but its voice was not vigorous or even heard in Eastern Europe at the time of the expulsion. Few Americans dreamt of a brutal expulsion affecting perhaps 16 million persons!
    • From the Foreword Nemesis at Potsdam by Robert Murphy, United States Political Adviser of Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lucius Clay and participant at the Potsdam Conference. [110]
  • It is staggering how much the Human Rights Committee has influenced the human rights jurisprudence of the world, as is striking from reading this exceedingly important book.... From the outset of its work in 1977 there have been two Secretariat pioneers in developing the case law of the Committe when it considers petitions from individuals claiming violations of their rights: Jakob Möller (Iceland) and Alfred de Zayas (USA). Möller was the first Chief of the Petitions branch of what is today the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and de Zayas was his colleague, who eventually suceeded him as Chief. ...Every lawyer, every judge, every public-spirited citizen will want to consult this fascinating book, because it tells us what is legally right and legally wrong, how to judge our governments, our societies, our United Nations and ourselves.
    • First review by the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan, in the UN Special of June 2009, pp. 18-19.[111]: About United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law 1977-2008
  • This is not yet another book about the Human Rights Committee. This is the most authentic book available, written by insiders who were there from the start -- Justice Jakob Th. Möller (Iceland), former Chief of the Communications Branch at the Office of the UN High Commmissioner for Human Rights, and his successor in this function, Alfred de Zayas (US), who was also Secretary of the Committee. Whereas other excellent books like those of Sarah Joseph and Manfred Nowak give us good commentary on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its mechanisms, the Möller and de Zayas book is unique in that it gives the reader the feeling of being there. It is thorough, user-friendly, and indispensable for practitioners and students. In seven chapters and six appendices, the authors of this monumental handbook give the reader a perceptive history of how the Committee started its work, how the rules of procedure were elaborated and repeatedly amended, how the Secretariat functions, how the criteria of admissibility have been interpreted and reinterpreted, how the holdings on the merits have evolved over three decades, how the working groups operate, and how the mandates of Special Rapporteur on New Communications and Special Rapporteur on Follow-Up (not envisaged in the ICCPR or in the Optional Protocol) were created...
    • Review in February 2010 issue of the Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 237-240. [112]
  • I was pleased to have had the opportunity to draft the foreword for this important book. Jakob and Alfred are my friends and I congratulate them on their achievement. What distinguishes this book from others is that it is authentic. It was written by the two Secretariat members who accompanied our work since day one, two devoted lawyers who with constancy and competence assisted the Committee experts through the creation of rules of procedure and guidelines that enabled us to create solid jurisprudence. Their outstanding drafting ability, legal acuity and multilingualism proved invaluable to us. The continued support of the UN Secretariat is one of the strengths of the Committee. Of course, the centre of our work has always been the common dignity of all human beings, our commitment to help real persons whose rights have been violated. The bottom line is enforcement and that is why the function of the Special Rapporteur on Follow-Up is so important. I remember the successes we attained during our follow-up visit to Jamaica in June 1995. I regret not being able to be here today and I wish all present a congenial book launch. Greetings also to all Committee members attending. We are on our way to a World Court on Human Rights!
    • Preface by the first Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Andreas Mavrommatis [113]
  • Totally new and fresh is this first English translation of Rilke’s early cycle of poems Larenopfer . . . Even for German-speaking readers such a translation constitutes a great help. Placing the original and the translation next to each other begins a dialogue that can be of considerable usefulness to the mother-tongue German reader. It is precisely by comparing that one discovers what is so special in Rilke, the particular choice of words, the figures of syntax, the deliberate omissions, and, of course, the amazing imagery, which cannot be reproduced in any other medium . . . Here de Zayas opens a new approach to elucidating Rilke’s texts.
    • August Stahl, Professor of German literature, University of Trier, Germany, President of the International Rilke Society, from a review in the Blätter der Rilke Gesellschaft
  • Whoever has ever attempted to translate poetry knows how very difficult it is, both to transmit adequately the message and to recreate the rhyme and rhyme scheme. De Zayas has been remarkably successful in tackling both difficulties. Throughout the book we sense his easy recreation of the mood, the charm, the musicality of the language, and the meter of Rilke’s poems.
    • Manfred Richter, Professor of Germanic and Slavic Studies, Waterloo University.

External linksEdit

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