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A civilization is to be judged by its treatment of minorities
(Mahatma Gandhi)

Declaration for ethnic humanism

    1) In today's world, become highly technological and densely entangled, simply pressing a button is enough to blow up the planet, while the ecological balance is seriously shaken by the massive consumption of a small part of humanity. The current world order is extremely unfair because it is based on the exploitation of the poor by the rich, the South by the North, of Nature by Man.

    2) This world order, in addition to this extreme injustice, also threatens the ethnic diversity of civilization and the survival of humanity, because of wars and the ongoing plundering of nature. It is unacceptable because it endorses the priority of the interests of those with power, and encourages people to struggle against each other to appropriate and deplete natural riches - concentrated in the hands of elites.

    3) A typical example of this priority bond is nationalism, the sanctification of the interest of a state against others where the interest of the state is misused to hide the will of powerful groups monopolizing power and the economy. The case of the former Yugoslavia, where all sides used tribal arguments to justify the bloody struggles for illegal businesses, is a clear example of this trend.

    4) The current system is very strong, because it is able to divide the peoples by means of nationalism and consumption. Thus peoples are fighting against each other for the same dream of a fallacious welfare, reinforcing the immutable interests of the ruling elite.

    5) We see the strong need to rethink the world order, which will affect our lives tomorrow, and rearrange it according to the principles of freedom and individual and collective democracy. Moreover it is absolutely necessary that humanity as a whole review its current conception of nature as freely exploitable source of wealth.

    6) To achieve this it is necessary to generalize the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which define rights valid "for all men, regardless of race, skin color, sex, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status".

    7) However this principle of individual equality is not enough, because the individual is part of a wider local community, which is linked to the land where he/she lives and inside which he/she usually moves. After the 1948 Declaration, there is a worldwide distribution of the peoples that only a peaceful evolution, but no war, no "ethnic cleansing" or other violence can legitimately change. We believe that the more a community feels tied to its land, the stronger is its desire to preserve the ecological and cultural balance of its place of living. However, the more man feels depersonalized, assimilated by a strong foreign culture, the more easily it will destroy its heritage, impoverishing the whole of humanity. There are many peoples in the world whose right to physical survival is not respected. There are other peoples whose cultural rights to survival are not better respected by the states, which fear that a real cultural diversity and freedom could endanger their rights to self-preservation.

    8) To find a solution to these problems, we need principles of freedom and democracy not only individual but also collective. For, as recognized in the first article of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, approved by the Council of Europe November 10, 1994, "The protection of national minorities and the rights and freedoms of belonging to those minorities forms an integral part of the international protection of human rights and as such falls within the scope of international cooperation ". Ethnic right is therefore a human right. In addition the rights to water, land, air from the surrounding environment are not individual but collective, and wars cause or at least perpetuate that prevalence in the world of great inequalities not only between individuals, but also between peoples.

    9) We therefore call upon all men and all organizations working for cultural, linguistic, political, religious or other kind of freedom, to work together to establish a new humanism, a humanism that considers ethnic Human Rights with a broader look, which does not neglect the fundamental aspects of local identity. We firmly believe that only a humanism with mutual recognition of the existence of each ethnic group and therefore the right of each of them to take action to remove the ethnic superstructure of todays' conflicts, in the spirit of equality and solidarity, only such a humanism can offer useful solutions to men and not only to powerful groups.

    10) We stress that ethnic humanism is a principle that, for a peaceful regulation of conflicts, firmly opposes chauvinistic nationalism and terrorism and condemns with equal force the misunderstood concept of cosmopolitanism which, on behalf of a principle of equality between individuals, aims to assimilate them to the same model, and blend them into the same mold, with one language, one culture and one consumer society.

    11) Our aim is a humanity that reorganizes under structures of self-administration and relationship to the land, always giving priority to human, cultural and natural life, as opposed to enrichment, monopolization and exploitation of others. In addition the basic principle of peaceful coexistence should be mutual recognition of everyone's right. We call on everyone to collaborate.

Source: Etnismo, No. 66 (20.12.1999), p.14
Translated from Esperanto by Alain Favre
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