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Cooperatives of the Americas join international call for peace

5 August 2014

With the escalation of military action once again conspiring against the long-sought pacification of the Middle East, Cooperatives of the Americas issued a “Cooperative Message for Peace” calling for the cessation of hostilities and offering the potential contribution of cooperativism as a tool that, by its very nature, aims at understanding, collaboration and mutual assistance between people, beyond all differences of any type.

COOPERATIVE MESSAGE FOR PEACE

Founded in 1895, the International Cooperative Alliance is one of the few organizations able to survive two world wars, even with members whose countries were on opposing sides of the conflict.

The reason is that cooperatives have always considered themselves a project for peace. They are associations of people organized on the basis of values and principles conceived to promote the cause of peace.

One of our institutional aims is “to promote human sustainable development and foster the economic and social progress of the individual as a way of contributing to international peace and security”.

We are convinced that peace is not the absence of war, but approaching it through respect for identities, acceptance of differences and prioritization of life, rights and freedom. In this sense, peace is the result of a monumental, intelligent effort full of sacrifice. And we want to contribute to that effort.

But to build peace, there must be a cessation of attacks–reprehensible in all cases- as well as the start of true recognition between the parties.

That is why, as the first advisory body to the United Nations (since 1946), we support the words of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, addressed to Israelis and Palestinians: “Stop fighting, start talking and deal with the root causes of the conflict […] no closure, no barrier can separate Palestinians and Israelis from a fundamental truth: You share a common future.”

When that happens, we publicly pledge our efforts to collaborate, together with large and small cooperatives all over the world, with work and development projects arising from dialogue between the men and women of peace that we know live in the territories now in dispute.

We want to contribute in every possible way to the social, productive and cultural development of both nations, supporting projects of peace, exchanging what is produced from the work of men and women at peace. We want to help guarantee human rights for all: health, education, inclusion of young people and environmental protection.

We know that when Pope Francis prayed for peace together with Muslims and Jews, he did so to call as well for the commitment of the entire international community. Peace requires those of us who believe in a society based on solidarity to take the floor and speak out. We are not naïve. There are also sectors whose interest is to profit from war.

So that we can make this commitment to peace, so that we can dialogue, so that the world’s cooperatives can collaborate with Palestinian-Israeli development projects, we demand a ceasefire in this unequal fight. The politicians responsible must assume the task of promoting peace through long-lasting agreements based on justice for both peoples.

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