OSLO - At least 16 Nobel Peace Prize laureates
called for disarmament and non-violent pursuit of peace in the
21st century in a joint appeal on Monday marking the 100th
anniversary of the first Nobel award.
The declaration, agreed in Oslo at the biggest gathering of
Nobel Peace Prize winners in history, also called for the
establishment of an international criminal court.
``We offer support for the unrelenting, patient and
non-violent pursuit of peace wherever conflicts may rage today
or tomorrow, such as the Middle East, Colombia or the Great
lakes of Africa,'' the statement said.
It was issued just before U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the United Nations collect the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize in
Oslo. About 30 laureates have been in Oslo in recent days.
It also urged a prompt establishment of an international
criminal court, full implementation of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, elimination of weapons of mass
destruction and reduction and control of small arms.
A preliminary list, obtained by Reuters, included
signatures from 16 individuals or organizations, such as Polish
anti-communist campaigner Lech Walesa, Guatemala human rights
advocate Rigoberta Menchu and Amnesty International.
``Virtually everyone who is present and able to sign has
signed,'' Cora Weiss, president of the International Peace
Bureau, which won the prize in 1910, told Reuters.
Others including Northern Ireland Protestant First Minister
David Trimble and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung had not
signed, nor had U.N. agencies. Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama,
who won in 1989, was expected to sign.
She said that no one had refused to sign -- some
international organizations were unable to sign because they
needed a mandate from members.
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres, who won the 1994 prize with assassinated
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, were not in Oslo, after a
recent surge in violence in the Middle East.
It took the laureates five days to come out with a joint
statement after a meeting of about 30 laureates in Oslo.
``Once we came together there was really no resistance,'' she
said, but adding ``when you have people in the range from Lech
Walesa to Rigoberta (Menchu)...you have to have an
accommodating compromise that doesn't compromise your
The statement also hailed Annan and the United Nations.
Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited