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Thousands of demonstrators join Fridays for Future's global day of action to stand with Ukraine by walking down Willy-Brandt-Strasse, a main thoroughfare in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Athens Declaration Calls for End to Ukraine War and Creation of 'Lasting Peace'

Put forth by international progressive leaders "calling the world to sanity," the document envisions a global security framework committed to de-escalating tensions in the world.

Andrea Germanos

A group of international progressives on Friday released a declaration demanding an urgent withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, a global end to "rampant militarism," and the forging of a collaborative movement to ensure lasting peace and a planet safe from climate catastrophe.

The Athens Declaration was unveiled at a press conference in the Greek capital by Turkish author Ece Temelkuran; British Member of Parliament and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; and former Greek finance minister and leader of the MeRA25 party Yanis Varoufakis. The three are all Progressive International council members.

"Every million dollars spent on major armaments is a million dollars not made available for schools, not available for hospitals, not available for housing, not available to feed the very hungriest in the world."

"Our purpose here," said Corbyn, "is to bring about.. a voice for peace."

In its entirety, the declaration states:

  • We stand with the people of Ukraine, as we stand with every people suffering invasion, displacement and occupation.
  • We demand an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian forces and a comprehensive Peace Treaty guaranteed by the European Union, the United States and Russia in the context of the United Nations.
  • We urge respect for International Law and all refugees, who must have their rights protected and offered a place of safety regardless of ethnicity, religion etc.
  • We oppose the division of the world in competing blocs that invest in rampant militarism, hyper-modern weapons of mass destruction and a New Cold War.
  • We believe that lasting peace can be achieved only by replacing all military blocs with an inclusive international security framework that de-escalates tensions, expands freedoms, fights poverty, limits exploitation, pursues social and environmental justice and terminates the domination of one country by another.

With these thoughts in mind, we call upon democrats across the world to join forces in a New Non-Aligned Movement. In this context, we view non-aligned, democratic and sovereign nations working together as the route to lasting peace and a world that can avert climate catastrophe and bequeath to the next generation a decent chance at creating the conditions for globally shared prosperity.

Temelkuran—who said during the press conference that the declaration "is calling the world to sanity"—put the need for such a document in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We are actually closer to war, all-out war, than we'd like to think," she said, warning that "we are also dealing with fascism—and fascism, like war, does not happen overnight."

"It begins by normalizing the ugly, and the wrong, and also the evil," said Temelkuran.

"Has the pandemic taught us nothing about global inequality and global insecurity?"

"One of the most dangerous facts about today," she continued, "is the non-challenge of the international institutions and the proud shamelessness of authoritarian leaders."

But "when there is no hope, there is our determination to come together, to speak to truth, and to defend justice and human dignity," she said. "This is where we are."

In his remarks, Corbyn also addressed Russia's invasion, saying that "the situation facing the world at the present time is dire and grim."

He pointed to the roughly six million who've been forced to flee Ukraine and "the horrors of the war" that "are taking life, are devastating the place," and "threatening the world's food supplies."

Watch the full press conference:

Corbyn also warned that "the economic devastation of this war will have a massive effect on the global economy, and because of the inequality of the global economy, it's the poorest people in the poorest countries that will suffer the most, followed by the poorest people in the richest countries."

"If the world just goes on into developing into more and more military alliances greater and greater levels of expenditure on armaments and weapons of mass destruction, you then have to ask yourself, every million dollars spent on major armaments is a million dollars not made available for schools, not available for hospitals, not available for housing, not available to feed the very hungriest in the world."

"Has the pandemic taught us nothing about global inequality and global insecurity?" he said.

"So our plea today," said Corbyn, "is for an urgent and immediate ceasefire where all of the world's leaders demand it... and a future security arrangement guaranteed by all the world's major powers as a step towards a more peaceful world."

The declaration was announced a day after Progressive International's four-day summit began.

In a keynote address Thursday, Corbyn called the summit "a site of construction" and said it was convened "to take stock of this dying world, and to build the new one that will replace it—brimming with life, bound by love, powered by popular sovereignty."

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