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Earth Charter provides the template for 5th annual Youth Peace Parliament in Australia

16. Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.

Thank you Annette Brownlie, CoConvenor Just Peace, Vice President International Day of Peace Alliance, for providing this information.

Just Peace as a member organisation of the International Day of Peace Alliance in Brisbane, Australia organized the 5th Youth Peace Parliament (YPP). They organized a workshop on August 14 and the Parliament on September 20 and 21, 2010. The 5th YPP gathered at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Prior to the event, a team of young people from University of Queensland, under the leadership of Heather Millhouse, functioned as an organising team board, providing fresh ideas and wonderful group dynamics skills to put the event together.

The organizers came to a conclusion that the international celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the Earth Charter provided them with a wonderful template to develop Inquiries which all related to the pursuit of a Just, Sustainable and Peaceful future. Therefore the discussion groups were divided under the following topics, which are the 4 main pillars of the Earth Charter: Respect and Care for the Community of Life, Ecological Integrity, Peace, Non-Violence and Democracy and Social and Economic Justice. Students were able to follow their selected area of interest and in their working groups they entered into the discussions very well.

The organizers state that this 5th Youth Peace Parliament succeeded beyond expectation! High school students from over 20 Queensland Schools were forming committees to tackle the big issues of the day using collaborative and consensus process. Students used the Earth Charter principles as a tool to look to future security environmentally, ethically and peacefully.

As a result of the gathering the International Day of Peace 2010 Youth Peace Parliament declares need for Australian military forces to concentrate on defending the nation.

Well done young leaders of today and into the future!

Read the whole report here.

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CONCLUSIONS OF THE GROUP DISCUSSIONS:

  • RESPECT AND CARE FOR THE COMMUNITY OF LIFE
    The most important facet of this group’s work is seen to be in making community awareness of the plight of refugees – in particular, “the boat people”. They felt that the current methods of detaining people were abhorrent and wide changes should be made. They referred to fencing in of women and children, excessive actions by guards and general removal from community life. They acknowledge difficulties associated with screening procedures in Australia. It would be a better system to concentrate on neighboring countries to be involved in the screening process and to involve resident groups in caring for refugees.
  • ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY
    This group felt strongly that a carbon emissions tax be implemented very quickly. Decentralization of food production was seen to be important. As well, reference was made to sustainable farming, transport tariffs, public transport, foreign aid, action plans for individual communities, education in schools, climate safe buildings, establishment of bush reserves
    and the banning of plastic bags and the
    closing of cities for one day. One
    member of the group said that a vegan
    in a hummer uses more energy than an
    omnivore riding a bike.
  • PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND NON-VIOLENCE
    This group had three major elements in their plan.
    a. To remove the power of the declaration of war from the cabinet to be replaced by a majority conscience vote by both houses of federal parliament with the inclusion of mandatory public forums on the issue.
    b. Aims to limit the ownership of media publications by a single corporation or corporations working in tandem to a certain percentage of the media sector.
    c. Implement a more defensive stance of Australian military forces, thus enabling the redistribution of Defence spending into in to alternative avenues such as humanitarian aid assistance operations.
  • SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
    The policies put forward by this group concentrated on the state of mental health care. Of prime importance is the appointment of a Minister for Mental Health who oversees a department established to oversee the care of patients and their families. A mental health program should be offered in all schools. A centralised point of contact for care and support needs to be established. Community-based non-government organisations should have access to national financial support.

Read the Earth Charter

We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
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