Jayantha Dhanapala Image

Jayantha Dhanapala

To Our International Leaders,

We have for over a decade congratulated ourselves on emerging from the Cold War without pausing to ask whether the peoples of the world are in a safer and better world today. We certainly do not have the prospect of a global war fought with weapons of mass destruction. Nor do we have the institutionalised racism of apartheid or the tragic spectacle of countries in colonial or Cominform bondage.

And yet we must acknowledge that we still have over 30,000 nuclear warheads many of them poised on alert status to be launched on warning perhaps pre-emptively. We have numerous armed conflicts raging around the world fuelled by a huge conventional arms trade in which small arms and light weapons proliferation has burgeoned alarmingly. Global terrorism has assumed menacing proportions as illustrated by the attacks on the USA on September 11,2001 and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states and terrorist groups is a real danger. Other non-military threats to security have escalated in terms of absolute poverty with one in five persons in the world living on less than one US dollar a day; the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and other diseases; environmental problems such as climate change; continued violations of human rights; trafficking in persons and drugs and a host of other issues which Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls problems without passports.

This complex global situation demands common approaches in a co-operative security framework where the United Nations is central. In a globalized world society we have to adopt genuine multilateralism underpinned by the rule of international law. Civil society must speak out and press governments to endure that human security is at the forefront of their agendas. Individual national interests must be subsumed in the global public good that benefits us all equally. That is the only certain path to durable international peace and security.

Jayantha Dhanapala

25/6 Pepiliyana Rd, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka., Telephone: +94 12 856297, E-mail: