Regional Conflicts and Civil Society

Civic BRICS Working Groups Recommendations
Draft as of 06.05.2015
Chair: Georgy Toloraya
We, representatives of Civic BRICS Working Group on Politics, are
increasingly concerned with the growing level of tensions in international relations
in the second decade of 21st century.
We stress that the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Second
World War and establishment of the UN gives an opportunity to look back at the
lessons of the past and offer solutions for the future. These anniversaries make it
important to understand the lessons from that tragic conflict and stress the need to
objectively evaluate them and jointly counter attempts of re-writing of history and
of reinterpretation of tragic events of the 20 th century. We firmly oppose any
attempts to rehabilitate the Nazi ideology as well as the situation around the so
called ‘proactive pacifism’ of Japan, as well as steps taken by certain forces to try
to delegitimize the United Nations Organization as the institution created as a
result of the World War II.
BRICS countries civil society should support the efforts to promote
security, development and equality, address social problems, reform the global
financial and economic architecture, developing inter-civilizational dialogue and
cooperation. We should especially pay attention and become the part of the BRICS
governments’ policies to create global representative system of governance
reflecting the diversity of cultures and interests, which should strive for peaceful
resolution of existing and emerging conflicts and exclude one-sided approaches
based on any single societal model.
BRICS has important role to play in creating the rule-based world
order, which would provide security for all and guarantee the legitimate interests of
all nations and peoples. We reiterate that peace, understood, as both absence of
danger and absence of fear, is the ultimate and universal value of all nations. Thus,
there is no viable reason, which could justify threat or use of force in resolution of
international conflicts.
We, BRICS Civil society representatives, oppose any
attempt of any state or group of states or institution to justify use of force in
international relations by a unique moral right and urge all governments to
strengthen and develop mechanisms of peaceful conflict resolution in respective
regions as well as on a global scale.
At the same time analysis of the main trends in conflicts shows that
since the 1990s after the bipolar world order ceased to exist the number of conflicts
in the world have been steadily increasing, both involving state and non-state
agents. Peaceful global development seems no longer guaranteed, as the arc of
instability stretches from North Africa, Middle East via Europe to East Asia, not to
mention Africa and other territories ravaged with local conflicts. Moreover, a
global confrontation is brewing, involving, inter alia, Russia, NATO, as well as
some other BRICS countries. A “big war”, involving major powers, thought to be
thing of the past, may raise its ugly head again.
Globalized world requires all nations to take extra care while
considering any activity that could be perceived as undermining global, regional of
local stability: use of force in one region may affect peace and stability in almost
any other region of the world. Growing interdependence requires all countries with
hard power potential to consider outcomes of its use with highest responsibility
and awareness of its consequences.
We support the ideas and ask our respective authorities to start
discussions on a declaration and further possible conclusion of a multilateral nonaggression and peaceful coexistence treaty between our countries, thus establishing
trans-continental zone of peace and security with global reach. Such an
arrangement should be open to other countries, adhering to the same principles of
peace and security, promotion of non-violent means, respect for the international
law, democratic international system, where all parties are equal and respect each
other, and which promotes primacy of commonality of interests as opposed to
geopolitical rivalry and strive for global domination.
We are deeply concerned that new emerging types of weapons and
technologies (such as missile defense, possible prompt global strike technology,
unmanned aerial vehicles, military robots, militarization of outer space,
cyberwarfare etc.) pose dangers to global stability, disrupt the established balance
of power and in specific cases, their usage could lead to a conflict. Since the side,
which starts operating innovative types of weapons, gets an advantage, new kinds
of weapons could also trigger an arms race. Civil organizations should strive to
limit development of such technologies and insist on setting specific legal regimes
to monitor already existing ones.
There is no more topical task for both the governments, mandated by
the peoples, and civil society to sustain stable, safe and fair world order through
peaceful diplomacy and multilateralism. It is evident that forging fruitful
partnerships and a stronger global governance paradigm requires cooperation
between both developed and developing countries. BRICS has one of the most
important role to play in this regard.
BRICS should strive to mobilize new mechanisms for constructing a
new global order where power is more diffused and responsibilities are
appropriately shared. Rule-based global governance architecture is the best
guarantor of stability, which provides an effective framework for asserting
common values and interests whilst upholding the principle of the sovereignty of
nations. Civil societies should have a role in it.
To these ends, we urge the BRICS governments to increase
cooperation for building partnerships around existing national, regional and
international peace and security initiatives, as well as developing new strategies
and mechanisms to ensure a secure future and the world that is not based on
confrontation, competition and rivalry. BRICS should become one of agenda-setter
in the issues of global security and exercise strong will to defend stability. New
institutions and leverages might be needed for that if the existing institutions would
further proof to not to be up to this task. Civil society should be a major part of
these efforts creating atmosphere of mutual understanding and pacifism conducive
to these goals.
Regional Conflicts and Civil Society
We are seriously concerned about current military-political situation
near BRICS borders, which is fraught with large-scale armed conflicts that directly
endanger their security. Some of conflicts like in Ukraine reflect not only
contradictions between regional nations and interest groups but also the each of
overall secures system, which existed in the past. For example, the system of
security architecture in Europe needs a new initialization.
External interventions in general appeared to be of low effectiveness
in solving ethnic and political conflicts, especially those of trans-border nature.
Moreover, it turned out that intervention often aggravates the situation and delays a
possible solution. Stopping hostilities does not always result in final solution,
which should encompass with the most intricate ethnic, political and other
problems. This is for the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. We
believe that BRICS should play a more proactive role in conflict management
through institutionalised coordination and collaboration based on common
principles, including but not exhausted by the following:
Adherence to international law and recognition of the United Nations
as the primary global legitimate institution to enforce peace and security, based on
principles of mutual respect and equality;
Abstention from the use of force or threat of force and use of
diplomatic means in resolution of international conflicts;
Principle of neutrality when one of the BRICS countries is in any way
involved in the conflict with the third parties;
Principle of impartiality and thorough investigation of the roots and
causes of conflict in order to suggest best possible solution, involving interests of
all parties to the conflict.
We suggest that BRICS must evolve as a platform for creating
contextualised multilateral policies, and by mutual consultation develop viable and
credible mechanisms to respond to local, regional and international political and
social turbulence including implementation mechanisms. These mechanisms must
include structures providing coordination of diplomatic, political, military,
information and other activities at all stages of the conflict management and
adequately empowered to do that. BRICS might consider enhancing cooperation
with relevant regional and global structures, where those five countries are
More and more civilians die and deprived of their livelihood or
displaced in these conflicts. BRICS governments should undertake coordinated
measures to address this problem. As there are obvious double standards with
respect to the civilian casualties and “collateral damage” in conflicts which are
usually taking place in non-Western countries, as if universal rules are not
applicable there (see examples of Iraq, Libya, African countries, Ukraine…). For
example, BRICS countries can urge to legally define the status of combatant and
non-combatants in armed conflict; issues of humanitarian limitations to economic
and other sanctions, levied by international community; clearer definition of
“indirect aggression”;
illegitimacy of sanctions levied unilaterally without
authorization by the United Nations Organization; legally consistent definition for
the international terrorism; R2P concept and responsibility for using it; the status
of de-facto POWs in internal and civil conflicts (including the role of established
institutions such as Red Cross and Red Crescent).
Rule of International Law, Increasing Role of Institutions
The interests of long-term stability require respect for international
law as opposed to the use of force, as well as a consideration of the objective
aspects of civilizational development: history, religion, culture, national legal
traditions to prevent the competition between local human civilizations to become
a conflict.
We reiterate our shared position that the democratic international system and
international law should be observed in accordance with the UN Charter principles,
based on the sovereign equality of states and mutual respect of all countries
irrespective of their political, economic, social and ideological positions. Selective
use or double standards when international law norms are concerned should be
opposed, as well as the practice of extraterritorial application of national law
without consent of other countries to which such national law is being applied.
BRICS countries are ready to work on the elaboration of long-term
legal solutions so as to avoid short-term interest of re-interpretation of legal norms
entails instability. We stress that it is unacceptable for any country to offer
diplomatic or military support to opposition movements in another country without
prior approval of the UN Security Council. Special consultative groups under the
aegis of the UNSC should be established to develop long-term viable solution in
such cases.
International law should be based on norms, not precedents CIVIL
SOCIETY AND ACADEMIA can join actively into the process of strengthening
practical foundation of the international relations and filling in plethora of lacunas
and differences in the international law., as well as become involved into
discussions with their counterparts both in BRICS and non-BRICS countries to
promote public support and understanding of these initiatives.
This concerns, for example, contradictions between imperative norms
of international law such as principle of territorial integrity on the one hand, and
principles of self-determination, on the other; dilemma of sovereignty of state and
individual rights and freedoms. It is not a secret that such contradictions continue
to give rise to a number of conflict situations, which are actively used as a pretext
of intervention by external actors, pursuing their own goals, sometimes instigating
these conflicts to create a pretext for such intervention.
In order to counter process of further violation of international law,
BRICS should promote both bilateral and multilateral official diplomacy and other
peaceful methods to resolve international disputes, using network of different
regional and global organizations presenting a consolidated and coordinated
position, as well as public diplomacy. The governments should interact with civil
society to this end. We could recommend creating the specialized BRICS
Commission on International Law for regular consultation on most urgent
“multicivilizational” content to it. The Parliamentary Forum, created at the
imitative of Russian chairmanship, could be an “umbrella” for such efforts.
In broader sense, BRICS should aim at the elaboration of a common
system of values and priorities, which would also contribute to promotion of
BRICS global initiatives. This is the job not only for professional experts, but also
to the whole of society, with vanguard role of civil movement organizations.
BRICS governments should to this end also promote exchange and popularization
of theoretical and historical heritage of their respective national philosophers and
lawyers, as well as provide a platform for regular exchange on the institutional and
individual basis on these topics.
Priority Threats and Challenges (Terrorism, International
Cybersecurity, Drug trafficking etc.)
We urge hat BRICS should strengthen cooperation between relevant
law enforcement agencies for exchange of information and mutual assistance in
pursuit of criminals, fleeing prosecution for terrorist activities and establish joint
monitoring system over those, suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. It
might deem necessary for BRICS to sign agreement on joint investigation of
terrorist activities, practices on the territories of BRICS countries with commitment
to extradite terrorists, plotting or implementing terrorist acts on the territory of
either of BRICS countries.
Based on recommendation elaborated by Financial Action Task Force
(FATF) and further documents, adopted under the auspices of the UN, BRICS
should deepen cooperation in exchange of information on terrorist groups
financing and sign interbank agreement to prevent free flow of financing for
terrorist and other illegal trans-border activities.
We support that BRICS should consider conducting conduct joint
counter-terrorism exercises aimed at prevention, detection and combat against
terrorist activities in the BRICS countries (including elimination of terrorist
training bases), with possible involvement of regional structures and neighbors,
suffering from similar threats.
We underline that today the BRICS states constitute one of the most
massive and rapidly growing segments of the global internet community,
accounting for 38% of the world’s internet audience. At the same time, this
remarkable statistics only stresses the underrepresentation of the BRICS states in
the field of global internet governance and cyber governance. In fact, the ICT
agenda remains a “missing pillar” in the BRICS identity. That is why BRICS
countries should offer a consensus-based vision of the new global internet
governance architecture. Independent civil experts might play a major role in
formulating the agenda and implementing it.
We suggests that Global internet governance architecture should be
based on a set of principles that might include: 1) limits to governmental esurveillance and responsibility of states for conducting it; 2) the right for access to
the internet; 3) globalization of the internet governance, implying responsible
international and multistakeholder control over the internet’s critical functions (the
IANA functions) as well as multi-stakeholder approach, network neutrality,
openness, integrity, universality of the internet, etc.
One more essential component of the ICT agenda is a joint IT-
infrastructure and internet-sector projects. For the moment, members of the forum
already accumulated enough experience, technological background, financial
resources and political leadership to move this agenda forward in a more dynamic
way. First project of such kind probably was the BRICS Internet Cable aimed at
diversification of the global network of backbone transcontinental fiber-optic
cables (not been finished yet).
We believe that next steps might include major software development
initiatives that might bring together market demands and certain imperatives for
the BRICS states. Therefore, the BRICS states could join their human, financial
and technological resources for developing better security standards for the internet
protocols, protected operation systems and applications, including market-oriented
solutions for “civil cryptography”.
We are deeply concerned that each of the BRICS countries have
common problem of illegal drug trafficking.
We are determined to combat problem of drug production in certain
areas in an integrated, interdisciplinary, complementary and balanced approach,
which implies cutting on drug production in and outside our countries, elimination
of drug infrastructure, alternative development of the ‘risk zone’ states and
implementation of strategies to reduce drug supply and demand.
We appreciate the commitment to anti-drug cooperation of our
competent authorities, including the creation of the BRICS Anti-Drug Working
We endorse the decisions made at the Ministerial Meeting of the
BRICS to combat the drug threat and at the Second Moscow Ministerial Anti-Drug
Conference and support the initiatives of the Special Session of the UN General
Assembly on Drugs in 2016.
We support the idea of introducing compulsory drug checks at schools
and higher education institutions to counter the problem.
We agree that regular exchanges and exchange of best practices by
relevant anti-drug agencies of BRICS countries should be introduced. BRICS
countries should jointly develop recommendations aimed at improvement of the
national legislations and efficiency of legal cooperation between the states with
regard to illicit drug trafficking. BRICS need to consider establishment of the
multilateral regular consultations mechanisms to involve BRICS, Latin American
and Central and West Asian countries in order to exchange best practices on the
fight against drug trafficking, including signing agreement on exchange of relevant
information and assistance in investigation of illicit drug trafficking.
BRICS should elaborate on the national and multilateral level
common educational programs to promote drug-free society at schools,
universities, community centers with special target on youth. This could be among
the tasks for future BRICS Network University with regards to raising public
awareness of the issue. Joint work of relevant health, anti-drug, youth and other
organizations should result in development of social inclusion programs and health
procurement in order to prevent further expansion of drug use nationally. BRICS
should elaborate joint projects on promotion and social advertising to counter
further expansion of drug use through traditional (newspapers, TV, radio) and
social media.