Vienna, 2 October 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Austria supports tolerance and non-violence worldwide"


Foreign Minister on the first "International Day of Non-Violence"

Vienna 2 October 2007 - "As one of the initiators of the 'International Day of Non-Violence’, my personal focus is on strengthening public awareness of the need for non-violent conflict settlement. Non-violence, tolerance, compliance with human rights, freedom, democracy, the right to development, and mutual respect are inseparably linked with each other", stressed Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence celebrated for the first time on 2 October, which had been proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 15 June 2007.

"Dialogue still remains the best instrument against violence. No conflict is too complex or too deep-rooted to resist the power of dialogue in the long run. Dialogue is an offer for partnership, linked to the rejection of violence. It is the absence of dialogue that gives rise to misunderstandings and sometimes opens the door to violence ", Plassnik continued.

Based on an initiative by Sonia Gandhi and the Indian Government, the United Nations unanimously decided to declare Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday as the "International Day of Non-Violence". This should remind people of a man whose movement of non-violence not only led India to independence but also inspired efforts for human rights and freedom around the world. Austria was a co-sponsor of the draft for the corresponding UN resolution 61/271. Foreign Minister Plassnik became personally engaged in this issue and supported India’s initiative at a very early stage.

"Austria will continue to be a proven and reliable partner of the United Nations against violence in international relations. We are also making concrete contributions as a core member of the so-called Oslo Process, which aims at a ban on cluster munition binding under international law, and as a pioneer in the worldwide condemnation of anti-personnel mines", Plassnik concluded.

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