CONTACT: David Meserve – 707-822-1469 or 707-834-3612
May 16, 2002
The Arcata city council last night approved a proclamation declaring its "Dedication to Peaceful Solutions". The approval came by a vote of 3 to 1, with one abstention, after weeks of wrangling over wording and intentions.
The proclamation refers to the Nuremberg Principles and the Geneva Conventions, and "calls upon all governments and factions to abide by international law and convention, and to cease bombing or other attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure." It declares that, "‘Collateral damage’ is unacceptable", and goes on to state that the city council will dedicate itself to "seek alternatives to the use of military force in response to today’s threats and problems."
The city council also proclaimed its support for "equal protection under the law for all residents or visitors, without regard to their race, religion or national origin". Based on the premise that, "wars are often fought over resources", the council vowed to support "local actions that promote peace and stability", including promotion of energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, and increased use of local goods.
The Arcata-based Redwood Peace Coalition first introduced the peace resolution to a reluctant city council in January. Since then, it has collected over 800 supporting signatures in the community and worked with council members to revise the wording while retaining the heart of the message.
Supporters of the measure say that it is an important first step in "municipal foreign policy", and that Arcata may be the first US city to take a stand against the bombing (intentional or unintentional) of civilian targets.. They hope to see other cities pass this or similar resolutions that support international law and non-military alternatives.
Below is the full text of the proclamation, as adopted by the Arcata City Council:
Dedication to Peaceful Solutions
WHEREAS innocent civilians should not be held responsible for the violent actions of their government or of factions within their nation;
WHEREAS the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles prohibit attacks on residential or civilian areas, and all other acts that harm innocent people or that have the likelihood of harming innocent people, no matter what the perceived military or political goals;
WHEREAS security, prosperity, democracy and peace are universal human rights deserved by all;
WHEREAS wars are often fought over resources;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT PROCLAIMED that the City Council of the City of Arcata calls upon all governments and factions to abide by international law and convention, and to cease bombing or other attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. "Collateral damage" is unacceptable, as are all acts or threats of violence intended to spread terror among the civilian population.
Be it further PROCLAIMED that the City Council of the City of Arcata dedicates itself to these acts that promote peace:
We seek alternatives to the use of military force in response to today’s threats and problems. We support solutions based on diplomacy and international law, with recourse to law enforcement under the jurisdiction of the World Court.
We seek to understand and respect the religions, languages and cultures of the world, and support the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as detailed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We support equal protection under the law for all residents or visitors, without regard to their race, religion or national origin.
Be it further PROCLAIMED that the City Council of the City of Arcata will support these local actions that promote peace and stability:
We will promote development in our city that creates energy-efficient housing, manufacturing, energy production, transport and food supply systems.
We encourage the citizens of Arcata to drive less, ride bikes and buses more, use less, throw less away, recycle more, purchase goods made regionally, and to support independent media and projects that promote social justice, peacemaking, appropriate technologies and conservation.