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The Amman Declaration: 1999

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1999 conference on "Conflicts and Religions in the Middle East"

The Center for Research on Arms Control and Security (CRACS) convened a three day conference in Amman (Jordan), starting on 1999-NOV-9. Its theme was the use of religion as a tool for international conflict resolution -- particularly in relation to the current issues impacting peace and security in the Middle East. It was sponsored by the government of Switzerland, International Development and International Research Council of Canada (IDRC), Mennonite Central Committee and the Foundation for Middle East Peace. The three day conference convened under the patronage of HRH Prince Faisal Bin Al-Hussein. It was attended by individuals from 20 countries.

Although the conference focused on Middle East issues, the Amman Declaration would appear to have wide application throughout the world's hot spots.

This essay continues below.

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The Amman Declaration

There was a consensus amongst the participants:

bulletThat conflicts between peoples and nations and religions should be resolved by peaceful means in accordance with the norms and principles of equity, justice, tolerance and mutual respect in full consideration of international legitimacy, the United Nations Charter, the Universal UN Declaration on Human Rights and International law.
bulletThat world leaders should reject any use of religion as a justification for violence or a shield to justify discrimination.
bulletTo appeal to the leaders of the world to promote reconciliation where the painful experiences of the past have brought devastation and hatred. To not let the past stand in the way of mutual respect and dignity.
bulletThat the exercise of violence and aggression is inherently incompatible with the letter and spirit of the great world religions and that those world religions should distance themselves from violent factions on all sides.
bulletThat the younger generation be educated and encouraged to shape their conscience in accordance with  moral and spiritual values and to take advantage of modern technology to acquire and share objective information about each other's religions and cultural traditions.

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Additional information supplied by CRACS:

The conferees urged that interfaith dialogue should be vigorously pursued in order to promote a more profound understanding of each other and with a view to removing misperceptions, distortions and disparaging images and stereotypes which currently be-devil intercultural and inter-religious relationships.

Finally, it was urged by the participants that the regions leaders focus on the problems facing the inhabitants regarding environmental pollution, land and water usage and shortage and distribution, racism, marginalization of women, and the right of children to enjoy their childhood. 

Of all the specific issues impacting peace, security and limitation of armaments, the future of Jerusalem was considered to be of paramount importance because of its profound historical connotations and its overall relevance to the three major monotheistic faiths in the Middle East and to people throughout the world.

In consideration and recognition thereof, the conference strongly urged all parties concerned, particularly the Israelis and the Palestinians, to come to terms over Jerusalem based upon mutually recognized legitimacy.

It was made clear in the presentations that solution of the Jerusalem issue is an essential ingredient to a stable and lasting peace and that of utmost importance is a universally accepted clearly delineated geographic Jerusalem as contemplated by UN resolutions 242 in 1967 and 338 in 1973. Of paramount importance also is recognition of the rights of Palestinian refugees acknowledged in accordance with UN resolution 194 of December 11,1948.

The conference favors any solution the Palestinians and Israeli work out on the basis of justice and mutual recognition. The framework should contain the strongest possible guarantees for free access to holy sites for all faiths without any impediments.

Further, inasmuch as peace is the ultimate objective of all people of good will and all great religions whose roots lie in the hollowed soil of the Middle East it was considered imperative to strive for the reduction of conventional arms and the elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Biological, Chemical and Nuclear).

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  1. Dr. Ayman Khalil, News release, Center for Research on Arms Control and Security (CRACS). 1999-DEC-16. Quoted by permission.

Originally written: 2000-JAN-2
Latest update: 2000-JAN-2
Author: B.A. Robinson

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