by Marco Pannella
ABSTRACT: Letter to Heinrich Beer, Secretary-General of the International Red Cross, to inform him of the progress of the campaign for the adoption of resolution No. 375/81 of the European Parliament which advocated, among other things, the allocation of $5 billion to save 5 billion lives threatened by starvation and to invite him to the international convention of 1 October in Strasbourg.
(Original version: english)
Dear dr Beer,
You may recall that in June this year a Manifesto against hunger and underdevelopment, signed by 54 Nobel Laureates, was publicly launched. Since that time, my parliamentary group has worked amongst OECD parliamentarians in particular to promote practical actions by governments that would respond to this Manifesto.
The Belgian Senate and the Italian Chamber of Deputies have both adopted resolutions endorsing specific measures for its implementation. These include increasing aid to 0,7 %, promoting the global round of negotiations and uniquely calling for special emergency measures to save the lifes of millions currently condemned to death by starvation and malnutrition in order that they may become agents in the process of their own development. Towards this end the Italian Parliament and Government have allocated an additional 3 billion dollars above the 3.5 billion provided for development assistance in 1982 and 1983.
I now have the pleasure to advice you that the European Parliament has approved a resolution tabled by me which endorses the major measures contained in the Manifesto. This resolution endorses for reaching measures on international development and cooperation including those mentioned above and in particular summons the 10 member Governments of the European Community to ensure the survival of at least 5 millions people during 1982 and to commit immediately all their state power and 5.5 billion dollars to this task.
Now that we have managed to secure adoption of this unprecedented resolution we have decided to convene a high level on day colloquium on this subject on the premisses of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the day of the official announcement of its adoption (14 October). This symposium we believe will be a vital part of efforts to mobilize the necessary public and political will to ensure the early implementation of the resolution.
Although we are organizing this event at extremely short notice we are most encouraged by the willingness of numerous prominent personalities to reorganize their schedules to attend including Nobel Prizewinners George Wald, Philip Noel Baker and Maurice Wilkins and the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program Bradford Morse. Distinguished representatives from development countries, European parliamentarians and the international press will also participate.
I am sure that you understand the importance of the endorsement that he resolution gives to the efforts of the international community - including your organization - to tackle the vital problem of hunger and underdevelopment. I am according persuaded that despite the lateness of this invitation you will endeavour to honour us with your presence (or that of a senior representative to present a message on your behalf) on the 14 th.
For myself, I have decided to support the call of the Nobel Prize Laureates by going on indefinite hunger strike until practical measures have been established that will ensure that at least one-tenth of those who have been condemned to death by starvation and malnutrition in 1982 are saved by special emergency aid. My hunger strike commenced on 2 September.
I regret the unavoidable short notice but would greatly appreciate your urgent reply by telex or telephone (Brussels 5116155).