Colombo Declaration on Peace and Secuity

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Last Updated (Thursday, 04 February 2010 01:10)

Regional Roundtable on Peace and Security in Colombo, Sri Lanka from Feb 11-15, 2009.

Colombo Declaration on Peace and Security


Peace and Security have become crucial issues in the lives of the people. Violence, conflicts, militant attacks, environmental degradation and human right violations occur almost every day. These conflicts have stood in the way of co-existence of communities, countries and eco-systems. Emerging realities in the socio-economic–religious spheres of our globalized society have also created many anxieties concerning human safety in our region. The quadrennial vision of the Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY), ‘Peace with Justice', has mandated us to respond to these issues by addressing their root causes. It is in this context that the APAY organized a Regional Roundtable on Peace and Security in Colombo , Sri Lanka from 11to15 February 2009.


Our Understanding ~ Peace with Justice and Security 

Security has become a grossly misunderstood and misused term. If it is seen as a mechanism to maintain the hegemonic power of the state to ensure order and stability, the perception of peace and justice becomes the casualty. Therefore a critical evaluation of security politics and a search for viable alternatives must have a place in combating these issues as a mark of our commitment to be in conformity with the vision of peace and justice upheld by the YMCA Movement. A shift from traditional political security to human safety that encompasses economic development, social Justice, environmental protection and democratization is demanded. Peace must not be equated with the silence of the graveyard. It becomes vibrant when there is room for dissent that sustains the quest for Just- peace.

Our Challenge ~ Emerging Realities in Asia

Present and emerging issues are numerous and very complex. We must strive to understand the root causes of these issues in order to find effective ways of working toward transformation. This involves asking some important questions. “What and why” questions help us begin to understand the root causes of the conflict and their relationship to national, regional and global issues. “So what” questions require an action response to find creative means of confronting and transforming the conflicts.

In order to avoid binary thinking when asking “so what?”, creative and critical thinking must be applied. Every conflict situation has many potential solutions and they all must be explored. To seek creative solutions, we must be willing to think outside the box and step outside our comfort zone. Critical thinking will help us to evaluate all of our actions to determine if they are only keeping us busy or if they are truly effective at bringing about transformation.

Working effectively towards a just-peace will be accelerated by:

a) Establishing a clear and comprehensive analysis of social, economic and political realities.

b) Creating a strategy for transformation that is comprehensive and courageous.

c) Seeking like-minded people and forming partnerships for action

Our Learning on Peace Building

We acknowledge that our communities are linked together by several different factors that affect each other. Community building happens through a continuous process that needs to be ongoing in society and country. Through this process at different stages new social structures based on educational reforms, cultural awakening, conflict reconciliation and reemphasis on morality and value systems emerge in our communities. This momentum may be disrupted and disintegrated by conflict, war and other catastrophes.

Peace building therefore should directly respond to needed structural changes that transform the way people, communities and societies live, heal and build their relationships. The YMCA's initiatives should integrate their peace building interventions at all levels by cultivating values and making peace as a cross-cutting theme. This process will recreate a new culture and lifestyle affecting all areas and levels of YMCA work. These actions must be framed on a continuing scale.

Our Commitment

WE , the 30 participants from YMCAs of India, Japan , Korea , Malaysia , Philippines and Sri Lanka gathered at the YMCA International Center , Colombo , Sri Lanka for the Roundtable on Peace and Security on 11-15 February 2009;

RECALLING the mandate of the 17th General Assembly of the APAY to engage in fostering peace with justice to respond to the vast socio-cultural, economic and political diversities that could lead to discrimination, human rights violations, violence and conflicts;

REITERATING our commitment to justpeace and human safety – a justice that is at the heart of the Scriptures and our Faith, a Peace that accepts all, a safety that not only protects, but also empowers people and societies and enables all to live in harmony;

ACKNOWLEDGING that in a rapidly changing international environment, our lives in this world have become increasingly interlinked and interdependent;

REALISING the increasing range of challenges facing our region in relation to peace and safety and the need for concerted regional, national and local efforts to respond to these challenges;

DESIRING to create a peaceful environment in Asia Pacific communities as required by further strengthening YMCA interventions that contribute to peace and safety in the region and the world at large;

CONVINCED of the importance of strengthening bilateral and multilateral interactions and cooperation among the YMCA movements in Asia Pacific countries and the world at large by sharing resources and best practices in order to enhance capacities;

SHARING the view that peace is possible only with the eradication of the root causes of poverty, violations of human rights, aggression, violence, counter violence , terrorism, issues of economic safety, food safety, environmental safety and socio-political safety ;

RECOGNISING that the YMCAs in the region could play a significant role in initiating communities of positive actions in the region that will serve as a solid foundation for building peace and safety;


FIRST , that we are committed to furthering our engagements among the different communities of conflict and people living with anxieties with the aim of promoting peace and safety through the building of civil society and developing capacities of people and communities for transformation;

SECOND , that the efforts to promote community building in this region consistent with the vision of the movement and our commitment to recognize the diversities of Asia by making justice as an integral part of our approach AND

THIRD , that the YMCA movement will promote deeper cultural understandings, people-to-people contacts and enhanced cooperation in uplifting the lives and well-being of our peoples in order to foster mutual trust and solidarity as well as promoting vital fields such as environmental protection, protection of migrant workers, natural disaster mitigation and resolution of human right violations;


Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

  1. To assist National Movements to develop human resources (Lay, Professional, Youth) for engaging in peace building activities.
  2. To promote and facilitate Sub Regional level peace forums that could address the common issues and develop people's solidarity for building peace and harmony.
  3. To collect and discern best practices on peace building within the region and promote leadership/volunteer exchanges.
  4. To promote action programs on peace building in communities through multilateral partnerships as well as MAP systems.
  5. To assist the development of a Peace Action Group network within the YMCA movement.
  6. To strengthen networking and collaboration with like-minded organizations at the regional level.

National Movements

To organize national level workshops on peace, justice and safety to identify peace and safety issues and develop action responses within each national context.

To promote and emphasis mission oriented actions in addressing the root causes of the issue .

To organize peace builders training workshops and develop core facilitators for strengthening action responses.

To integrate peace building as a cross-cutting theme in all the activities of the YMCA.

To develop Peace Concern Groups for addressing conflict issues in the country for immediate responses and

To have network with various peace building initiatives .1

This we believe will take us closer to the prophetic mission of becoming partners in the building up of a society that is secure, peaceful, democratic and humane and will usher in a new heaven and earth .