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The Madrid Agenda

To remember and honour the victims of the terrorist attacks of March 11, 2004, the strength and courage of the citizens of Madrid, and through them, all victims of terrorism and those who confront its threat.

We, the members of the Club of Madrid, former presidents and prime ministers of democratic countries dedicated to the promotion of democracy, have brought together political leaders, experts and citizens from across the world.

We listened to many voices. We acknowledged the widespread fear and uncertainty generated by terrorism. Our principles and policy recommendations address these fundamental concerns.

Ours is a call to action for leaders everywhere. An agenda for action for Governments, institutions, civil society, the media and individuals. A global democratic response to the global threat of terrorism.

The Madrid Principles

Terrorism is a crime against all humanity. It endangers the lives of innocent people. It creates a climate of hate and fear, it fuels global divisions along ethnic and religious lines. Terrorism constitutes one of the most serious violations of peace, international law and the values of human dignity.

Terrorism is an attack on democracy and human rights. No cause justifies the targeting of civilians and non-combatants through intimidation and deadly acts of violence.

We firmly reject any ideology that guides the actions of terrorists. We decisively condemn their methods. Our vision is based on a common set of universal values and principles. Freedom and human dignity. Protection and empowerment of citizens. Building and strengthening of democracy at all levels. Promotion of peace and justice.

A Comprehensive Response

We owe it to the victims to bring the terrorists to justice. Law enforcement agencies need the powers required, yet they must never sacrifice the principles they are dedicated to defend. Measures to counter terrorism should fully respect international standards of human rights and the rule of law.

In the fight against terrorism, forceful measures are necessary. Military action, when needed, must always be coordinated with law enforcement and judicial measures as well as political, diplomatic, economic and social responses.

We call upon every State to exercise its right and fulfill its duty to protect its citizens. Governments, individually and collectively, should prevent and combat terrorist acts. International institutions, governments and civil society should also address the underlying risk factors that provide terrorists with support and recruits.

International Cooperation

Terrorism is now a global threat. We saw it not only in Madrid, New York and Washington, but also in Dar-es-Salaam, Nairobi, Tel Aviv, Bali, Riyadh, Casablanca, Baghdad, Bombay, and Beslan. It calls for a global response. Governments and civil society must reignite their efforts at promoting international engagement, cooperation and dialogue.

International legitimacy is a moral and practical imperative. A multilateral approach is indispensable. International institutions, especially the United Nations, must be strengthened. We must renew our efforts to make these institutions more transparent, democratic and effective in combating the threat.

Narrow national mindsets are counterproductive. Legal institutions, law enforcement and intelligence agencies must cooperate and exchange pertinent information across national boundaries.

Citizens and Democracy

Only freedom and democracy can ultimately defeat terrorism. No other system of government can claim more legitimacy, and through no other system can political grievances be addressed more effectively.

Citizens promote and defend democracy. We must support the growth of democratic movements in every nation, and reaffirm our commitment to solidarity, inclusiveness and respect for cultural diversity.

Citizens are actors, not spectators. They embody the principles and values of democracy. A vibrant civil society plays a strategic role in protecting local communities, countering extremist ideologies and dealing with political violence.

A Call to Action

An aggression on any nation is an aggression on all nations. An injury to one human being is an injury to all humanity. Indifference cannot be countenanced. We call on each and everyone. On all States, all organizations – national and international. On all citizens.

Drawing on the deliberations of political leaders, experts and citizens, we have identified the following recommendations for action, which we believe should be extended, reviewed, and implemented as part of an ongoing, dynamic process.

The Madrid Recommendations

Political and philosophical differences about the nature of terrorism must not be used as an excuse for inaction. We support the Global Strategy for Fighting Terrorism announced by the Secretary General of the United Nations at the Madrid Summit on March 10. We urgently call for:

  • the adoption of the definition proposed by the United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change in December 2004.

  • the ratification and implementation of all terrorism-related conventions by those states which have not yet done so.

  • the speedy conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

And we believe it is a moral and practical necessity to address the needs of terrorist victims. We therefore recommend:

  • the exploration of the possibility of creating high commissioners for victims both at the international and the national level, who will represent the victims’ right to know the truth, as well as obtain justice, adequate redress and integral reparation.

International Co-operation

The basis for effective co-operation across national borders is trust and respect for the rule of law. Trust is built through shared norms, reciprocity and the practical experience of effective collaboration. To encourage this sense of mutual confidence, we propose:

  • the establishment of regular, informal forums for law enforcement and intelligence officials, which may grow from bilateral consultations into a formalised structure for multilateral co-operation.

  • the strengthening of regional organisations, so that measures to combat terrorism are tailored to local needs and benefit from local knowledge and networks.

  • the effective co-ordination of these mechanisms at the global level.

International collaboration in the fight against terrorism is also a question of human and financial capital. We call for:

  • the establishment of an international mechanism – including states, non-governmental organisations and the private sector – to help link states that are in need of resources with those that can provide assistance.

  • the creation of a trust fund for the purpose of assisting governments that lack the financial resources to implement their obligations, as proposed by the United Nations High-Level Panel.

Underlying Risk Factors

Terrorism thrives on intimidation, fear and hatred. While authorities have a responsibility to ensure freedom, including religious freedom, leaders, including religious leaders, in turn have a responsibility not to abuse that freedom by encouraging or justifying hatred, fanaticism or religious war. We propose:

  • the systematic promotion of cultural and religious dialogue through local encounters, round tables and international exchange programmes.

  • that authorities and the mass media continuously review their use of language to ensure it does not unwittingly or disproportionately reinforce the terrorist objective of intimidation, fear and hatred.

  • the creation of programmes, national and international, to monitor the expression of racism, ethnic confrontation and religious extremism, their impact in the media, as well as to review school textbooks for their stance on cultural and religious tolerance.

While poverty is not a direct cause of terrorism, economic and social policy can help mitigate exclusion and the impact of rapid socioeconomic change, which give rise to grievances that are often exploited by terrorists. We recommend:

  • the adoption of long-term trade, aid and investment policies that help empower marginalised groups and promote participation.

  • new efforts to reduce structural inequalities within societies by eliminating group discrimination.

  • the launch of programmes aimed at promoting women’s education, employment and empowerment.

  • the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Terrorists prosper in societies where there are unresolved conflicts and few accountable mechanisms for addressing political grievances. We call for:

  • new initiatives at mediation and peace-making for societies which are marked by conflict and division, because democracy and peace go hand in hand.

  • a redoubling of efforts to promote and strengthen democratic institutions and transparency within countries and at the global level. Initiatives such as the Community of Democracies may contribute to these goals.

Confronting Terrorism

Democratic principles and values are essential tools in the fight against terrorism. Any successful strategy for dealing with terrorism requires terrorists to be isolated. Consequently, the preference must be to treat terrorism as criminal acts to be handled through existing systems of law enforcement and with full respect for human rights and the rule of law. We recommend:

  • taking effective measures to make impunity impossible either for acts of terrorism or for the abuse of human rights in counter-terrorism measures.

  • the incorporation of human rights laws in all anti-terrorism programmes and policies of national governments as well as international bodies.

  • The implementation of the proposal to create a special rapporteur who would report to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the compatibility of counter-terrorism measures with human rights law, as endorsed by the United Nations Secretary General in Madrid.

  • the inclusion and integration of minority and diaspora communities in all our societies.

  • the building of democratic political institutions across the world embodying these same principles.

In the fight against terrorism, any information about attacks on another state must be treated like information relating to attacks on one’s own state. In order to facilitate the sharing of intelligence across borders, we propose:

  • the overhaul of classification rules that hinder the rapid exchange of information.

  • the clarification of conditions under which information will be shared with other states on the basis of availability.

  • the use of state of the art technology to create regional and global anti-terrorism data bases.

The principle of international solidarity and co-operation must also apply to defensive measures. We recommend:

  • the creation of cross-border preparedness programmes in which governments and private business participate in building shared stockpiles of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, as well as the seamless co-operation of emergency services.

Solidarity must be enhanced by new efforts at co-ordinating the existing instruments of anti-terrorist collaboration. We propose:

  • the streamlining and harmonisation of national and international tools in the fight against terrorism.

  • the creation of clear guidelines on the role of the armed forces in relation to other agencies of law enforcement at the national level.
  • the drawing up of national plans to co-ordinate responsibilities in the fight against terrorism, allowing for agencies or organisations with special skills to contribute to a comprehensive effort.

The threat from terrorism has made efforts to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction even more urgent. We call for:

  • the United Nations Security Council to initiate on-site investigations where it is believed that a state is supporting terrorist networks, and if necessary to use the full range of measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

  • the conclusion of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and the strengthening and implementation of the biological weapons convention.

  • the continuation of innovative global efforts to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction, such as the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the Global Partnerships.

Terrorists must be deprived of the financial resources necessary to conduct their campaigns. To curb terrorist funding networks, we recommend:

  • increased and co-ordinated law enforcement and political and civic education campaigns aimed at reducing the trafficking of illegal narcotics, revenues from which are used to finance terrorism.

  • the creation of an international anti-terrorist finance centre, which furthers research, trains national enforcement officials, and serves as a source of co-ordination and mutual assistance.

  • the development of tools to increase the transparency of fundraising in the private and charitable sectors through the exchange of best practices.

  • the expansion of ‘financial intelligence units’, which facilitate the effective corporation between government agencies and financial institutions.

Civil Society

The process of building democracy as an antidote to terrorism and violence needs to be supported by the international community and its citizens. We propose:

  • The creation of a global citizens network, linking the leaders of civil society at the forefront of the fight for democracy from across the world, taking full advantage of web-based technologies and other innovative forms of communication.

  • An ‘early warning system’ as part of this network, helping to defuse local conflicts before they escalate, as well as providing a channel for moral and material support to civil society groups facing repression.

Taking The Madrid Agenda Forward

The Club de Madrid will present the Madrid Agenda to the United Nations, the forthcoming Community of Democracies ministerial meeting in Chile, as well as other institutions and governments. The Club de Madrid will engage with universities, specialised research institutes and think-tanks to elaborate the proposals made by the Summit’s working groups and panels.

The space for dialogue and exchange of ideas opened by this Summit, drawing on the work of the numerous experts, practitioners and policymakers involved, must continue. The papers prepared provide a powerful tool for all those who wish to understand the challenge from terrorism and seek effective solutions.

Keeping in our hearts the memory of the victims of terrorism in different continents, and the terrible attacks in the United States in 2001, we believe it would have both symbolic and practical value to hold a further global conference on September 11, 2006, to take stock of the progress made in realising the Madrid Agenda.

Club of Madrid
Madrid, March 11, 2005

With the collaboration ofSafe Democracy Foundation
Members of the Club de Madrid

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