World Veterans Federation

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World Veterans Federation
Motto Peace Messenger (1987)
Predecessor The International Federation of War Veterans Organisation
Formation 1950
Headquarters 17 rue Nicolo, 75116
Location Paris, France
Region served Worldwide
Membership 181 veteran organizations from 96 countries representing some 25 to 30 million veterans worldwide
Secretary General Mohammed Benjelloun
President[1] Hamid Ibrahim
Deputy President Jacques Goujat
Vice President Lt Col Godgrey Giles
Main organ Executive Board
Website http://www.wvf-fmac.org/

The World Veterans Federation (WVF) is the world's largest international veteran organisation. The federation consists of 170 veterans organizations from 93 countries representing some 25 to 30 million veterans worldwide.[2]

It is a humanitarian organisation, a charity and a peace activist movement. The WVF maintains its consultative status with the United Nations since 1951 and was conferred the title of “Peace Messenger” in 1987.

Aims[edit]

The principal aims of the WVF are to defend the spiritual and material interests of veterans and victims of war and their families by all available legal means and to maintain international peace and security by the application to the letter and in spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and by respecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the International Bill of Human Rights.[2]

History[edit]

The WVF began on Sunday, 9 June 1946 when six Belgian and French veterans of the First World War gathered around a table at the “Maison du Peuple” in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the possibility of setting up a world association of war veterans. Present at the gathering were two Belgians, Mr. Joseph Neves and Mr. Jules William from the Democratic Union of Veterans, Disabled and War Victims, and four Frenchmen, Mr. Albert Morel from the French Union of Veterans and War Victims Association (UFAC), Mr. G. Imbaud, Mr. G. Jerram and Mr. B. Meunier from the French Workers and Peasants Federation of Veterans.

Following the discussions in Brussels, veterans' organisations in other countries were contacted. On 23 October 1948, a congress attended by representatives from seven countries, namely Belgium, Brazil, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the Union of South Africa and Yugoslavia, adopted a resolution entitled “Setting up of a Provisional Body”.

The resolution opened the way for the founding member associations to convene a Constitutive Assembly which was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France from 23 to 27 November 1950. 43 delegates and observers were present. The delegates were from Belgium (6), France (14), Italy (4), Turkey (2), USA (9) and Yugoslavia (4) and the observers were from Denmark (1) and Finland (3). The founding member associations of the Netherlands and Luxembourg were unable to send their representatives but declared their agreement with the creation of the Federation. There was no participation from countries from Africa, Asia and South America, although the Union of South Africa attended the Congress in 1948 prior to the Constitutive Assembly in 1950.

On the final day of the Assembly on 27 November 1950, the Constitution of “The International Federation of War Veterans Organisations” was adopted.

The first elected Executive Committee members of the WVF were Mr. Albert Morel of France as President, Mr. Elliot Newcomb of USA as Secretary General, Mr. Roger Parmelan of France as Treasurer General and Mr. Celebonovic.of Yugoslavia, Mr. Mahmut Nedim Zapcı of Turkey, Mr. Joseph Neves of Belgium and Mr. Pietro Ricci of Italy as Delegates.[2]

The name of the Federation was changed to “The World Veterans Federation” at the 2nd General Assembly, which was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia from 27 to 30 November 1951. It was the fist amendment to the WVF Constitution.[2]

Founding members[edit]

The founding member associations were from Belgium (Democratic Union of War Veterans, Disabled and War Victims (UDCIM), France (French Union of War Veterans and War Victims Associations (UFAC), Italy (National Association of War Veterans and Repatriated Soldiers (ANCR) and National Association of War Disabled (ANMIG). Luxembourg (Luxembourg Association of Veterans of World War II and of the United Nations Forces (AACL), Netherlands (Netherlands Association of Military War Victims (BNMO), Turkey (Turkish Association of War Disabled, Widows and Orphans), USA (American Veterans Committee (AVC), American Veterans of World War II (AMVETS), Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Yugoslavia (Federation of Veterans Associations of the People’s Liberation War of Yugoslavia (SUBNOR).[2]

Changes in the WVF[edit]

There have been considerable changes in the WVF in the last 59 years. Its membership has grown from just a few associations from 8 countries to more than 170 associations from 90 countries. Its membership, which was confined to Europe and the United States in the early days, now covers all the continents of the world including a growing number of associations from developing countries.

The composition and the character of the WVF member associations have also changed. They are no longer confined to organisations made up of veterans and victims of the two world wars. Instead, the WVF membership is now made up of a mixture of various organisations representing veterans, ex-servicemen, victims of war, resistance fighters, former prisoners of war, former peace keepers and former peace builders whose individual interests, needs and priorities differ quite considerably from one another.[2]

Organisation[edit]

Organisation and management[edit]

The WVF consists of the following permanent elements: a General Assembly, an Executive Board, a Regional Standing Committees, a Standing Committee on Women and a Financial Committee. It is managed by its Executive Board composed of the President, the Deputy President, 4 Vice Presidents, the Secretary General and the Treasurer General. The headquarters of the WVF is in Paris, France.[2]

Regional Standing Committees[edit]

The WVF has three Regional Standing Committees:

  • Standing Committee on African Affairs (SCAA)[3]
  • Standing Committee for Asia and the Pacific (SCAP)[4]
  • Standing Committee on European Affairs (SCEA)

The Regional Standing Committees are composed of representatives from member organizations in the relevant geographical region. Each Regional Standing Committee elects a Chairperson from among its membership who is appointed ex officio Vice President of the WVF.

Standing Committee on Women[edit]

The Standing Committee on Women is composed of designated representatives for women's affairs from WVF member organizations and the chairpersons of the Working Groups on Women established within each of the Regional Standing Committees. The Committee elects a Chairperson from among its membership who is appointed ex officio Vice President of the WVF.

Members[edit]

Red areas have at least one member of the World Veterans Association.

As of 2006, the following organizations were members of the WVF.[5]

Africa[edit]

Asia[edit]

Europe[edit]

Former Soviet Union[edit]

Latin America[edit]

Oceania[edit]

United States[edit]

Activities[edit]

Advocacy and humanitarian activities[edit]

The most important function of the WVF is to promote and protect the well-being of veterans and victims of war worldwide. Most of the issues it deals with are essentially social or humanitarian in nature. It is very much involved in the promotion of social justice, the enhancement of the quality of life and the development of the full potential of each individual within the veteran and the victims of war community. Most of these activities are carried out in the form of advocacy through the United Nations, governments, veteran organisations and the general public. At the same time, the WVF functions as a charity by providing direct and indirect aid and assistance to its members and non-members.

Global peace movement[edit]

As a responsible member of the international community, the WVF supports and assists the United Nations in their effort to promote international peace and security. One of the ways it does this is by organising an annual global “Veterans Walk for Peace” event on 21 September, the International Day of Peace. On this day the veteran community worldwide leads all the peace-loving people of the world and their governments to observe the International Day of Peace – the day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

WVF Credo[edit]

“None can speak more eloquently for peace than those
who have fought in war.
The voices of war veterans are a reflection of the longing for peace
of people the world over, who within a generation have twice
suffered the unspeakable catastrophe of world war.
Humanity has earned the right to peace.
Without it, there can be no hope for the future.
And without hope, man is lost.
The voice of the people must be heeded.
They aspire to a richer life in freedom, equality and dignity,
as in things material; they pray for peace.
Their will for peace and a better life can be, must be, crystallized
into an irresistible force against war, aggression and degradation.
The people have had to work and sacrifice for wars.
They will work more willingly for peace.
Let there be a dedicated effort, a greater crusade
than history has ever known, for a world of
peace, freedom and equality.

Ralph Bunche
Nobel Peace Prize, 1950

References[edit]