World League for Freedom and Democracy
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Logo of the World League for Freedom and Democracy
|World Anti-Communist League|
The World League for Freedom and Democracy (abbreviated WLFD), founded in 1966 as the World Anti-Communist League (abbreviated WACL), is an international non-governmental organization and a member of the United Nations Department of Public Information NGO branch. The WLFD has more than a hundred national chapters around the world. On the stated principle "to advocate freedom, democracy and human rights as well as to support the cause of world peace", the WLFD states that it works in a joint endeavor to pursue freedom, democracy, and human rights for all mankind without distinction as to race, sex, language, religion, nationality, political affiliation, or occupation to preserve world peace and prosperity.
The WLFD descended from the Asian People's Anti-Communist League (APACL, now known as Asian Pacific League for Freedom and Democracy). To cope with the growing tension around the world, Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, Elpidio Quirino of the Republic of the Philippines, and Syngman Rhee of the Republic of Korea founded the APACL in Jinhae, the wartime capital city of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on June 15, 1954. Its first general conference was held in that city and was host to advocate and support the causes of anti-communism, anti-totalitarianism as well as anti-authoritarianism. The other participating states, including Vietnam, Thailand, Okinawa, Hong Kong, and Macao, also sent representatives.
Having founded the APACL, the government of the Republic of China prepared to organize the second conference and chose Taipei City as the place to set up the Republic of China Chapter of the APACL on July 1, 1954. Ku Cheng-kang, President of the Chinese Refugees Relief Association of the Republic of China, was designated as the first president of this Chapter. Over the years, successors to the presidency of the Republic of China Chapter are Clement C.P. Chang, Chao Tze-chi, Yao Eng-chi, and Tseng Yung-chuan. As of 2013[update] the president was Yao Eng-chi, former Vice President of the ROC Legislative Yuan (Parliament) and also Senior Advisor to President of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
World Anti-Communist League
In 1966 the memberships of the APACL had increased to 27, in Asia, Australia, and Africa. At its 12th Conference in Seoul on November 3, 1966, a fifteen-member committee was formed to discuss the expansion of this organization. The committee eventually decided to set up a new anti-communist organization, including the APACL, regional organizations, and an international anti-communist organization. On November 7, 1966, the delegates adopted the “Charter of the World Anti-Communist League” at the plenary session. It also resolved that the Republic of China Chapter was in charge of organizing the first General Conference.
The Charter of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), with 8 chapters and 32 articles, came into effect on April 1, 1967. It stated that the WACL should immediately set up its regional organizations in six regions: Asia (now known as Asian Pacific League for Freedom and Democracy), Middle East (now known as Middle East Solidarity Council), Africa (now known as the African Organization for Freedom and Democracy), and Europe (now known as the European Council for World Freedom), North America (now known as the North American Federation for Freedom and Democracy), and Latin America (now known as the Federation of Latin American Democratic Organization). The organization in the Asian region was the main force to push for the mission of the World League.
In 1978, Roger Pearson became the World Chairman of the WACL. Pearson was described in a Washington Post article as having neo-Nazi associations and sources report that as a result of an article in the Washington Post in 1978 critical of WACL and alleging extreme right wing politics of Pearson that either he was expelled from WACL or at least was pressured into resigning from his position as World Chairman.
The U.S. chapter of WACL, the United States Council for World Freedom (USCWF) was founded in 1981 by Major General John K. Singlaub. Singlaub was the former US Chief of Staff of both United Nations and American forces in South Korea, but was relieved in 1977 by U.S. President Jimmy Carter after publicly criticizing Carter's decision to reduce the number of troops on the peninsula. Singlaub became a member of the WACL in 1980, and founded and became president of its U.S. chapter, the United States Council for World Freedom. This branch generated controversy when it supported Nicaraguan guerrillas in the Iran–Contra affair and, in 1981, the USCWF was placed under watch by the Anti-Defamation League, which said that the organization had increasingly become "a point of contact for extremists, racists, and anti-Semites". During the 1980s, the USCWF and WACL conducted a purge of these elements, and invited ADL observers to monitor its conferences; by 1985, the Anti-Defamation League declared itself "satisfied that substantial progress has been made since 1981 in ridding the organization of racists and anti-Semites."
It is alleged that in the mid-1980s WACL had become a supplier of arms to anti-communist rebel movements in southern Africa, Central America, Afghanistan and the Far East. During the 1980s, the WACL was particularly active in Latin America, notably by aiding the Contra forces in Nicaragua. During this period, WACL was criticized for the presence in the organization of neo-Nazis, war criminals, and people linked to death squads and assassinations. Other allegations have included reports claim that the World League for Freedom and Democracy is responsible for producing what its opponents call "troops of killers", while ostensibly organizing to provide support for Corazon Aquino from the right-wing in the Philippines and for supporting the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) movement in Mozambique.
The World Anti-Communist League held annual conferences at various locations throughout the world. Numerous groups participated, including the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. WACL also enjoyed support from many U.S. Congressmen, most notably 2008 presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who sat on the United States Council for World Freedom (USCWF) Board of Directors in the early 1980s. McCain has said previously he resigned from the council in 1984 and asked in 1986 to have his name removed from the group's letterhead.
To adjust to the worldwide political changes after defeat of Soviet union and victory in Cold war and to strive for recruiting more people to join, the WACL held its 22nd General Conference in Brussels of Belgium on July 23, 1990, and the delegates resolved that the organization should be renamed the “World League for Freedom and Democracy” (WLFD). This resolution came into effect on January 1, 1991.
In August 21, 1991, with the new name, the WLFD held its 23rd General Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica. Rafael Angel Calderon Fournier, President of Costa Rica, and vice presidents from six countries in Latin America, gave speeches. The conference passed a resolution to set up the Presidency of League, a new post to highlight the leading center of the WLFD and also to take the responsibility to organize WLFD activities. Chao Tze-chi, President of the Republic of China Chapter of WLFD, was elected as the first President of the WLFD, and re-elected in 1995. U Chae-sung of the ROK was named as the Secretary-General.
According to the charter of the WLFD, the President of the League shall be “the Leader of the League” and shall represent the League. This person shall supervise the performance and development of the League in compliance with the charter. On January 19 of 2006, the WLFD adopted its charter amendment in the 34th General Conference. According to the Amendment, the President of the League shall be “the top official of the League” and shall represent the League, and shall supervise the performance and development of the League in compliance with the charter.
According to the Charter of the WLFD, the President of the League shall be elected by and from the members of the Executive Board of the League. The result of the election shall be reported to the General Conference. The President shall hold office for a term of four years and shall be eligible for re-election. In October 2000, all members of the Executive Board approved Yao Eng-chi, President of the WLFD ROC Chapter, as the third President of the League during the Executive Board Meeting in New York City, U.S. The Executive Board also amended the charter to add several positions such as four vice presidents and two deputy secretary-generals. The decision made by the Executive Board was also confirmed by the members at the 31st WLFD General Conference in Taipei, ROC, on January 13, 2001. President Yao Eng-chi was re-elected as President of the League at the 33rd WLFD General Conference in Melbourne, Australia, on December 20, 2003. Ger Yeong-kuang was named as Secretary-General of the League. On August 1 of 2008, Ger resigned and was succeeded by Hsieh Wen-huang, Parliamentary Assistant to Vice President Tseng Yung-chuan of the ROC Legislative Yuan (Parliament). Hsieh resigned; Chou Yujen’s was nominated to replace him on January 23, 2013.
The ROC Chapter is one of the founding members of the WLFD and also the leading player as a national chapter that helps the WLFD to advocate the freedom movement. This chapter consists more than 300 civil organizations from all walks of society in the Republic of China such as national political parties, city councils or county assemblies, academies, cultural institutions, religious groups, agricultural units, labor unions, businessmen unions, youth groups, Chinese compatriots unions, and women groups. The ROC Chapter is in charge of major decisions, place to hold conferences, and activity arrangements. The ROC Chapter was not only one of the founding members of the League, but also the leading force to push for the WLFD missions. Yao Eng-chi, former Vice President of the ROC Legislative Yuan (Parliament) and also President of the World League for Freedom and Democracy, is the current President of the ROC Chapter.
According to the charter, national, regional or international organizations that subscribe to the purposes of the League are eligible for membership. Membership shall consist of Regular Members with voting rights and Associate Members without voting rights. Regular membership shall comprise two categories: 1) An organization dedicated to the cause of freedom and democracy recognized by the Executive Board Committee as representing a country or territory; 2) An international organization dedicated to the cause of freedom and democracy and composed of two or more branches not in the same country. Such an organization may be granted regular membership, provided that any of its branches shall not be accepted as a Regular Member. Youth groups in all parts of the world, dedicated to the cause of freedom and democracy and united in a duly organized body, may be accepted as an international organization. Other organizations dedicated to the cause of freedom and democracy may be accepted as Associate Members.
All Regular Members shall have equal rights and obligations in the League. While a country or territory is represented in the league by one organization, any number of organizations from the same country or territory may be accepted as Associate Members. Associate Members has the same rights and obligation as Regular Members except for voting rights.
Any application for membership shall be submitted to the Secretariat of the league. The Executive Board shall consider the application and make recommendations to the General Conference. Any decision on membership shall be made by majority of the Executive Board members and approved by majority of the Conference.
- Australian League of Rights
- British League of Rights
- Croatian Liberation Movement
- International organization
- Western Goals Institute
- World Freedom Day
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