No peace can last, or ought to last, which does not recognize and accept the principle that governments derive all their just powers from the consent of the governed. The world can be at peace only if its life is stable, and there can be no stability where there is tyranny, where there is not tranquility of spirit and a sense of justice, of freedom, and of rights being upheld for all.
A steadfast peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No tyrannical or autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within it and exist in a spirit of international cooperation and justice. There must be a league of honour, a partnership of opinion, in which conflicts are resolved through reasoned debate and accountable processes. Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honour steady to a common ideal, and prefer the interests of mankind to any narrow interest of their own, or slavish obedience to extremist ideologies.
We shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts - for democracy, for the right of free citizens to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of all people and nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself, at last, free.
What we demand in this struggle, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us.
Therefore, the undersigned signatories, viz, the Dominion of Canada, the Dominion of India, the Australasian Confederation, the French Empire, the Empire of Japan, and the Russian Republic;
In order to promote international cooperation and to achieve international peace, stability and security, by the prescription of open, just and honourable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among states, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of nations with one another;
Agree to uphold and respect this Charter, establishing the Concord of Nations.
Article I (Membership)
The founding members of the Concord of Nations shall be defined all States that accede, without reservation, to this Charter, as signatories of the Treaty of Toronto. Any fully self-governing State, Dominion or Colony may later become a full member of the Concord through application if its admission is agreed to by two-thirds of the votes of the Council, provided that it shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, its duties to the Concord and its obedience to the principles of the Twelve Covenants.
Self-governing States, Dominions or Colonies that have not yet reached a state of compliance with the governmental provisions of the Covenants may apply for observer membership in the Concord, if the application is agreed to by two-thirds of the votes of the Assembly. Observer members will be permitted to send observers who may speak in the Assembly, or when invited to attend the Council to discuss matters that particularly affect their interests, but will not possess voting rights in the Assembly or the Council, nor come under the rights and obligations of a member of the Concord for the purpose of the provisions of this Charter.
Any member of the Concord may, after two years' notice of its intention so to do, withdraw from the Concord, provided that all its international obligations and all its obligations under this Concord shall have been fulfilled by the time of its withdrawal.
Article II (Structure)
The action of the Concord of Nations under this Charter shall be effected through the creation of a Permanent Assembly and of a Supervisory Council, with a permanent Secretariat of the Concord. There shall also be created a World Court.
I. The Permanent Assembly shall consist of Representatives from all of the Members of the Concord. The Permanent Assembly shall convene permanently at the headquarters of the Concord, or from time to time at such other place as may be decided upon by the Assembly, and shall meet at least once every thirty days.
The Permanent Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the Concord or affecting the stability of the world. At meetings of the Permanent Assembly each member of the Concord shall have three Assembly Representatives, each with one vote. These representatives shall be elected by the member state’s citizens in a manner to be decided upon by the member state, and shall serve a term of five years unless recalled.
II. The Supervisory Council shall consist of Council Representatives of the founding members, and whichever members should be selected by the Council to send Representatives as detailed below, together with Council Representatives of a number other members of the Concord no greater than the sum of the two previous categories. These Members of the Council shall be selected by the Assembly periodically, serving a one-year term. At meetings of the Council, each member of the Concord represented on the Council shall have one vote, and may have not more than one Representative. These representatives shall be selected by the government of the member they represent.
With the approval of the majority of the Permanent Assembly, the Council may name additional members of the Concord whose Representatives shall always be members of the Council; the Council, with like approval may increase the number of members of the Concord to be selected by the Assembly for representation on the Council. The removal of any member of the Council requires the consent of a qualified majority of two-thirds in both the Assembly and the Council.
The Council shall meet from time to time as occasion may require, and at least once a year, at the headquarters of the Concord, or at such other place as may be decided upon.
The Council may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the Concord or affecting the peace of the world.
Any member of the Concord not represented on the Council shall be invited to send an Assembly Representative to sit as a member at any meeting of the Council during the consideration of matters particularly affecting the interests of that member of the Concord.
III. Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Charter or by the terms of the present Treaty, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly shall require the agreement of a majority of the representatives to the Assembly.
Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Charter or by the terms of the present Treaty, decisions at any meeting of the Council shall require the agreement of a qualified majority of two-thirds of the votes at the Council.
All matters of procedure at meetings of the Assembly or of the Council, including the establishment of subsidiary organisations, appointment of committees to discuss particular topics, and sending fact-finding missions to investigate particular matters, shall be regulated by the Assembly or by the Council and may be decided by a majority of the votes of the Assembly or Council.
All matters relating to any amendments or additions to this Charter, or to the Covenants shall require the agreement of a qualified majority of two-thirds of the votes of the Assembly and Council.
If any member fails to uphold its obligations duties to the Concord, or the principles of the Covenants, that member shall be suspended following the votes of both the Assembly and the Council.
IV. The permanent Secretariat shall be established at the headquarters of the Concord. The Secretariat shall comprise a Secretary-General and such secretaries and other staff as may be required to execute the functions of the Concord.
The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the Council with the approval of the majority of the Assembly. The Secretary-General shall thereafter act in that capacity at all meetings of the Assembly and of the Council. The secretaries and staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary-General with the approval of the Council.
V. The Council shall formulate and submit to the Members of the Concord plans for the establishment of a World Court. The Court shall be competent to hear and determine any dispute of an international character which the parties thereto submit to it. The Court may also give an advisory opinion upon any dispute or question referred to it by the Council or by the Assembly.
Article III (Establishment)
The headquarters of the Concord is to be established in Toronto, overlooking Lake Ontario. The land upon which this headquarters is constructed to be a permanent lease from the nation of Canada to the Concord of Nations, and will become international, neutral territory. The architectural plan of the headquarters will be decided by an international architectural competition, with construction funded by the members of the Concord with funds voted by the Assembly.
The buildings and other property occupied by the Concord, or its officials or by representatives attending its meetings, shall be inviolable.They shall be considered international, neutral territory of the Concord for the period of their lease or ownership.
All positions under or in connection with the Concord, including the Secretariat, shall be open equally to men and women. Representatives of the members of the Concord and officials of the Concord, when engaged on the business of the Concord, shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.
Article IV (Finance)
The operating expenses of the Concord shall be borne, under the principle of proportion to their ability to pay, by the members of the Concord, with the mandatory contribution levels of members decided annually, in the proportion assessed and proposed by the Assembly and ratified by the Council.
The budget of the Concord shall be proposed annually by the Council and ratified by the Assembly. Should a situation arise where a new budget cannot be agreed upon, the preceding budget will remain effective until such time as a new budget is passed.
Additional voluntary contributions by individual members to the expenses of the Concord, such as in support of specific projects or purposes, are to be at the disposal of the Secretary-General, to be used in accordance with the stated aim of the additional voluntary contribution. Such contributions are not to be considered binding agreements into the future, and shall have no effect on the proportions of contributions proposed by the Assembly, nor can such contributions be counted towards the mandatory contributions determined by the Assembly.
Article V (Security)
The members of the Concord undertake to respect and preserve the territorial integrity, stability, and political independence of all members of the Concord.
Any armed conflict, or danger of armed conflict, whether immediately affecting any of the members of the Concord or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole Concord, and the Concord shall take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the security of its members.
It is also declared to be the right of each member of the Concord to bring to the attention of the Assembly or of the Council any circumstance whatever affecting international relations which threatens to disturb or threaten international peace and stability.
In case any such emergency should arise the Secretary-General shall, on the request of any member of the Concord, immediately summon a meeting of the Council. In case of any such emergency, the Council shall then advise upon the means by which the purposes of the Concord shall be fulfilled.
Article VI (Disputes)
The members of the Concord agree that whenever any dispute shall arise between them which cannot be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy, they will submit the whole subject-matter to arbitration or judicial settlement.
Disputes as to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any question of international law, as to the existence of any fact which if established would constitute a breach of any international obligation, or as to the extent and nature of the reparation to be made for any such breach, are declared to be among those which are generally suitable for submission to arbitration or judicial settlement.
For the consideration of any such dispute, the court to which the case is referred shall be the World Court, established in accordance with Article II, or any tribunal agreed on by the parties to the dispute or stipulated in any convention existing between them. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague is recognised as a competent tribunal for the purposes of arbitration.
If there should arise between Members of the Concord any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, which is not submitted to arbitration or judicial settlement, the members of the Concord agree that they will submit the matter to the Council. The Secretary-General will make all necessary arrangements for a full investigation and consideration thereof.
For this purpose the parties to the dispute will communicate to the Secretary-General, as promptly as possible, statements of their case with all the relevant facts and papers, and the Council may forthwith direct the publication thereof. The Council shall endeavour to effect a settlement of the dispute, and if such efforts are successful, a statement shall be made public giving such facts and explanations regarding the dispute and the terms of settlement thereof as the Council may deem appropriate.
If the dispute is not thus settled, the Council either unanimously or by a two-thirds majority vote shall make and publish a report containing a statement of the facts of the dispute and the recommendations which are deemed just and proper in regard thereto.
If a report by the Council is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof other than the representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the members of the Concord agree that they will not go to war with any party to the dispute which complies with the recommendations of the report. If the Council fails to reach a report which is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof, other than the representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the members of the Concord reserve to themselves the right to take such action as they shall consider necessary for the maintenance of right and justice.
If the dispute between the parties is claimed by one of them, and is found by the Council, to arise out of a matter which by international law is solely within the domestic jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall so report, and shall make no recommendation as to its settlement.
The Council may in any case under this Article refer the dispute to the Assembly. The dispute shall be so referred at the request of either party to the dispute, provided that such request be made within fourteen days after the submission of the dispute to the Council.
The members of the Concord agree that they will abide by, in full good faith, any award or decision that may be rendered, and that they will not resort to war against a member of the Concord which complies therewith, and they agree in no case to resort to war until four months after the award by the arbitrators or the judicial decision, or the report by the Council. In the event of any failure to carry out such an award or decision, the Council shall propose what steps should be taken to give effect thereto.
In any case under this Article, the decision shall be made within a reasonable time, and the report shall be made within four months after the submission of the dispute.
Article VII (War)
Should any member of the Concord resort to war against another member of the Concord, the aggressor shall be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other members of the Concord, which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of all trade or financial relations. The Members of the Concord agree, further, that they will mutually support one another in the financial and economic measures which are taken under this Article, in order to minimise the loss and inconvenience resulting from the above measures, and that they will mutually support one another in resisting any special measures aimed at one of their number by the covenant-breaking State, and that they will take the necessary steps to afford passage through their territory to the forces of any of the Members of the Concord which are co-operating to protect the covenants of the Concord.
It shall be the duty of the Council in such case to recommend to the members concerned what effective military, naval or air force the members of the Concord shall severally contribute to the armed forces to be used to protect the threatened members of the Concord.
In the event of a dispute between a member of the Concord and a state which is not a member of the Concord, or between states not members of the Concord, the state or states not Members of the Concord may apply to temporarily accept the obligations of membership in the Concord for the purposes of such dispute, upon such conditions as the Council may deem just. If such invitation is accepted, the provisions of the relevant Articles shall be applied with such modifications as may be deemed necessary by the Council. Upon such invitation being given the Council shall immediately institute an inquiry into the circumstances of the dispute and recommend such action as may seem best and most effectual in the circumstances.
Article VIII (Treaties)
Every public treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any Member of the Concord shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat.
The Members of the Concord severally agree that this Charter is accepted as abrogating all obligations or understandings which are inconsistent with the terms thereof, and solemnly undertake that they will not hereafter enter into any engagements inconsistent with the terms thereof.
The Assembly may from time to time advise the reconsideration by members of the Concord of treaties which have become inapplicable, and the consideration of international conditions whose continuance might endanger the peace of the world.
Nothing in this Charter shall be deemed to affect the validity of existing international engagements, such as defensive pacts, treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine, for securing the maintenance of peace.
Article IX (International Organisations)
The Concord shall establish and maintain necessary international organisations for the maintenance of peace, justice, and human dignity, in pursuit of the goals listed under Article X.
The initial international organisations that will be established under the auspices of the Concord are as follows, with their structure, location and particular activities to be established by the Assembly and the Council:
- The World Labour Organisation, which will be tasked with the promotion, protection and upholding of workers’ rights as enshrined in the Covenants, facilitating cooperation and collective bargaining between trades unions across the world, and overseeing any international conventions on workers’ rights as may come into effect;
- The World Health Bureau, to promote the improvement of health, mitigation of suffering, and prevention of disease throughout the world, and administer such international conventions on public health as may come into effect, as well as oversee international rules regarding the quarantining of ships and ports to prevent the spread of contagions;
- The International Criminal Police Commission, which will facilitate the cooperation of law enforcement agencies against cross-border crimes and international criminals, and work towards the creation of extradition treaties to ensure that the accused are brought to a fair trial and the guilty are brought to justice, so long as that law enforcement and justice abides by the principles of the Covenants;
- The Organisation to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery, to confirm and advance the elimination of the barbaric practices of slavery and the slave trade in accordance with the inviolable principles of the Covenants;
- The Commission on Aboriginal Rights, to secure fair and just treatment and the full exercise of their fundamental rights for all aboriginal and native peoples in accordance with the inviolable principles of the Covenants;
- The Commission for the Status of Women, to consider and examine how the inviolable rights enshrined under the Covenants should be enforced in relation to existing political, civil and economic status of women under the laws of countries around the world, and work towards the establishment of equal rights for all women;
- The International Narcotics Board, to regulate the trade and production of drugs, assist the World Health Bureau in combating the negative health effects of these substances, and work towards limiting the national manufacturing of narcotics as to ensure there is no margin remaining for illegal traffic;
- The Organisation for Communication and Transit, to work towards the creation of conventions on the international regulation of the laws of the sea, maritime ports, waterways, railways, and civilian aviation matters, administer the same, facilitate international agreements on submerged communications cables and radio broadcasts, and provide necessary technical assistance to member states of the Concord, as well as help with arbitration disputes concerning transit and communications.
In all matters of international interest which are regulated by general convention but which are not placed under the control of international bureaux or commissions, the Secretariat of the Concord shall, subject to the consent of the Council and if desired by the parties, collect and distribute all relevant information and shall render any other assistance which may be necessary or desirable.
The members of the Concord agree to encourage and promote the existence, establishment and cooperation of duly authorised voluntary national Red Cross organisations. Such organisations are supported by the Concord, but are independent from it.
Article X (Goals)
Subject to and in accordance with the provisions of international conventions existing or hereafter to be agreed upon, the Members of the Concord:
I. Will endeavour to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labour for men, women, and children, both in their own countries and in all countries to which their commercial and industrial relations extend, and for that purpose will establish and maintain the necessary international organisations;
II. Will aim to secure just treatment of the native inhabitants of territories under their control, in accordance with the principles of the Covenants, and for that purpose will establish and maintain the necessary international organisations;
III. Will entrust the Concord with the general supervision over the execution of international agreements with regard to slavery and the traffic in men, women and children, and the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs, and for that purpose will establish and maintain the necessary international organisations;
IV. Will entrust the Concord with the general supervision of the trade in arms and ammunition with the countries in which the control of this traffic is necessary in the common interest;
V. Will make provision to secure and maintain freedom of navigation, communications and of transit and equitable treatment for the commerce of all members of the Concord;
VI. Will endeavour to take steps in matters of international concern for the prevention and control of disease, and for that purpose will establish and maintain the necessary international organisations;
VII. Will undertake to uphold the principles of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, concerning the laws and customs of war, and aim to advance further these principles through additional international conventions;
VIII. Will work towards the establishment of a harmonious and peaceful world in which war, the threat of war, the deprivation of fundamental rights and offences to human dignity are but a distant memory.
The Twelve Covenants
Covenant I: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance against anyone who would deprive them of these rights. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in these Covenants, without distinction of any kind, such as race, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Covenant II: The guarantee of these rights and liberties necessitates the maintenance of a state, governed by fair and just laws. The State shall have a formal and legally established separation between its executive, legislative and judicial branches. The state, and those entrusted by its citizens with its functions, will be accountable to its people. The constitution of this state and its laws must be decided by the democratic will of the people, so long as this decision does not infringe upon these rights and liberties under these Covenants.
Covenant III: The State must serve for the advantage of all, and not for the benefit of those to whom its duties are entrusted by its citizens. The State must foster and protect the social, political and economic conditions in which individuals will have the best chance of acting freely according to their consciences, without hindrance, limitation or infringement of their rights. It must uphold a system of rights and obligations that will allow its citizens to preserve their individual rights within the framework of the law and the common good.
Covenant IV: The authority of the State and its laws is derived from the consent of the governed. All citizens have the right of contributing personally, or through their democratically elected representatives, to its formation and the governance of their State. This shall be expressed in periodic and genuine multi-party elections, which shall be by universal suffrage, and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures. All citizens, being equal under the law, are equally admissible to all public honours, places, and employments, according to their capacity and without distinction other than that of their virtues, actions and talents.
Covenant V: All are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to equal protection of the law. No-one is above the law. All have the right to a transparent and just legal process. All persons charged with a crime have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law, in a public trial by a jury of their peers, at which they have had all reasonable guarantees necessary for their defence. This process will provide remedy against acts violating the fundamental rights granted them by this charter or by law.
Covenant VI: Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others. The exercise of the natural rights of each individual has only those boundaries which assure other members of the society the fruition of these same rights. These borders can be determined only by the law. No-one may be arrested or detained except in the cases determined by the law, and according to the forms which it has prescribed. The law only has the right to forbid actions harmful to society and to others. Anything which is not forbidden by the law cannot be impeded by the authorities, and no one may be forced to do what the law does not require. The law may establish only penalties that are strictly and evidently necessary, and no one can be punished but under a law established, legally applied, and promulgated before the offence was committed.
Covenant VII: The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of liberty, all have the right to express themselves freely. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, or home. All have the right to the protection of the law against such interference. No one may be interfered with for their opinions, faith, or beliefs, and has the right to worship and practice their beliefs freely, including changing their religion or beliefs, and have the right to the protection of the law against such interference, provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order established by the law.
Covenant VIII: All have the right to own property alone, as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their property, nor their control of it. No one may be deprived of private possession or usage of their property, if it is not when the public necessity, legally noted and established, evidently requires it, and under the condition of a just and prior cause as determined by due process of law. The need for some form of taxation is, however, recognised as essential to the function of the State.
Covenant X: For the maintenance of the state, its security and the law, and for the expenditures of administration and provision to its citizens, a common contribution by citizens and organisations is necessary. The burden must be distributed fairly among all citizens and organisations, in accordance with their ability to contribute. The democratic body has the right of determining the proportion, basis, collection, and duration of taxation and other contributions, such as mandatory service.
Covenant XI: All have the right to both physical and social security. No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel, degrading treatment or punishments. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. All have the right to a sufficient standard of living for their health and well-being, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, injury, illness, disability, bereavement, old age, or other circumstances outside their control that would impact the security of their rights.
Covenant XII: All have the right to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against arbitrary dismissal. All who work has the right to just and favourable remuneration for their work, ensuring for themselves and their dependents an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. All have the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitations on working hours and periodic holidays with pay. The right to form and to join trades unions for the defence of workers’ rights and interests will be protected.