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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Istanbul Turkey - Thirty distinguished civil society representatives, international officials, former diplomats and generals, academics and journalists from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Algeria, as well as Canada and the U.S. and the UN,  met in Istanbul recently to consider how to raise public consciousness and press decision-makers to protect civilians caught in conflict. The Bosphorus Consensus is their answer.

The parties call on all sides to live up to their obligations under International Human Law (IHL). They urge the leaders participating in the Middle East conference at Annapolis, that if they accomplish nothing else to at least endorse these fundamental principles.

As the conveners, Ambassador Paul Heinbecker of CIGI and Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and Dr. Pauline H. Baker, president of the Fund for Peace in D.C. note:

"Never a day goes by in the Middle East when civilians are not killed, maimed or otherwise victimized unnecessarily. And hardly a day goes by when the day before did not seem a better day to act than the day after...But collateral damage, once shrugged off as regrettable, is counter-productive, because in the cold calculus of warfare it creates enemies faster than they can be destroyed, and alienates populations whose support is essential to ultimate success...More profoundly, countries and armed groups that fail to distinguish between civilians and military targets will find themselves progressively isolated."

Bosphorus Consensus Signatories:

Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi

Former UN Special Advisor

Visiting Scholar, Princeton University

Ms. Rachel Benziman

Executive Director, Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Ms. Yael Dayan

Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo

Mr. Jehad Al-Momani

Former Editor, al-Shihan Newspaper

Dr. Michael Bell

Professor of Political Science, University of Windsor, Canada

Former Canadian Foreign Ministry

Dr. Janine Clark

Professor of Political Science, University of Guelph, Canada

Ms. Rosa Da Costa

Geneva Representative, AustCare

Dr. Lilian Feidy

Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Mr. Allam Jarrar

Board of Directors, Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees

Dr. Hilal Khashan

Professor of Political Science, American University of Beirut

Dr. Kemal Kirisci

Director, European Studies Center, Bogazi├ži University, Istanbul

Mr. Mokhtar Lamani

IDRC Senior Visiting Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

Former Arab-League Ambassador and Special Envoy to Iraq

Dr. Yehuda Lancry

Former Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN

Mr. Mark Loucas

Research Associate, Fund for Peace

Dr. Bessma Momani

Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

Mrs. Smadar Perry

Middle East Editor, Yediot Aharonot Newspaper

Mr. Danny Rubinstein

Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Professor of Middle Eastern History, Ben-Gurion University

Mr. Edmond Saab

Editor-in-Chief, An Nahar Newspaper

Dr. Mohamed Kadry Said

Al- Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Egypt

Mr. Joe Stork

Acting Director, Middle East/North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch

Ms. Patricia Taft

Senior Associate, Fund for Peace

Mr. Wasef Tubishat

Director, Democracy Watch, Jordan

Ms. Sarah Leah Whitson

Executive Director, Middle East/North Africa division, Human Rights Watch

Dr. Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh

Professor, Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran

Chairman of Urosevic Research Foundation, London

Mr. Mohammed Zeidan

Director, Arab Association for Human Rights

Major General (ret.) Alain Pellegrini

Former Commander, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)

Mr. Hansjoerg Strohmeyer

Chief, Policy Development & Studies Branch, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN

Dr. Pauline H. Baker

President, Fund for Peace

Mr. Paul Heinbecker

Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Director of the Centre for Global Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University

Former Canadian Permanent Representative to the UN