Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, F.W. de Klerk

The terrorist attacks in the United States of America last week shook all of humanity. It starkly reminded us again of the depth to which we can sink in our inhumanity towards one another.

It was a source of encouragement to note that almost the entire world responded with utter revulsion to such cowardly acts that cruelly and horrendously took the lives of so many innocent people merely going about their ordinary daily lives. Amidst the indescribable tragedy the overwhelming decency of human beings the world over found expression in the unreserved condemnation of those terrible deeds of cruelty.

To that we wish to add our collective voice of condemnation of those acts and to express our deep felt sympathy to the American government, people and particularly those who lost family and friends. We share in their sense of loss and can only trust that they will take some sustenance from the knowledge that so many people all over the world mourn with them.

The events of last week are also a renewed call to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. Those acts emphasised that we are all vulnerable to terrorism. We hope that the culprits will be identified, apprehended and severely punished.

This is a time that the world should stand together in pursuit of those objectives. Terrorism seeks to put itself above and outside of the law. Our steps against terrorism should studiously be within international law and the charter of our world body.

We need wise leadership and statesmanship in this period of looming crisis. The actions taken should not deepen tensions and further divide the world for it is in those circumstances of strife and division that terrorism finds fertile ground.

The recent history of our own country has taught that negotiation is the surest means of finding lasting solutions to even the most seemingly intractable political problems.

In combating and seeking to eliminate terrorism we must address the root causes of problems around the world and find just solutions to them. In the Middle East, particularly, efforts at arriving at a just and peaceful settlement should be redoubled.

If out of the tragic events of last week the world can find a renewed will to co-operate in finding just solutions to the problems that threaten the safety, security and well-being of us all, the highest tribute would have been paid to those who lost their lives.


Nobel Peace Laureates

Nelson R Mandela
F W de Klerk
D M Tutu

South Africa
19 September 2001