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Dr Hanan Ashrawi1. Dr Hanan Ashrawi
Humanizing Globalisation?
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"Democracy Matters" Dr Hanan Ashrawi, founder and Secretary General, Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH).

Dr Ashrawi argues that the time has come for the world to move beyond the concept of national sovereignty. Sovereignty constrains: for the powerful state, it often means the power to disenfranchise other peoples. And in many of the world's weaker states, it gives us governments that believe they own their land and their people, to do with as they choose. The world will always be run by self-interest. But a narrow concept of sovereignty means that self interest can never become benign, global, collective self-interest.

Global institutions, particularly the United Nations, are built on national sovereignty. Inevitably, they become subject to the most powerful state or alliance of states. The permanent Security Council reflects this reality. But globalization is challenging this order. Yes, globalization can enhance the power of the powerful, like the western mega corporations. But it also creates new ways for individuals and groups to communicate, to act together, to participate in decisionmaking and to challenge governments. The Palestinians are a case in point. Half the Palestinian population are exiles, but global communications are recreating this community.

Practically, how could the world move beyond narrow sovereignty? One vital institution of the new order would be the International Criminal Court. We need to establish that there are standards of justice that apply to everybody, and that it is wrong for states to value their own citizens above other human beings. And we need practical solutions that are not politically absolutist, or religiously fundamentalist. Take the dispute over the status of Jerusalem, claimed by both the Palestinians and by Israel. Why should Jerusalem not become the capital of both states, controlled and owned by neither? That would be an example of how in challenging the established world order, we could transform reality for the better.