The Non-Aligned Movement, also known by the acronym NAM, is an intergovernmental organization of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. Hence the inclusion of the term “non-alignment”, first coined by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during his speech in 1954 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Although the organization was officially founded in Belgrade in 1961, the idea for such a movement was first conceived at a conference held in Indonesia in 1955 called the Bandung Asian-African Conference.
The organization was the brainchild of political stalwarts of the like Indonesia’s first President, Sukarno, Egypt’s second President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Yugoslavia’s first President, Josip Broz Tito. All four of them were exponents of a middle course for states belonging to the Developing World.
While original members included the former Yugoslavia, Burma, Egypt, India and Pakistan, the organization has now grown to consist of 118 members with 18 nations as observers.
The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has played a pivotal role in the preservation of world peace and security. It has also endeavoured to herald a new international economic order, which would allow everyone to have access to wealth and natural resources and would help to bring about a radical change in the economic liberation of the countries of the South.
With passing years, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has gathered momentum as large number of states and liberation movements has joined it, burying their political, social, ideological, economic and cultural differences. One of the key objectives of this organization is to denounce the irresponsible policies adopted by the developed countries, especially the USA. The movement is also vocal against Human Rights violations and the assumed superiority of certain developed nations over the less developed ones. It also promotes the idea that terrorism should not be used as an instrument to spread any religious or political ideal.
Throughout its existence, the movement has played the role of a mediator in various ideological conflicts. It strongly condemned apartheid regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa and lent its support to freedom movements in such regions. This support rises from the movement’s goal to establish the right of every country to adopt policies and practices aligning with their national interests.
The endless battle is to bring an end to the oppression and domination of smaller nations by foreign occupation and to realize their right to protect themselves and to attain independence, with or without help from other countries.
Disarmament and prevention of armed conflict has also been on the organisation’s agenda. Through proper mediation and dialogues, it has always promised to channelize a way to bring about a termination of armed disputes. The organization, a campaigner of peace, also believes in settling all disputes by peaceful talks and decries any kind of aggression or force.
Also, recognition of equality and solidarity amongst nations, whether big or small, has been a top priority for the NAM for years. It has encouraged relations of friendship and goodwill between all nations based on the principles of International Law and has been a keen promoter of unity and cooperation based on common values and priorities, especially among the developing nations.
Based on its conviction that sustainable development is imperative for the progress of its member countries, it has continuously spoken out against situations such as debt burden and unfair trade. For this, it backs the joint coordination in implementing political strategies which would in turn ensure full participation in the international economic relations by all countries, irrespective of their economic conditions. The countries would be subjected to equal conditions and opportunities, but would shoulder varying responsibilities.
The movement has always reinforced multilateralism and in this regard, has helped to strengthen the key role that the United Nations must play. Thus it has permanently voiced its support in favour of democratization of the UN and granting the General Assembly the functions and power endowed to it by the Charter. Comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council has been one of its top priorities in order to maintain international peace and security.
Last but not the least, the movement has been a firm believer of the fact that Human Rights is universal and social justice is for all. Cultural diversity needs to be respected and a tolerance of religious views should always be fostered among people to maintain peace and harmony among mankind.
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