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Presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence 10-11 May 2007


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Title: Presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence 10-11 May 2007

  • Presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on
    Defence 10-11 May 2007
  • The World Veterans Federation
  • Lt Gen (Rtd) D.P. Knobel
  • Vice-President WVF and
  • Chairman of the Standing Committee of African

Founding and Organisation of the WVF
  • Founded 29 Nov 1950, Paris, France after the
    conclusion of WW II.
  • Consists of
  • General Assembly which meets every three years in
    different host countries.
  • First General Assembly in Africa, 30 Nov - 6 Des
    2003, Johannesburg, RSA.
  • 91 member Countries representing approximately 35
    million military veterans from all over the
  • Executive Board
  • President,
  • Deputy-President,
  • Secretary-general,
  • Treasurer-general,
  • Chairpersons of 4 Regional Standing Committees
    (Africa, Americas, Asia and Pacific
  • Region and Europe) as Vice-Presidents, and
  • The Chairperson of the Standing Committee on
    Women as Vice-President.
  • Financial Committee
  • Has special consultative status at the Economic
    and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN, in terms
    of Article 71 of the Charter of the United
  • Administrative Headquarters, Paris, France.

Credo of WVF Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace prize,
  • None can speak more eloquently for peace than
    those who have fought in war. The voices of war
    veterans are a reflection of the longing for
    peace of people of the world over, who within a
    generation have twice suffered the unspeakable
    tragedy of world war.

Preamble to Constitution of WVF
  • We, the war veterans who have fought for the
    right of self-determination of peoples and so
    that men might live in peace, resolve to unite in
    order to aid in the realization of the aims which
    the United Nations have formulated in its
  • To maintain international peace and security.
  • To develop friendly relations among nations,
    based on the principle of equal rights and
    self-determination of peoples.
  • To achieve international cooperation in solving
    international problems of an economic, social,
    cultural or humanitarian character, and in
    promoting and encouraging respect for human
    rights and for fundamental freedoms for all
    without distinction as to race, sex, language, or
    religion and
  • To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of
    nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Composition and Aims
  • The WVF is an international NGO grouping national
    associations or federations and international
    organisations of war veterans and victims of war,
    and of persons having served in the UN
    Peace-Keeping Operations, which, having in full
    independence of the parties and governments of
    their respective countries subscribed to the
    present Constitution, pledge themselves to
    undertake a course of action consistent with the
    aims, principles and methods defined in the
    Constitution, and in the Constitutional Rules of
    the Federation as well as in the resolutions of
    the General Assembly.
  • Aims
  • To maintain international peace and security by
    the application to the letter and in the spirit
    of the Charter of the UN and by respecting the
    human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth
    in the International Bill of Human Rights and in
    other international instruments
  • To defend the spiritual and material interests of
    war veterans and war victims by all legal and
    constitutional means
  • To promote the full integration of war veterans
    and victims of war in their respective
    communities by overcoming the physical and
    psycho-social consequences of armed conflicts in
    establishing appropriate rehabilitation and
    legislation to that effect
  • To establish permanent relations among the
    national associations or federations and
    international organisations of war veterans and
    victims of war in all countries and, as
    appropriate, organisations of persons with
  • To encourage direct cooperation and relations of
    friendship and understanding among national
    associations or federations and the exchange of
    experience in all fields affecting their
  • To preserve the sacred memory of the war dead.
  • Article 1 and 2 of the Constitution

Admission of Membership to the WVF
  • Membership of the WVF
  • Membership of the WVF shall be conferred by the
    GA, on the proposal of the Executive Board. The
    Executive Board, shall ascertain through previous
    investigation that the national associations or
    the international organisations applying for
    membership fulfil the provisions of Article 1 of
    the Constitution.
  • Article 3 of Constitution.
  • Note Under the guidance of the late Maj Gen
    Neil Norman Webster, a voluntary federal
    association of the military veterans
    organisations, in existence at the time in South
    Africa, was established on the 24th August 1976.
    This federal structure, the Council of Military
    Veterans Organisations (CMVO), was to act as
    coordinating body to promote mutual cooperation
    between its members, and would bring to the
    attention of the Government, the needs and
    concerns of military veterans in South Africa.
    Over the following years the membership of the
    CMVO increased to the 18 organisations that are
    at present affiliated under this body. In 1993
    the CMVO obtained membership of the WVF. The most
    notable achievement of the CMVO, was the
    prominent role it played in the formulation and
    ultimate promulgation of the Military Veterans
    Affairs Act, Act 17 of 1999, in close cooperation
    with the MOD with special reference to
    consultations with the Honourable Min and Dep Min
    of Defence Mr Joe Modise and Mr Ronnie Kasrils.

Functions of the General Assembly
  • General Assembly (GA)
  • Composed of representatives from member
    associations/federations, with a maximum of 12
    delegates and 12 alternate delegates per country.
  • Supreme authority of WVF that meets once every 3
    years, to deal with all matters that would
    contribute to the achievement of the aims of the
    WVF, and to elect its Executive Board and
    Financial Committee.
  • Adopts appropriate resolutions for referral to
    the United Nations.
  • Articles 8,9 and10 of Constitution

The Standing Committees of the WVF
  • At present the following Standing Committees have
    been established
  • Standing Committees are established by the
    Council on the basis of the four world regions or
    to deal with specific issues, and composed of
    representatives from the member associations
  • Standing Committee on African Affairs (SCAA)
  • Standing Committee on Asia and Pacific (SCAP)
  • Standing Committee on European Affairs (SCEA)
  • Standing Committee on Women (SCW)
  • A Standing Committee for the Americas is in the
    process of being established
  • The Standing Committees carry out their
    activities in their respective regions or fields
    of competence, in the framework of the
    Constitutional aims of the WVF and the
    resolutions and decisions of the GA and the
  • The Chairpersons of the Standing Committees also
    serve as Vice-Presidents of the WVF on the
    Executive Board of the WVF.
  • Recommendations adopted by the Standing
    Committees are referred to the Executive Board
    for further action.
  • Articles 30- 32
    of Constitution

The Role of the Vice-Presidents of the WVF
  • Vice-Presidents of the WVF
  • One Vice-President per world region.
  • Ratified by the GA for a period of 3 years
  • Members of the Executive Board
  • Note The present Vice-President from Africa was
    elected at the 24th General Assembly of the WVF,
    held in Johannesburg (South Africa) on 1-5
    December 2003. His appointment was reconfirmed by
    the SCAA and ratified by the GA in Kuala Lumpur,
    Malaysia, in Dec 2006 for a further period of
    three years.
  • Role and Functions.
  • Each Vice-President, shall convey to the
    Executive Board the points of view , concerns,
    needs and wishes of the regional Standing
    Committee, and shall ensure their follow-up.
  • The Vice-Presidents, may represent the WVF, as
    appropriate, and may be given specific tasks by
    the Executive Board namely
  • To develop membership of the WVF in their region.
  • To propagate the Principles, Aims and Objectives
    of the WVF, in their region through appropriate
    projects and initiatives.
  • To carry out Fund-raising for the WVF in their

  • Articles 19 and 24 of the Constitution

Military Veterans in Africa
  • 26 Countries 17 Countries
  • 59 Associations
    22 Associations

Military Veterans in South Africa
  • Federal TBVC
  • Structure C Corp
  • 32 Bn
  • Bushman Bn
  • Koevoet and
  • NSM, CFM, Comdos and
  • 18 Associations 1 Associations 1 Association
    1 Association 9 Associations

Lessons and Guidelines from the WVF
  • Encourage the establishment of associations/
    federations for all military/war veterans in each
    country in the region, which will strive to
    achieve all the aims of the WVF as outlined in
    Article 2 of its Constitution.
  • Encourage fully representative membership of the
    WVF by the country concerned with full
    participation in all its activities.
  • Encourage the promulgation of appropriate
    Legislation and Regulations to address all the
    physical, psychological, social and spiritual
    needs of war veterans and victims of war, with
    special reference to the disabled.

The General Assembly South Africa Dec 2006
  • Attended by
  • A delegation of representatives of the CMVO,
    MKMVA and APLAMVA and a fully representative
    group of 200 military veteran observers from
    South Africa.
  • Official opening by Pres. Thabo Mbeki.
  • In his opening, Pres Mbeki expressed his
    conviction that the WVF was amongst the foremost
    advocates of peace in the world and that the
    Government was very interested in the outcome of
    its deliberations that would help the authorities
    to improve their performance with regard to the
    welfare of military veterans in South Africa. In
    particular he said the following our country
    and continent have not been spared the trauma of
    war. Even as we speak there are a number of
    African Countries that are not at peace. As with
    all military conflicts, those on our continent
    leave behind a haunting legacy not only of death
    but of war veterans who need the closest
    attention and support by their societies
  • He concluded his opening by expressing his
    pleasure with the fact that the GA would discuss
    many of those questions that would ensure that
    all countries and the international community as
    a whole would respond to the consequences of war
    and military conflict in a way that reaffirmed
    the respect for human life and the dignity of all
    persons. (Military Veterans News Volume 1/2004)
  • Declaration on Rights of War Veterans and Victims
    of War.
  • The World Veterans Federation,
  • Recalling its noble aims to defend the spiritual
    and material interests of war veterans and
    victims of war, and to promote the full
    integration of war veterans and victims of war in
    their respective communities by overcoming the
    physical and psycho-social consequences of war

  • Observes that the limiting of social and other
    rights of war veterans and victims of war has
    become a practice in many countries and that
    quite often the actual protection of these
    rights is at minimum level
  • Points out, that the victims from WWII are of an
    advanced age and that greater effort is
    necessary to facilitate material assistance and
    social healthcare
  • Indicates also that participants in later
    conflicts in different parts of the world, after
    demobilisation, need greater support in solving
    many subsistence problems medical care and
    rehabilitation, employment, housing and full
    return to civilian life
  • Recalling Commitment 4 par g, adopted by the
    World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen
    March 1995), which commits the participants of
    the summit to Foster the social protection and
    full integration into the economy and society of
    veterans, including veterans and victims of the
    Second World War and other wars
  • And therefore,
  • Calls upon the United Nation Member States to
    undertake urgent measures providing for
    improvement and updating of legislation
    concerning war veterans and victims of war,
    social security, medical care and other relevant
    benefits alleviation of hardships of
    psycho-social consequences of war and integration
    of war veterans and victims of war into society
    adequate care for former personnel of
    peace-keeping and similar operations, before,
    during and after the mission.
  • Declares its readiness to continue to cooperate
    in this respect with the United Nations Member
    States on International and National Levels.
  • Adopted by the GA and received by the SG of
    the UN, and circulated in accordance with the
    ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31

Conclusion and Recommendation
  • Well managed health care is one of the most
    urgent needs of the Military veterans in South
    Africa and the rest of the African Continent
  • Health care for military veterans was the first
    item put on the Agenda of the newly established
    ABMVA in 2003 by the then DMOD
  • All the veterans present as observers at the GA
    in 2006 are expecting the authorities to provide
    in this urgent need.
  • The VETHEALTH managed health care model powered
    by GETMED satisfies all the recommendations wrt
    health care, as contained in the Declaration of
    the Rights of War Veterans and Victims of War
    adopted by the GA in 2003 and distributed by the
    ECOSOC of the UN.
  • The ABMVA recommended that the VETHEALTH managed
    health care model be approved by the MOD as a
    development program ito the MVA Act of 1999, at
    its meeting in November 2006.
  • The military veterans of the other member
    countries of the WVF in Africa are looking
    towards the RSA to take the lead and will
    propagate the proposed VETHEALTH managed health
    care program as presented to them at the SCAA in
    KL in Dec 2006, also in their respective
  • It is recommended that the JSCOD approves the
    development of the VETHEALTH managed Health Care
    program as powered by GETMED.

Important References
  • WVF
  • Guidelines to basic rights for war veterans and
    victims of war. Adopted by the 21st GA of the WVF
  • 50 years of action for peace and freedom Serge
    Wourgaft, Président DHonneur, WVF, 2000.
  • Declaration on Rights of War Veterans and Victims
    of War. Adopted by the 24th GA of the WVF 2003.
  • Legislation regarding Rights of War Veterans and
    Victims of war in Central and Eastern European
    Countries Working group SCEA 2004
  • Veterans health and welfare co-operation
    international steering group SCEA 2006
  • MOD
  • Military Veterans Affairs Act No 17 of
  • DMVA Presentation on Mil Vet affairs, DDSC, 29
    Nov 2004.
  • ABMVA Recommendations for Mil Vet Cab Com, and
    IDC on Mil Vet Affairs March 2005.
  • DMVA Mil Vet issues, strengthening the DMVA, Jul
  • DMVA Presentation to PCOD on Mil Vets 29 Aug