Church groups and religious orders were planning to join others at the Houses of Parliament today, from 3pm to 7.30pm to lobby MPs for a renewed United Nations. They intended to urge the government to ensure that organisations such as the World Trade Organisation and World Bank become integrated into the UN; to ask that funding be provided for global citizenship education; and for positive action on disarmament. The lobby is one contribution to the UN Year and Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence. Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York in November, Vatican representative Archbishop Martino, said: "The family of nations must work to make the decade for peace and nonviolence a reality for the good of all the children of today's world, many of whom have known nothing but war. We must make it a reality in order to give the children of the new century a new hope and a new future." During the afternoon today, a public meeting was planned where speakers will include Peter Hain, minister for foreign affairs, Barry Coates of the World Development Movement, Bruce Kent and and Malcolm Harper of the United Nations Association. A spokeswoman for the social justice desk of the Conference of Religious said: "Given the extreme poverty of so many, it is urgent that the world's powerful economic institutions, the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation become accountable to the UN to the benefit of its weaker members as well as to stronger nations. "The UK makes a profit out of the production of arms, it promotes arms sales worldwide. Because of this, we as a nation are often implicated in the wars we see in the news, so it is precisely where we as a nation could contribute to international negotiations - to limit all kinds of arms transfers. Finally, we want our country's children to discover their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the world and we urge the government to fund education for peace and national co-operation."
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