The International Co-operative Alliance has extended condolences and solidarity to the victims and families of the Paris attacks.
On Friday evening, France declared a state of emergency following five co-ordinated attacks across the capital leaving at least 129 people dead, over 100 are in a critical condition and around 350 further people were injured.
The Alliance’s newly-installed president Monique Leroux expressed her dismay and condemned the attacks.
“Demonstrating the shared humanity of people around the world, the co-operative model transcends ideological differences,” she said. “Its unique model is recognised and valued by world governments and the United Nations. It has proven during times of hardship its capacity to build bridges, by providing a means for people to secure their future and a way out of poverty.
“Repeatedly, when the fires of war have burned out, or in the wake of natural disasters, co-operatives have shown a way to rebuild economies and relationships. Conflict is a zero sum game, in which one party wins, one loses. Co-operation is non-zero sum game, where parties can both do better, by working together.”
Looking at how co-operatives promote peace, Ms Leroux commented: “Peace is core to the co-operative ethos. In responding to the exploitation of labour and the inequality of wealth, the co-operative compass pointed from the outset toward social justice, which we believe, is the key to world peace.
“Accounting for peace, communicating for peace, member development for peace, governance for peace – this is what we will be working on today, sharing experience, gaining insights, offering help.”
Reflecting on the Alliance’s global conference and general assembly last week, where Ms Leroux was elected president, she said: “During Towards 2020, our global conference the past week in Antalya, Turkey, delegates from 95 countries joined to debate ways to build a better world. The relationships built there emphasise the relevance of the co-operative movement to the social justice issues of our day: inclusivity, food security; sustainable environmental practices and meaningful work.”
In Manchester, the Co-operative Group showed its respect when it lit up the earth tubes outside of its head office in France’s Tricolore.