March 17, 1993 World Service Authority Celebrates 40th Year of Providing Global Human Rights Documents
Washington, D.C.-March 1994 marks the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit World Service Authority, which, since 1954, has registered over one-million world citizens and issued hundreds of thousands of World Passports and other global identity documents based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Founded in New York in 1954 in response to the global swell of interest in world citizenship that began when former WW II bomber pilot Garry Davis renounced his U.S. citizenship in protest over "warring nationalistic policies," and declared himself a world citizen, the WSA maintains a database of individuals worldwide who choose to identify themselves as "world citizens," and offers World Passports, World Birth Certificates, World Identity Cards, and World Marriage Licenses to anyone who applies for them. Ingrid von Teslon-Dennison, WSA president, said that the organization issued 32,719 documents last year to world citizens, stateless people and refugees.
"Besides being a statement that the bearer recognizes a planetary community as a dynamic fact," says Ms. Dennison, "these passports are concrete tools for the exercise of our fundamental human rights." Citing Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "Everyone has the right to leave any county, including his own, and to return to his country," she adds that national passports, a means by which governments limit the travel of those within their borders, condone the violation of human rights. World Service Authority documents, she maintains, are oftentimes the only ones available to refugees and stateless persons, who otherwise are literally imprisoned in nations by the lack of identity papers.
The World Passport has been accepted on a de facto basis by over 130 countries, and testimonials to its effectiveness pour into the World Service Authority's headquarters almost daily. "To me," wrote a Black Christian refugee from south Sudan last month, "WSA documents were the only life saver. I will have been another memory, like thousands of my people who have disappeared with unmarked graves, were it not for the WSA World Identity Card.
Garry Davis, founder of the World Service Authority and head of its parent organization, the World Government of World Citizens, has carried only a World Passport since 1949, and has perhaps traveled farther on his World Service Authority Passport than any other world citizen. "We live in a global era," he said from his Burlington, Vermont office. "Every facet of our daily lives reflects the interconnectedness of the world community. Yet our political system is stuck in the 18th century. Our problems no longer stop at national borders, and neither can the solutions.