Malcolm Harper

malcolm harper 2With deep regret we have learned that Malcolm Harper died in May.

He had reaffirmed his support for the Just Defence Charter, which he signed in the 80s, and was added to our mailing list in 2009.

These extracts – relevant today – are taken from the Charter:

  • Defence policy must be for defence only, and clearly seen as non-provocative to others.
  • Modern technology, which has changed so much of our industrial and social life, has also transformed the nature of warfare.
  • Conventional defence can now become doubly powerful to deny success to an aggressor through the intelligent use of new and cost-effective technology.
  •  A non-provocative doctrine of ‘defence only’, will reduce international tension and substitute policies of political detente for those of political confrontation. 

Malcolm Harper monitored the work of Oxfam and smaller charities across 12 countries in east Africa for some years, making sure that money was being spent correctly on worthwhile projects. He was also one of the first people who went to Cambodia in 1979 to help rebuild the country after the devastation of the Pol Pot regime. In 1981 he became the director of the United Nations Association – UK (UNA- UK), working tirelessly for twenty-two years. He was regularly called on to give his informed and acute observations on the international news of the moment and can be heard in this Radio 4 Today dialogue about the development of the UN’s future intervention strategy.

phil shinerIn 2001, Birmingham’s Philip Shiner of Peacerights, a law service dealing with issues of international human rights and weapons/arms – perhaps a sub-section of Public Interest Lawyers – wrote:

“Malcolm has been instrumental in getting Peacerights going”.


An account of Malcolm Harper’s visits to Birmingham may be seen here: This account also includes a link to a radio broadcast.

His personal reflections on his time with UNA may be read here.

The Times obituary is restricted but a tribute may be read in his local Oxford Mail



I somewhat started my ‘peace life’ in the UNA offices when I came to London in 1981…  Thanks for letting me know! Always liked him and his enterprising spirit!  Sighs.  He can help better from where he is now!


May he rest in peace! I have good memories of the ’11 event at the Bham Council House.


I did read the obituary in The Times, which was excellent.  I always enjoyed reading his letters there (not so frequent in recent years), and they certainly helped to raise the profile of UNA.


Very sad news



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