The Charter for Compassion

We are delighted to announce that the Cape Town Eco Film Festival is an official partner of The Charter for Compassion.

Charter for Compassion

The organisers of the Festival, While You Were Sleeping, are proud to aspire to the values reflected in the Charter, and we seek to ensure that all of our activities are underlined by the principles represented in it.


The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

While You Were Sleeping and the Cape Town Eco Film Festival invite you to sign the Charter as an individual, partner your company or organisation to the Charter and follow the activity of Charter partners in Cape Town, South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.

Given one wish and $100,000, Karen Armstrong is changing the world. In February of 2008, Armstrong, a respected scholar who studies the connective tissues between world religions, was awarded the TED prize for her groundbreaking work. With that funding and the support of the TED organization, Armstrong chose to focus on compassion.

Specifically, she asked TED to help her create, launch and propagate a “Charter for Compassion”, based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.

In November of 2009, the Charter for Compassion was born. It grew from contributions of more than 150,000 people from 180 countries and was crafted into a succinct, 312-word pledge that allows room for all faiths and traditions.

Now in 2014 with over 100,000 signatories and individuals, businesses, cities and even whole countries signing the Charter, it’s a better time than ever to connect to your compassion!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments are closed.