All posts by CPNN Coordinator

About CPNN Coordinator

Dr David Adams is the coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, proclaimed for the Year 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly.

UNAOC and BMW Group Announce the 10 Finalists of the Intercultural Innovation Award

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

A press release from Global News Wire

Ten global grassroots initiatives have been named finalists of the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award during an Awards Ceremony held last night [December 10] in Madrid, Spain. A partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, the Intercultural Innovation Award supports grassroots initiatives that promote intercultural dialogue and understanding and contribute to peace, cultural diversity, and more inclusive societies.

The Awards Ceremony was chaired by the High Representative for UNAOC and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Market Communications at BMW Group, and took place at the Royal Theatre.

“As the Intercultural Innovation Award enters its sixth edition, UNAOC and the BMW Group continue to collaborate to magnify the work of cutting-edge social innovators,” said Mr. Moratinos during his opening remarks. “In today’s global context, marked by conflicts of a complex nature, civil society organizations have the power to influence individual behaviors and foster the values of respect and inclusion, and therefore play a critical role in advancing these values among their communities.”

“With the Intercultural Innovation Award, we celebrate outstanding initiatives implemented by extraordinary individuals. They are working to bridge intercultural divisions in innovative and impactful ways. We at the BMW Group believe that diversity not only enhances our company; it is the very foundation on which our success is built. That is why we are so proud of our strong partnership with UNAOC. This collaboration and the Intercultural Innovation Award enable us to recognize some of the remarkable cross-cultural work being done worldwide,” said Mr. McAndrews.

This year, the selection process was highly competitive, with over 1,200 applications from 128 countries. The first place went to “Milenial Islami,” a project of the Indika Foundation in Indonesia. The project engages leaders of various religions in conversations with the public, both online and offline, to promote interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence.

In addition to a financial grant, the recipients of the Intercultural Innovation Award will benefit from capacity-building and mentorship support from UNAOC and the BMW Group to help their projects expand and replicate to other contexts. They will also be invited to join the “Intercultural Leaders” network, a skill and knowledge-sharing platform for civil society organizations and young leaders.

Other awardees include:

2nd place: Child Soldier Reintegration Project – Grassroots Reconciliation Group (Uganda)
The “Child Soldier Reintegration” project helps former child soldiers reconcile with war-affected communities in northern Uganda. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/child-soldier-reintegration-project/

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Question related to this article:
 
How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

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3rd place: Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Chapter Expansion – Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom (USA)
The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is a Muslim-Jewish grassroots organization in North America that helps young women and women develop relationships and gain the skills to react quickly to incidents in their communities in order to stand together in the face of hate. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/sisterhood-of-salaam-shalom-chapter-expansion/  

4th place: MinorMatters: Rewind; Rebuild – The Alliance Development Trust (Sri Lanka)
The project “MinorMatters: Rewind; Rebuild” is a web-based platform with resources to equip and empower citizens, especially youth, to promote religious freedom and coexistence in Sri Lanka. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/minormatters-rewind-rebuild/

5th place: Schools of Peace – Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (El Salvador)
The “Schools of Peace” project offers a variety of workshops to young people, from music and theater to photography and audiovisual production, intending to promote youth leadership and responsible citizenship and foster a culture of peace through arts and culture. The project also targets teachers by teaching them about violence prevention at school. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/schools-of-peace/

Honorable mentions:

E4D Entrepreneurs for Diversity – Ventana a la Diversidad (Spain)
The project “E4D Entrepreneurs for Diversity” empowers young entrepreneurs and creators from marginalized communities in the Ibero-American region to develop innovative ideas to overcome barriers, promoting a culture of peace, and transforming their communities. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/e4d-entrepreneurs-for-diversity/    

Life Into Lyrics: Bridging Cultural Divides Through Song – Darkspark (Canada)
The “Life into Lyrics” project invites youth to create pop songs and digital campaigns with social purpose, encouraging them to lend their voices to the change they want to see in the world. More info:  https://interculturalinnovation.org/life-into-lyrics-bridging-cultural-divides-through-song/   

Inclusive Intercultural Education for Social Cohesion – Kachinland College (Myanmar)
The “Inclusive Intercultural Education for Social Cohesion” project empowers and equips young leaders from different ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds in northern Myanmar to become facilitators in intercultural dialogue, both online and offline. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/inclusive-intercultural-education-for-social-cohesion/   

Women as Peace Champions – Women’s Rights Association (Pakistan)
The “Women as Peace Champions” project engages marginalized women groups to decrease the gap in the decision-making process and increase collaboration between different communities. It provides a platform for dialogue about peace and aims to foster tolerance amongst communities through the contribution of women. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/women-as-peace-champions/  

180° Wende – 180° Wende (Germany)
180° Wende connects the youth community to support their disadvantaged peers and empowers them to reclaim their own lives by reconquering their social environment. 180° Wende works in abandoned neighborhoods, prisons, and schools to provide quick and informal assistance to youth and their relatives. More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/180-turn/ 

Media Inquiries:
- Ms. Milena Pighi, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, BMW Group: Phone (Germany): +49-89-382-66563; Email: Milena.PA.Pighi@bmw.de 
- Mr. Alessandro Girola, Programming Coordinator, UNAOC: Phone (USA): +1 (929) 274-6217; Email: alessandrog@unops.org

The Nobel Lecture Given by the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Abiy Ahmed Ali

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from the Addis Standard

“Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa”
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Fellow Ethiopians, Fellow Africans, Citizens of the World
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be here with you, and deeply grateful to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for recognizing and encouraging my contribution to a peaceful resolution of the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I accept this award on behalf of Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace. Likewise, I accept this award on behalf of my partner, and comrade-in-peace, President Isaias Afwerki, whose goodwill, trust, and commitment were vital in ending the two-decade deadlock between our countries.

I also accept this award on behalf of Africans and citizens of the world for whom the dream of peace has often turned into a nightmare of war.

Today, I stand here in front of you talking about peace because of fate.

I crawled my way to peace through the dusty trenches of war years ago.

I was a young soldier when war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles.

There are those who have never seen war but glorify and romanticize it.

They have not seen the fear,

They have not seen the fatigue,

They have not seen the destruction or heartbreak,

Nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage.

War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back.

I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield.

I have seen older men, women, and children trembling in terror under the deadly shower of bullets and artillery shells.

You see, I was not only a combatant in war.

I was also a witness to its cruelty and what it can do to people.

War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men.

Twenty years ago, I was a radio operator attached to an Ethiopian army unit in the border town of Badme. The town was the flashpoint of the war between the two countries.

I briefly left the foxhole in the hopes of getting a good antenna reception.

It took only but a few minutes. Yet, upon my return, I was horrified to discover that my entire unit had been wiped out in an artillery attack. I still remember my young comrades-in-arms who died on that ill-fated day. I think of their families too.

During the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, an estimated one hundred thousand soldiers and civilians lost their lives. The aftermath of the war also left untold numbers of families broken. It also permanently shattered communities on both sides. Massive destruction of infrastructure further amplified the post-war economic burden.

Socially, the war resulted in mass displacements, loss of livelihoods, deportation and denationalization of citizens. Following the end of active armed conflict in June 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea remained deadlocked in a stalemate of no-war, no-peace for two decades.

During this period, family units were split over borders, unable to see or talk to each other for years to come.

Tens of thousands of troops remained stationed along both sides of the border. They remained on edge, as did the rest of the country and region. All were worried that any small border clash would flare into a full-blown war once again.

As it was, the war and the stalemate that followed were a threat for regional peace, with fears that a resumption of active combat between Ethiopia and Eritrea would destabilize the entire Horn region.

And so, when I became Prime Minister about 18 months ago, I felt in my heart that ending the uncertainty was necessary. I believed peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea was within reach. I was convinced that the imaginary wall separating our two countries for much too long needed to be torn down.

And in its place, a bridge of friendship, collaboration and goodwill has to be built to last for ages.

That is how I approached the task of building a peace bridge with my partner President Isaias Afwerki. We were both ready to allow peace to flourish and shine through. We resolved to turn our “swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks” for the progress and prosperity of our people.

We understood our nations are not enemies. Instead, we were victims of the common enemy called poverty. We recognized that while our two nations were stuck on old grievances, the world was shifting rapidly and leaving us behind.

We agreed we must work cooperatively for the prosperity of our people and our region.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are reaping our peace dividends. Families separated for over two decades are now united. Diplomatic relations are fully restored. Air and telecommunication services have been reestablished. And our focus has now shifted to developing joint infrastructure projects that will be a critical lever in our economic ambitions. Our commitment to peace between our two countries is iron-clad. One may wonder, how it is that a conflict extending over twenty years, can come to an amicable resolution.


Allow me to share with you a little about the beliefs that guide my actions for peace.

I believe that peace is an affair of the heart. Peace is a labor of love. Sustaining peace is hard work. Yet, we must cherish and nurture it. It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace. For me, nurturing peace is like planting and growing trees.

Just like trees need water and good soil to grow, peace requires unwavering commitment, infinite patience, and goodwill to cultivate and harvest its dividends. Peace requires good faith to blossom into prosperity, security, and opportunity.

In the same manner that trees absorb carbon dioxide to give us life and oxygen, peace has the capacity to absorb the suspicion and doubt that may cloud our relationships.

In return, it gives back hope for the future, confidence in ourselves, and faith in humanity. This humanity I speak of, is within all of us. We can cultivate and share it with others if we choose to remove our masks of pride and arrogance.

When our love for humanity outgrows our appreciation of human vanity then the world will know peace. Ultimately, peace requires an enduring vision. And my vision of peace is rooted in the philosophy of Medemer. Medemer, an Amharic word, signifies synergy, convergence, and teamwork for a common destiny. Medemer is a homegrown idea that is reflected in our political, social, and economic life.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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I like to think of “Medemer” as a social compact for Ethiopians to build a just, egalitarian, democratic, and humane society by pulling together our resources for our collective survival and prosperity.

In practice, Medemer is about using the best of our past to build a new society and a new civic culture that thrives on tolerance, understanding, and civility.

At its core, Medemer is a covenant of peace that seeks unity in our common humanity. It pursues peace by practicing the values of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come from a small town called Beshasha, located in the Oromia region of Western Ethiopia. It is in Beshasha that the seeds of Medemer began to sprout.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me and my siblings, an abiding faith in humanity. Medemer resonates with the proverb, “I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.”

In my little town, we had no running water, electricity, or paved roads. But we had a lot of love to light up our lives. We were each other’s keepers.

Faith, humility, integrity, patience, gratitude, tenacity, and cooperation coursed like a mighty stream. And we traveled together on three country roads called love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. In the Medemer idea, there is no “Us and Them.”

There is only “US” for “We” are all bound by a shared destiny of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

For the people in the “Land of Origins” and “The 13 Months of Sunshine,” Medemer has always been second nature. Ethiopians maintained peaceful coexistence between the followers of the two great religions because we always came together in faith and worship.

We, Ethiopians, remained independent for thousands of years because we came together to defend our homeland. The beauty of our Ethiopia is its extraordinary diversity.

The inclusiveness of Medemer ensures no one is left behind in our big extended family.

It has also been said, “No man is an island.”

Just the same, no nation is an island. Ethiopia’s Medemer-inspired foreign policy pursues peace through multilateral cooperation and good neighborliness.

We have an old saying: “በሰላም እንድታድር ጎረቤትህ ሰላም ይደር”, “yoo ollaan nagayaan bule, nagaan bulanni.” It is a saying shared in many African languages, which means, “For you to have a peaceful night, your neighbor shall have a peaceful night as well.”

The essence of this proverb guides the strengthening of relations in the region. We now strive to live with our neighbors in peace and harmony. The Horn of Africa today is a region of strategic significance. The global military superpowers are expanding their military presence in the area. Terrorist and extremist groups also seek to establish a foothold. We do not want the Horn to be a battleground for superpowers nor a hideout for the merchants of terror and brokers of despair and misery. We want the Horn of Africa to become a treasury of peace and progress. Indeed, we want the Horn of Africa to become the Horn of Plenty for the rest of the continent.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a global community, we must invest in peace.

Over the past few months, Ethiopia has made historic investments in peace, the returns of which we will see in years to come. We have released all political prisoners. We have shut down detention facilities where torture and vile human rights abuses took place.

Today, Ethiopia is highly regarded for press freedom. It is no more a “jailor of journalists”. Opposition leaders of all political stripes are free to engage in peaceful political activity.

We are creating an Ethiopia that is second to none in its guarantee of freedoms of expression. We have laid the groundwork for genuine multiparty democracy, and we will soon hold a free and fair election.

I truly believe peace is a way of life. War, a form of death and destruction. Peacemakers must teach peace breakers to choose the way of life. To that end, we must help build a world culture of peace. But before there is peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart and mind.

There must be peace in the family, in the neighborhood, in the village, and the towns and cities. There must be peace in and among nations.

Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen:

There is a big price for enduring peace. A famous protest slogan that proclaims, “No justice, no peace,” calls to mind that peace thrives and bears fruit when planted in the soil of justice.

The disregard for human rights has been the source of much strife and conflict in the world. The same holds in our continent, Africa. It is estimated that some 70 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 30.

Our young men and women are crying out for social and economic justice. They demand equality of opportunity and an end to organized corruption. The youth insist on good governance based on accountability and transparency. If we deny our youth justice, they will reject peace.

Standing on this world stage today, I would like to call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands and help build a country that offers equal justice, equal rights, and equal opportunities for all its citizens. I would like to especially express that we should avoid the path of extremism and division, powered by politics of exclusion. Our accord hangs in the balance of inclusive politics.

The evangelists of hate and division are wreaking havoc in our society using social media. They are preaching the gospel of revenge and retribution on the airwaves.

Together, we must neutralize the toxin of hatred by creating a civic culture of consensus-based democracy, inclusivity, civility, and tolerance based on Medemer principles.

The art of building peace is a synergistic process to change hearts, minds, beliefs and attitudes that never ceases.

It is like the work of struggling farmers in my beloved Ethiopia. Each season they prepare the soil, sow seeds, pull weeds, and control pests. They work the fields from dawn to dusk in good and bad weather. The seasons change, but their work never ends. In the end, they harvest the abundance of their fields. Before we can harvest peace dividends, we must plant seeds of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of our citizens.

We must pull out the weeds of discord, hate, and misunderstanding and toil every day during good and bad days too. I am inspired by a Biblical Scripture which reads: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

Equally I am also inspired by a Holy Quran verse which reads: “Humanity is but a single Brotherhood. So, make peace with your Brethren.”

I am committed to toil for peace every single day and in all seasons.

I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper too.

I have promises to keep before I sleep. I have miles to go on the road of peace.

As I conclude, I call upon the international community to join me and my fellow

Ethiopians in our Medemer inspired efforts of building enduring peace andProsperity in the Horn of Africa.

ሰላም ለሁላችንም፤ ለሰላም አርበኖች እንዲሁም ለሰላም ወዳጆች።

I thank you!

United Nations General Assembly Adopts Three Resolutions on Culture of Peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from the United Nations (abbreviated)

The General Assembly today (December 12) adopted three resolutions on the culture of peace, highlighting the need to foster interreligious and cultural dialogue, temper social media and bolster education in efforts to prevent future clashes between and within societies.


Bangladesh Ambassador Rabab Fatima introduced the culture of peace resolution

Introducing a draft on “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace”, the Philippines’ representative said the resolution aimed to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue in achieving peace and stability as well as strengthen constructive dialogue across divergent divides.  The resolution also stresses the important role the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United National Alliance of Civilizations play in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue at all levels, he said.

Bangladesh’s delegate, introducing a text on “Follow‑up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace”, noted that it welcomes the High‑level Forum on Culture of Peace held on 13 September 2019, the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action.  The Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace continues to find relevance across the three pillars of the United Nations in addressing contemporary global challenges, he said.

A final text designates 20 July as World Chess Day . . .

Addressing the drafts, delegates warned that clashing cultures are a growing reality in numerous societies, with antisemitism resurfacing and Islamophobia becoming more pervasive.  Libya’s representative pointed to waves of violence, displacement, death and destruction due to increases in violent extremism, terrorism and hatred.  “It is sad to see flagrant and daily violations of human rights,” he said.

They also observed that the international community today is facing more complex challenges undermining the culture of peace than in the past, including religious tensions and violence.  Kuwait’s representative observed that violent extremism is used as a mode of expression on social networks, stressing that the international community must ban content inciting extremism and terrorism.

Also arguing that social media platforms can threaten the culture of peace, Saudi Arabia’s delegate emphasized that using digital messages constructively can achieve the opposite result.  Echoing that sentiment, Ecuador’s representative emphasized that the more such media are used to disseminate hate speech the more people must use positive digital missives to counter them.

Several speakers emphasized the importance of quality education and dialogue as tools to forge peaceful understanding between countries and societies.  Interreligious and intercultural dialogues with faith leaders, civil society and academia are important for building intellectual and moral solidarity, India’s delegate said.  Home to a significant number of practitioners of practically every major religion in the world, his country is a narrative of conversations between different civilizations, he said. . . .

The Assembly had before it two reports of the Secretary‑General on “A world against violence and violent extremism,” (document A/74/195) and “Promotion of a culture of peace and interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace (document A/74/476).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Sweden, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Cuba, Morocco, Panama, Pakistan, Brunei Darussalam, Azerbaijan, Canada, Nicaragua and United States, as well as an observer for the Holy See. . . .

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

RABAB FATIMA (Bangladesh), introducing the draft resolution titled “Follow‑up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” (document A/74/L.23), said the text welcomes the High‑level Forum on Culture of Peace held on 13 September 2019, the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action.  Bangladesh appreciates that the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace continues to find relevance across the three pillars of the United Nations in addressing contemporary global challenges.  It further appreciates that the High‑level Forum provided an opportunity for Member States, United Nations entities, civil society, non‑governmental organizations and other stakeholders to exchange ideas and make suggestions on how to build on and further promote the culture of peace in the twenty‑first century.  Finally, the text notes its support for Member States in promoting the culture of peace at the national level. . . .

KIRA CHRISTIANNE DANGANAN AZUCENA (Philippines), introducing the draft resolution titled “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace” (document L/74/L.25), said that the international community is experiencing a growing trend of xenophobia and religious intolerance, underpinned by the politics of identity, as well as the emergence of extremist ideologies.  There was a time when terror was the weapon of the weak against the strong in fights for freedom and justice.  Today, terror is pursued for itself.  It is not a means but the end that terrorism seeks:  a society built on fear where every person is afraid of another.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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This annual resolution is more relevant than ever and has two aims:  to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue to achieve peace and stability, and to strengthen the mechanism that promises constructive dialogue across the most divergent divides, she said.  The Philippines strived to use the objectives of this resolution by maintaining an open, inclusive and transparent approach during the negotiation process.  An example of this is operative paragraph 9, which appreciates the landmark initiative to open up the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor and welcomes the agreement achieved between Pakistan and India in record time.  The resolution also stresses the important role of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the invaluable contributions of the United National Alliance of Civilizations in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue at all levels.

Statements

VITAVAS SRIVIHOK (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that ASEAN continues to advance the vision the association had when it was founded 52 years ago:  to have an integrated, peaceful and stable community throughout the region which enjoys prosperity, lasting peace and stability.  The association’s decision‑making process has been carried out in the ASEAN way:  completed with the consensus of all 10 member countries.  The ASEAN way has worked to expand peace and stability in the region, and it carries out the same process with its dialogue partners to within the region and beyond its borders.

ASEAN continues to engage in meaningful dialogue with its external partners through ASEAN‑led mechanisms, such as the Preventive Diplomacy and Confidence‑Building Measures under the ASEAN Regional Forum, he continued.  ASEAN also supports the Security Council’s women, peace and security agenda and multi‑stakeholder initiatives.  For example, the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme helps foster a culture of peace through the active participation of women and youth.  ASEAN believes that the promotion of cooperation on sustainable development also helps foster a culture of peace, he said.

CARLOS RON MARTÍNEZ, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs for North America of Venezuela, said that building and strengthening a culture of peace calls for real commitment from the international community.  This must go beyond occasional speeches to real action.  Achieving solidarity with the most vulnerable people is essential in this regard.  “We must understand each other and recognize each other without judging each other,” he added.  A world of peace will only be possible when social justice, health, food and dignity are accessible to all people regardless of their social class, gender or any other construct.  Venezuela rejects xenophobia and discrimination.

Political will and dialogue without exclusion and under equal conditions will allow people to feel like real actors of change in the world, he continued. Venezuela has made major contributions to multilateralism, cooperation and solidarity.  This has been recognized by various States, social movements and academics.  The country remains involved in initiatives that promote economic solidarity, self‑determination and peaceful coexistence.  Venezuela is also dedicated to establishing a judicial system that strengthens peace, integrity and the rule of law.  He condemned the illegal implementation of unilateral coercive measures by the United States against his country.  “They are criminal and inhumane collective punishment,” he said, demanding such measures be lifted immediately. . . .

AHMED NASIR (Maldives) said that education is a key element in cultivating and nurturing a culture of peace.  Despite much progress in that regard, there are still some 262 million children worldwide who do not go to school.  Inequality remains one of the biggest obstacles to creating a culture of peace.  For decades, Maldivians who lived in islands outside of the greater Malé region have not had the same level of development or access to the same basic resources.  They have not been accorded the same level of priority in policymaking circles.  The current Government is committed to implementing a decentralization policy aimed at rectifying this.  The Declaration and Programme of Action on a culture of peace rightly identifies Governments, civil society, media and individuals as key actors for its effective implementation.  Moreover, he said that without adequate regulation, social media has become a tool to spread populist rhetoric, political extremism, racism, xenophobia and falsehoods.  “We call on social media companies to take more responsibility, especially in monitoring divisive content,” he said.

Mr. ALMABROK (Libya) said the world is witnessing waves of violence, displacement, death and destruction, due to an increase of violent extremism, terrorism and hatred.  The root causes are poverty, unemployment, impunity and marginalization. “It is sad to see flagrant and daily violations of human rights,” he said, calling on all countries to work together to provide greater resources and the courage to put an end to these violations.  Peace can only exist where there is justice.  He expressed concern that unregulated social media is exposing young people to extremist ideology.  Member States should demonstrate a collective will to resolve conflict and war and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign States.  Respect for cultural and religious diversity is also important.

ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), warning that the world today produces more bullets than books, stressed that so long as nuclear deterrence is used as a method to contain war, human beings will not enjoy a culture of peace.  There can be no peace without full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and the self‑determination of peoples.  The use of unilateral coercive measures as a foreign policy tool must cease.  Ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba would be an action in favor of peace.  There is no culture of peace when the United States launches a new slander campaign to discredit Cuba, she stressed. . . .

YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that the Baku Process has proved itself as one of the leading international platforms to foster dialogue and cultural diversity.  Its important role was emphasized by the Secretary‑General in his report to the Assembly’s seventy‑second session and most recently, in the outcome documents of the eighteenth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non‑Aligned Movement, held on 25 to 26 October in Azerbaijan.  An integral part of the Baku Process is the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, organized biennially by Azerbaijan since 2011 in partnership with UNESCO, the Alliance of Civilizations, the World Tourism Organization, the Council of Europe and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  The fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, which took place this May in Baku, focused on dialogue as an instrument for action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict.  In November, Azerbaijan hosted the second Summit of World Religious Leaders, which drew participants from about 70 countries, and adopted the Baku Declaration at its outcome.  The outcome emphasized the role of religious leaders in promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. . . .

The U.S. is trying to get out of paying climate damages to poor countries

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A blog by Emily Atkin at Heated World

Activists say the Paris agreement will be “on the verge of collapse” if rich countries don’t commit to paying poor countries for devastating climate-related losses.


This is what climate activist Greta Thunberg said . . .

After a three week catamaran journey  across the Atlantic Ocean—and a train ride from Portugal—famed youth climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in Madrid, Spain on Friday for the United Nations climate change conference known as COP25: the last time nations will come together before the Paris climate agreement is officially implemented in 2020.

Thunberg’s immediate message was one of frustration and urgency.

“We have been striking for over a year, and basically nothing has happened,” she told activists shortly after her arrival, and shortly before leading a march of 500,000 people  through Madrid. “The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power, and we cannot go on like this.”

There are people who will take Thunberg’s statement as a knock on her own activist movement. But those people willingly misinterpret her intention. Clearly, Thunberg is not saying that the climate strikes haven’t changed public opinion and understanding about climate change.

She’s saying that, despite a sea change in public opinion and understanding about the climate crisis, no one with any true power to change the global emissions trajectory has yet done anything about it. She’s saying that no one with any true power at the U.N. climate talks seems to understand the urgency of this crisis.

And she’s right. As an example, just look at what the United States is doing at COP25.

A proposal to avoid paying for climate impacts on the vulnerable

Last night, a source at the U.N. climate talks sent HEATED a photograph of a proposal being floated by the Trump administration’s diplomatic team. The proposal surrounds the problem of “loss and damage,” which refers to the “unavoidable and irreversible impacts of climate change, where mitigation has failed, and adaptation is not possible.”

I’m not sharing the photograph directly because it contains identifying information about the person who shared it, which would put that person’s job at risk. But here’s what the U.S. proposal on loss and damage says—and fair warning, to anyone who isn’t intricately involved with international climate politics, it reads like complete gibberish:

The decision package from the WIM to serve the COP in addition to the CMA could have the following components:

1. Serves both the CMA and COP as a single-consulted body with a single agenda, in accordance with past COP decisions/Paris Agreement

2. The agreement in paragraph 51 of 1/CP.21 on liability and compensation apples to work of the WIM serving the CMA and the COP

3. All Parties to the Convention (including those that are not Parties to Paris) and eligible to serve on the Excom

4. Annual report by the Excom to the COP and CMA considered jointly by the SBI and SBSTA in a single joint contact group


Fortunately, Harjeet Singh helped translate the document into real person words. Singh is the global lead on climate change for ActionAid, and has been following the U.N. negotiations about how to deal with climate loss and damage for a decade.

With this proposal, Singh said, “The U.S. is now attempting to add further protections for itself and fossil fuel companies against liability claims into the complex web of international climate legislation.”

And if this proposal is adopted at COP25 this week, Singh said, “the countries least responsible for the crisis, but are suffering the most, could stand even less chance of receiving financial support to recover from the devastating impacts of increasingly frequent and severe droughts, flooding and sea level rise.”

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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How in the world is that what the proposal says?

The U.S. proposal surrounds the WIM—that is, the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. This mechanism was established by the U.N. in 2013, so that rich countries that are most responsible for the climate crisis could help financially support poorer countries already experiencing climate disasters, since those countries hold far less responsibility for the crisis.

The WIM sounds pretty cool, but there’s always been a problem with it. The WIM has never had a finance mechanism —meaning, there’s been no way for rich countries like the U.S. to actually pay into it, because it doesn’t say how much countries like the U.S. should compensate countries for the impacts of global warming.

So that’s one thing countries are trying to figure out at the U.N. climate talks this week: How to fix the WIM so that the most vulnerable people on the planet don’t have to pay for billions—or more likely, trillions—in climate damages they didn’t cause.

The U.S.’s proposal, however, doesn’t attempt to add a financing mechanism to the WIM. Instead, Singh said, “The U.S. is using the opportunity to make changes to the way the WIM is governed, to cover its own back and keep developing countries hit by climate disasters mired in debt and poverty.”

This is making climate justice activists—not to mention people from actual developing countries—very mad.

At a press conference at the U.N. on Monday morning, Singh didn’t cite the U.S. proposal explicitly, but warned that wealthy countries were trying to get out of creating a financing mechanism for the WIM, and therefore avoid the obligation for paying poor countries for the damage they caused.

“If rich countries do not allow this architecture to be created … the Paris agreement is on the verge of collapse before it properly begins next year,” he said.

An unsurprising development

It’s not particularly surprising that the United States government would try to avoid financial responsibility for other countries’ climate damages—nor is the attempt unique to the Trump administration, said Taylor Billings, the press secretary for Corporate Accountability, a group that launches global campaigns on holding fossil fuel companies and other corporations accountable for climate change.

“The U.S. is always trying to get out of its historical responsibility for climate change,” she said.

Indeed, as the New York Times reported last year, industrialized nations including the U.S. have routinely failed on their promises to help poor countries deal with devastating climate effects.

In 2009, they pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 for that purpose. But that money “has been slow to materialize,” the Times reported, “with only $3.5 billion actually committed  out of $10.3 billion pledged to a prominent United Nations program  called the Green Climate Fund.” Both Obama and Trump failed to fulfill pledges, the Times reported—though Trump has been much worse. Not only is he attempting to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement; last year, he straight-up canceled $2 billion in promised climate aid to poor countries.

With this new proposal, Billings said, “The U.S. is trying to torch the Paris agreement on its way out.” Justice for poor and developing nations “is the core of what the Paris agreement should do,” she said. “If the U.S. gets its way, that won’t happen.”

The week ahead

Whether the U.S. proposal on loss and damage will be adopted is anyone’s guess. Obviously, it’s in developed countries’ interest to avoid creating a financing mechanism for the WIM—but developing countries will depend on that mechanism for their survival. Meetings on proposals like this tend to be closed to press, so the outcome will likely depend on whether representatives from developing countries push back strongly enough.

Meanwhile, activists like Thunberg are trying to direct some media attention away from themselves and toward those countries currently experiencing unjust loss and damage from the climate crisis.

“We have noticed there is some media attention,” Thunberg said at a press conference at the U.N. this morning. “And we thought it is our moral duty to use that media attention .. .to lend our voices to those who need to tell their stories.

We are privileged, and our stories have been told many times over and over again. It is not our stories that need to be told and listened to.

It is the others, especially from the Global South and Indigenous communities who need to tell their stories. Because the climate emergency is not just something that will impact us in the future. It is not something that will have an impact on children living today when they grow up. It is already affecting countless people today. People are suffering and dying from it today.

So that’s why we’ve created this event, to hope it will be some kind of platform to share the stories that need to be shared.

Six justice activists shared their stories at the press conference. You can listen to them all by clicking HERE.

We’ll have more on their stories this week, along with the promised investigation into fossil fuel advertising in news media. Stay tuned—and don’t forget to subscribe!

Nepal urges concrete plans to tackle climate emergency

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Lok Raj Joshi based on articles in The Himayan Times, The Kathmandu Post , the UN climate Summit and the United Nations Climate Change website.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Conference of Parties, COP-25) is in progress in Madrid, Spain. The event started on December 2 and will conclude on December 13. Heads of state/governments and environment ministers from 197 countries as well as representatives of various organizations working in the climate change sector are participating. The conference aims to negotiate plans to limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement, governments had agreed to update their climate plans by 2020.


(Click on image to enlarge.)

However, it has been reported that a little (not much) progress has been made till now in COP-25 on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement that calls for minimizing unfair carbon markets. It needs to be noted that carbon emission is the prime cause of global warming. It has also been reported that responsible parties are far from finding compromise positions on mobilizing finance and support for loss and damage. This has drawn huge attention from the victims of global warming, climate scientists, social justice protesters and people around the globe. An estimated 500,000 people, led by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg marched through Madrid on Friday night. One million people marched in Santiago, Chile.

A government team from Nepal led by the Minister for Forests and Environment, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, is taking part in COP-25. He is scheduled to address the special session of COP-25 on Wednesday. Nepal is going to propose formulating a plan for coping with the adverse conditions resulting from global warming. Nepal is also lobbying for the Green Climate Fund. Highly affected countries like Nepal are entitled to receive it as compensation from the responsible countries that are releasing large quantity of carbon into the atmosphere.

Although Nepal has not been able to raise the issue of global warming strongly in the international forums, Nepal is serious about the disasters caused by it. Scientific evidence clearly shows that Nepal is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the planet and it is already facing the disasters of the man-made global warming. The latest landmark study in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, which covers 3,500 kilometres across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan, has projected an alarming future for economically and geographically challenged developing countries like Nepal. The study by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has concluded that the region would lose one-third of the region’s glaciers by the end of the century.

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Considering the geographical and economic characteristics of Nepal, climate change is an urgent matter for Nepalese people. First, its northern region is comprised of the snow-covered Himalaya mountains including the top of the earth Sagarmatha (internationally famous as The Mount Everest) and the south is the Terai (plain area). The middle hilly region is mostly dependent on water flowing from the Himalayas and the crops from the Terai. The Terai itself depends on water from the north and supplies food to the rest of the nation. This relationship makes the adverse effects of global warming even more complex, more intense and more widespread creating a vicious cycle of disasters in Nepal. Second, agriculture and tourism based on natural beauties including the Himalayas, rivers, glaciers, lakes, jungles and wild animals are the major sources of income for Nepal. Hydroelectricity is the most potential area that is expected to contribute to realization of the Nepalese dream of prosperity. Unfortunately, these all have been the first targets of global warming.

For us, the Nepalese people, it is unfortunate to see the reluctance of the responsible parties to accept the scientific conclusions regarding global warming and to internalize the gravity of the adversities caused by it. Its serious adverse effects which are unpredictable at the same time, have threatened the livelihood of the Nepalese people. In the most recent instance of extreme weather events in the country, incessant heavy rainfalls, floods and landslides claimed more than five dozen lives in various parts of the country. 


The Prime Minister of Nepal, KP Oli has said, “The country is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change although our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is negligible. Rising temperature, retreating glaciers, erratic rainfall and extreme weather events are causing damages to our people and economy. The climate is becoming more vulnerable and unpredictable. We received a delayed monsoon. We also had first tornado in our recorded history. As a result of rapid industrialization, the adverse impact of climate change is also increasing. Some countries are well prepared to deal with them, but countries like Nepal are most vulnerable. I urge scientists to consider small mountainous and small-island nations while preparing the report.” This is what Prime Minister Oli said addressing the Second Lead Authors Meeting of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC Working Group (II) held in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, in July this year.

More than 260 climate scientists from more than 60 countries and bureau members IPCC had gathered to discuss the pressing issue. As an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, the IPCC provides scientific evidence of climate change; its impact on various sectors. It also informs about the natural, political and economic impacts of global warming along with possible solutions. “Meeting here in Kathmandu reminds us in a very direct way of the strong interdependence of human and natural systems, and how both are threatened by climate change. Key aspects of our report and reasons to act on climate change are very evident here,” said Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts.

From the global viewpoint, no country in the world is going to benefit from global warming in the long run. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all people around the world to tackle this issue wisely and timely. No development can be called a real development when it does not care about the future of humanity and the home planet. Also, it is not only a pure environmental issue; it is a case of social injustice too. Innocent people are facing the dreadful consequences of irresponsible activities by others. It is high time that all environmental scientists, youths, civil societies, political leaders and all responsible citizens around the world raise their voice to make all the concerned parties realize the gravity of the issue and take appropriate actions without any delay.

Londrina, Brazil: 9th edition of “A Weapon is not a Toy”

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from the World March for Peace and Nonviolence

The COMPAZ Municipal Council for the Culture of Peace and the OSC Londrina Pazeando, invited the community of Londrina to the ninth edition of the event “A weapon is not a toy”.


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The act was held on November 21 at 2:30 pm in the Municipal Chamber of Londrina.

This year 45 toy stores received the Seal of the Prefecture and City Hall, in a solemn ceremony that was held in the City Hall. Representatives of all stores attended, including those that received the Seal in 2018.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

Do war toys support the culture of war?

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Sociologist Rangel Bandeira was honored for his book “Weapons for what.” The book includes a chapter that mentions the city of Londrina as the only one in Brazil that has a public policy regarding the disarmament of children and the control of the sale of toy weapons.

(Editor’s note: The first edition of this event was described by CPNN in 2011: Londrina encourages its merchants not to sell toy weapons.)

Another theme at the event was the presentation of the 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence

The Base Team of the 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence will arrive in Londrina on December 17, 2019, carrying the proposal of A World without Weapons and A World without Wars.

Several activities have taken place in the city in the framework of the March. See more on the march at  http://londrinapazeando.org.br/2-marcha-mundial-pela-paz-e-nao-violencia/ .

The Seal Delivery event is part of the Program of the II Municipal Week of Restorative Justice in Londrina (Law No. 12.624/17) that takes place from November 12 to 21, 2019.

Angola: President’s aide encourages African Union to stick to peaceful conflict resolution

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

A press release from EIN News Desk

The Minister of State and Chief of the Security Affairs of the President of Republic Pedro Sebastiãon Thursday [December 6] encouraged the African Union (AU), in particular its Peace and Security Council, to keep close coordination with the economic communities and regional mechanisms for the prevention, management and peaceful resolution to conflicts on the continent.,

[In Luanda, Angola}, Pedro Sebastião was speaking at the opening ceremony of the ministerial meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), on behalf of Angolan Head of State, João Lourenço.  

He said that such coordination with regional mechanisms should promote national reconciliation and draw lessons from past and present processes.

It should also facilitate the exchange of experiences within the framework of the African peace and security architecture for the “silence of weapons by 2020”.
 
In view of the conflicts to continue topping the international agenda, the president’s aide defended combined efforts between the AU and the UN Security Council, as a privileged international body for the maintenance of international peace and security in order to gather resources for true solidarity between countries in response to the phenomena that still cause instability on the continent.

Among the conflicts that cause instability on the continent, he highlighted the problem of terrorism in the Sahel, Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions.  

He recalled that it was precisely in the spirit of solidarity with the “brother peoples of the Great Lakes region” that Angola was invited to contribute to the mediation process, with a view to resolving the disagreement between Rwanda and Uganda.

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Question related to this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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Angola’s effort to bring together these two brother countries  resulted in the signing of the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding.

Pedro Sebastião stressed in his speech that the culmination of the armed conflict in Angola, after three decades, is a living example that political will is the crucial element in achieving peace.  

In the specific case of Angola, he noted that inclusive dialogue played a decisive role in achieving lasting peace “which we carefully take care of for the maintenance of this acquired good with blood, sweat and tears.”
 
“Today we can assume that the culture of peace is a fact of life in our country,” said the Angolan leader, noting that the country is available to share its experience regarding peace and conflict management and help the countries of the continent in this matter.

The official noted, however, that Angolans are aware that peace in the country has also benefited from the valuable contribution of the African Union and its member states, where some of their children have paid with their life, highlighting the case of Maitre Aione Blondi Beye.

According to the head of the President’s Security Affairs, political stability and democracy can only be achieved through the creation of strong institutions and the adoption of behaviours that ensure the peaceful resolution to conflicts inherent in human societies.  

To him, democratic processes and inclusive systems of governance ensure the development of a national environment of stability, fostering the creation of a culture of peace.  

The most worrying cases for Angolan diplomacy and the AU’s PSC are those of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the tension in the Great Lakes region (involving Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda).
 
The official also referred to the latent conflicts  in South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR), as example, where Angola is directly engaged in finding a solution.  

The PSC meeting is part of the peace-building strategy and the promotion of sustainable development.

The opening session of the meeting of the body gathered 80 entities, including 15 foreign ministers from the African Union (AU) PSC states.

Angola took over the presidency of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union on December 1.

Groundswell of support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by Oscar Grenfell from the World Socialist Web Site (abbreviated)

Over the past week [last week of November], a growing groundswell of opposition to the US-led persecution of Julian Assange has come to the surface of political life internationally.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange greets supporters from a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

Prominent public figures in Britain, Europe and Australia, including doctors, journalists, politicians and United Nations representatives, have condemned the WikiLeaks founder’s imprisonment in the UK’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.

They have demanded an end to the attempt to extradite him to the United States, where he faces charges of espionage and life imprisonment for publishing the truth.

Their statements, and a number of significant events in Assange’s defence, are a welcome blow to the conspiracy of silence that has surrounded his persecution, enforced by governments, official political parties around the world and the corporate media.

The expressions of hostility to the US-led vendetta against Assange come in the lead-up to extradition hearings next February in the UK. British authorities have trampled on Assange’s legal and democratic rights, including his ability to prepare a defence, and have dismissed warnings from medical experts that his health has deteriorated to the extent that he could die in prison.

The surge of support for Assange also follows the ignominious collapse of the attempts to frame him as a “rapist,” with Swedish prosecutors last week finally abandoning a nine-year “preliminary investigation” into sexual misconduct allegations.

The bogus Swedish investigation, characterised by a litany of procedural abuses and violations of due process, played a central role in undermining the mass support that Assange enjoyed in 2010. It was invoked by innumerable pseudo-left organisations, media pundits and self-styled civil liberties organisations to join the attacks on Assange or justify their refusal to defend him.

Now, however, it is clear to millions that Assange is, and always has been, a political prisoner. His “crime,” according to the US government and its allies, was to publish documents of historic significance revealing their war crimes, global diplomatic conspiracies and surveillance operations affecting billions of people.

The US attempt to prosecute him has opened the floodgates for an assault on press freedom and free speech, with the “Assange precedent” spurring government attacks on journalists in France, Australia and the US.

These factors have contributed to the following significant developments:

● Last weekend, more than 60 eminent medical doctors issued an open letter to the British home secretary, warning that, unless urgent action is taken, Assange may die in Belmarsh Prison. The doctors condemned Britain’s denial of adequate medical care to Assange and called for him to be immediately moved to a university teaching hospital. Their initiative was reported in dozens of publications around the world.

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Question related to this article:
 
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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● On Monday, the inaugural meeting of a cross-parliamentary group of eleven Australian federal parliamentarians unanimously resolved to lobby for the US extradition request to be dropped and for Assange “to be allowed to return to Australia.” The statement breached years of silence on Assange by all of the official Australian political parties, including those represented within the grouping. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also warned that a US extradition of Assange would be “unacceptable.”

● On Wednesday, the French journalists’ union published an appeal for the government of Emmanuel Macron to oppose Assange’s persecution.

● On the same day, statues were unveiled outside Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate of Assange and the courageous whistle-blowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer described them as “our dissidents,” whose cases were “the most significant test of our time for the credibility of Western rule of law and democracy.” Melzer, along with Assange’s father John Shipton and WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, spoke at an event in the German Bundestag, where they were warmly received by a number of parliamentarians.

● On Thursday, an overflow crowd attended a public meeting in London rallying support for Assange. It was addressed by renowned investigative journalist John Pilger, former British diplomat Craig Murray, and other defenders of Assange, including the popular rapper Lowkey.

● That evening, the prominent Australian journalist Kerry O’Brien spoke strongly on the need to defend Assange in his keynote address to the Walkley Awards, Australia’s preeminent media event.

O’Brien warned of the turn toward “fascism” revealed in attacks on press freedom. He told the audience: “As we sit here tonight, Julian Assange is mouldering in a British prison awaiting extradition to the United States. This government could demonstrate its commitment to a free press by using its significant influence with its closest ally to gain his return to Australia.”

O’Brien recalled that Assange received the 2011 Gold Walkley Award for the very publications over which the US is seeking to prosecute him—in an implicit condemnation of those media organisations that had turned on the WikiLeaks founder. Paul Murphy, head of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which has failed to date to mount any significant campaign in defence of Assange, a member of the union, also condemned the threatened extradition.

Underlying these significant statements is the broad support for Assange among ordinary people and widespread popular anger and concern over the threatened extradition, revealed in the fact that petitions demanding his freedom have been signed by hundreds of thousands of people.

The political parties in a position to intervene to secure Assange’s release, however, have either remained silent or rejected calls that they defend him. This includes the British Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, which has not even mentioned the WikiLeaks founder amid a general election campaign, and the Australian government, which is participating in the campaign against Assange despite the fact that he is an Australian citizen.

For their part, the pseudo-left organisations, taking their lead from the state authorities and representing the most affluent layers of the upper-middle class, have said nothing.

Behind the scenes, the intelligence agencies and governments that have spearheaded the campaign against Assange are doing everything they can to ensure that nothing disrupts his extradition and show trial. For the ruling elites, the attack on Assange is viewed as a crucial precedent for silencing government critics, suppressing anti-war sentiment and intimidating mass social and political opposition.

Over the past 18 months, the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Parties have intensified their decade-long campaign in defence of Assange. The developments of the past week have substantiated the key political foundations of this struggle.

Why was Morales ousted from Bolivia by a coup d’etat?


Presidents Correa (Ecuador), Morales (Bolivia) and Maduro (Venezuela)

One does not need to search far to find the reasons why the United States was behind the coup d’etat that ousted President Evo Morales from Bolivia. The reasons are contained in the articles cited below from CPNN over the past couple of years. As the articles show, Morales was an outspoken critic of American imperialism and an ardent advocate for disarmament, sustainable development and the well-being of the people of Bolivia, especially the poor and the indigenous.

As quoted in the article by Eric Zuesse: “Without a doubt, the coup d’état in Bolivia is part of the tradition of the old military coups sponsored by the United States since the end of World War II. However, this practice dates back even further, as the history books show us. That means that the soft coup that was applied against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Lugo in Paraguay and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, has been abandoned and the old formulas have returned.”

The “old formula” is also evident in the continuing US attempts to promote a coup in Venezuela, as we have followed in CPNN: what is really happening in Venezuela?.

* * * * * * * * *

This question applies to the following articles in CPNN:

Bolivia: Post-Coup Update

Bolivia to Foster a Culture of Peace at UN

Bolivia: Evo Morales says the United States seeks to “devastate and impoverish” Venezuela as did to Iraq and Libya

Bolivia calls for the preservation of South America as a zone of peace free of nuclear weapons

Día de la Madre Tierra (Earth Day), 2017

Latin America and the Caribbean could be first developing region to eradicate hunger

Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela Agree to Defend Mother Earth at COP21

Bolivia: Post-Coup Update

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Eric Zuesse from the Transcend Media Service

 With every passing day, it becomes clearer that the military coup in Bolivia on November 10th was masterminded in Washington DC. This reality will create yet a new difficulty in relations between the U.S. regime and Mexico to its direct south, because the Mexican Government, under progressive President Lopez Obrador, took the courageous and very meaningful step of providing refuge to the U.S.-couped Bolivian President Evo Morales and therefore posed overtly a resistance to the U.S. dictatorship.


President Evo Morales

Unlike the U.S. itself, which has abandoned the substance of democracy while adhering to its fascist Supreme Court’s interpretations (distortions) of the original intent of the democratic America’s Founding Fathers in their U.S. Constitution, Bolivia’s imposed regime isn’t even nominally legitimate in any democratic sense, because it has abandoned that country’s Constitution, ever since it grabbed power there.

One of the first indications that this was another U.S. coup was that on November 10th, the New York Times, which along with the Washington Post is one of the regime’s two main mouthpieces, refused to call it a “coup” at all, though it obviously was. Headlining on November 10th with the anodyne “Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down”, they lied and alleged that “Mr. Morales was once widely popular” — as if there were any objective measures, such as polls, which indicated that he no longer was. Their concept of ‘democracy’ was like that of fascists everywhere: violent mob actions against a democratically elected Government. “Angry mobs attacked election buildings  around the country, setting some on fire.” Far-right mobs are ‘democracy to ‘journalists’ such as at the New York Times.  

The next day, November 11th, that fascist ‘news’-paper headlined an editorial “Evo Morales Is Gone. Bolivia’s Problems Aren’t.” Here is how they expressed their contempt for democracy: “When a leader resorts to brazenly abusing the power and institutions put in his care by the electorate, as President Evo Morales did in Bolivia, it is he who sheds his legitimacy, and forcing him out often becomes the only remaining option. That is what the Bolivians have done.” ‘Bolivians’ — meaning there that extreme-rightist minority of Bolivia’s electorate. The NYT even had the gall to say contemptuously: “Predictably, Mr. Morales’s left-wing allies across Latin America, including President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, President-elect Alberto Fernández of Argentina and President Miguel Díaz-Canel of Cuba, joined by the British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, cried ‘coup’.”

Britain’s BBC, on November 11th, was considerably more circumspect in their anti-democratic propaganda: for example, in this video, at 13:00, the BBC  asks
“Why are so many of the people out there on the streets now then do you think [demonstrating against Morales]?”

and the respondent didn’t say that this is the way practically every CIA coup is done. So, the desired implication was left with gullible viewers, that this was an expression of a democracy instead of the expression of a fascist mob.

It was left to governments which are resisting U.S. rule to express more honestly, as the Turkish Government’s more honest propaganda-organ, the newspaper Yeni Safak, did finally on November 17th, “Bolivia’s Morales was overthrown by a Western coup just like Iran’s Mosaddeg”. Their columnist Abdullah Muradoğlu wrote:

There are indications that the U.S. was involved in the ousting of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in a military coup. Secret talks between American senators and Morales’ opponents were brought up before the elections on Oct. 20. The talks, which were leaked to the public, discussed action plans to destabilize Bolivia if Morales won the elections. It was stated that the Evangelical Church would support the coup attempt. The fact that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, known as “Tropical Trump”, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are passionate Evangelicals, points to the ideological link to the Evangelical architects of the Bolivian coup. …

Bolivia has abundant resources of tin, copper, silver, gold, tungsten, petroleum and uranium, as well as large quantities of lithium. Lithium is a strategic mine for space technology. Morales became the target of a pro-U.S. military coup, and policies aimed at allocating the country’s resources to the poor rather than a small group played an important role in his demise. …

But it wasn’t only foreign news-media but also a very few honest alternative-news media which were reporting the realities. For example, on November 11th, The Gray Zone headlined “Bolivia coup led by Christian fascist paramilitary leader and millionaire – with foreign support”. The next day, on November 12th, Moon of Alabama’s anonymous blogger bannered “Lessons To Learn From The Coup In Bolivia” and he summarized the popular democratically elected and re-elected overthrown leader Evo Morales’s enormously successful record of leadership there, such as:

During his twelve years in office Evo Morales achieved quite a lot  of good things:

Illiteracy rates:
2006 13.0%, 2018 2.4%

Unemployment rates
2006 9.2%, 2018 4.1%

Moderate poverty rates
2006 60.6%, 2018 34.6%

Extreme poverty rates
2006 38.2%, 2018 15.2%

It’s no wonder, then, that Morales is so popular in Bolivia.

Then, further about the fascist character of the U.S.-imposed regime, Mint Press News headlined on November 18th, “Media Silent as Bolivia’s New Right-Wing Gov’t Massacres Indigenous Protesters”.

On November 19th, Peoples Dispatch bannered “Hatred of the Indian. By Álvaro García Linera”, and presented a statement by Linera, who was Morales’s Bolivian Vice President. He opened:

Almost as a nighttime fog, hatred rapidly traverses the neighborhoods of the traditional urban middle-class of Bolivia. Their eyes fill with anger. They do not yell, they spit. They do not raise demands, they impose. Their chants are not of hope of brotherhood. They are of disdain and discrimination against the Indians. They hop on their motorcycles, get into their trucks, gather in their fraternities of private universities, and they go out to hunt the rebellious Indians that dared to take power from them.

In the case of Santa Cruz, they organize motorized hordes with sticks in hand to punish the Indians, those that they call ‘collas’, who live in peripheral neighborhoods and in the markets. They chant “the collas must be killed,” and if on the way, they come across a woman wearing a pollera [traditional skirt worn by Indigenous and mestizo women] they hit her, threaten her and demand that she leave their territory. In Cochabamba, they organize convoys to impose their racial supremacy in the southern zone, where the underprivileged classes live, and charge – as if it were a were a cavalry contingent – at thousands of defenseless peasant women that march asking for peace. They carry baseball bats, chains, gas grenades. Some carry firearms.

On November 26th, the Libya 360 blog headlined “Bolivia: they are killing us, comrades!” and reported:

We are receiving audios all the time, from different parts of Bolivia: Cochabamba, El Alto, Senkata, La Paz… They bring desperate cries from women, from communities that resist with dignity, under the murderous bullets of the military, police, and fascist groups armed by the oligarchies with the support of Trump, Macri, and Bolsonaro. They also bring voices that denounce, voices that analyze, voices that organize, voices that are in resistance. There are weeping voices that are remade in slogans. The united peoples will never be defeated!

The racist, fascist, patriarchal, colonial, capitalist coup d’etat seeks to put an end to all these voices, silence them, erase them, make them inaudible. The communicational fence seeks to crush and isolate the words of the people. The conservative, capitalist restoration, goes for lithium, goes for the jungle, goes for bad examples.

The voices continue to arrive. New spaces of communication are generated. The social and family networks, the community radio stations, the home videos made from cell phones are functioning by the thousands. It is heartbreaking to hear bullets. To see their journey through the flesh, invading the bodies that rise from all humiliations. It generates anger, impotence, indignation, rage.

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Question related to this article:

Why was Morales ousted from Bolivia by a coup d’etat?

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On the same day, that same blog bannered “The People Will Not Allow the Coup in Bolivia, says Venezuelan Ambassador”. This opened:

One of the first ‘promises’ made by the self-proclaimed, de-facto government of opposition senator Jeanine Áñez was to “hunt down” ex-minister Juan Ramón Quintana, Raúl García Linera – brother of vice-president Álvaro García Linera -, as well as the Cuban and Venezuelan people that live in Bolivia.

The threat was publicly declared by the interior minister Arturo Murillo, designated by Áñez.

Later on, the communications minister of the de facto government, Roxana Lizárraga, accused Cuban and Venezuelan diplomats of being responsible for the violence unleashed in the country.

The statements came after an attack on the Venezuelan diplomatic office in La Paz on November 11. Armed paramilitaries surrounded the embassy with explosives and threatened to invade the building.

However, the aggression did not begin with the coup. According to Crisbeylee González, who served as the Venezuelan ambassador in Bolivia for more than 10 years, since 2008, the embassy has suffered threats from the organizations in opposition to Evo Morales and Álvaro García Linera.

During the days of tension, Crisbeylee, who is also a personal friend of Morales, decided to protect her team and she returned to her country.

On November 17, the Venezuelan diplomatic staff, made up of 13 functionaries and their family members, flew with the Venezuelan state company Conviasa from La Paz to Caracas.

Upon returning to her country, the ambassador spoke to Brasil de Fato and denounced the terror she suffered in the last couple of days.

Brasil de Fato:

How did you all take the news that you would have to leave the country? Was there any hostility before the coup?

Crisbeylee González:

For a while now, the opposition has talked about a “Chavista bunker” referring to the Venezuelan embassy, where we would supposedly be “ideologically orienting” the Bolivian people’s movements and youth. They even talked about us supposedly exerting pressure on Evo so that he would not abandon the socialist, Bolivarian proposal.

There were always certain times when the xenophobia increased, especially during elections. Every time that there were elections or a coup attempt, the principal target is always of course president Evo Morales but right after that, it’s the Venezuelan embassy. The diplomatic mission has always been an element that must be combated.

Since 2012 when there was a coup attempt by the police, they began to say that our embassy carried out military training with the Bolivians. A very similar discourse to what was created in Chile against the Cubans during the rule of Salvador Allende.

And with this, they were able to create a strong expression of xenophobia within the Bolivian middle classes against Venezuelans. The media also helped to create this adverse discourse against Venezuelans.

In these past couple of days [since the coup], one of the first things that they did was to say that the Venezuelans had to leave and that they were going to attack the Venezuelans. Before the elections on October 20, they already talked about attacking the embassy. …

The next day, on November 27th, they headlined “The U.S. Launches Itself in the Most Violent Way Imaginable to Definitively Seize Bolivia”. They interviewed Argentine sociologist Atilio Boron, one of the most internationally renowned political analysts today, so that in just three questions he can give us his vision of the crisis Bolivia is going through.

How would you characterize the coup d’état in Bolivia?

Without a doubt, the coup d’état in Bolivia is part of the tradition of the old military coups sponsored by the United States since the end of World War II. However, this practice dates back even further, as the history books show us. That means that the soft coup that was applied against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Lugo in Paraguay and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, has been abandoned and the old formulas have returned. In Bolivia, the old formulas were applied, because in reality there was no possible propagandistic basis for the coup. There was no fraud in Bolivia and therefore the OAS avoided using that expression, instead making euphemistic recommendations.

Furthermore, recent studies from the United States convincingly prove that such fraud did not exist. The University of Michigan study (which is the most important center for electoral studies) confirms this. However, the coup plan was not going to stop in the face of these details. They wanted to get Evo out and take revenge. It was a very clear lesson against those Indians who, as they did in 1780, revolted against the Spanish viceroyalty. Somehow what is happening now is a replay of Túpac Katari’s deed. The scenarios have changed and imperialism is different, but the essence is the same. And now, as yesterday, it is being repressed with unprecedented ferocity. …

On November 28th, Peoples Dispatch and Libya 360 simultaneously headlined “Bolivia: What Comes After the Coup?” and opened:

It has been over two weeks since the coup d’état which forced the resignation and exile of President Evo Morales and Vice-president Álvaro García Linera. Since then, thousands of working-class and Indigenous Bolivians have been resisting on the streets the coup and the illegitimate government of Jeanine Áñez. They have been met with extreme violence from the Armed Forces and the National Police, over 30 have been killed, hundreds injured and hundreds have been arrested.

On Monday night, a new agreement was announced reached between the de facto government of Áñez and the legislators from the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) to hold elections in the country in the next 3-4 months.

Peoples Dispatch spoke to Marco Teruggi, an Argentine sociologist and journalist who spent several weeks in Bolivia before and after elections were held in order to understand the agreement reached on elections and the state of resistance in the country.

Peoples Dispatch:

Starting with the most recent, what do you think about the agreement that MAS made with the de facto government of Jeanine Áñez? Did they have another option? Was there enough force on the streets and in the Assembly to achieve anything else?

Marco Teruggi:

The first thing to keep in mind is that in the design of the coup d’état, from the beginning, the possibility of an electoral solution was always contemplated in order to gain legitimacy.

If you had to arrange it in steps, there is the first step which is the overthrow, a second step which is the creation of a de facto government, and all of this accompanied by persecution, repression and massacres. The third moment is the call for elections and the fourth moment is when the elections themselves happen.

This was always proposed in the basic design, it was never about an old-style coup d’état where a de-facto government is installed for an undetermined amount of time, but precisely part of its presentation was to show itself as a democratic process, recognized internationally, under the condition that later they would go to elections.

It was always expected, the question was in what moment, with what conditions, both for the coup supporters and for those who are confronting it. In this sense, this issue was being discussed in the Assembly, where MAS has a majority, and as they had been announcing, they gave the OK for an agreement, in law, to call for elections, wherein the results of the elections of October 20 are also annulled.

I think that just as it was clear that the coup strategy counted with an electoral resolution to legitimize itself, it also was clear early on that the strategy of the MAS legislators was to hold these elections in the most favorable conditions possible. Basically that MAS could present itself in the elections, which it achieved, and with guarantees for Evo, not to participate, but to prevent political-juridical persecution. And also the retreat of the soldiers, for them to return to their barracks, and that the decree which exempts them from penal responsibility in operations of “re-establishing order” is withdrawn.

As such, it is not surprising that MAS has said yes to the elections because it was not going to be possible to remove Áñez through street pressure, even though the actions on the streets conditioned the initial strategy of the coup. It is very important to keep this in mind because otherwise, one could think that MAS proposed a change of tactics, of strategy. But no, it was always the electoral solution, and either way, the streets were an important component to accelerate this process on both ends. …

So, in short: rigged ‘elections’ will be held, in which Evo Morales is to be excluded, and in which there will be no repercussions against the U.S.-stooge-regime participants if their side fails to win those ‘elections’. The Bolivian people won’t have any legal right to hang the coupsters. The U.S. regime will see to that.