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.

Mexico: National Forum for a Culture of Peace


A press release from Club Juridico (translation by CPNN)

During the “National Forum for a Culture of Peace”, the deputy Sergio Mayer Bretón, president of the Commission of Culture and Cinematography, called upon us to return to the sense of belonging, to erase the barriers and consolidate a single identity as a multicultural nation, without prejudices or stereotypes, because “There is only one Mexican, not five, or first.”

He called for working together to promote real change, so that Mexico beomes a better place to live in dignity, not a death sentence for those born in poverty. To achieve this, the culture of peace must be guaranteed in an integral manner.

He called upon Mexicans to assume the obligation and responsibility to stop being spectators and become participants, not depending for everything on the government, but depending on each citizen to contribute what corresponds to him or her, in order to reduce the gap of economic inequality and lack of opportunities caused by the constant abuse and submission of each other.

The extreme gap of inequality has led the most excluded people to engage in illegal practices to get what the State can not provide, because even work has become a brake on growth. He regretted that “the greatest enemies of Mexicans are the Mexicans themselves, exercising different types of violence and discrimination, taking advantage of vulnerability”.

Mayer Breton argued that as a society we must move forward without anyone being left behind, and guarantee not only in the text but in the facts a dignified life with freedom to exercise and access the rights that correspond to each one by the simple fact of being a person.

The president of the Indigenous Peoples Commission, Irma Juan Carlos, said that cultural, linguistic and thought diversity has supported the indigenous communities. It is necessary to recognize that diversity does not have to result in inequalities but it can result in into opportunities, based on the principle of respect and recognition.

She pointed out that this is the international year of indigenous languages, and emphasis should be placed on this, because, according to the diagnoses that have been made; “All the indigenous languages ​​of our country are at risk”.

“We can not talk about peace without talking about everyday realities and there can be no peace without equity and access to rights. The State should be responsible for closing gaps in inequality and strengthening the capacities of citizens, generating the conditions for this to happen, through public policies and legislative proposals that promote the rights of all.”

She called for eradicating poverty and discrimination, making it possible for citizens to exercise their rights in a framework of freedom. “Not only tolerance, but respect for diversity; it is a fundamental step to transform the country and create the culture of peace for men and women in our time.”

“I have to point out in the framework of this forum, that we live immersed in conflicts, the product of public policies that favored the dispossession of our lands, the theft of our identities, our cultures, oblivion, marginalization and poverty, social, political and economic inequality, But despite this, we continue to insist that dialogue and concord is the way to achieve peace and justice, “she added.

Gabriela Osorio Hernández, president of the Cultural Rights Commission of the Mexico City Congress, said that according to official reports, Mexico ranks second in Latin America in hate crimes of homophobia. It is also where there is the greatest increase in murders of journalists in the last two years.

To this, she added that, according to the INEGI, the main cause of death of males between 15 and 44 years old is aggression; while the latest discrimination survey indicates that 20.2 percent of the population aged 18 and over declared having been discriminated in the last year by some characteristic or personal condition, such as skin tone, manner of speaking, weight, height, form of dress or personal grooming, social class or place where you live.

“It is urgent to recognize that our country needs to rethink and weave itself together again. We need to embroider new ways of looking at each other, values ​​that enhance the dialogue about violence, the resolution of conflicts over confrontation, the recognition of diversity and the inclusion of all social groups without discrimination.”

José Alfonso Suárez del Real, Secretary of Culture of Mexico City, said that society should understand that the only way to overcome the problems they face is to recover the culture of peace.

He urged us to recover the concept of community to work in harmony and democracy in the public space, so that neighbors live in a social reconciliation that promotes peace.

It is essential, he said, to support young people to be actors of transformation because “if they are left at the mercy of the illusions of organized crime, what we are creating are anti-citizens and assassins with the risk of losing a generation.”

He argued that it is fundamental to guarantee the right to the culture of peace. He asked the legislators that “it is time to stop looking for problems to the solutions” and to address those that are needed.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

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Xavier Aguirre Palacios, representative of the Community Culture Program of the Federal Directorate General of Cultural Liaison, said that achieving respect and promotion of the cultural rights of all communities is essential to achieve peace and to escape the desolation in which the country has been submerged.

He pointed out that there is a lag in the access and recognition of the cultural rights of the population. We have to understand that they are a fundamental part of the guarantees of life that the citizen has to enjoy the artistic creations that promote coexistence and reconciliation.

“Cultural rights are not second class,” he said. Therefore, projects that link citizens with creative expressions will be promoted. Violence cannot be overcome by more violence.

He pointed out that an equitable redistribution of cultural wealth will be encouraged, because many expressions have been concentrated in the capital of the country and focused on the highest social classes. They must be made accessible to the entire population and to all expressions.

Nashieli Ramírez Hernández, president of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (CDHDF), said that it is not easy to move towards a culture of peace. The challenges are huge. One of them is how we handle conflict, how we react. We need understanding and conciliation in response to the different types of violence, which go beyond goodwill. Creativity is required to change the trend, and to find effective ways to overcome them.

It is proven that if young people have adequate tools that encourage their talents and open up their options for development, real solutions are possible. The increase in violence affects girls, boys and adolescents directly. Seven out of 10 have suffered an aggressive act, through bullying, becoming an emotional victim. “We have a great challenge to turn the culture of violence into a culture of peace,” she said.

We need parenting with love, understanding and tenderness instead of blows and shouts. It must be understood how the culture of peace is built, which is the opposite of violence, in both the private and public sphere.

Julieta Morales Sánchez, general director of the National Human Rights Center of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), said that “Mexico not only needs to pacify itself, but to build a culture of peace,” based on strong and efficient institutions, without corruption and transparent, that make possible to a decent life.

It is not an easy topic because it involves areas such as administration, law enforcement and security, but the social reproduction of crimes and violence by the media must be avoided. Our culture is permeated by gender stereotypes, discrimination and idealized life projects that exclude a large number of Mexicans. We must ensure that there are no first or second class Mexicans and everyone must work.

She clarified that “peace is not just the absence of armed conflicts”, but also the avoidance of structural violence that is reflected in a lack of opportunities in all areas. Respect for human rights must be privileged because they are the foundation of peace, development, stability and trust in institutions.

Democracy offers the conditions to build peace by reconciling differences and confrontations, encouraging dialogue, understanding and tolerance.

María Ampudia González, national counselor of the National Human Rights Commission, explained that children in Mexico occupy the first place in the dissemination of pornography; child sexual abuse; homicide against children aged 14; pregnancies of adolescent girls between 12 and 14 years old, as well as obesity and diabetes problems.

She indicated that the nation is the fifth most trafficked, violated and forgotten in the world in human trafficking and childhood. “The result of an abandoned childhood is worrisome: a child when it is born needs three things: tenderness, recognition and attentio, these are the most important factors of a child when it comes into the world.”

The social fabric is broken, but we can fix it with justice, sound public policies, doing a good job and involving young people in this culture of peace. Also, helping families so that violence in homes is reduced.

Roberto Martínez Yllescas, director of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Center in Mexico for Latin America, said that the challenge of promoting peace is linked to the need for change in the educational paradigm. Students are treated as passive entities confronted with an accumulation of data and concepts. The traditional educational scheme is insufficient for the requirements of the 21st century: with the speed of its digital revolution and technological progress.

It is necessary to promote community resilience, in order to educate to be aware of what being is, with values ​​and attitudes towards an interconnected and intercultural world; to train students with a new vision of competence in the face of climate change, poverty, inequality and migration. Peace is not only the absence of violence but the empowerment to face problems with a global perspective, to mitigate the risk of conflict and to encourage resilience as a whole, with the purpose of making the most of an interdependent world.

Norman Bardavid Nissim, executive secretary of the National Commission for the Culture of Peace (Comnapaz) Mexico, commented that peace is a state of unity of the human being in a holistic way within the framework of universal values, privileging the dignity of life in all its manifestations.

The culture of peace must be considered as a living letter, included in the Political Constitution. He proposed to make a federal law to promote the culture of peace, to educate minors with this focus on both private and public. Also, it is necessary to create a National Commission for Culture of Peace, a decentralized body to resolve the differences between society and government, he proposed.

The forum was held in three working groups: What is the culture of peace? Social prevention of violence and crime and, Diversity and equity among communities. Participating civil associations included Embajada Mundial de Activistas por la Paz, Cauce Ciudadano, Espacio Progresista, Victoria Emergente, Vive México y Foro Global de Liderazgo Juvenil.

Dominican Republic: Reflections on the search for a culture of peace in schools


An article from Acento (translation by CPNN)

For three days the Ministry of Education held the National Forum for a Culture of Peace. With the enthusiastic presence of Minister Andrés Navarro, some 360 ​​students represented the 18 educational regions at the national level contributed proposals to address the increase in violence in Dominican schools.

We appreciate that Minister Andrés Navarro dedicates time and focus attention to this issue, and that the students of the country have been considered an essential part of the search for solutions in a subject that directly involves them.

Violence in schools is an old problem. The schools are located within communities that also have problems of violence: structural violence of society, family violence, gender violence, social violence. The violence that worries us today has always been in schools, but it is only now that we have instruments to recognize this violence, and show it outside the classroom, through social networks, and from there to more formal means of communication .

We never before had an education minister who discussed three days with students, listening to their concerns and suggestions on how to deal with violence. It’s a breakthrough. The Ministry of Education should make decisions about how to take on new technologies in schools, especially smartphones, which in some schools are forbidden while in others are allowed. They should not be instruments for distraction, but they can be instruments for information, for school work. New technologies should be incorporated as a support and not as an enemy.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

Where is peace education taking place?

(continued from left column)

The other important issue is that students who go to school and are violent, or are victims of violence, or are spectators of acts of violence, come from homes with permanent or systematic violence, where there are aggressors and victims. These families can not be left out of the solutions. The school must find a way to incorporate the families of the students to solve the problem and to promote a culture of peace and respect.

The Ministry of Education will not be able to do anything with students who in the classrooms are instructed for a culture of peace if a culture of violence continues around them in the streets and in their homes.

There are working methods that the Ministry of Education could well assume in addition to this three-day meeting promoting a culture of peace. They should establish a dynamic that will involve teachers, school district coordinators, school directors and high schools.

The specialist Vanesa Espaillat, deputy director of the Lux Mundi School and professor at UNIBE University, has established that in any act of violence in the school context there are three actors: An aggressor, a victim and a public spectator. The public should be incorporated as part of the solution, and not left out as a simple observer.

No one who witnesses abuse or victimization in the school setting can remain indifferent. Teachers must be trained to deal with these events, and when they occur they should take advantage of them to nuance and emphasize the culture of peace, self-control, rejection of violence and taking responsibily.

The Ministry of Education needs to obtain an in-depth view to provide far-reaching solutions to this problem. It cannot solve it alone, because it does not depend only on the authorities, but it can help to find the door for its reduction.

We congratulate the Minister of Education, Andrés Navarro, for initiating the search for answers to an issue that worries the whole society. These initiatives can bring tranquility and serenity to the sector of education which so vital for families and for society.

Students are striking around the world to protest against the lack of action to stop global warming


A survey of the press by CPNN

Students are striking around the world to join with the Swedish girl Greta Thunberg who sat outside the Swedish parliament last year to protest against the lack of action to stop global warming. Now, up to 70,000 schoolchildren each week hold protests in 270 towns and cities worldwide.

student strike in UK

In the UK, according to the Guardian on February 15, thousands of schoolchildren and young people joined a UK-wide climate strike amid growing anger at the failure of politicians to tackle the escalating ecological crisis. Organisers said more than 10,000 young people in at least 60 towns and cities joined the strike. They estimated around 3,000 schoolchildren and young people gathered in London, with 2,000 in Oxford, 1,000 each in Exeter and Leeds and several hundred in Brighton, Bristol, Sheffield and Glasgow (see video below).

In Switzerland, according to Euronews thousands of students, some as young as 14-years-old, took to the streets of several Swiss cities on Friday [January 18] to denounce the lack of government action to fight global warming.

In the Netherlands, also according to Euronews, thousands of Dutch students skipped their classes on Thursday, February 7, to join a demonstration in The Hague calling for greater action on climate change. Kim van Sparrentak,a 29-year-old student, who is running in the European Parliament elections this year, told Euronews’ The Cube why people like her had been inspired to protest. “This is really the climate generation we are talking about here. This generation is now on the streets to start protesting and to show that they want a different world, a better world and a future for themselves.”

In Belgium, according to Forbes Magazine on February 7, high school students have managed to grind traffic in Belgian cities to a halt over the past month, staging repeated walk-outs from class in protest of adults’ inaction on climate change. The demonstrations saw 35,000 children and young people take to the streets two weeks ago. But this week, their protests caused something much bigger than snarled traffic – they forced the resignation of Joke Schauvliege, the Flemish climate minister.

Deutsche Welle describes the actions of students in Germany: “It’s a cold January morning in front of Cologne Central Station. As people stream out of the main entrance, it’s noticeable that there are quite a few teenagers. Strange, considering it’s a school day. Most of them have come in small groups, while others hang out in the main square outside of the station with friends. Many have brought homemade cardboard signs with them bearing painted-on slogans such as “We are here, we are loud, because you are stealing the future from us,” and “We do not learn for a ruined future.” At the same time, a separate climate protest is taking place in the nearby city of Bonn, where young people marched up to the UN Campus to demand that their voices be heard. Students ditching class to protest . . . has become a common scene in many large cities — students eschewing lessons at school to protest for climate protection.”

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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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In France, according to France 24, several hundred high school and university students skipped class to demonstrate in front of the French ministry for the environment in Paris. At the heart of the demonstration is a deep disappointment with France’s failure to fulfill its commitments under various climate agreements. The protesters aren’t buying rhetoric about stimulating the economy. “We want climate change to be taken into account. Of course the economy is important and makes a country prosper. But to have a country, you need a planet. And if we destroy it, there won’t be an economy at all,” said Zelia, a high schooler. The demonstration in Paris on Friday, February 15 had a relatively modest turnout of 300 to 400 students, but they are getting organised quickly. Students have pledged to join their peers around Europe in weekly demonstrations leading up to March 15, when Thunberg has called for a global strike.

In Canada, according to the Montreal Gazette, students in Quebec are now taking matters into their own hands in the battle against climate change. A coalition of groups from universities came together Friday, February 8, to launch a call to action under the banner “La planète s’invite à l’université.” Small collectives from Université du Québec à Montréal, Université de Montréal and École de technologie supérieure launched the joint appeal, and are inviting students from across Quebec to join them for a provincewide climate strike on March 15. It would be followed by a second strike day on Sept. 17, and it’s all part of an international mobilization of young people demanding drastic action from their governments.

In Australia, according to the News, school students striking for climate change want adults to join them for a global event on March 15, and organisers say they already have support from a growing number of unions, including the National Union of Workers, National Tertiary Education Union, United Firefighters Union, Hospo Voice, the Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association and the National Union of Students. The National Union of Workers, one of the most powerful unions in the Labor Party and part of its right-wing faction that supports Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, said it was supporting the strike and the students standing together collectively for their future. “They are inspiring leaders, and we support them in making our political leaders listen,” the union said.

In Austria, as reported on February 17 by Metropole, Viennese students launched their KlimaStreik last December but have been gaining more momentum recently, with last Friday’s (Feb 8) strike attracting around 150 participants at Heldenplatz and receiving media coverage. Local schools have worked closely with FridaysForFuture to ensure students do not get in trouble for skipping class, with some even sending teachers along and incorporating the protests into their “Political Education” curriculum.

In the United States, US Youth Climate Strike have issued a
press advisory
announcing that they will partiipate in a global day of climate ation on March 15 in all state capitals as well as the US Capitol. “We are US Youth Climate Strike, a collective movement of youth in the United States who are fighting for the conservation of our planet. We are joining the movement “Fridays for Future”, sparked by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and her weekly Friday “school strikes for climate in front of the Swedish Parliament, and thereby bringing the movement to the United States.”

Mexico: Culture of Peace Diploma initiated by CEDHJ, UdeG and the Institute of Alternative Justice


An article from UDG TV (translation by CPNN)

Guadalajara Jalisco. Taking advantage of the chaos to transform it into peace, that is the commitment of the Culture of Peace Diploma that was initiated this Saturday in the State Commission of Human Rights of Jalisco (CEDHJ) to train civil servants and agents of change of the civil society in the most effective strategies to promote peace in any public space, explained the president of the Committee for a Culture of Peace in Jalisco, Florencia Marón.

Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

She explained how it is especially during times of chaos and hostility between societies that one can see an opportunity to generate a culture of peace through dialogue, empathy and conciliation.

Peace cannot be achieved by decree, even though the president of Mexico has announced that the war against drug trafficking has ended, clarifies the president of Mesa for the Culture of Peace Jalisco.

She added that yes we will be able to be a society of peace to the extent that we are willing to listen to the other, to respect their rights and to demand that the mental health of the Jaliscians be addressed with clarity and punctuality by the state administration.

The University of Guadalajara, the Human Rights Commission and the Alternative Justice Institute are participating in this Culture of Peace diploma.

(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Bolivia: Authorities present Carnival 2019 focused on promoting the culture of peace in Sucre


An article of La Razon (translation by CPNN)

The General Secretary of the Mayor of Sucre, Marcel Orgaz, presented on Wednesday [06 February] the ‘Sucrese Carnival 2019’, an event that will focus on promoting the culture of peace, with emphasis on the fight against violence against women.

(Click here for the Spanish original. . )

Questions for this article:

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

“The ‘Sucrese Carnival 2019’ is launched, and since Sucre has been designated as ‘Ibero-American Capital of Peace’ by the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI), this carnival will focus on promoting the culture of peace and the fight against violence against women, “he said at a public ceremony.

Orgaz anticipated that the carnestolendas [3 days preceding Ash Wednesday] will begin tomorrow, Thursday, and will last until March 16 of this year, highlighted by the ‘Carnival of Antaño, with the Juventud de Siempre’, organized by radio La Plata.

For his part, the municipal secretary of Tourism and Culture, Pedro Salazar, said that another of the activities will be the Entrance of the Carnival Grande de Sucre, the Carnival of El Tejar and the Intercultural Entrance of Surapata.

Salazar warned that the prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will be strictly enforced, in addition to the control of drinking water to avoid waste.

What the Press Hides from You about Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression


An article by Eric Zuesse in Transcend Media Service

8 Feb 2019 – This news-report is being submitted to all U.S. and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, that hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the U.N. General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public.

Alfred de Zayas,  UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council)

The Covered-Up Document

On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received  the report from the U.N.s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.” He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):
22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military. …

29. … Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization. …

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied]. …

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”. …

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means. …

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria: There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill. …

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”. …

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”. …

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Question(s) related to this article:

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

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46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America.

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures. …

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly: (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes? (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law. …

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment. …

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.


On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaidó, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him. …

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government ministers, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup. …

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change. …

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed. …

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’ report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country. …

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions.

“In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under. …

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”….

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

US Media Ignore—and Applaud—Economic War on Venezuela


An article by Gregory Shupak in

The US media chorus supporting a US overthrow of the Venezuelan government has for years pointed to the country’s economic crisis as a justification for regime change, while whitewashing the ways in which the US has strangled the Venezuelan economy  (, 3/22/18).

Sister Eugenia Russian, president of Fundalatin, a Venezuelan human rights NGO that was established in 1978 and has special consultative status at the UN, told the Independent (1/26/19):

“In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect [of] the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States.”

While internal errors also contributed to the nation’s problems, Russian said it’s likely that few countries in the world have ever suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under.

While the New York Times and the Washington Post have lately professed profound (and definitely 100 percent sincere) concern for the welfare of Venezuelans, neither publication has ever referred to Fundalatin.

Alfred de Zayas, the first UN special rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years, told the Independent(1/26/19) that US, Canadian and European Union “economic warfare” has killed Venezuelans, noting that the sanctions fall most heavily on the poorest people and demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change in a “sister democracy.”

De Zayas’ UN report  noted that sanctions “hind[er] the imports necessary to produce generic medicines and seeds to increase agricultural production.” De Zayas also cited Venezuelan economist Pasqualina Curcio, who reports that “the most effective strategy to disrupt the Venezuelan economy” has been the manipulation of the exchange rate. The rapporteur went on to suggest that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as possible crimes against humanity.

Given that de Zayas is the first UN special rapporteur to report on Venezuela in more than two decades, one might expect the media to regard his findings as an important part of the Venezuela narrative, but his name does not appear in a single article ever published in the Post; the Times has mentioned him once, but not in relation to Venezuela.

The economist Francisco Rodríguez points out  that the sanctions the Trump administration issued in August 2017 prohibited US banks from providing new financing to the Venezuelan government, a key part of the “toxification” of financial dealings with Venezuela. Rodríguez notes that, in August 2017, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network warned financial institutions that “all Venezuelan government agencies and bodies…appear vulnerable to public corruption and money laundering,” and recommended that some transactions originating from Venezuela be flagged as potentially criminal. Many financial institutions then closed Venezuelan accounts, concerned about the risk of being accused of participating in money laundering.

Rodríguez says that this handcuffed Venezuela’s oil industry, the sector most crucial to its economy, with lost access to credit preventing the country from obtaining financial resources that could have been devoted to investment or maintenance. And whereas previously the Venezuelan government would raise production by signing joint venture agreements with foreign partners who would finance investment, Trump’s sanctions “effectively put an end to these loans.”

Mark Weisbrot (The Nation, 9/7/17) , also an economist, raised a related issue:

“If we step back and look at Venezuela from a bird’s-eye view, how does a country with 500 billion barrels of oil and hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of minerals in the ground go broke? The only way that can happen is if the country is cut off from the international financial system. Otherwise, Venezuela could sell or even collateralize some of its resources in order to get the necessary dollars. The $7.7 billion in goldheld in Central Bank reserves could be quickly collateralized for a loan; in past years, the US Treasury department used its clout to make sure that banks who wanted to finance a swap, such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, did not do so.”

Sanctions have kept the Venezuelan government from accessing financing and dealing with its debt while hamstringing its most important industry. Given that US media are writing for a principally US audience, the damage done by Washington and its partners’ sanctions should be front and center in their coverage. Exactly the opposite is the case.

Virginia Lopez-Glass of the New York Times (1/25/19) uses 920 words to describe the challenges facing Venezuelans, but “sanctions” isn’t one of them, even as she writes about matters to which, as I’ve shown above, sanctions are directly relevant: “Food and medicine shortages are widespread. Hundreds have died from malnutrition and illnesses that are easily curable with the appropriate treatment.”

Weaponizing hunger in Venezuela in this manner is dishonest and misleading. Christina M. Schiavoni, a doctoral researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, and Ana Felicien and Liccia Romero, both of whom are Venezuelan scholars, wrote in Monthly Review(6/1/18) on “overt US aggression toward Venezuela” in the form of

“the intensifying economic sanctions imposed by the Obama and Trump administrations, as well as an all-out economic blockade that has made it extremely difficult for the government to make payments on food imports and manage its debt.”

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Question(s) related to this article:

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

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Bret Stephens’ column in the Times (1/28/19) only mentions the word “sanctions” to complain that the media supposedly isn’t blaming “socialism” for the crisis in Venezuela, alleging that

“what you’re likelier to read is that the crisis is the product of corruption, cronyism, populism, authoritarianism, resource-dependency, US sanctions and trickery, even the residues of capitalism itself.”

After dismissing the idea that the sanctions are a key part of the problems in Venezuela, Stephens went on to advocate using them to bring about regime change in the country, writing that the Trump administration

“should enhance [Guaidó]’s political standing by providing access to funds that can help him establish an alternative government and entice wavering figures in the Maduro camp to switch sides. It can put Venezuela on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.”

These “funds” presumably refer the money that the US has seized from Venezuela, and adding the country to list of “state sponsors of terrorism” automatically entails hitting it with further sanctions.

The editorial board of the Washington Post (1/24/19) alleged that Venezuela’s government has “subject[ed] the country’s 32 million people to a humanitarian catastrophe,” without referring to what scholars whose research and writing focuses on Latin America—such as Laura Carlsen, Sujatha Fernandes, Greg Grandin, Francisco Dominguez, Noam Chomsky, Aviva Chomsky, Gabriel Hetland and Venezuelan-born historian Miguel Tinker Salas—describe (Common Dreams, 1/24/19) as sanctions

“cut[ting] off the means by which the Venezuelan government could escape from its economic recession, while causing a dramatic falloff in oil production and worsening the economic crisis, and causing many people to die because they can’t get access to life-saving medicines.”

Later, the editorial said that “a US boycott of Venezuelan oil could endanger ordinary Venezuelans already coping with critical shortages of food, power and medicine,” an absurd remark given that the sanctions they are occluding have had precisely these effects.

Henry Olsen in the Post (1/24/19) wrote as if sanctions are a benign tool that can be used to usher in a brighter future for Venezuelans, rather than a key reason that so many of them find themselves in such a grim condition:

“Trump has many levers to pull short of military intervention to topple Maduro. He could use US pressure on the global financial system to cut off regime access to international banks, freezing access to any secret accounts that the regime — and, probably, its highest-ranking leaders — established offshore. He can, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has suggested, work with American oil companies that purchase Venezuelan oil to provide the profits from those purchases to accounts controlled by Guaidó’s National Assembly. He can also pressure China, which has a far more valuable relationship with the United States than it does with Venezuela, to withdraw its support. Any or all of these measures would ratchet up pressure directly on the regime, decreasing its ability to finance itself and buy support from security and military figures….

Odds are that increasing financial pressure on the regime will finally bring about its collapse.”

Even if one momentarily sets aside that the sanctions are illegal under international law  and violate the charter of the Organization of American States, and that the US has no right whatsoever to decide who governs Venezuela, these measures don’t just “ratchet up pressure” on “the regime,” they also kill and immiserate ordinary Venezuelans.A

The Post’s Charles Lane (1/28/19) wrote:

“Apologists for the regime blame US sanctions and destabilization for Venezuela’s problems. The truth is that, with the exception of the George W. Bush administration’s brief, halfhearted support for a coup attempt in 2002, Washington—learning the lessons of ill-fated Cold War interventions—has shown restraint in dealing with the Caracas regime.”

He went on to write that, until the Trump administration announced limitations on imports of Venezuelan oil that day, “the United States had traded with Venezuela and focused economic pressure on regime leaders and key institutions,” which suggests that the sanctions exclusively harm the “regime”—again, even if that were true, it would still be illegal—and amounts to a lie, given the evidence that the sanctions are crushing the Venezuelan masses.

Unlike Lane and the rest of the media’s regime change choir, the US government has acknowledged what it’s doing to Venezuela. Schiavoni, Felicien and Romero point to a telling remark  that a senior State Department official made last year:

“The financial sanctions we have placed on the Venezuelan Government has forced it to begin becoming in default, both on sovereign and PDVSA, its oil company’s debt. And what we are seeing because of the bad choices of the Maduro regime is a total economic collapse in Venezuela. So our policy is working, our strategy is working and we’re going to keep it on the Venezuelans.”

Thus, the US government acknowledges that it is knowingly, consciously driving the Venezuelan economy into the ground, but US media make no such acknowledgment, which sends the message that the problems in Venezuela are entirely the fault of the government, and that the US is a neutral arbiter that wants to help Venezuelans.

Call this elision what it is: war propaganda.

Cuba: International Conference for Peace and “World Balance” Supports Venezuela


An article by Roger Harris in the Transcend Media Service

 Close to 700 conferees from 65 countries convened in Havana, Cuba from January 28-31, for peace and “world balance.” This, the fourth such conference, was dedicated to honoring the ideals of Cuban national hero José Martí who died in 1895 at the age of 42 fighting for independence from colonial Spain. The event was organized by the José Martí Project of International Solidarity, which is sponsored by UNESCO.

Photo: Yaimi Ravelo

An overarching theme of the conference was the urgency for international solidarity with the democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro who is under attack by the US and its minions. Another prominent issue was the struggle to free the unjustly imprisoned former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The wide-ranging conference addressed the “most pressing issues that have an impact on humanity” from global warming, to feminism, to cyber democracy, to sustainability. Well known personalities from all over the world included Spanish intellectual Ignacio Ramonet, Brazilian liberation theologian Frei Betto, historian of Havana Eusebio Leal, and a representative of the Vatican. Aleida Guevara, daughter of Che, spoke during the panel on solidarity along with Puerto Rican fighter for independence Oscar López Rivera.

The first plenary session was attended by newly elected Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and leading members of the Cuban government and Communist Party. They sat on the mainstage without fanfare or even significant security, other than a few unarmed men in guayabera shirts standing in the background; considerably less security, say, than the average US high school student must pass to get to class.

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(Click here for an article in Spanish about this conference.)

Question(s) related to this article:

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

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Yuri Afonin of the Russian Federation Communist Party observed that the open colonialism of Martí’s time has been replaced by today’s neo-colonialism. With the collapse of the USSR/Eastern Europe, imperialism was given a green light. The planet has gone back to the 19th century as capitalism tries to impose its neoliberal hegemony.

Yeidckol Polevnsky of the newly triumphant MORENA Party in Mexico advocated strongly for respecting sovereignty and self-determination among nations, denouncing US interference in Venezuela and Nicaragua. Likewise, the representative of the ruling Chinese Communist Party called for non-interference. Venezuelan Minister of Culture Ernesto Villegas warned: “The US has unleashed a culture of war.”

Adán Chávez Frias of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and brother of Hugo Chávez spoke of the 2002 US-backed coup that lasted less than three days because the people rose up against it. Today, he reported, the civic-military union is stronger than in 2002 and will defend the process towards socialism.

Rene González of the Cuban 5 and Vice President of the Martiano Program Office observed that many internationals, some of whom were at the conference, fought with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua against the US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza and many more would now do the same if Venezuela must defend itself.

Fellow Cuban 5 hero Fernando González, who is the current President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), summed up the conference: “we must unite to defend these causes because the enemy is the same…yanqui imperialism.”

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla closed the conference saying: “We inhabit a planet that is unequal as never before. We live in a world of enormous and growing imbalances, which cause great threats to international peace and security, to justice, and to the dignity of human beings.”  He stressed that US imperialism is clinging to a unipolar order, which is historically discarded and unsustainable.

The international conference adjourned, dedicated to an inclusive multi-polar world where, in the words of José Martí, patria es humanidad (homeland is humanity).

Venezuela: An Open Letter to the People of the United States from President Nicolás Maduro


Published by Transcend News Service

7 Feb 2019 – If I know anything, it is about people, such as you, I am a man of the people. I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. I forged myself in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality.

I am not a tycoon, I am a worker of reason and heart, today I have the great privilege of presiding over the new Venezuela, rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which was forged by Commander Hugo Chávez since 1998 inspired by the Bolivarian legacy.

We live today a historical trance. There are days that will define the future of our countries between war and peace. Your national representatives of Washington want to bring to their borders the same hatred that they planted in Vietnam. They want to invade and intervene in Venezuela – they say, as they said then – in the name of democracy and freedom. But it’s not like that. The history of the usurpation of power in Venezuela is as false as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is a false case, but it can have dramatic consequences for our entire region.

Venezuela is a country that, by virtue of its 1999 Constitution, has broadly expanded the participatory and protagonist democracy of the people and that is unprecedented today, as one of the countries with the largest number of electoral processes in its last 20 years. You might not like our ideology, or our appearance, but we exist and we are millions.

I address these words to the people of the United States of America to warn of the gravity and danger that intend some sectors in the White House to invade Venezuela with unpredictable consequences for my country and for the entire American region. President Donald Trump also intends to disturb noble dialogue initiatives promoted by Uruguay and Mexico with the support of CARICOM for a peaceful solution and dialogue in favour of Venezuela. We know that for the good of Venezuela we have to sit down and talk, because to refuse to dialogue is to choose strength as a way. Keep in mind the words of John F. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate”.

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(Click here for the letter in Spanish or click here for the letter in French.)

Question(s) related to this article:

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

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Are those who do not want to dialogue afraid of the truth?

The political intolerance towards the Venezuelan Bolivarian model and the desires for our immense oil resources, minerals and other great riches has prompted an international coalition headed by the US government to commit the serious insanity of militarily attacking Venezuela under the false excuse of a non-existent humanitarian crisis.

The people of Venezuela have suffered painfully social wounds caused by a criminal commercial and financial blockade, which has been aggravated by the dispossession and robbery of our financial resources and assets in countries aligned with this demented onslaught.

And yet, thanks to a new system of social protection, of direct attention to the most vulnerable sectors, we proudly continue to be a country with a high human development index and low inequality in the Americas.

The American people must know that this complex multiform aggression is carried out with total impunity and in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which expressly outlaws the threat or use of force, among other principles and purposes for the sake of peace and the friendly relations between Nations.

We want to continue being business partners of the people of the United States, as we have been throughout our history. Their politicians in Washington, on the other hand, are willing to send their sons and daughters to die in an absurd war, instead of respecting the sacred right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination and safeguarding their sovereignty.

Like you, people of the United States, we Venezuelans are patriots. And we shall defend our homeland with all the pieces of our soul.

Today Venezuela is united in a single clamor: we demand the cessation of the aggression that seeks to suffocate our economy and socially suffocate our people, as well as the cessation of the serious and dangerous threats of military intervention against Venezuela.

We appeal to the good soul of American society, victim of its own leaders, to join our call for peace, let us be all one people against warmongering and war.

Long live the peoples of America!
Nicolás Maduro

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Jordanian National Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security 2018 – 2021

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from UN Women – Jordan

The (2018-2021) Jordanian National Action Plan (JONAP) for advancing the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), and its subsequent resolutions, was developed to respond to the country’s latest security and military challenges. It is in line with Jordan’s commitments to promote and respect human rights, justice, equality and participation—all of which are embodied in various national frameworks, such as The National Strategy for Jordanian Women (2013-2017) and The Comprehensive National Plan for Human Rights (2016-2025).

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Question for this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

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The JONAP for advancing the implementation of UNSCR 1325 aims to integrate a gender-based approach towards women’s participation in prevention and protection processes during conflicts, as well as in peace building, and maintaining stability and sustainable security.

Parallel to these efforts, the JONAP specifically responded to the 2015 UN Security Council resolution 2242, which highlights the importance of cooperation with civil society and the role of women as key partners in preventing and combating violent extremism. It also reiterates the importance of engaging men and boys as partners in promoting women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts.

The process of drafting the JONAP on resolution 1325 began as Jordan and other countries were endorsing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda’s overall objectives—and Goal 5 and its targets in particular—represent an opportunity to transform development and planning approaches and mechanisms for implementation, to ensure equality of opportunity and the empowerment of women. Furthermore, they provide a means to ensure the inclusion and participation of all segments of society, for the fair and efficient implementation of comprehensive and sustainable development.