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English bulletin January 1, 2019

. . . . REVIEW OF 2018 . . . .

As we enter a new year, it is a good time to review the peace initiatives of 2018 and ask if they continue to advance. Let us consider the themes of the monthly bulletins of 2018..

December: Europe meets and marches for peace. The most recent demonstrations are those of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) in France as analyzed this month in an article from Pressenza. The title,”where democracy is on the march!” , reflects the conviction of the author that the movement is a profound protest against governmental policies that favor big industry and finance instead of the interests of the average citizen. The movement has spread from France and is now active in at least 22 other countries around the world.

November. Nobel Peace Prize: End sexual violence. The fight goes on. This month there were mass rallies protesting violence against women in Argentina (#niunamenos) and Israel, as well as activity under the name #niunamenos in Bolivia. And Amnesty International has devoted its annual review to the theme “Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018.”

October. International Day of Peace. Using the same methodology in 2018 as that used in 2017, we found even more events than ever around the world for the International Day of Peace. The number of events we could find was almost doubled in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

September. Progress towards peace in the Phiippines, Ethiopia, Colombia. Progress continues as shown during the last month,. We have carried an article on the Mindanao Week of Peace in the Philippines, a speech praising the Mother Ambassadors for Peace by the President of Ethiopia, and three articles from Colombia: remarks by the newly-elected President of Colombia to the National Peace Council, opening of the Truth Commission born out of the peace agreement, and an article entitled “Colombia’s rural radio stations are a key to peace.”

August. Progress in sustainable development, including reforestation projects, divestment from fossil fuels and progress in renewable energy. Progress continues in recent months in the divestment from fossil fuels as well as in a scientific breakthrough for renewable solar energy. On the other hand, it is not surprising that the international meeting of COP24 was considered by climate activists to have been a failure.

July. Slow news for peace from Africa. In December, we carry no less than 9 articles about the culture of peace coming from Nigeria, Angola, Niger, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Darfur West Sudan Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Mali, as well as a Report of the Commission on Elections in Africa of the African Union Peace and Security Council.

June. Nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, there seems to be no progress towards nuclear disarmament since the United Nations canceled the High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament that was scheduled to open on May 14.

May. Korean reunification. Almost every month there is some small progress towards peace in the Korean peninsula. The most recent is the opening of a rail link between the South and North.

April. US students against gun violence. It is not clear if there is progress on this front in the United States, but the students who initiated the March for Our Lives, the American mass movement against gun violence were recently awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for 2018. They received the prize from Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a special ceremony held in Cape Town, South Africa.

March. Solidarity in Korea, Mexico, UN Alliance of Civilizations. We have mentioned above the progress in Korea. As for Mexico, there is good news that Mexico City has elected its first woman mayor who promised “to lead an honest, open, democratic, austere, inclusive government that acts with, for and for the citizenship, without distinction of party, religion or socioeconomic level, but putting all our effort to make of this, a city of rights, with justice and that diminishes the still serious social inequalities,” And we carry an article by a youth participant in the Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations: “# Commit2Dialogue: Partnerships for Prevention and Sustaining Peace.”

February. Mass media for peace in Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Africa. The project described in Mexico does not seem to have advanced, but as mentioned above, we carry an articles in the last month about rural radio in Colombia. As for the media for a culture of peace in Africa, we have carried articles from Togo, Morocco and Senegal in recent months.

January. Review of 2017. Last year in our review we highlighted the fight against violence to women, progress at the United Nations towards nuclear disarmament and divestment from fossil fuels. As we see above, 2018 shows contijnued progress to combat violece to women and divestment from fossil fuels, but no progress towards nuclear disarmamet.

What was new and especially important last year was the progress as reviewed above towards peace in Korea, Ethiopia/Eritrea and Philippines as well as continued progress in Colombia, a process that we have followed closely for several years now.

      

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



The 815th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council: Report of the Commission on Elections in Africa

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



France: Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes): where Democracy is on the march!

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Argentina: Thousands of women march to the Plaza de Mayo to demand justice for Lucía Pérez

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


UNESCO and Angola to establish Biennale of Luanda, a Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Global arms industry: US companies dominate the Top 100; Russian arms industry moves to second place

HUMAN RIGHTS



Amnesty International: Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



France: Culture for Peace Award to The Artists in Exile Workshop

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Mexico: Promoting the subject “Culture of Peace” at all academic levels

English bulletin December 1, 2018

EUROPE MEETS, MARCHES FOR PEACE

Meetings and demonstrations for peace have been taking place throughout Western Europe in the last month or so. Here are those with articles in CPNN:

Spain: The II World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace was closed in Madrid by a panel of women chaired by the Manuela Carmena, the mayor of Madrid and host of the Forum She called for more leadership by women, saying “We must be protagonists in the 21st Century and in the following centuries. . . . the voice of women is the voice of peace.” The Forum elaborated an agenda of cities for peace including: policies of caring rather than policies of security, preparation, implementation and supervision of action plans for the prevention of violence, and local action plans to address them.

During the Forum, it was announced that 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence will start from Madrid on October 2, 2019, International Day of Nonviolence and finish on March 8, 2020, International Women’s Day, It will be 10 years since the 1st WM that travelled through 97 countries on 5 continents. In this new edition, Madrid will be the beginning and end point for the 159-day circumnavigation of the planet which will pass through Africa, America, Oceania, Asia and Europe, going through more than 100 countries.

France: There were several major peace events in France.

At the Paris Peace Forum, sponsored by the French government to mark the centenary of the end of World War One, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that “blinkered” nationalism was gaining ground in Europe and beyond. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his hope that the Forum could help avoid falling into the traps of the past by promoting multilateralism. He wants it to demonstrate the power of reconciliation a century after Europe was torn apart by one of history’s bloodiest conflicts. Among others at the Forum were Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan as well as United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres. The Forum sought concrete actions to address today’s challenges. 850 initiatives were audited by the Selection Committee; 120 projects were selected and were presented at the Forum.

Also in Paris, Human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Speakers included UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

In Paris as well as in other cities of France and Europe, women took to the streets on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence to Women in a “feminist tidal wave” against sexist and sexual violence. According to its organizer, “This is the biggest feminist mobilization that we have known in France.”

Germany: During the Days of Protest for Peace and Disarmament from 1 to 4 November, actions were carried out in almost 50 German cities and thousands of signatures were collected. The days of protest were organised by the national initiative “disarm instead of rearm” and supported by the two big networks of the peace movement “Cooperation for Peace” and the Committee of the Federal Peace Council.

Previously, in October, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched through Berlin in protest against the far right, racism, and xenophobia . Organisers said 242,000 people across Germany took part in the rally, making it one of the biggest in recent years.

Iceland: Also at the end of October rallies were organized across the country to demand equal pay and rights and declaring “Don’t Change Women, Change the World!” Demonstrations were held in 16 towns and cities and the largest was in Reykjavík, where female musicians, poets, actresses and a 230-strong choir performed.

Italy: An International Conference “Scientists for Peace” was held in Città della Pieve. The scholars who took part in the Conference signed the “Declaration of the Scientists for Peace” which they are sending to UNESCO.

United Kingdom: A Nationwide Public Meeting Tour is being devoted to the themes of Stop Bombing Yemen and Stop Arming Saudi. It is taking place between 8 November and 13 December in York, Brent, Cardiff, London, Portsmouth, Norwich, Merseyside, Manchester, Sheffield, Basingstoke, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Lewisham.

Ireland: Dublin hosted the First International Conference against US/NATO Military Bases with speakers from around the world. In CPNN, we have reprinted the speech to the conference by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire: “Unfortunately, we are constantly bombarded with the glorification of militarism and war; therefore building a culture of peace and nonviolence will not be an easy task. . . However, I believe that peace is both possible and urgent. It is achievable when we each become impassioned about peace and filled with an ethic that makes peace our objective and we each put into practice our moral sense of political/social responsibility to build peace and justice.

      

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

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Launch of the 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence at the 2nd World Forum of Peace Cities in Madrid

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Città della Pieve, Italy: The Declaration of the Scientists for Peace

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Madrid: Women close the Anti-Violence Forum with a message of peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Dublin: Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Peace and disarmament on the streets of Germany

HUMAN RIGHTS



Paris: World summit brings surge of new commitments to protect human rights defenders

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Artist’s Portraits Show Migrant Caravan’s Hope, Joy: ‘These Are Regular People’

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Navarra, Spain: The “Schools for Peace and Coexistence” Program will be extended to 61 centers and more than 10,800 participants

CPNN discussion questions

Discussions about Education for Peace

How can sports promote peace?

Gender equality in education, Is it advancing?

Understanding the culture of peace, What are the key videos?

How can poetry promote a culture of peace?

What are some good films and videos that promote a culture of peace?

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

What are the most important books about the culture of peace?

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

How do we promote a human rights, peace based education?

The theatre, How can it contribute to the culture of peace?

What is the relation between peace and education?

Where are police being trained in culture of peace?

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

What place does music have in the peace movement?

Restorative justice: What does it look like in practice?

Where is peace education taking place?

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

Discussions about Sustainable Development

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

When you cultivate plants, do you cultivate peace?

What is the relation between the environment and peace?

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

Opposing tax havens and global exploitation: part of the culture of peace?


How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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

Are we making progress in renewable energy?

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

Discussions about Human Rights

Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?

How effective are mass protest marches?

The right to form and maintain trade unions, is it being respected?

What is the state of human rights in the world today?


The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

Is there progress towards democracy and respect for human rights in Myanmar?

Discussions about Equality of Women with Men

Gender equality in education, Is it advancing?

What role should men play to stop violence against women?

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

Discussions about Democratic Participation

Is a U.S. Department of Peace a realistic political goal?

Participatory budgeting, How does it work?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

The culture of peace at a regional level, Does it have advantages compared to a city level?

How important is community development for a culture of peace?

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

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

Restorative justice: What does it look like in practice?

Discussions about Tolerance and Solidarity

Are we making progress against racism?

The understanding of indigenous peoples, Can it help us cultivate a culture of peace?

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

Is there a renewed movement of solidarity by the new generation?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East; Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

The refugee crisis, Who is responsible?

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

Discussions about Free Flow of Information

Can peace be achieved in Mindanao?

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

Peace Boat: Building a Culture of Peace around the World

Journalism in Latin America: Is it turning towards a culture of peace?

World Social Forums, Advancing the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace?

The courage of Mordecai Vanunu and other whistle-blowers, How can we emulate it in our lives?

Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

African journalism and the culture of peace, A model for the rest of the world?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

What has happened this year (2017) for the International Day of Peace?

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

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

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Discussion question: Does Costa Rica have a culture of peace?

Discussions about Disarmament and Security

Can the culture of peace be established at the level of the state?

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

Do you think handguns should be banned?, Why or why not?

Is peace possible in Afghanistan?

The peace movement in the United States, What are its strengths and weaknesses?

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

Discussion concerning the question: A UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament: Distraction or progress?

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

Can cluster bombs be abolished?

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

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East; Is it important for a culture of peace?

CPNN discussion concerning the question “Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?”

Can NATO be abolished?

Discussion: How can there be a political solution to the war in Syria?

English bulletin November 1, 2018

. NOBEL: END SEXUAL VIOLENCE .

It was an important step forward that the recipients of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize were recognized for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. The history of the culture of war tells us that: “Rape and other violence against women has been fundamental to the culture of war over the course of history.”

The Nobel Committee joins an impressive list of organizations around the world that are making progress for women’s equality and an end to violence against women. Here are examples from CPNN during the past month.

Local NGOs

In Guatemala,  the organization Mujeres Transformando el Mundo (Women Transforming the World) has helped the “abuelas” of Sepur Zarco to obtain the conviction of military officers for their systematic rape and enslavement during the 36-year-long Guatemalan civil war, and to obtain reparations, including the promise to reopen the files on land claims, set up a health centre, improve the infrastructure for the primary school and open a new secondary school, as well as offer scholarships for women and children.

National NGOs:

In the United States, Planned Parenthood is leading the fightback to resist the attacks by President Trump and his appointees against women’s reproductive rights. They are planning a multi-million dollar, nationwide campaign to ensure that abortion remains accessible—even if the landmark decision legalizing it nationwide is overturned thanks to Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court.

International NGOs:

Plan International sponsored a campaign in which over 1000 schoolgirls become world leaders for the day, from executives at Google and Facebook to government posts and local councils. Among the posts they held for a day were the presidency of Peru and the heads of the parliamentary speakers of Zimbabwe and Western Australia.

Religious organizations

In Bougainville, an island of Papua New Guinea, the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation, established by the Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth, led by Sister Lorraine Garasu, supports a network of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs). Their work is focused on issues of family and sexual violence, community safety and security, poverty reduction, leadership, and recognition of the work of WHRDs, particularly those in rural communities. The women work for sexual reproductive health and rights, access to education and services and the need for action on climate change, among many other important issues. The initiative is supported by the International Women’s Development Agency.

Business enterprises

Software giant Adobe has announced that it has achieved pay parity between women and men globally across 40 countries. The company defines pay parity as ensuring that employees in the same job and location are paid fairly, regardless of their gender or ethnicity. “I am proud that we have taken this important step towards fair recognition of all our people’s contributions — achieving this milestone is fundamental to who we are,” said Adobe president and CEO Shantanu Narayen.

National governments

Iceland has the smallest overall gender gap of 144 countries ranked  by the World Economic Forum and has enacted the world’s first equal pay law. This has come about through grass-roots pressure and the election of women leaders, as illustrated by the recent national ‘Kvennafrí 2018’, Women’s Strike with demonstrations held in 16 towns and cities. The rally in the capital city Reykjavik was addressed by a former prime minister (a woman) and attended by the sitting prime minister (also a woman).

United Nations

The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka presented the Secretary-General’s report on women, peace and security to the UN Security Council in October. “We commend the Nobel Committee’s recognition to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their advocacy on behalf of victims of wartime sexual violence. It is an example of the importance of this issue . . I met many exceptionally courageous women in my recent travels to Somalia, South Sudan, the Sahel and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. Many of them are here today. But many could not be here.  In 2017, half of the women honoured in the annual tribute of the Association for Women in Development were murdered in conflict affected countries. . . . It is my strong wish that we will find the political will to do much more about this epidemic of killings of women over the next decade than we have in this past one.

UNICEF is part of the United Nations taking positive steps at the local and national level. For example, In Ethiopia, UNICEF supports the development of girls’ clubs as part of an accelerated effort to end child marriage.

As we stated in the UNESCO draft resolution sent to the United Nations in 1998 , which became the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace: “there is an inextricable linkage of peace with equality between women and men. Only this linkage of equality, development and peace can replace the historical inequality between men and women that has always characterized the culture of war and violence.”

      

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



The Nobel Prize for Peace 2018

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



France: Several thousand students have signed a manifesto in which they pledge not to work for companies that disagree with their values

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Inter-Parliamentary Union: 139 parliaments demand immediate action on climate change

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


GAPMIL gives Global Media and Information Literacy Awards 2018

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Nuclear Abolition Day: Security Council session clashes with UN High-Level Meeting

HUMAN RIGHTS



Sepur Zarco case: The Guatemalan women who rose for justice in a war-torn nation

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Berlin: Hundreds of thousands march against racism

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



AUNOHR University unveils the “Knotted Gun” Sculpture in Beirut

English bulletin October, 2018

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

Using the same methodology this year as last, we see even more events than ever around the world for the International Day of Peace. The number of events we could find was almost doubled in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, from 126 to 233, from 96 to 177, from 67 to 158, and from 58 to 95 respectively.

For the most part, celebrations were organized by cities and towns, schools and civil society. However, a few heads of state issued proclamations. Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada stated, “As we mark the International Day of Peace, and celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I encourage Canadians to reflect on how we can all stand up for human rights, and build a better country and more peaceful world.” Chinese Vice President, Wang Qishan proclaimed that “the International Day of Peace represents good hope for world peace for all the people in the world. The Chinese people, always a lover of peace, expect to pursue, maintain and enjoy peace with the peoples of other countries.” President Maduro of Venezuela said “The heroic people of Venezuela have managed to overcome their difficulties peacefully. On this International Day, we confirm that it is the only way to achieve true freedom. With Peace everything is possible.” And at the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres said “Peace is the unifying concept that brings us together. Peace is at risk. Peace is violated in so many places. But we will not give up.”

Similar to last year, the greatest number of events took place in schools, involving the children of the world in the hopes for peace. An outstanding example was that of the Montessori schools around the world, where the tradition of singing “Sing Peace Around the World” is used annually to mark the International Day of Peace. “Peace is a big part of the Montessori curriculum,” said Kennebec [Maine, USA] Montessori School Principal Rebecca Green. “It’s the foundation for helping children figure out who they are in the world and how to treat others with respect.” Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori educational philosophy, was a three-time nominee for the Noble Peace Prize who encouraged teachers to cultivate peace and courtesy in their classrooms.

In school after school, the Day was an occasion to appreciate diversity. In Boca Raton (Florida), students in the Coral Sunset Elementary School dressed in their native colors and countries: “We have over 64 countries represented in the Palm Beach School system.” At the University of Bradford (UK) “our students cover over 50 nationalities. The chance to meet people of different backgrounds and experience makes our school a very rich learning environment.” In   Vitoria, Brazil, students at the Centro Educacional Leonardo da Vinci produced a mural for respect for differences among peoples, through generosity and a careful look at the other. Each group worked with a continent, painting butterflies with the colors of the flags of each country, but these butterflies are not restricted to their borders, joining on the same planet, showing that although we have different colors and flags, we are similar and have a same heart.

Below are photos of children around the world releasing balloons or doves into the sky as a symbol of their wish for peace everywhere.

In hundreds of events, music served as a universal language. A typical example was in Piratininga, Niteroi, Brazil, where students of the Colégio de Aplicação Dom Hélder Câmara, gathered in the central plaza to sing “La paz” by Gilberto Gil, the most popular singer in their country. We have already mentioned above the use of music by the Montessori schools. The initiative One Day, One Choir, connected world class ensembles with school, community, faith, workplace and local choirs in more than 70 countries to sing for peace and unity.

Everywhere the day was an occasion to bring people together across the divides of religion. For example, in Brussels, Belgium, as part of the International Day of Peace, the City hosted a conference organized by Almouwatin (Citizen, in Arabic) to address the themes of exchange and sharing in collaboration and with the support of various Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, lay, Freemason, Christian associations. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, representatives of Catholicism, Spiritism, Buddhism, Umbanda, Protestantism, Hinduism, Candomblé and Islam participated in an interreligious act “Unity for Peace.” In Sydney, Australia, this year for the first time, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Coptic Orthodox, and the Sufis joined in the annual Interfaith Prayer Service. And in Raipur, India, students of the Rungta International School visited the four major religious places of their city. the Ram Mandir , the Church , the Masjid and the Gurudwara where the religious leaders of all these places spoke about their respective religions . They emphasized the need to enable the next generation to understand and assimilate the essence and spirit of peace of all religions and respect them.

In Africa, where democratic transition is a difficult challenge, a common theme on the International Day of Peace was the need for peaceful elections. This was the theme in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

This year there were many peace celebrations in countries emerging from armed conflict From Colombia, we publish the events in Tibu, Bogota, Santa Marta (Magdalena), La Paz (Cesar), Dabeiba (Antioquia), Bosa and Medellin. Those of Dabeiba and La Paz involved the former FARC combatants who were demobilized in the UN supervised camps near these cities. “This is a historic moment, some 15 years ago it was impossible to think of such a moment, and today we all come together for peace,” said Isaias Trujillo, who served 47 years in the FARC. And from Syria, we publish events from Aleppo, Homs, Sahnaya, and Qamishu, as well as a 12-hour marathon, in which about 15,000 people from different age groups took part. The marathon began at 8 am in Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Lattakia, Tartous and Sweida, where the participants ran simultaneously for a distance of 3 kilometers, before a number of them went to participate in another evening marathon in Damascus, concluded by a ceremony held by the Umayyad Square in the Syrian capital which can be seen in a video by CNN.

On the other hand, there were poignant comments from the events in the Ukraine, a country that continues to be divided by military conflict. In the capital of Kiev, there were competing celebrations of the International Day of Peace by those supporting the two sides and we publish descriptions of events from six other cities in the Western, official government zone and four cities from the Eastern, breakway zone. In Kurakhiv, the theme was “I want to live without war” and in Marazlievskoy, it was “We want to live in peace.” In Kiev, the chairman of the All-Ukrainian Union of Women Workers said “We, Ukrainian mothers, do not want our children to die. Let the war end!”

We give the concluding word to Kyrgyzstan where the Day of Peace was a moment to appreciate the absence of war: “For some of us, peace is an everyday reality. Our streets are calm, our children go to school. Where the foundations of society are strong, the priceless gift of peace can not be particularly noticed by anyone.”

      

GLOBAL


What has happened this year for the International Day of Peace/a>

AFRICA



Africa: International Day of Peace

LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN



Latin America: International Day of Peace

ARAB STATES AND MIDDLE EAST



Arab and Middle East: International Day of Peace

EX-SOVIET COUNTRIES



Ex-Soviet Countries: International Day of Peace

ASIA AND PACIFIC



Asia and Pacific: International Day of Peace

EUROPE



Europe: International Day of Peace

UNITED STATES AND CANADA



United States and Canada: International Day of Peace

What has happened this year (2018) for the International Day of Peace

. FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .
This year we gave links to 233 events coming from most of the provinces and states in Canada and the USA. Next was Europe with 177 events in 32 countries. There were 158 events cited in 22 Asian countries, 95 from 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries, 71 from 9 countries formerly part of the Soviet Union, 71 from 25 African countries, and 30 from 15 Arab and Middle Eastern countries. See the CPNN bulletin for October for a synopsis.

Detailed data may be found on the following CPNN articles:

United States and Canada: International Day of Peace

Europe: International Day of Peace

Asia and Pacific: International Day of Peace

Ex-Soviet Countries: International Day of Peace

Arab and Middle Eastern States: International Day of Peace

Latin America and Caribbean: International Day of Peace

Africa: International Day of Peace

Morocco and Senegal promote gender equality through media

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Devdiscourse

The first traveling workshop of the project ” Prevent violence and promote gender equality through the media in Morocco and Senegal ” was held from 16 to 18 August 2018 in Thiès (Dakar-Senegal). An activity that allowed the various participating journalists to build their capacity in the mastery of the concept of gender, human rights issues and their consideration in the collection and processing of information.


©UNESCO/Théodora Samba Taliane

The project “Preventing violence and promoting gender equality through the media in Morocco and Senegal”, funded by Spain under the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC), has as its main objective to empower beneficiaries to promote gender equality and combat the reporting and spread of hate speech in the media while promoting a better strategic approach to the use of digital.

(article continued in right column)

Click here for the version in French)

Question related to this article:

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

African journalism and the Culture of Peace, A model for the rest of the world?

(article continued from left column)

The project is implemented in Senegal with the support of partners at the national level such as the Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications, Posts and the Digital Economy, the Senegalese National Commission for UNESCO (COMNAT), the Union of Associative and Community Radios of Senegal (URAC), 

A series of four itinerant workshops are planned to be held throughout Senegal. It is in this context that the first event was organized. The workshop, which was held on August 16, 17, 18, welcomed nearly 40 participants, members of the community radios as well as the online press, located in the region of Dakar and Thiès.

For three days they were trained on the concepts of human rights, gender and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and in journalistic techniques, on the notions of ethics and deontology in the treatment of information. 

At the end of the training sessions, the participants were asked to make radio and written productions, respecting the notions of gender, ethical and ethical according to the knowledge acquired. These productions will be monitored throughout the implementation of the project for dissemination to local communities. 

This workshop was an opportunity, especially for members of the online press, to participate for the first time in an activity dealing with gender issues, demonstrating clearly that the need for strengthening on these themes is essential, and this at all scales. The next traveling workshops will be held in Kaolack (September), St. Louis (October) and Kolda (November).

Promoting a culture of peace and gender equality is central to UNESCO’s mission. This project is part of the Organization’s drive to strengthen peace and non-violence through the media with a focus on building their capacity to advance ethical, objective and quality journalism.

INTERVIEW: ‘Defend the people, not the States’, says outgoing UN human rights chief

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article from the United Nations News Service

For four years, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has been taking governments across the world to task, exposing human rights violations and robustly advocating for the rights of victims.

His appointment by the Secretary-General back in 2014 was a landmark: he became the first Asian, Muslim and Arab ever to hold the post.


OHCHR: Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meeting with indigenous community leaders in Guatemala. November 2017.

Before that, Zeid had already enjoyed a long and distinguished career, both at the UN and as a Jordanian diplomat. He served his country in several capacities, notably as Ambassador to the United States, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, with a stint as President of the Security Council in January 2014.

Throughout his career, Zeid has demonstrated a commitment to international law, playing a major role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, as the first President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – turning the court from an idea into a reality – and, eight years later, overseeing the legal definition of the crime of aggression and the court’s jurisdiction over it.

In his last major interview with UN News, the UN human rights chief tells us that the “real pressure on this job comes from the victims and those who suffer and expect a great deal from us.”

“Governments are more than capable of defending themselves. It’s not my job to defend them. I have to defend civil society, vulnerable groups, the marginalized, the oppressed. Those are the people that we, in our office, need to represent,” he adds, noting that “oppression is making a comeback”.

When asked about whether his view of the UN and what it can achieve has diminished during his time spent speaking out loudly in defence of the abused and defenceless over the past four years, he says:

“It’s very difficult to tolerate abuse of the UN when I keep thinking of the heroic things that people do in the field, whether the humanitarian actors or humanitarian personnel, my human rights people, the people who are monitoring or observing. And I take my hat off to them. I mean, they are the UN that I will cherish and remember.”

UN News: When you compare the human rights landscape today to when you took over the UN human rights office back in 2014, what are the key differences that you see?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: When I took over, it coincided with the terrible videos put online by Daesh, or ISIS, which stoked a great deal of fear and horror. And we began to see a sort of a deepening of the crisis in Syria and in Iraq. And this then folded into two things:

One, a great determination to embark on counter-terrorism strategies, which we felt were, in part, excessive in certain respects. Every country has an obligation to defend its people, and the work of terrorism is odious and appalling and needs to be condemned and faced. But whenever there is excessive action, you don’t just turn one person against the State, you turn the whole family against the State. Ten or maybe more members could end up moving in the direction of the extremists.

And then, the migration debates, and the strengthening of the demagogues and those who made hay out of what was happening in Europe for political profit. As each year passed, we began to see a more intense pressure on the human rights agenda.

UN News: You have been very outspoken and you’ve called out governments and individual leaders around the world who have abused human rights. Do you see that as the most important role for the UN human rights chief?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: Yes. At the Human Rights High Commission, you’re part of the UN, but also part of the human rights movement and both are equally important. As I said on earlier occasions, governments are more than capable of defending themselves. It’s not my job to defend them. I have to defend civil society, vulnerable groups, the marginalized, the oppressed. Those are the people that we, in our office, need to represent.

I always felt that that is the principle task: we provide technical assistance, we collect information, we go public on it. But in overall terms, the central duty for us is to defend the rights of those most marginalized and those that need it.

UN News: what if you come under pressure to stay silent?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: Well, the interesting thing is that the pressure on this particular job doesn’t really come very much from the governments. They all attack the office because we criticize all of them, but we also point to areas where there is improvement, and I sometimes will praise the government for doing the right thing.

The real pressure on this job comes from the victims and those who suffer and expect a great deal from us. That’s the pressure that I think matters most in terms of the need to do the right thing.

UN News: Have there been times, therefore, when you’ve had to compromise a bit too much and maybe even let rights campaigners down in some way?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: No, not in that sense because I think I’ve been outspoken enough and I think I broke new ground when it came to High Commissioners. I can tell you in almost every meeting I sit with governments and I say things that I know they would never have heard before from someone in the UN.

No, the enormity of the suffering of people creates a feeling of inadequacy that, no matter what I do —an interview like this, a press conference, a report — it’s not going to restore a disappeared son or daughter to his or her mother. I know it won’t end the practice of torture immediately. I know that the residents in an IDP [Internally Displaced Peoples] camp, are not going to next day be moved into something more improved.

And that feeling is the pressure that I’m speaking about. It’s this sort of feeling that no matter what I do, it’s unequal to the colossal challenge that stands before us.

UN News: Have there been times when you thought it best to use quiet diplomacy to work behind the scenes?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: We’re always trying. We’re always trying to use quiet diplomacy. I mean, we’re constantly meeting with governments, and I send letters, and we conduct phone calls.

But on occasion we make a determination that we’ve tried these tracks, it hasn’t worked, and that I’m going to go public. Sometimes, I asked my spokesperson to do it; sometimes, I ask my regional office to do it; and other times, I’ll do it myself. But it’s carefully thought through.

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Question for this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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There was one foreign minister, for example, I needed to speak to. We were planning to send a technical mission to his country and, for almost a year, he avoided me. I saw him here in the GA [General Assembly] and he said, “Yes, yes, yes,” and then just avoided me. So then, we got a message to him that I’m going to go public tomorrow, and he was on the phone right away.

And the lesson learned was that if you don’t sometimes threaten to speak out, you don’t grab their attention. And I would rather err on the speaking out part than staying silent.

I first worked with the UN in 1994, 1995 in the former Yugoslavia. And I saw what catastrophes silence can bring. And I think from that point on, I was determined not to be silent when the evidence before us was presented.

UN News: What’s touched you most personally in the job? What have been those moments, the encounters with people that have meant the most to you?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: There have been many. I think it’s very hard to listen to the suffering of people. One of the times was when I went to the Ilopango detention centre in El Salvador. [Four young women] had been sentenced to 30 years in prison. They claimed these were obstetric emergencies: miscarriages. The State claimed that these were terminations of pregnancy.

When I sat with them – I had with me a full team, my office, assistants and interpreters – I think within the space of about 10 minutes we were all weeping; we were in tears because their suffering was so extreme. One of them was telling us how her foetus was on the ground and rather than take her to a hospital, they handcuffed her and took her to prison. And I thought the cruelty, the capacity for human cruelty is amazing.

I saw the president after that and I said, “Why is it that all these girls are poor? Every single one of them?” It’s as if it’s only the poor that face these sorts of conditions. This is the point that really strikes home that time and again: the poor suffer all the consequences. And that for me was a moment that will always remain with me. And there have been quite a few like that.

UN News: Is there a specific moment that stands out as being the most difficult or perhaps even the most consequential during your tenure?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: It’s all been difficult. When you’re defending the rights of people, and there’s so much pressure exerted upon you from this deep inner need or desire to help them, it’s all quite tough.

But I take inspiration from the amazing human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, activists in so many countries who do amazing, brave things to highlight the plight of others; to defend the rights of others. Whatever I may want to complain about day in, day out, it’s nothing compared to the pressure that these people face, confront, overcome — often they have no fear.

These are the real leaders; these are the people that inspire. Not many of the politicians who claim to be leaders and are weak and self-serving, and are leaders in name only. The real leaders are the ones who, against all odds, will do the right thing and then often pay a price for it, and be detained for it.

And I think that’s what keeps us fuelled and working on their behalf.

Again, the point to be made is that, yes, we are part of the UN, but we’re also part of a human rights movement. The UN is creating order amongst States: with us, we look at the heart of the relationship between the governing and the governed and so, of course, it’s going to be sensitive.

People have their rights, the States have their obligations, their commitments. And we have to defend the people.

UN News: Where do you think you’ve made the biggest difference, personally? And have you made mistakes?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: I don’t know. The question ought to be addressed to civil society, victims’ groups, human rights defenders. And if they said, “Zeid has done a good job,” I’d be very content with that. If they said, “Zeid could have done better,” I’d have to learn to live with it and accept it. It’s really for them to quantify the extent to which I have achieved something or whether they think that I was able to undertake my responsibilities in the right manner.

UN News: you said that being High Commissioner for Human Rights is a unique job within the UN, and you seem to have followed a fairly similar path to your predecessors in making yourself unpopular with governments. Do you want to see your successor sticking to that path?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: The fundamental point that I mentioned earlier is that the States can defend themselves. Our job is not to defend the States, and the law is there for the protection of the weak, not in defence of the strong.

And so, we look at the law, we look at the obligations of States, and our job is to defend the individual victims, vulnerable communities, marginalized communities, or oppressed communities.

Oppression is making a comeback. Repression is fashionable again.

And so, I don’t believe anyone holding this position — even if they felt differently — can ultimately conduct business in a manner that departs too radically from the way that I, or my predecessors, have done it. If you try to depart, it will be extremely unpleasant for you because you’re going to hear it from the very people who are suffering. And there can be nothing that will tear at your conscience more, if you abandoned them. So, my belief is that the job defines the conduct.

UN News: Is there any other key advice you’d give?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: I would always say be in good health because it is a demanding job, and it is taxing. Whoever takes this job has to be ready for it. Some jobs in the UN system are viewed as sinecures, retirement posts for national officials. This is not one of them. This requires complete commitment.

UN News: For you, where to next? And as a seasoned ex-diplomat with so much UN experience, how has doing this job changed your view of the world?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: I don’t know, maybe I’ll be a journalist!

I’ve been away from my family; I need to spend time with them and then I’ll look and see what new direction I’d want to take myself. But I need a rest as well.

UN News: having walked this tightrope, do you feel perhaps a little more appreciative of what the UN does, or perhaps a little less?

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: No, if I were to, in the future, think of the UN, I would think of the moments in the field where I see the UN doing amazing things.

It’s very difficult to tolerate abuse of the UN when I keep thinking of the heroic things that people do in the field, whether they be humanitarian personnel, my human rights people, the people who are monitoring, observing, with some threat to themselves: I take my hat off to them. They are the UN that I will cherish and remember.

To the outside world, the jargon, the terminology, seems inaccessible. I think that the work that UN personnel do in the field is much more understandable. That’s how I entered the UN, in the field, and that’s how I got to know it. And I think that’s where the UN has enormous impact and needs to continue to make the investment and do the right thing.
 
And you can also hear Zeid articulating his passion for international justice in a recent UN News podcast  in which he interviewed Ben Ferencz who, at 99 years of age, is the last surviving prosecutor of the post-war Nuremberg military tribunals and was one of the leading campaigners for an international court.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

English bulletin July 1, 2018

. . SLOW NEWS FROM AFRICA . .

While the headlines are mostly pessimistic about peace, there have been two stories that give us some hope for solutions to two of the longest running international tensions. In Korea, there are some positive assessments coming out of the summits between the Presidents of the two countries and the summit of the Presidents of North Korea and the United States. Similarly, there are some positive assessmens of the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

At the same time, there is “slow news” that doesn’t make the headlines, but is developing slowly at a deep level. It’s not simply peace, but rather a “culture of peace.”

We can see this especially in Africa. For example, in the past few decades Africa has shown its leadership with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and the Gacaca in Rwanda, and following in the footsteps of the freedom fighters of yesterday, it has great potential to continue providing leadership in the future.

At CPNN we have followed these developments over many years. This is the fifth CPNN bulletin devoted to the development of the culture of peace in Africa, with previous bulletins published in March 2016, December 2014, April 2014, and August 2012.

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) recently held its 766th meeting. It was dedicated to Africa’s Peace and Security Landscape by the Year 2023 and topics included improvement of governance, use of election observation missions, effective natural resources management systems, balanced economic development, inclusion of youth in peace processes and development of the culture of peace, unity in diversity and tolerance in education curriculums. CPNN has been following the peace initiatives of the AU since 2011.

The African Union recently announced that the tourism sector supports about 21 million jobs in Africa with a value of over $160 million, exceeding manufacturing and banking sectors combined. CPNN previously reported on a major event of tourism for a culture of peace held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in January 2015 and has followed the development of tourism for a culture of peace around the world.

The Great Green Wall, a reforesting initiative crossing the entire continent of Africa is recently back in the news with announcment of substantial financing from the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. This is yet another project of the African Union. CPNN first reported about the Great Green Wall back in 2011 when it was initiated by Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Matthai. It grew out of a movement that she had started in Kenya in 1977.

A similar reforestation project, the “plant a million trees Initiative ,” is now underway in Zambia which is further south on the African continent. So far, tree nurseries have been set up at 12 schools in Lusaka, and the project expects to reach 720 schools in the next two years in 60 districts across the country.

Readers of CPNN will recognize the Felix Houghouet-Boigny Foundation, which recently held a seminar on the culture of peace in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire. The Foundation was at the source of the UNESCO Culture of Peace Initiative back in 1989, and CPNN was proud to be invited back in 2014 to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Other recent initiatives of the Foundation include a school for the culture of peace , a regional centre for culture of peace and university clubs for peace and non-violence.

The Panafrican Women’s Network for Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development recently elected a new president, and she announced that the network will be set up in all nine provinces of Gabon. CPNN reported on the founding of the network in 2014.

Many peace initiatives oppose the spread of Islamic terrorism in Africa. Some are religious, such as the Mohammed VI Foundation, based in Morocco and meeting recently in Cote D’Ivoire. They promote “the original sources of Islam, which is committed to peace and tolerance and peaceful coexistence in society.” Other initiatives are secular, such as the International Post-Forum Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa, meeting in Dakar, and addressed by an activist from Tunisia who called for a strategy that is global and multifaceted, involving not only the State but also the general populations.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of Africa to the culture of peace was that of Nelson Mandela. His contributions are still being carried on. The South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has announced that South Africa’s tenure in the United Nations Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of President Mandela and his commitment to peace. Lindiwe is the daughter of Walter Sisulu, one of the greatest South African peace activists and a close comrade of Nelson Mandela in the South African freedom struggle..

Although these stories about the culture of peace are not “fast news,” at least they have been reported somewhere on the internet as “slow news.”. However, we must imagine that many other initiatives promoting a culture of peace never make it onto the internet and what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. We are always looking for reporters, so if you know of initiatives that are not receiving recognition, please send them to us so we can publish them on CPNN

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


South Africa: Sisulu – UN Security Council Tenure Will Be Dedicated to Mandela’s Legacy

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Global community responds to recent positive progress in Ethiopia, Eritrea relations

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



US Conference of Mayors Resolution for Peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



In Latin America, agroecology is a deeply political struggle

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Panafrican Women’s Network for Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development

HUMAN RIGHTS



USA: “It’s Time for Moral Confrontation”: New Poor People’s Campaign Stages Nationwide Civil Disobedience

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Americans march to support immigrants and to oppose separation of families by the Trump administration

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



The culture of non-violence will take place in the heart of Lebanese school curricula

English bulletin May 1, 2018

IS THERE PROGRESS TOWARD PEACE?

We started off this year with news that South and North Korea would hold high-level talks and that they would compete jointly in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. That came off well. “In PyeongChang, the world became one,” said Lee Hee-beom, head of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee. “Transcending the differences of race, religion, nation and gender, we smiled together, cried together, and shared friendship together.”

Progress is continuing this month with the announcement that the leaders shook hands at the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries and pledged to work to denuclearize the peninsula and to declare the official end to the Korean War. In the words of South Korean President Moon Jae-In: “Kim Jong-un and I declared together that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new age of peace has begun.”

The struggle for justice for the Palestinian people, that featured the young activist Amed Tamimi in last month’s bulletin, became more dramatic this month as thousands of Palestinians took part in a month of nonviolent marches called the Great March of Return. Israel could not tolerate such a massive demonstration and used snipers to shoot the unarmed participants. . Veteran peace activist Uri Avnery compares this to the British atrocities against Gandhi and his followers in India and the racist attacks on Martin Lurther King and his followers in Alabama and he reminds us that eventually the British had to leave India.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians do not give up hope, despite hardship and war, as illustrated by the Gaza Children Cinema, “born out of a desire to create a safe haven for children . . . evidence of the magic of cinema—of how film can relieve suffering and provide light to literally one of the darkest places in the World.”

This year was the 62nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and as a follow-up we publish brief interviews with 15 of its participants coming from all corners of the world. In the words of Sohini Shoaib from India, “Women are rising up, and not just women, all these people who feel they have been silenced.”

And finally, the schoolchildren of the United States, who took to the streets on March 24 to protest gun violence following the shooting in the school of Parkland, Florida, have continued their mobilization. There were again walkouts in over 2500 schools across the country on April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 school massacre in Columbine, Colorado, and students are planning to continue mobilizing during the summer vacation this year. As explained by one of the organizers, speaking to her group of students, “”Change happens through patience and this fight does not stop after April 20.”

As one commentator remarks, the student protests are part of a broader agenda to “stop fueling the culture of violence and militarism,” which includes training programs in the schools to prepare students to become military officers.

Are we making progress toward a culture of peace? Only time will tell.

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


“Our Dreams Are Coming True”: Peace Activists Celebrate as Korean Leaders Vow to Officially End War

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


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

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



First Congress of World Leaders, International Cities of Peace, at the invitation of the Fundación El Sol

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Latin American mayors meet in Costa Rica for development goals

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Voices from 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62)

HUMAN RIGHTS



Amnesty International: Israeli forces must end the use of excessive force in response to “Great March of Return” protests

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Palestine’s Great March of Return: A New Defiance Campaign

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Dominican Republic: Integrating art subjects in centers helps create a culture of peace