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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.

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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?

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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.)

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

We have previously reprinted remarks by Nobel Peace Laureate and Bishop Desmond Tutu comparing the Israeli occupation of Palestine to the South African Apartheid regime prior to the election of Nelson Mandela as President.

Now, we reprint an analysis of the “Jewish Nation-State Law” which may be considered as the official establishment of Israeli Apartheid.

The Israeli parliament passed the “Jewish Nation-State Law” in the early hours of Thursday morning [July 19, 2018], defining Israel as the exclusive nation-state of the Jewish people and demoting the official status of Arabic.

Almost immediately, Palestinian politicians and rights groups began speaking of the legislation in the starkest of terms. PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said the law “turns a ‘de-facto’ Apartheid regime into a ‘de-jure’ reality for all of historic Palestine.

Hassan Jabareen, head of the Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said the law “features key elements of apartheid” and that by passing it, Israel has “made discrimination a constitutional value and has professed its commitment to favoring Jewish supremacy as the bedrock of its institutions.”

According to Adalah attorney Fady Khoury, the legislation entrenches the identity of the State of Israel as a state for the Jewish people, turning them into the sovereign while excluding the Palestinian population from the same definition of sovereignty.

“The law itself does not mention the word democracy even once,” Khoury explained. “Psychologically, it will have a huge impact on Israelis when they are called to determine what it or isn’t democratic.”

+972 Magazine spoke with Khoury to better understand the apartheid comparison, and why the law is so problematic in general.

[The following interview has been edited for length and flow.]

People are calling this the ‘apartheid law.’ Why?

“Apartheid in South Africa was a process. It was a system that took years to develop and was built on the work of academics and theologians who had to create justifications for white supremacy. It was system of hierarchy, in which there is one group with all the power and another without any power.

“In Israel, the new law explicitly defines the Jewish people as the only group with the only right to self-determination, while negating the rights of the indigenous people. This creates a system of hierarchy and supremacy. We do not live in a time in which explicit calls for supremacy are legitimate as they were in South Africa, but we are reaching the same result through different language.

“The analogy between Israel and South Africa is not only about separate communities or roads, it is about a state of mind. It is about the idea of ranking different groups. It is the idea of a regime of supremacy that serves the interests of one group, even if it comes at the expense of the most basic rights of another. We don’t have to keep looking for policies that resemble Jim Crow — that mindset exists not only in the periphery of Israeli politics but also in the mainstream.”

The original wording of the bill included a clause that allowed for communities to be segregated along religious or ‘national’ lines. What does the final version say about segregation?

“The previous version of the bill included a clause that allowed the state to authorize new communities based on religion or nationality. It was based on the principle of ‘separate but equal,’ which was couched in the idea that doing so would be good for everybody — Jews or Palestinians. The language was changed since it was too close to the kind of blatant segregation we have seen in the U.S. They rewrote the clause so that the state would ‘promote Jewish settlement.’ This creates a whole different kind of paradigm for segregation, one of “separate but unequal.”

“Think about it this way: imagine if the United States passed legislation that promoted ‘white settlement’ — we would cringe. But after 70 years of a Jewish and democratic state, the idea of Jewish settlement has become so mundane that it does not seem problematic. In that sense, the change is cosmetic. But what the right wants to achieve is the same: Judaizing the country while incentivizing building communities for Jewish citizens only.”

What are the potential effects this law could have on the legal system?

“This is a law that will determine the state’s constitutional identity. Up until now, it was the role of the Supreme Court to interpret what the phrase ‘Jewish and democratic’ really meant. Now we have a law that grants the state’s Jewish identity constitutional status.”

“[The law] will be foundational. It becomes a source of interpretation of the laws and the legal system. The ramifications are not going to be limited to a few areas: they are going to affect the legal system at the root, especially if the right continues to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, which will use this new constitutional norm to interpret the law.”

Is the new law an acceleration of a process that has been taking place here recently, or does it enshrine a discriminatory regime that has always existed here?

“I think we are seeing an escalation that did not begin with the new Basic Law, but rather is a result of the contradiction between the fundamental identities of the state as Jewish and democratic. What we are seeing now is Jewish identity encroaching more and more on the social and political life of Israel’s citizens, while the ‘democratic’ identity of the state is experiencing a regression.”

Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

Peace Boat: Building a Culture of Peace around the World

Peace Boat has sailed on voyages around the world since 1983 under the slogan “Building a Culture of Peace around the World.”

Here are some excerpts from their website.

Peace Boat is a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment.

Peace Boat seeks to create awareness and action based on effecting positive social and political change in the world. We pursue this through the organization of global educational programmes, responsible travel, cooperative projects and advocacy activities. These activities are carried out on a partnership basis with other civil society organizations and communities in Japan, Northeast Asia, and around the world.

Peace Boat carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. The ship creates a neutral, mobile space and enables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea, and in the ports that we visit. Activities based in Japan and Northeast Asia are carried out from our eight Peace Centers in Japan.

Please explore our website to learn more about our voyages, activities and projects. You can also download a web version of our introductory pamphlet “Across Borders” here in English, Spanish or French. Other pamphlets and brochures can also be viewed as a PDF on our issuu.com page here.

A variety of videos of Peace Boat's activities can also be viewed here.

Principles

Travel for Peace and Sustainability

Peace Boat believes that travel in itself can be a tool for positive social and political change, and seeks to create and implement best practices in responsible travel and what we call travel for peace and sustainability. Socio-political considerations rather than commercial interests largely determine our choice of destinations. Our partnerships with local organizations and travel agencies reflect our effort to utilize tourism in a progressive and educational form so as to contribute to global sustainability and peace.

Peace Boat's use of the ship as a vehicle for our activities has allowed the development of a unique range of tools for our work.

  • Forums on board: the ship as a neutral and mobile meeting space
  • Using the ship's media appeal
  • The power of people to people contact
  • Bringing back the world's reality: beyond conventional media
Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

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

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

. . . . . HUMAN RIGHTS . . . . .

An article from Amnesty International

The Israeli authorities must put an immediate end to the excessive and lethal force being used to suppress Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza, Amnesty International said as fresh protests have started today [April 13].


(Click on photo to enlarge)

Following the deaths of 26 Palestinians, including three children and a photojournalist, Yasser Murtaja, and the injuring of around 3,078 others during protests on the past two Fridays, Amnesty International is renewing its call for independent and effective investigations into reports that Israeli soldiers unlawfully used firearms and other excessive force against unarmed protesters.

“For the past two weeks, the world has watched in horror as Israeli forces unleashed excessive, deadly force against protesters, including children, who merely demand an end to Israel’s brutal policies towards Gaza and a life of dignity,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Israeli authorities must urgently reverse their policies and abide by their international legal obligations. Their horrifying use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters, and the resultant deaths, must be investigated as possible unlawful killings.

“The Israeli authorities must respect the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest and, in the event that there is violence, use only the force necessary to address it. Under international law, lethal force can only be used when unavoidable to protect against imminent threats to life.”

Eyewitness testimonies as well as videos and photographs taken during demonstrations point to evidence that, in some instances, unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot by Israeli snipers while waving the Palestinian flag or running away from the fence.

(Article continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:

Rights of the child, How can they be promoted and protected?

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

(Article continued from left column)

Among those injured since Friday 30 March, there were around 445 children, at least 21 members of the Palestinian Red Crescent’s emergency teams, and 15 journalists. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, some 1,236 people have been hit by live ammunition. Others have been injured by rubber bullets or treated for tear gas inhalation dropped by drones. The World Health Organization expressed concern that nearly 350 of those injured may be temporarily or permanently disabled as a result of their injuries. So far, at least four people have had leg amputations.

On two consecutive Fridays, tens of thousands of Palestinians, including men, women and children, have gathered in five camps set up around 700 meters away from the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel to reassert their right of return and demand an end to nearly 11 years of Israel’s blockade. While protests have been largely peaceful, a minority of protesters have thrown stones and, according to the Israeli army, Molotov cocktails in the direction of the fence. The Israeli forces claim that those killed were trying to cross the fence between Gaza and Israel or were “main instigators.” There have been no Israeli casualties.

While the Israeli army indicated that it would investigate the conduct of its forces during the protests in Gaza, Israel’s investigations have consistently fallen short of international standards and hardly ever result in criminal prosecution. As a result, serious crimes against Palestinians routinely go unpunished.

In a statement made on 8 April, Fatou Ben Souda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court expressed concern at the deaths and injuries of Palestinians by Israeli forces, reminding that the situation in Palestine was under preliminary examination by her office.

“Accountability is urgently needed not only for this latest spate of incidents where excessive and lethal force has been used by Israel but also for decades of potentially unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions, and other crimes under international law.”

The protests were launched to coincide with Land Day, and are demanding the right of return for millions of refugees to villages and towns in what is now Israel.

The protests are expected to last until 15 May, when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba or “great catastrophe”. The day marks the displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948-9 during the conflict following the creation of the state of Israel. 

English bulletin April 1, 2018

. . . THE NEW GENERATION . . .

The news this month is dominated by the new generation.

In the United States on March 14, over one million students in over 3000 schools walked out of classes to protest gun violence, led by the survivors of the massacre of 17 students and staff in Parkland, Florida, last month.

As explained by Chelsea, a high school student, “We’re here protesting gun violence all across America. Guns don’t solve problems, they create problems. And obviously, as you can see, we all feel strongly about this. This is something that’s been going on for far too long. And if people—if adults aren’t going to take action, we need to take action.”

In the words of another high school student, Jayleen Flores, “A big part of this was to show that our generation is going to make the change because we are the future, and we are soon to be adults. So it is like this is our time to really get out there and have them listen to us,””

Ten days later, on March 24, young people took the leadership in over 800 ‘March For Our Lives’ events across the United States, including almost one million in Washington, D.C. alone. The most remarkable moment at the Washington rally was when 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, addressed the crowd and paused for a full 6 minutes and 20 seconds silence – the time it took for the gunman to kill 17 of her Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School classmates.

In some of the biggest U.S. youth demonstrations for decades, protesters called on lawmakers and President Donald Trump to confront the issue. Voter registration activists fanned out in the crowds, signing up thousands of the nation’s newest voters. In Washington, Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old high school junior, told the crowd: “Politicians: either represent the people or get out. Stand with us or beware, the voters are coming.”

The young people are finding substantial support in their efforts to change the gun laws of the United States. Both of country’s teacher’s unions are supporting the student walkout and demonstrations. Many politicians and Hollywood stars joined in the demonstrations.

One especially symbolic contribution was that of the New England Patriots football team which offered their airplane to transport the students from Parkland, Florida, to the Washington demonstration.

Photos illustrate the historic nature of the demonstrations.

And there are already important economic effects. Major corporations are cancelling the discounts that they previously offered to members of the National Rifle Association. And the oldest gunmaker in the country, Remington, has filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, it is a teenager, 17-year-old Amed Tamimi, who has become the heroic representation of resistance by the Palestinians to the Israeli occupation. She has been sentenced by a secret military court to 8 months in prison for have slapped, pushed and kicked an Israeli soldier who was occupying her house not long after he or another soldier in his squad shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, forcing him into a coma. Her mother filmed the episode and uploaded it onto Facebook. As a result Amed has become a hero while her mother has been sentenced to prison for “incitement.” Meanwhile, the film has sparked solidarity actions around the world.

The scale and historical importance of these actions by the new generation reminds one of the leadership by youth in the global movement against the war in Vietnam in the 1960’s and in the movement against Apartheid in South Africa in the 1970’s. As a result, the Vietnam War had to be abandoned, and Apartheid was overthrown. Will America’s lax gun laws be changed and will the Israeli occupation be overcome? The answer is in the hands of the new generation.

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


USA: Enough! A Million Students Walk Out of Schools to Demand Action on Guns in Historic Day of Action

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Brazil: World Social Forum concludes in Salvador

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



World Peace Flame to be lit in Ashland, Oregon (USA)

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



France: Citizen vote against nuclear power

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


What Is CSW and Why Are We in New York to Be Part of It?

HUMAN RIGHTS



Cuba a ‘Champion’ of Children’s Rights: UNICEF

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Ahed Tamimi and the Pathology of the Israeli Mind

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



‘Back to Learning’ education campaign to benefit half a million children in South Sudan