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Peace Museums flourish around the world

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article by CPNN based on the newsletter of the International Network of Museums for Peace

The December 2017 newsletter of the International Network of Museums for Peace describes initiatives around the world.

Ban the Bomb is the title given to the exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, celebrating the award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). At the heart of the exhibition, which will be shown until 25th November 2018, are artefacts from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kyoto that are being shown in Europe for the first time, thanks to cooperation with the Japanese Peace Museums.


Andrew Young with statue of M. L. King (Credit: Newcastle Chronicle)

The travelling exhibition, Everything You Treasure – For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons was shown in Mexico City in August 2017, at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco). The exhibition was jointly created by Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

The Gandhi Museum at Aga Khan Palace in Pune, India, showcases the history of Gandhi’s strategies to wage his final struggle for freedom from foreign rule. The hall dedicated to Gandhi contains, his writing desk and spinning wheel, as well as a painting of his wife, resting her head on Gandhi’s lap. There is also the Sarojini Naidu library with over one thousand books and journals on Gandhian philosophy and practice.

The Anti-War Museum in Berlin is featuring an exhibition on Henry David Thoreau, American writer and opponent of war and slavery who was one of the key influences on the life and thought of Gandhi through his essay on the Duty of Civil Disobedience. The exhibition consists of 52 text-andillustration panels, and is in English and German. It includes comments on Thoreau by Gandhi, Tolstoy, M.L. King and Martin Buber.

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Question for this article:

Peace Museums, Are they giving peace a place in the community?

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In Newcastle, UK, an exhibition shown in the University Library, tells the inside story of King’s remarkable visit to the city in November 1967 to accept an honorary degree from the city’s university. On 6th September 2017, the university bestowed an honorary degree on Andrew Young, King’s close friend and colleague who had accompanied him on that memorable visit. Young, later US ambassador to the UN, unveiled a two metre tall bronze statue of King that the university had commissioned to mark the occasion.

A new Civil Rights Museum was inaugurated on 9th September in Jackson, the state capital of Mississippi. The Civil Rights Museum’s eight interactive galleries show the systematic, brutal oppression of black Mississippians and their struggles for equality and justice that transformed the state and nation. For a concise description of each gallery, and images, please consult this website.

Construction of the building for the Cambodia Peace Museum in Battambang began in September 2017 with a target to open already in 2018. The exhibit on weapons reduction will highlight how Cambodia addressed the high prevalence of guns following decades of war. A central piece of this initiative were the Flames for Peace ceremonies whereby communities would collectively turn in their guns to be destroyed in bonfires, symbolising a community’s decision to reject gun violence.

The Tehran Peace Museum (TPM) held a summer school on ‘Youth Dialogue and Peacebuilding’ from 19th to 23rd September in cooperation with the Berghof Foundation in Germany; in the same period, four student volunteers from TPM joined the 96th global voyage of the Peace Boat and participated in educational programmes and workshops. TPM held its first autumn school for young peacebuilders from 13th to 16th November with the participation of fourteen young students and civil society activists.

In Okinawa, from 1st December 2017 until 31st March 2019 the Himeyuri Peace Museum is showing a special exhibition entitled Passing on the Experience of War to the Future – Our Trip to Europe and the Himeyuri Future Generation Project. For more information please visit the museum’s website.

In Toronto, Canada, a press conference held on 25th September announced plans for the opening in 2019 of an Asia-Pacific Peace Museum and Education Centre in the city. It will promote historical awareness of the atrocities of World War II in Asia, while emphasizing peace, reconciliation, and global citizenship in the present

The Association of Japanese Museums for Peace (AJMP) organised its 24th annual meeting at Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum on 7th & 8th December 2017. AJMP consists of ten relatively influential museums including Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Nagasaki Abomb Museum. The annual meeting was attended by all member museums to exchange experiences and discuss matters for consultation.

Participatory budgeting, How does it work?

Reading CPNN, we can see that we are advancing towards a culture of peace in little steps throughout the world. A good example is the progress in Participatory Budgeting (PB) which is, in effect, democratic participation. News about PB may be found in local media, but not on the front pages of the international commercial media which does not consider it to be important. A number of these local stories (see below) were covered by the CPNN bulletin a few years ago.

Here are CPNN articles about participatory budgeting:

New York City: Participatory Budgeting: Catch the Fever!

Paraná, Argentina: vecinos votaron las propuestas para Presupuesto Participativo

Paraná, Argentina: residents will vote on proposals to implement through the Participatory Budgeting Process

The municipality of Alcoutim, Portugal, launches Participatory Budgeting

Alcoutim lança Orçamento Participativo Municipal [Portugal”>

Participatory Budget 2014: Sunday will be the vote [Trenque, Argentina”>

Presupuesto Participativo 2014: el domingo será la votación [Trenque, Argentina”>

No reason to fear the people: Participatory budgeting in Brazil

Sem medo de povo: Orçamento Participativo no Brasil

Computerized voting system for Participatory Budgeting in Ubatuba, Brazil

Sistema informatizado de votação  para Orçamento Participativo é destaque em Ubatuba, Brasil

Participatory Budgeting for Youth in Rosario, Argentina

Presupuesto Participativo Joven – Rosario, Argentina

3.500 personas participaron en etapa de diagnóstico del Programa Presupuesto Participativo [La Serena, Chile”>

3,500 people take part in the diagnosis stage of participatory budgeting in La Serena, Chile.

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

Here are some films recommended by our readers. To add more, see the comment field below.

Film: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone

Film review: Disturbing the Peace

Snowden: Best Film of the Year

Documentary Review: “Where to Invade Next” by Michael Moore

Edward Snowden Congratulates Laura Poitras for Winning Best Documentary Oscar for Citizenfour

WACC-SIGNIS Human Rights Award 2013 Goes to “Caminhos da paz”

English bulletin January 1, 2018

. . . . REVIEW OF 2017 . . . .

As we finish the year 2017 we can see continued progress in all areas of the culture of peace.

The struggle to stop violence against women was more pronounced than ever this year, as described in the December bulletin, devoted to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This month the mobilization was continued in the 16 days of activism with examples, from Senegal, Burundi, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Yemen and Australia, among others and a major effort by education unions.

We begin to see the possibility of nuclear disarmament as a result of progress at the United Nations in 2017 as a result of important initiatives of the civil society, as described in the bulletins of June, July, August and November, and marked by the Nobel Prize for Peace.

The decision by the World Bank to halt investment in exploration for fossil fuels is the latest in many important disinvestment initiatives last year. Along with the progress in renewable energy, this begins to allow us to escape from the climate warming caused by fossil fuels, as demanded by the climate marches of Earthday described in our bulletin of May.

In our bulletin of March, we reviewed mass mobilizations that have supported democratic participation. A recent study, reviewed in an article we published last month, shows that such mobilizations have a measurable effect in both the short term and the long term.

As for actors, the United Nations continued to play a key role for a culture of peace, as featured in our February bulletin and as marked last month by its annual culture of peace resolution.

As we have seen in recent years, and featured in our bulletins of July and September, a leading role for the culture of peace continues to be played by Latin America. In December we carried articles from Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Honduras.

Celebrations of the International Day of Peace continue to grow around the world. This year, we found 562 events listed on the internet, much more than the 182 that we were able to find in 2016. It is especially remarkable that the events this year came more or less evenly from all regions:

128 in North America
104 in the former Soviet Union
96 in Europe
81 in sub-Saharan Africa
67 in Asia
58 in Latin America and the Caribbean
28 in the Middle East and Arab States

As described in our October bulletin the celebrations of the International Day of Peace were often led by children.

In sum, we see the continued development of anti-war consciousness and recognition of the need for a culture of peace. On the other hand, we have yet to see this progress resulting in the development of an institutional framework for the culture of peace.

      

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Education unions join in the global call to end school-related gender-based violence

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



The League of Ulema, Preachers and Imams of the Sahel Countries: Communication to counter extremism

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Brazil: State Government of Acre establishes union with institutions for the culture of peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



UNESCO and UNWTO Sign Muscat Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Nobel Peace Prize Lecture – 2017 – Beatrice Fihn

HUMAN RIGHTS


How Nonviolent Resistance Helps to Consolidate Gains for Civil Society after Democratization

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Gabon: Pan-African youth commit to fight against radicalization and to promote a culture of peace

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Mexico: Hip-hop: coexistence for peace

English bulletin December 1, 2017

. STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN .

On November 25, 1960, the Mirabal sisters – three of four Dominican political dissident sisters – were murdered by order of Dominican dictator (1930-1961) Leonidas Trujillo, and since 1999, the United Nations General Assembly, designated the date as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor. Is it our imagination or was the day not marked this year by actions that were stronger and more widespread than ever before?

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that unless the international community tackles the problem, the world will not eradicate poverty or reach any of its other goals.

According to UN Women, “The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign spanning from 25 November through 10 December, is taking place this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global outcry. Millions have rallied behind the hashtag #MeToo and other campaigns, exposing the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day. Breaking the silence is the first step to transforming the culture of gender-based violence.”

Our survey of Internet articles found marches and other manifestations in Turkey, France, Chile, Italy, Mozambique, Sweden, Spain, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Mexico and Peru, many of them with colorful photos.

Heads of state and other political leaders took part. In France, President Emmanuel Macron announced an initiative to make it easier to report sexual assault claims to police. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a new reform plan to protect women from physical and sexual abuse. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau encouraged all Canadians to join the #MYActionsMatter campaign and find a way to combat violence against women.

The European Commission stated that “We have dedicated 2017 to European action to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, both in the public and private spheres.”

In Ecuador, the mayor of Esmeraldas, Lenin Lara, took part in 2nd International Conference on ‘Gender Violence in Ecuador and Latin America sponsored by his city, saying that “the fundamental vision is that of a culture of peace, a culture without violence of gender in general that discards the violence of our interpersonal relationships of our lives daily ”

In Africa, local radio, supported by UNESCO, is raising awareness for gender violence across many hard-to-reach regions through dedicated gender-sensitive programming, Our article includes examples from Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

In Latin America, many countries have recently strengthened their legal codes to combat femicide. These include Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Mexico. In recent months CPNN has carried details about the movements involved in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

In the United States, the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment has recently taken over social media.  As explained by Tarana Burke, the original creator of the campaign, “It was a catchphrase to be used from survivor to survivor to let folks know that they were not alone and that a movement for radical healing was happening and possible.”

In Bangladesh, A project implemented by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) and UN Women in four major universities is engaging male and female students, as well as teachers, to challenge gender stereotypes, speak out and learn how to prevent sexual harassment.

It is important that in some cases the leadership of the activities has been taken up by men. For example, in the Dominican Republic, The Inter-institutional team for a Culture of Peace in San Francisco de Macoris, organized a men’s walk against gender violence called “All United for Respect for Women.” The mottos that accompany this walk include: I respect women, I respect mothers, I respect my grandmother, I respect my daughter, I respect my sister, I respect my wife.

      

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Latin America: What are countries doing to combat femicide?

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Burkina Faso: A forum talks about peace

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



El Salvador: Project to promote a culture of peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Tunis: Strengthening the scientific partnership between Iran and the Arab countries

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


4th Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa

HUMAN RIGHTS


Nobel Laureate leads historic march across India to keep children safe

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Gabon: Pan-African Youth Forum for the Culture of Peace and the Fight Against Radicalization

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Mexico: Marcos Aguilar Inaugurates Forum “Towards a Culture of Peace”

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

Despite the fact that the climate accord negotiated by the Member States of the UN in Paris does not promise to solve the problem of global warming, the growing progress in renewable energy along with divestment from fossil fuels may ultimately solve much of the problem.

Below are articles since 2015 in CPNN about this divestment:

‘Tide Is Turning’: Cheers Erupt for NYC’s Suit Against Fossil Fuel Giants and for Divestment

World Bank Group Announcement at One Planet Summit

Norway: ‘Biggest Pile of Money on the Planet’ To Dump Fossil Fuels Holdings

Catholic Institutions Announce Largest-Ever Joint Divestment from Fossil Fuels

REPORT: Fossil Fuel Divestment Doubles in Size as Institutions Representing $5 Trillion Commit to Divest

Laureates and scientists call on Nobel Prize Foundation to divest fossil fuels

Catholic institutions around the world announce they are divesting from fossil fuel extraction, marking the largest faith-based divestment announcement

For articles prior to 2015 on this question, click here.

South Korea: Busan Film Festival and creation of world culture

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by Park Sang-seek published by the Korea Herald (reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher)

I attended as an invited guest the opening ceremony of the 22nd Busan International Film Festival on Oct. 12. I immensely enjoyed the whole ceremony and the reception. It reminded me of the 10th Singapore International Film Festival in April 1997 I attended when I served as Korean ambassador to Singapore.


Photo from the 2016 Busan festival.

After the event in Singapore I wrote an article on the SIFF in the Strait Times in which I emphasized that nations can cope with deepening racial, ethnic and cultural conflicts through cultural exchange and cooperation despite, and because of, rapid economic and social globalization.

BIFF has made me reconfirm my belief. It is ironic that economic and social globalization has actually resuscitated racial, ethnic and cultural conflicts. The reason is that the more people contact each other, the less they understand each other.

When different races develop different cultures, they become divided into different ethnic groups. Different ethnic groups form their own states (nation-states). There are also multiethnic states, but they are in general more conflict-ridden than homogeneous nation-states.

Cultural exchanges in general are more likely to promote peace among states than any other exchanges, because economic exchanges rather strengthen nationalism, while social exchange can increase immigration and migration, which in turn create racial, ethnic and cultural conflicts within a state. We are eyewitnesses to such conflicts in multiracial, multiethnic and multireligious states in both the West and non-West.

Why can cultural exchanges promote mutual understanding and empathy better among different racial, ethnic and religious peoples?

My answer is that culture is more likely to activate empathy in the human heart than any other human activity. Empathy is the main source of peace. Some scholars believe that reason is the strongest source, but empathy is more prevalent and stronger than reason in the average human.

How would an average person react to foreign cultures? She may dislike or like them. But art performances transform them into emotional panaceas and invoke empathy in audiences. Among all art forms, film is the best to build empathy because it is an integrated art form (an amalgamation of novel, poetry, music, dancing, drama, sculpture and painting) and can affect every sensual organ of the human.

Whenever I see movies, my racial, national, ethnic, educational, family and ideological backgrounds suddenly disappear and I become a primordial human being and begin to empathize with any other kind of human being.

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Question for this article:

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

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When I watched the Iranian movie “Gabbeh,” I thought I was living with a tribe in Iran and experienced the love of mankind. I had the same experience as I had at SIFF when I saw the “Glass Garden” (a profound anatomy of human nature) showcased at BIFF. When I watched a physically handicapped girl, my psyche became instantly connected to hers, my mind melded into hers and I shared my life with her.

Film is one of the most effective and inexpensive means of promoting empathy among all humans and consequently to create a culture of peace. According to the preamble of the UNESCO constitution, “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

UNESCO believes a culture of peace can be built through education, interstate cultural exchanges and the preservation of national cultural heritage and diversity. But it has been proven that member states have been using UNESCO for the preservation of their own cultures, not for the creation of a universal culture. I personally observed this during my tenure as South Korean ambassador to UNESCO in the early 1990s.

Since UNESCO which was created to promote world culture has been unable to fulfill its objective, some other international organizations and activities have to undertake this role. BIFF and other similar organizations worldwide are most well-suited for it. I have become more convinced of this after I attended the activities of BIFF this year. BIFF may make small contributions to the creation of world culture, but its small step will lead to a giant step for humankind toward the ultimate goal.

However, it will be practically impossible to build the foundation of world culture without going through an intermediate stage: a regional stage to provide a bridge to a world culture.

Therefore, each region should establish its own regional organization for cultural cooperation. I had this in mind when I proposed a Pacific Cultural and Information Organization at a conference hosted by the Korean Commission for UNESCO in the mid-1980s. Nation-states create a regional culture in their respective regions first and work toward the creation of a global culture next. It is encouraging to note that regional film festivals are also held in all regions.

The freedom of filmmaking is one of the most important human rights. It is not surprising that dictatorships take filmmaking under state control.

BIFF can contribute to the creation of peace and global culture while promoting human exchanges better than any other cultural organization, activity or diplomacy.

After I attended the festival, I thought the programs of BIFF could be improved.

One important shortcoming of the festival is that some programs are not well internationalized. For a lack of funds, the organizer uses many university students as volunteer workers and guides, interpreters or desk workers. But they are not quite familiar with Western culture and protocol. International conferences and events are held according to Western protocol and rules of conduct and therefore BIFF should also be held according to them.

I also believe BIFF should be completely depoliticized. Otherwise, the very purpose of BIFF, the creation of a culture of peace, will never be realized.

[Publisher’s note: The author, Park Sang-seek, is a former rector at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies at Kyung Hee University and the author of “Globalized Korea and Localized Globe.”]

English bulletin November 1, 2017

CAN WE ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), one of the civil society coalitions that supported the development of the United Nations Treaty to ban nuclear weapons. To quote the Nobel Committee, “Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth. Through binding international agreements, the international community has previously adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition.”

For several months now, we have been following progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. The July bulletin of CPNN followed the ongoing development of negotiations at the United Nations for the Treaty. The August bulletin headlined that the Treaty was adopted by a majority of the UN General Assermbly – 122 countries.

More recently, during the general debate of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly from 19 to 25 September in New York, many presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers from all regions of the world spoke in favour of the Treaty. And on September 26, Ministers and representatives of 46 Member States, delegations, the United Nations system and civil society took the floor during a day-long General Assembly high-level meeting to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

However, as we have recognized, while the Treaty is an “important victory for our shared humanity“, its effectiveness is limited, because the UN delegations from all of the countries with nuclear weapons, as well as most of their allies, boycotted the Treaty conference and many of them announced their opposition.

The Treaty will not take effect until it has been formally ratified by 50 Member States of the UN. Although it has been signed by many countries, it has only been ratified by three at last count: Guayana, Thailand and the Holy See. Activists agree that a priority in the coming months is to get at least 50 countries to ratify the treaty.

Where activists do not fully agree is the question of a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament (UNHLC) proposed to be held by the United Nations in 2018:

Abolition 2000 has established a working group on the UNHLC;

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) organized an event at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in St Petersburg to promote the ban treaty, nuclear-risk reduction measures and the 2018 UNHLC; PNND has just produced a Parliamentary Action Plan for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World;

The Abolition 2000 Youth Network and PNND are organising an international youth conference on the UNHLC to take place in Prague, Czech Republic on Nov 28-29, 2017;

UNFOLD ZERO maintains a webpage dedicated to the 2018 UN High-Level Conference that includes all relevant documents, reports and actions;

UNFOLD ZERO and PNND will produce a civil society action guide for the 2018 UNHLC;

Arguing in favor of the UNHLC, one leading activist, Alyn Ware, has told CPNN that it follows the model of other UN High Level conferences such as the Sustainable Development Conference (2015) which adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. the Climate Change Conference (2016) which adopted the Paris Agreement. the Oceans Conference (2017) which adopted the 14-point action plan ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’, and the Refugees conference (2016) which adopted the New York Declaration. He emphasized that one key aspect which ensured their success was strong cooperative action by civil society.

On the other hand, Alyn regrets that some disarmament organisations are calling the UNHLC a ‘distraction’. This includes ICAN that won the Nobel Prize. We may assume that they are skeptical about UN High Level Conferences in the same way that leading environmental activists were skeptical about the outcome of the Climate Change Conference that adopted the Paris Agreement in 2016. At that time, CPNN reported that James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, called the Paris talks ‘a fraud’ and Naomi Klein, another leading environmenal activist said that “We are going backwards, COP21 is the opposite of progress.”

To make the Treaty effective, and to make a High-Level Conference effective, it will not be enough to have the words of the non-nuclear Member States. We must have actions as well as words. It is up to cities, parliaments and non-governmental organizations to put sufficient pressure on the states with nuclear weapons to bring them to the point of disarmament. The Treaty and High-Level Conference can be effective tools to be used in this process.

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
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Spain: Melilla Unesco Center will host the presentation ‘Islam: Culture of peace and non-violence’

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Madrid will again host the World Forum for Peace in 2018

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Costa Rica A Role Model for Sustainable Tourism to the World

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Mexico: Expanding the Women’s Network against Gender Violence

HUMAN RIGHTS


Indonesia’s Supreme Court Upholds Water Rights

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Ecuador: ‘Dedicated Lives’ at the Casa Carrión

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Challenge in Colombia: Peace displacing violence as inspiration for the arts

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

Here is a response to the question from Alyn Ware. Although Alyn is a leading member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Disarmament, this is written in his personal capacity, not in the name of the organization.

When a group of countries moved the United Nations General Assembly to commence negotiations on a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that only non-nuclear weapons countries supported, a number of the nuclear-armed and allied States announced that such an initiative was a distraction from the real business of nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament which they are actively pursuing in other forums such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Process.

This argument was fallacious and self-serving.

It was clearly false, as the nuclear-armed and allied States had themselves agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference that “All States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.” The non-nuclear States who were advancing negotiations on the Prohibition Treaty were merely doing their part to fulfill this agreement.

And the argument was self-serving, as it aimed to prevent progress on the prohibition of nuclear weapons in order to allow them (the nuclear armed and allied States) to continue indefinitely with their nuclear deterrence policies and practices.

The Prohibition Treaty has now been concluded and opened for signature. A good step, but the nuclear armed and allied States have reaffirmed that they will not join, so it won’t apply to them.

In 2018, there will be another process that could elevate the Prohibition Treaty (including by increasing the number of countries signing), as well as putting pressure on the nuclear armed and allied states to adopt incremental nuclear disarmament measures that will bring them closer to commencing negotiations on nuclear weapons elimination.

This is the UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, which aims to build global attention and the necessary political will for nuclear disarmament in the nuclear-reliant States.

Similar UN High Level conferences on other core issues for humanity have been remarkably successful. The Sustainable Development Conference (2015) adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. The Climate Change Conference (2016) adopted the Paris Agreement. The Oceans Conference (2017) adopted the 14-point action plan ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’. The Refugees conference (2016) adopted the New York Declaration. One key aspect which ensured their success was strong cooperative action by civil society.

The 2018 UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament has the potential for similar success, but appears thwarted by a lack of support and cooperation amongst civil society. Some of the same disarmament organisations that scorned the nuclear-armed States for calling the Prohibition Treaty a ‘distraction’, are now using those same fallacious arguments to undermine the UN High Level Conference calling it a distraction. To claim that the UN High-Level Conference is a distraction from the Prohibition Treaty is a use of ‘alternative facts’ as Orwellian as those of the US President. Here is a fact check: The President of the UN negotiating conference for the Prohibition Treaty has supported the UN High Level Conference as a way to advance both the ban treaty and incremental measures by nuclear-armed and allied States. Civil society should get on board, and not weaken itself and the nuclear abolition campaign through division.

The manufactured ‘competition’ between nuclear disarmament initiatives is one of the key reasons that the nuclear disarmament movement cannot garner the political traction that has led to success in other areas – such as chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster munitions and landmines – all of which have prohibition treaties which include (current and former) possessor States, and have been instrumental in changing policies of possessors and destroying actual weapons. If the ban treaty remains stuck in its competitive silo, then it will have next-to-no impact on the States who possess the weapons.

The High-Level Conference provides a forum which can bridge the differences and advance both the comprehensive ban treaty approach, and the incremental measures, i.e. those in which there is a possibility of being adopted by nuclear armed and allied States. Civil society should come in behind this and help make it work.

This question pertains to the following articles

English bulletin October 1, 2017

. . YOUTH TAKE THE LEAD . .

Youth and children took the lead as millions of people celebrated the International Day of Peace around the world. One cannot help but be charmed by their photos as they engage in many ways to promote a culture of peace.

Especiallly impressive are the hundreds of schools in all of the former republics of the Soviet Union where children cut out paper doves, wrote on each one the name of someone who died defending their country in World War II and sent them aloft in helium-filled balloons. This symbolic demonstration transcended the boundaries of political conflict. For example, teachers and children on both sides of the civil war in the Ukraine celebrated the day in the same fashion, often deploring that war had divided them from their friends and neighbors.

In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, youth peer mentors, taking part in leadership training as part of the constructive dialogues on religion and democracy project of International Alert, climbed a mountain and hauled hundreds of rocks to craft an awesome peace sign in Koh Tash village, highlighting the importance of peacebuilding (see photo).

Children often played the leading role in local celebrations. For example, in Northfield, Minnesota: “Students led the rally as speakers and performers, communicating the significance of the international holiday and why the next generation needs to step up to shape their future, Sunny Leonard, sixth-grader and rally organizer, made the closing speech before the march to Carleton College’s Weitz Center of Creativity. She said youth are the future and it’s they who needs to decide how that future will look.”

In Pinto, Spain, a highlight of the celebration was the reading of a manifesto drafted by the Council of Children of Pinto which highlights the defense of peace along with various proposals to maintain it from the point of view of the children of the municipality.

The African Union celebrated the International Day of Peace under the theme “Engaging youth in peacebuilding”. “This slogan has been celebrated to highlight the role of young people in achieving peace and development,” said AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ismail Shragine.

In Colombia, youth are deeply involved in the reconciliation process. The Youth Network “This is Peace Too” in Tumaco, is carrying out various activities within the framework of the peace week, September 19, 20 and 21 as part of the strategy to reflect on the situation of the country and to transmit messages about forgiveness and reconciliation. They are performing activities such as staging and theater image with a gallery of body images. Young people who are part of the project “Use Your Power to Build Peace” are also participating in the Youth Encounter for Peace in Tumaco, where they exchange ideas with other young people with different youth processes for peace that take place in the surrounding municipalities. Among their activities are murals, ancestral recovery through women’s songs and young songwriters, actions that favor the integration of communities and the construction of healthy spaces for the population.

To celebrate the International Day of Peace, students studying at universities in Uganda from South Sudan are embracing their country’s cultural diversity to foster peace rather than focusing on tribal differences that have torn their country apart. The South Sudanese Students’ Union in Uganda organized a festival in Kampala as part of a series of events marking the United Nation’s International Day of Peace on September 21, whose theme this year is: “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” Organizers said the event brought together South Sudanese communities and students in Uganda who have been divided along tribal and political lines.

In many cases, music is being used as the universal language of peace. The annual music festival in Nouakchott, Mauritania around the International Day of Peace is dedicated to “jazz music as a vector of peace, freedom of expression and unity.” An especially remarkable example of music for peace is the map of hundreds of Montessori schools around the world taking part on September 21 in the project “Sing Peace around the World.”

Thanks to the new generation, yes, there is a global movement for a culture of peace. To quote Karen Stanley, an organizer of the events in Lexington, Virginia, “there are lots of places around the globe that are connecting to each other with the International Day of Peace. So it was exciting just to add our little town into that mix and do something for peace.”

      

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