Category Archives: DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

Washington, DC: Peace Activists against NATO

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article by  Martha Andrés Román from Prensa Latina

Moving the United States away from the culture of militarism and fighting for peace was the purpose of activists this week [April 6] in Washington DC against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
 

F The foreign ministers of the controversial alliance held a meeting in this capital on Wednesday and Thursday in which they discussed issues such as the increase in the bloc’s budget, the increase in the military presence in the Black Sea and the confrontations with Russia.

The meeting coincided, in addition, with the commemoration on April 4 of the 70th anniversary of the organization, a fact that was highlighted by the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and the North American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

This date is also the two important events for many sectors of American society: on April 4, 1967, the civil rights activist Martin Luther King delivered a memorable speech against the Vietnam War, and that same day of the following year he was assassinated. in Tennessee.

For members of groups such as World Beyond War, Black Alliance for Peace, Code Pink and Veterans for Peace, it was an insult that the block commemorated its seven decades of creation on the same day dedicated to honor a figure who spread a message of peace and equality.

Kevin Zeese, co-director of the Popular Resistance organization, told Prensa Latina that when they learned about the NATO meeting here on the date linked to the Reverend, they prepared a whole week of activities to oppose the 29-member alliance.

The actions included a demonstration last Saturday in front of the White House, where in addition to condemning what they consider NATO abuses at the international level, they expressed solidarity with Venezuela and criticized the interference in that Latin American country.

Likewise, on April 3 and 4, they developed an initiative called the No to NATO-Yes to Peace Festival, which included mobilizations in various parts of the city, such as the Freedom Plaza (Plaza de la Libertad) and the vicinity of the Senate, where Stoltenberg delivered a speech before Congress on Wednesday.

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Questions for this article:

Can NATO be abolished?

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During the afternoon and evening of that first day the festival participants gathered at St. Stephen’s Church to hold workshops on non-violent actions, enjoy musical performances and prepare with posters for the protests of the following day.

On Thursday, protesters gathered near the State Department, where the ministerial meeting sessions took place, and then moved with their message to the Martin Luther King Memorial, to pay tribute.

Actions like that, Zeese explained, have not only a political purpose, but are focused on changing the culture of the United States built on militarism and high investment in weapons, including nuclear weapons.

According to the activist, that was what Luther King called in his speech on April 4, 1967, ‘to get away from the culture of war and get closer to a culture of peace.’ 

Similar criteria expressed to this medium Margaret Flowers, also co-director of Popular Resistance, who recalled that in that speech the Reverend spoke out against racism, militarism, war and economic injustice.

‘A nation that continues to spend year after year more money in military defense than in programs of social progress is approaching spiritual death,’ said the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

To say of Flowers, in the United States there is an expanded belief, even among people who claim to be progressive, that NATO is a positive force in the world.

‘We are trying to change that narrative,’ he said of the organization accused in many parts of the world of violating international law in countries such as Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya.

He also criticized the calls made by US President Donald Trump to the members of the bloc to carry out more defense spending.

If we want to have security in the world, we must use the resources to meet the needs of people, such as housing, education, work, access to clean water and food, this is how we create global stability, not investing money in weapons, estimated .

All of us who lived in 1968 remember the murder of Dr. King, a leader for peace, justice, against militarism, racism and poverty, said, in turn, the singer and political activist Luci Murphy.

Murphy criticized that, contrary to those ideals, NATO and the US government take taxpayers’ money to build military bases and provoke wars. Military adventures are destroying countries, changing the climate, destroying the Earth, he said.

The Association of Caribbean States advances with the Declaration of Managua

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An article by David Comissiong from Barbados Today

The Association of Caribbean States (ACS)—a multilateral organisation that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) conceptualized and helped bring into existence some 25 years ago – concluded its eighth Heads of Government Summit in Managua, Nicaragua on the 29th of March 2019, with the adoption of the historic “Declaration of Managua” and the confirmation of a visionary three-year “Plan of Action”.


The 25 Member States of the ACS – 14 CARICOM nations, along with Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – sent the world a most remarkable message of hope and commitment to human solidarity with their “Declaration of Managua” affirmations on such critical issues as climate change, respect for the fundamental principles of International Law, the maintenance of the Greater Caribbean as a “Zone of Peace”, and the payment of reparations for the crimes of native genocide and African enslavement.

[Editor’s note: According to Wikipedia there are15 members of CARICOM: Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Republic of Haiti, Montserrat, Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Republic of Suriname, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.]

It is noteworthy that the delegation heads of such countries as Cuba (President Miguel Diaz-Canel), Nicaragua (President Daniel Ortega), El Salvador (President Salvador Sanchez Ceren), Venezuela (Vice-President Aristobulo Isturiz), Trinidad & Tobago (Minister Dennis Moses), Barbados (Minister Jerome Walcott), Grenada (Minister Peter David), St. Lucia (Minister Sarah Flood-Beaubrun), Suriname (Minister Yldiz Pollack-Beighle), and Guyana (Ambassador Halim Majeed) were able to join together with the delegation heads of such “Lima Group” nations as Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras to declare – at paragraph 22 of the Declaration of Managua—that they “reject the application of coercive unilateral measures that are contrary to international law, and that harm the peace and prosperity of the Greater Caribbean”.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be maintained in the Caribbean region?

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Other quite remarkable affirmations contained in the Declaration of Managua are as follows:-

“Agrees to unite efforts to face global climate change with a view to positioning the countries of the Greater Caribbean at the forefront of international efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” (Para.8)

“Recognises the multifaceted and stratified threats that the Greater Caribbean faces… to achieve sustainable development, and the imperative to strengthen coordination and cooperation within the ACS to deal with… the unilateral listing of uncooperative fiscal jurisdictions and the practice by banks in developed countries to engage in risk reduction activities (de-risking) that result in the decline in relations with corresponding banks for the countries of the Greater Caribbean.” (Para. 17)

“Reiterates our commitment and unconditional respect for the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter and the principles of International Law, to maintain international peace and security, the promotion of friendly relations between states, international cooperation in solving problems, the Sovereign Equality of states… the peaceful resolution of disputes, the prohibition of the use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state and the non-interference in their domestic affairs, as essential requirements for preserving the Greater Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and cooperation, in accordance with the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.” (Para. 21)

“Supports the 10-point Action Plan of the Reparations Commission of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and applauds this Commission’s efforts to correct injustices resulting from the genocide of the native people of the Caribbean and the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans and slavery, which are counted amongst the most atrocious crimes against humanity, and reaffirming, in turn, the urgent need to request efficient measures for reparation, compensation, indemnification or other in kind measures at a national, regional and international level.” (Para. 28)

The adoption in Managua of the “2019—2021 Plan of Action” also reconfirmed the tremendous foresight manifested way back in 1992 by Sir Shridath Ramphal and his fellow Commissioners of the “West Indian Commission”, when they proposed that CARICOM take the initiative to establish a Caribbean Basin-wide “Association of Caribbean States” as a mechanism for a broader and more extensive “Greater Caribbean” circle of functional cooperation.

The ACS “2019-2021 Plan of Action” constitutes a blueprint for a range of valuable initiatives and projects in the spheres of Sustainable Tourism, Regional Trade and External Economic Relations, Regional Air and Maritime Transportation, Regional Disaster Risk Reduction, matters pertaining to the Caribbean Sea, and initiatives in the fields of Culture, Education and Sports.

The triennial Plan of Action is extremely wide-ranging, and it will now be left up to the Executive Board of the ACS’ Ministerial Council, under the Chairmanship of Barbados, to confer with ACS Secretary General Dr June Soomer, and other officers of the ACS Secretariat located in Trinidad & Tobago, to establish priority projects and implementation modalities.

The ACS will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on the 24th of July 2019, and in his remarks to the assembled Heads of Government at the Summit, the incoming Chairman of the governing Ministerial Council, Dr the Hon. Jerome Walcott of Barbados, urged all ACS Member States and Associated Member States to undertake celebrations of the “silver anniversary” that are thoughtfully designed to forcefully bring the existence and achievements of the ACS to the attention and consciousness of the masses of people throughout our region of the Greater Caribbean.

Statement on Escalating Tensions in Venezuela Issued by the Thirtieth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community

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A press release from CARICOM

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is deeply concerned by the recent further escalation of tensions in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the ensuing increase in hardship and suffering of the population exacerbated by the imposition of sanctions.


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Question for this article:

Can peace be maintained in the Caribbean region?

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The people of Venezuela must be allowed to decide their own future in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter – non-intervention, non-interference, prohibition of the threat or use of force, respect for the rule of law, human rights and democracy. As CARICOM has ceaselessly advocated, for this objective to be attained, there has to be a meaningful and internal dialogue between the contending parties. This dialogue must determine how best the crisis can be resolved within the confines of the constitution and the rule of law, whether by referendum, elections or any other agreed mechanism. Nothing short of this will lead to the quelling of this crisis or provide the relief that all Venezuelans desire.

Pending this, there must be a commitment to the delivery of humanitarian aid in a manner that is not politicised but which uses United Nations mechanisms that have been used over the years for the impartial and effective delivery of humanitarian relief.

[Editor’s note: the 15 members of CARICOM are Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Republic of Haiti, Montserrat, Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Republic of Suriname, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.]

The peace process on the Korean Peninsula must go on

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

A press release from People Power 21

We are 55 civil society organizations that act for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Since the last summit in Vietnam between the DPRK and the U.S. ended without result, concerns have been raised that the deadlock between the two countries will be prolonged. We wish to make it clear that there must be no further action to aggravate the situation. We appeal to the Members of the UN Security Council, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718, and the international community to ensure that the peace process on the Korean Peninsula is firmly sustained.

We request the Members of the UN Security Council to publicly announce in support of the following: the reopening of the DPRK-the U.S. dialogue; the lifting all the sanctions related to humanitarian assistance; and the starting of negotiations to build peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

We also request the 1718 Committee to lift all the sanctions against humanitarian support to the DPRK.

The dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. must continue

The 2nd DPRK-U.S. summit clearly showed that removing tensions from the Korean Peninsula, where the Cold War still runs, is not an easy task. For the countries who have been enemies to each other for almost 70 years, it is not easy at all to trust and begin to have open talks with each other. This is why it is neither realistic nor appropriate for the U.S. to demand that the DPRK completely denuclearize at once. The DPRK needs to consider the fact that deep-rooted mistrust is also alive despite her stated willingness to denuclearize.

We would like to highlight that the DPRK and the U.S. committed in Singapore ‘to establish new relations, to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’. We expect the two countries will adjust their demands and expectations to start phased and simultaneous implementation of their promises at the smallest level they feel comfortable with. Once they start building trust in the process, they will be able to agree on larger issues. The DPRK and the U.S. must earnestly listen to each other and continue their dialogue.

At least, the sanctions against the DPRK that are related to humanitarian assistance must be lifted

The UN says that the sanctions against the DPRK are not the end, but the means. In the same light, all resolutions of the UN Security Council on the sanctions emphasize the commitment to “a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation.” The true purposes of such resolutions are to urge “the DPRK and the U.S. to respect each other’s sovereignty and exist peacefully together” and also “the council members as well as other states to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue”. Humanitarian assistance is a universal and non-derogable value and spirit in the work of the UN. As the UN Security Council resolutions clarify that these resolutions “are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK or to affect negatively or restrict those activities, … the work of international and non-governmental organizations carrying out assistance and relief activities in the DPRK for the benefit of the civilian population of the DPRK.” However, the sanctions against the DPRK by the UN and the stronger ones imposed by the U.S. after the 1st DPRK-U.S. summit have aggravated the conditions for humanitarian assistance to the DPRK. We urge the 1718 Committee to lift all the sanctions that prevent humanitarian assistance to the DPRK.

These sanctions hamper implementation of inter-Korean agreements for exchange and cooperation. They even made it difficult to resume operation of Mount Geumgang tours and Gaeseong Industrial Complex, which are stopped activities unrelated to the UN sanctions. As initial steps for peace, the two Koreas need to expand meetings and cooperation among them in order to end military tension and confrontation, and thus paving way for peace in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. The sanctions against the DPRK which impede to conduct humanitarian assistance and build cooperative relationships between the two Koreas must be relieved as soon as possible.

‘Denuclearization as Peacemaking Process’ must be observed as a principle

The nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula is a product of the instability inherent to an armistice regime, grown out of the decades-long military confrontation and arms race. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is closely connected to building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula with normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S. The denuclearization of the DPRK alone cannot be the entry point for negotiations to begin. Peace on the Peninsula cannot be achieved only through denuclearization. It can only be achieved, instead, when it becomes part of a peace-building process. Efforts to build a permanent peace regime here, such as signing a peace treaty or a non-aggression agreement, and normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S. must be paralleled.

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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The kind of complete denuclearization that people in the two Koreas sincerely wish to achieve is a state where all nuclear threats surrounding the Peninsula are removed. This cannot be achieved only by ‘Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Denuclearization’ of the DPRK alone. Abolishment of the extended deterrence strategy to which the ROK, the U.S., and Japan rely on is one of the associated and necessary tasks. Nuclear-Free Korean Peninsula can become a stepping stone for Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and Nuclear-Free world.

There is no other way to achieve peace but through peaceful means

Achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula will serve as a testing case for whether humanity will be able to peacefully resolve the accumulated conflicts of today’s world, or not. In Korea, we have recently witnessed that peace can be achieved through peaceful means and problems can be solved through dialogue and negotiation. Since the inter-Korean summit last year, the two Koreas have ceased all hostile activities, cherishing the most peaceful time ever since the armistice began. We should never return to the repeated threats of nuclear war and heightened military tension under any circumstances.

Once again, we urge the UN Security Council and the international community to support the painstaking efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula. Cooperation from the international community is absolutely crucial. We plead that you do utmost to ensure the continuity of the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. For its part, Korean civil society will spare no effort.

55 Civil Society Organizations in ROK

80 Million Koreans Community Preparing for Reunification (K.P.R.)
Asia Peace & History Education Network
Chuncheon Womenlink
Citizens’ Coalition for Democratic Media
Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice
Civil Peace Forum
Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea
Civilian Military Watch
Conference for Peace in East Asia
Daejeon Differently Abled Women Solidarity
Daejeon Women’ Association for Better Aging Society
Daejeon Women’s Association United
Daejeon Women’s Association for Democracy
Daejeon Women’s Association for Peace-Making
Dongbuk Womenlink
Eco Horizon Institute
Green Korea
Gunpo Womenlink
Gwangju Womenlink
Incheon Womenlink
Jeju Peace Human Rights Center
Jeju Peace Human Rights Institute WHAT
Korea Federation for Environmental Movements
Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea
Korea Veterans for Peace
Korea Women’s Associations United
Korea Women’s Hot Line
Korean Sharing Movement
MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society
Movement for One Korea
Namseo Womenlink
National YWCA of Korea
NCYK (National Council of YMCA’S of Korea)
Networks for Greentransport
Ok Tree
Peace Network
Peace Sharing Association
PEACEMOMO
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
Professors for Democracy
Pyeongtaek Peace Center
Reconciliation and Reunification Committee, NCCK (The National Council of Churches in Korea)
Research Institute for Peace and Reunification of Korea
Sejong Women’s Corporation
Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK)
The Corea Peace 3000
The Headquarters of National Unification Movement of Young Korean Academy
The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan
The Research Institute of the Differently Abled Person’s Right in Korea
The Righteous People for Korean Unification
Women in Action for Life PAN
Women Making Peace
Womenlink
Won-Buddhism Diocese of Pyongyang
World Without War

* Among 55 Civil Society Organizations, Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, Korean Sharing Movement, Korea Women’s Associations United, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) have been in the Consultative Status with ECOSOC.

Over 250 prominent women leaders call on President Trump and Chairman Kim to end the Korean War

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A press release from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

A Letter Jointly Addressed to
Donald Trump, President of the United States of America
and Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea     

February 20, 2019

Dear Mr. President and Mr. Chairman:

We are women leaders representing a range of fields from 43 countries. We welcome the imminent occasion of the 2019 DPRK-USA Vietnam Summit held in Hanoi from February 27-28. We are hopeful about its potential to achieve a major breakthrough toward ending 70 years of hostile relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea). Your mutual commitment to ushering in a new era of peace in Korea will not only benefit 80 million people living on the Peninsula but will also help transform unresolved historical tensions throughout the region.

We are heartened by US Special Representative Stephen Biegun’s remarks about the goals of the Vietnam summit: “[To] build trust between our two countries and advance further progress in parallel on the Singapore summit objectives of transforming relations, establishing a permanent peace regime on the peninsula, and complete denuclearization.”

We urge you to take three steps in Vietnam toward transforming US-DPRK relations:

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Questions for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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

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1)     Declare an end to the Korean War and a new era of peace.

2)     Establish an inclusive peace process toward the signing of a peace agreement with civil society participation, especially women’s organizations; and

3)     Normalize relations by a) establishing reciprocal liaison offices; b) lifting sanctions that harm vulnerable individuals; and c) facilitating people-to-people engagement, including reunions between Korean-Americans with their families in North Korea.

The world is looking to you to fulfill the promise made by the two Korean leaders to transform the Korean Peninsula “into a land of peace free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threats.”

We are writing now to stress that, in order to truly achieve a lasting peace that would endure as a legacy for Korea and the world, an inclusive peace process with women at the table is essential. As decades of studies have shown, women’s participation significantly increases the probability that a peace agreement will be signed and will last far longer than otherwise. Indeed, peace agreements are 36 percent more likely to succeed when civil society representatives, including women’s groups, meaningfully participate. Recognizing this, President Trump signed into law the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, signaling U.S. commitment to increase women’s participation in peace processes to prevent, end and rebuild after conflict, which passed with bi-partisan Congressional support. Now is the time to implement it.

Our representatives from the global campaign Korea Peace Now! Women Mobilizing to End the War will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, to be present during the summit. Drawing upon their extensive experience in international peace-building, we respectfully request your assistance in securing a meeting for them with US-DPRK negotiators to discuss an inclusive peace process that includes women at all levels. Their insight and expertise will prove to be invaluable to this delicate and challenging peace process.

Our representatives can be reached at the following:
Christine Ahn, Executive Director, Women Cross DMZ, christine@womencrossdmz.org
Liz Bernstein, Executive Director, Nobel Women’s Initiative, lbernstein@secure.nobelwomensinitiative.org

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely on behalf of the global women’s campaign,

Signed by 250 women leaders from around the world, including:

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize (1997), USA
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize (1976), Ireland
Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize (2003), Iran
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize (2011), Yemen
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize (2011), Liberia

Korea: PyeongChang Global Peace Forum Calls on Leaders at DPRK-US Summit

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An article from Tempo

On Monday, 11 February 2019, the PyeongChang Global Peace Forum issued a resolution calling for the end of the Korean War. More than 500 people from 50 countries and 200 organizations gathered to review the crises and prospects of peace. In a country where the agony of war and deep division spans seven decades, participants have collectively sought ways to end the long, tragic tradition and prepare for a sustainable future.

Taking place just following the announcement of the upcoming DPRK-US Summit, many participants held discussions to consider the importance of this historic moment. The peace process on the Korean peninsula has the potential to impact peace globally. They call on leaders at the DPRK-US Summit on 27-28 February 2019 in Vietnam to make a concrete declaration to end the Korean War. They emphasized that the Summit should also result in concrete steps to implement past agreements, including those from the 2018 Summits at Panmunjom (27 April), and Singapore (12 June) PyongYang (18-20 Sept.) and define a path towards the signing of a peace agreement.

Specifically, Yoshioka Tatsuya, Founder of Peace Boat, a member of the international steering group of 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2017) the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said:

“people throughout Northeast Asia and the world deeply hope for a positive, concrete result from the upcoming Vietnam Summit., and the international community must support such an outcome.”

ICAN emphasizes that nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula should be pursued through international laws, including the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), known as the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Looking towards the summit, Christine Ahn, Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ said: 

”Trump and Kim may declare an end to the Korean War, which would be historic for the Korean people who have lived in a state of war for three generations. But it would also be great for Americans as the Korean War is the U.S.’ oldest war and set in motion massive defense spending which has diverted critical resources away from investments that would make America great again.”

Lisa Clark, International Peace Bureau (IPB), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1910) also said:

“Ending the Korean War and signing a peace treaty will also empower the Korean people to achieve prosperity though the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “We need to further enhance cooperation between citizens, mayors, parliamentarians and other groups in order to achieve both peace and sustainable development for the Korean Peninsula and for the world.”

For more information about the PGPF 2019, please refer to www.pgpf.kr.
 
PyeongChang Global Peace Forum (PGPF) 2019 is the civil society-led global peace conference on peace and SDGs on the first anniversary of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 20th anniversary of the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference 1999.  Its main goal was to develop a long term agenda for 2020 to 2030 to integrate peace and disarmament to the SDGs making use of the peacebuilding momentum in the Korean peninsula created at the PyeongChang Olympics. It has adopted the PyoengChang Declaration for Peace, the Framework for PyeongChang Agenda for Peace (PCAP) 2030 and the special resolution on peace in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia (attached below). It was organized by the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, Gangwon Province, PyongChang Municipality and the KOICA in cooperation with CSOs engaged in peace and SDGs in Korea and international.
 
The following are the excerpt:
 
`Resolution for Sustaining Peace Process in Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia
PyeongChang, Korea / 9-11 Feb. 2019`

We stand now at a historic moment. From the citizen-led Candlelight Revolution and the establishment of a democratic government in 2017 in South Korea, and the new inter-Korean dialogue catalyzed by the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the peace process on the Korean peninsula has the potential to impact peace globally. Northeast Asia, however, is fast plunging into an unprecedented rivalry and arms race. Peace on the Korean peninsula has great impact not only for the region, but indeed for global peace. People from around the world now look to Korea with great hope.

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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We, the participants of PyeongChang Global Peace Forum (PGPF) 2019, are committed to supporting the Korea peace process, and call upon all government and civil society actors concerned to take the following urgent steps to sustain the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
 
1. We call on the Republic of Korea (hereafter South Korea), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (hear after North Korea), and other involved nations to immediately declare the end of the Korean War (1950-1953) and sign a peace treaty.
 
2. We call on leaders at the DPRK-US Summit on 27-28 February 2019 in Vietnam must achieve a breakthrough for both above-mentioned ends, with a concrete declaration of the end of the Korean War. The Summit should also result in concrete steps to implement past agreements, including those from the 2018 Summits at Panmunjom, Pyongyang and Singapore, and define a path towards the signing of a peace agreement.
 
3. We call for full implementation of established treaties, as well as other international law regarding nuclear disarmament, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968), Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1996), International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996), UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (2004), Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2007), Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017) and the UN Human Rights Committee General Comment No 36 on the Right to Life (2018). We appeal to all parties to take concrete steps for regional and global denuclearization. All concerned nations in the region should establish Northeast Asia as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, which will greatly contribute to confidence-building and security for the region.
 
4. Ending the war and signing a peace treaty will unleash the momentum for the Korean people to participate fully in the international community and multilateral institutions, including the UN. The peace process will enable the peoples of the Korean peninsula to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Comprehensive regional cooperation by both governments and citizens should be pursued in the fields of humanitarian, economic and social development, based on the universally recognized norms and principles of human rights, democracy, human security and gender equality.
 
5. Such comprehensive, peace-development cooperation is necessary in Northeast Asia. This  requires close cooperation among local, regional and international agencies, both governmental and non-governmental.
 
6. The Korea peace process must extend to the region, focusing on the rivalry between superpowers and the ensuing dangerous arms race.  All nations in the region must immediately end politics of might and at the same time, start disarmament negotiations in all three areas of weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons, and new weapon technology, in accordance with the UN Charter, international law and norms. We also call for the implementation of confidence-building measures including lifting of sanctions, and the continued freeze of military exercises.
 
7. Along with the Korea peace process, efforts should be made to establish regional cooperation mechanisms for peace in Northeast Asia, to reduce and resolve the escalating military tensions and conflicts in the region. We also call for the effective use of existing international mechanisms, including those within the United Nations.

8. All nations in the region must guarantee transparency and civic-democratic control in security and military sectors, immediately stop all efforts to use force or threats to resolve territorial disputes, and replace national rivalry with regional cooperation, prioritizing human security.
 
9. The full and meaningful involvement of civil society, and inclusion of youth and women, is vital for ensuring sustainable peace. Civic diplomacy for peace, such as the PyeongChang Agenda for Peace (PCAP) 2030, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), the Ulaanbaatar Process (UBP), and the Korea Peace Treaty Now! Women Mobilizing to End the War must continue and expand.
 
10. We call on sports communities to continue to advance peace and diplomacy in the region and globally, while ensuring that large scale projects like the Olympics must be developed in cooperation with local communities in consideration of social and environmental impacts.
 
11. Nations in the region should enhance their support for civic diplomacy for peace. We call for the forging of close cooperation between public and civic diplomacy for peace, including that led by mayors, parliamentarians, and other sectors. We highlight the influence music, culture and media can give to the peace process, as well as expanding peace education and a culture of global citizenship and belonging.

Guatemala: Two key elements to overcome the crisis

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Excerpts from a document by Bernardo Arévalo in Nomada (translation by CPNN)

A peace agreement was signed, but nothing changed

The empty shell that is the Guatemalan State and its lack of agency for peace, has meant that our country lacks a comprehensive political strategy for reconciliation. Therefore it is necessary to navigate the ambiguities, complications and paradoxes generated by the unsatisfactory transactions that may be found in any negotiating process.


FOTO: IMAGENESMY.COM

The recommendations of the Commission of Historical Clarification (CEH) [in 1999] would have been a good starting point. It was based on a social process for justice, memory, reparation and non-repetition that could facilitate a social dialogue on the interpretation of history. It provided hope for reconciliation, a new imaginary of coexistence and unity. However, within five years after its presentation, it had become clear that the political will necessary for such an effort did not exist.

The United Nations verification report of 2005 urged the political authorities and state institutions to “… sincerely commit themselves to comply with the recommendations of the CEH and with the commitments contained in the Peace Agreements that are still pending. . ” It was a diplomatic way of declaring that the necesssary sincerity was absent. . . It was acknowledged that
“… despite all the efforts made over the last few years to build a culture of peace, the culture of violence continues to be part of daily life” . . .

The document [of 2005], conceived as a strategy to return the spirit of the Peace Accords and its objectives a decade after its signing, included a long list of concrete actions and mechanisms to address issues ranging from the construction of participatory citizenship, strengthening of the rights of women and indigenous peoples and the use of the educational system to promote knowledge and understanding of the armed conflict and its consequences. It was an operational strategy that simultaneously addressed the past and intended to transform the future.

Without well-defined political actions, there is no reconciliation

But, nevertheless, the result was again disappointing. The Secretariat of Peace was allowed only a marginal role in successive government cabinets, which showed, despite the rhetoric, the low priority assigned to the implementation of the Agreements. The ambitious reparations program, although well designed, did not produce clear results due to quarrels between civil society groups and recurrent personnel changes with each new government. . . .

In fact, twenty years after the signing of the Peace Accords, Guatemalan society had not yet been reconciled. In 2015, the country arrived at a crisis of accumulated political and social tensions: government policies -or their absence- were destroying the few advances in social development indicators that had been registered after the agreements were signed. . . .

From an absent state to a participatory state of corruption

The judicial processes for corruption opened by the Public Ministry [following The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala – CICIG – in 2015], against the corruption networks that involved politicians and entrepreneurs of all levels marked a new stage: the State was no longer simply responsible for omission, but now for commission as well (i.e. corruption).

After the trial of the then President Otto Pérez Molina, the then Vice-President Roxana Baldetti and a good number of officials of his government, Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre assumed the Presidency of the Republic in an interim management marked by two minimum objectives: to allow the electoral elections that were already programmed, and to maintain the functioning of the administration while a new popularly elected president assumed office.

The elections, marked by the political crisis and the fight against impunity and corruption, were characterized by a strong rejection of traditional political parties. The political order established after 1996 was overtaken by a citizen spirit of repudiation of the “traditional politicians” that, together with a judicial dynamic that began to reveal its corrupt compromises, paved the way to victory for a newly created, unknown political party, and the election to the presidency of an improbable candidate whose only merit was his political anonymity, and his only virtue (self-proclaimed) was not to be “… neither corrupt nor thief”.

The new presidential term began with a new president duly elected as a results of the wave of anti-corruption and anti-impunity social protest. The preceding political class, largely corrupt, was rejected by an active citizenship. A judicial system was emerging; despite its limitations and deficiencies, it finally began to show signs of being able to function properly in a democratic state of law. The fight against corruption and impunity seemed to become a new space of convergence within society: a new ‘moral consensus’ beyond ideological, social and cultural positions, emerging as a vector for a conciliation / reconciliation hitherto elusive .

Like the crab: back to authoritarianism

Unfortunately, events moved in the opposite direction. A blanket of impunity covered the structures, modalities and arrangements of widespread corruption that had involved actors in the different spheres of society and that it had been ‘normalized’ by decades of customary practice.

Instead of applauding the punishment of the corrupt and shameless political class during the days of 2015, business actors who had been its partners began to consider the judicial zeal to be excessive, when it began to reveal their own involvement in corruption.

Within the Executive, the situation was no better. At first, President Jimmy Morales had seemed to support collaboration between the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the CICIG [the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala]. However, he explicitly refused to investigate the involvement of his brother and son in an operation which was not large in scope, but which received enormous media coverage. This was a costly political blow to the President, and it was badly handled by his advisors.

A civic coalition emerged around the anti-corruption effort but many
political and business actors migrated towards the constitution of what public opinion has called a “Pact of Corruption.” This included those actors who refused assume the consequences of past acts and others determined to use corruption as a mechanism of cooptation and capture of the State.

This perverse coalition poses new obstacles to the emergence of the ‘moral consensus’ necessary to develop peaceful coexistence in the society. And even worse, it intentionally and maliciously fosters social and political polarization. It attempts to overturn the struggle against impunity by claiming that the CICIG is an instrument of obscure ‘international interests’, that seek to undermine national sovereignty. . .

Political authorities in the Executive and Legislative bodies have taken up the ‘anti-CICIG’ struggle and its polarizing narrative, deploying a campaign aimed at expelling, or blocking the Commission’s capacity for action and resorting to to arbitrary actions that often border on illegality.

(Continued in right column)

(Click here for the Spanish version of this article)

Question related to this article:

Can a culture of peace be achieved in guatemala?

(Continued from left column)

In parallel, they have begun to implement authoritarian actions, claiming that they are needed to restore imaginary threats to national security. They are dismantling the institutional transformations that, within the framework of Democratic Security conceptions, had been taking place in the country prior to the signing of the Peace Accords. . .

In sum, Guatemalan society has not find its way to peaceful co-existence and reconciliation due to the absence of a State that assumes the responsibility to mediate between the different needs, interests and perceptions that are inherent in every society The absence of a State that facilitates the emergence of a shared and inclusive vision that cements peaceful coexistence and allows the permanent closure of the cycles of violence and coercion that have characterized our history. For two decades, this situation was explained by the combination of disinterest and inability of the political elites. Today, the highest authorities are actively defending impunity and corruption. Reconciliation, previously an elusive aspiration, has become a goal that is moving further away.

There is light at the end of the tunnel: leadership networks and State rescue

In these conditions, restoring peaceful coexistence to Guatemalan society will require strengthening the social agency for reconciliation, through the establishment of cross-sectoral “coalitions” that cut across the divisions among the various social groups and sectors and between the political system and the society, integrating them into networks capable of building consensus and mobilizing the system into effective transforming action.

These abilities that are not totally alien to us. Despite their insufficiencies and limitations, the transformations within the framework of the processes of democratization and peace of the last three decades have allowed the emergence of new social leaderships.

Facing the incompetence of the political system and state institutions, these initiatives of civil society have spurred state action leading to advances in security, in health, in the rights of women, in community development, etc.

This explains how, in the absence of a capable and determined state, we Guatemalans have managed to avoid, even in the context of a crisis of profound governability such as the Black Thursday in 2003 and the civic protest days of 2015, the recourse to violence that would have restored the cycles of repressive violence / vindictive violence that have been recurrent in our history.

But the capacities we have achieved to advance despite the weaknesses and contradictions of the “absent state” are insufficient to confront the “dissociative state”.

The ability to prevent the political and social deterioration that arises today from the cooptation of the State by the ‘Pact of Corrupts’ requires two developments.

The first is the development of leaders with the capacity to build bridges across social, cultural and political divisions and to unify efforts in the pursuit of shared objectives. This leadership must be able to of transcend the dissociative discourse and the artificial polarization that has been created around the fight against impunity and corruption, and the dynamics of fragmentation and distrust that have divided civil society, limiting their capacity for joint action.

We need leaders capable of cooperatively undertaking the construction of a truly shared agenda for change, . . . . the construction of an authentic “social contract”, which goes beyond institutional and legalistic formalities to forge, participatively and inclusively, the great social consensus necessary to build the construction of a nation of justice and solidarity.

The second is the political rescue of the State by these new leaders, through democratic mechanisms and strategies that are viable within the framework of the rule of law.

A rescue that:

– can expel corrupt and criminal networks from the spaces of political control over state institutions,

– can prevent the dismantling of the incipient advances that the country has made in terms of democratization in the last thirty years.

– can transcend the weaknesses and incapacities that marked the will of the political class that assumed the leadership of the State in the framework of the peace process,

– can encourage the emergence of a new political class that allows the State to become the effective manager of well-being and coexistence in society, and that synergizes the efforts of different social and political sectors to promote the establishment of conditions for peaceful coexistence.

Infrastructure power: collaborative relationships between society and authorities

The state that we need does not correspond to the rational-bureaucratic machinery of the Western liberal paradigm of Weberian roots, and certainly not of a State that rests on the capacity to use resources of force to impose the will of those who control it. It is a State that operates fundamentally from what Michael Mann has called “infrastructural power”: the ability to foster and take advantage of the development of collaborative relationships within society and between society and political authorities, as an instrument for the effective fulfillment of its functions.

We need a State conceived as

– the convergence between political and social leadership that works in concert towards common goals,

– that integrates them through an institutional framework, developed and legitimated collectively,

– that takes advantage of the agency capacity of the different social actors -groups, individuals, communities, sectors- coordinating them for common benefit

– a State whose strength does not depend on its ability to act out of society, but on acting with society.

[As of today], reconciliation, as a national process, can not depend exclusively on the political and material resources of the State when its highest political authorities are part of the Pact of Corruption.

Without the will and agency capacity of civil society and communities, the State is not in a position to generate the conditions that make peaceful coexistence viable.

In this sense, a social leadership for reconciliation is a sine-qua-non condition for the effective transformation of horizontal and vertical trust relationships in society.

[In the long run,] however, only the State is in a position to generate the normative and institutional capacities necessary to mediate among the multiple contradictory forces of the different sectors of society and to promote an inclusive society with the preconditions of peace: equality, justice, respect, dignity and a genuine democracy functioning within the rule of law.

The rescue of the State by a political leadership that is capable and democratic is therefore the most important task if we are to create a society of reconciliation in which the different social, political and cultural interests are no longer an obstacle to harmonious coexistence.

Note: This text is part of the document “From the post-conflict to the restoration of authoritariansm: the difficult road towards coexistece in Guatemala”, written by Bernardo Arévalo for FLACSO.

Ethiopia: Mystery behind the Peace Accord

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article by Neamin Ashenafi in The Reporter

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), who assumed the premiership months ago, extended his invitation to all exiled political groups to come back home and conduct their struggle through peaceful means. Hence, following the invitation, many political groups and forces started returning home.

Eventually, political groups and forces, which were labeled as terrorist organizations by the Ethiopian government such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), and Patriotic Ginbot 7, all came back home.

In an effort to reinforce the move, the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) unanimously voted on a motion to rescind the designation of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), and Patriotic Ginbot 7 from its terrorists list. The political groups were labeled as ‘terrorist’ groups back in 2010 in line with the much controversial bill dubbed ‘the Anti-terrorism Proclamation (Proc. 652/2009), which is currently under revision.

Following the invitation, the OLF on July 12, 2018 stated: “We believe that the recent meeting of a high-level delegation of the Oromo Liberation Front led by its chairman with the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed (PhD), is one step forward towards resolving the existing political problem.”

Taking the seriousness of this affair into consideration the OLF declared a unilateral ceasefire in order to accelerate the initiated peace talks to a successful conclusion.

“We hope this temporary declaration of ceasefire will take us to the final declaration of bilateral cessation of hostilities once for all and the conclusion of the conflict,” the Front stated.

In that regard, the Oromo Liberation Front instructed the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which has been operating all over Oromia, to implement the temporary declaration of the ceasefire.

The agreement reached with the OLF was much publicized and a delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Workneh Gebeyhu (PhD) and President of the Oromia Regional State, Lemma Megerssa, traveled to Asmara, Eritrea to sign a peace agreement with the OLF, which aimed at ending the hostilities between the two.

Lemma and Chairman of the OLF, Dawd Ibsa, inked the peace agreement on August 7, 2018, in Asmara.

Subsequently, the top leaders of the OLF traveled to back home and were welcomed by thousands of their supporters at a rally that was held at Meskel Square. The then Chief of Staff of the Office of the Prime Minister, Fitsum Arega, tweeted a message that read in part: “We welcome warmly the leadership and members of the OLF to Ethiopia. A peaceful contest of ideas will move us from a culture of conflict into a culture of peace.”

This marked an important milestone in the long political turmoil that shook the nation and the leadership of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to its core. The peace agreement between the two was considered by many as the beginning of an all inclusive peaceful political struggle in the country. However, to the contrary, the return of the OLF was marred by clash between its supporters and residents of Addis Ababa, which caused the death of many and the destruction of private and public properties around the capital. 

The clash in the city and other problems led political commentators and ordinary citizens alike to inquire about the contents of the agreement that the Ethiopian government signed with the OLF. However, the content of the agreement as not been made public and is still an enigma.

Adding insult to injury, the government and the OLF started some verbal volleys over the matter of disarming the soldiers of the latter which also costs the lives of so many innocent civilians and the destruction of private and public properties throughout the country mainly in the Oromia Regional State.

And hence the leaders in the region and at the federal level and the leaders of OLF started to blame each other for the breach of agreement. Be that as it may, many still keep on asking about the detailed contents of the agreement.

While the verbal volley transformed into the clashes and confrontations, leaders of the OLF, in early October 2018, said that the OLF does not have a specific agreement with the government Ethiopia that requires it to disarm.

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

(continued from left column)

However, in a statement that sounds like a response for the statement issued by the OLF, the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) blamed the OLF for failing to implement the peace plan both parties had agreed upon, including the disarmament of the OLF.

Amid such tensions between the two, the OLF complained that the government, particularly the military, is behaving and acting in a way that violates the points in the agreements, and it would not be responsible for any possible outcomes, which may emanate from such actions.

At this stage many political commentators also started to ask the genuineness of the blames because, on the one side, the OLF has said that the agreement does not include disarmament and, on the other hand, it said that the OLF does not have any specific agreement with the Government of Ethiopia.

The verbal altercations eventually transformed into minor skirmishes and it was reported that armed groups linked to the OLF clashed with the military and in some instances such in Western Wollega the army wing of OLF blocked roads and took control of some government offices.

Such intensified clashes again led to another round of talks between the two sides so as to give a lasting solution to the problem. However, this time around, the negotiation was called by the Abba Gadaas, Hade Sinqe and prominent individuals from the region. This round of talks seems to have been fruitful as the two sides again signed a peace agreement in the presence of elders from the region, Abba Gadaas, and Hade Sinqe. Following the agreement, both sides confirmed their commitment to bring peace, stability and order.

Unlike the previous agreements, the recent one was agreed in the presence of a third party, which, according to many, might give negotiators a chance to review the development and implementation of the agreement.

In this regard, former President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and a former executive committee member of the erstwhile Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), Negasso Gidada (PhD) said: “To solve the problem between the two a committee which comprises some 71 individuals has been established and this is a great move to address the problems between the two. The committee will follow the developments and will contain problems and differences before they escalated to clashes.”

On the flip side, Wasihun Tesfaye, Head of Research Department of the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) considers the role of the committee or the elders as fragile. “Unlike other rounds of agreements it is good that the recent agreement between the two is being conducted with the involvement of elders in the region. However, I don’t believe that the elders have the tools and powers to enforce the agreements.”

“The recent agreement is based on consensus and the leaders in the region – by using their position within the society – will try to bridge the gap between the two and bring them to the table to sign the agreement. Nonetheless, what are they going to do if one party breaches the agreement? Do they have any detailed and well-articulated mechanism to force the parties to comply with their words?” Wasihun asks.

On the contrary, for Mulatu Gemechu, Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), the presence of a third party especially the Abba Gadaas and Hade Sinqes give the agreement more sense and reason to be implemented. According to him the clashes and confrontations reached to this level because the agreements were not attended by a third party. However, now, the Abba Gadaas and Hade Sinqes have played a pivotal role in bringing the two sides together and its up to them to monitor and pinch the one who breaches the agreement.

Similarly Negasso stated: “The committee will play its role in monitoring and implementing the agreements. The Abba Gadaas, Hade Sinqes and the general Oromo public are all part of this agreement; therefore, these groups will guarantee that there will not be another round of clashes between the two.”

On the contrary, Wasihun is skeptical about the implementation of the recent agreement and blames the federal government for its double standard treatment. “The Ethiopian people have been told that all exiled political forces that entered the country did so to pursue peaceful and unarmed struggle for justice and democracy inside the country. However, it is not clear how and why the OLF has managed to stay armed and then complain against federal government troops movements,” Wasihun says.

According to Wasihun, the federal government has the sole authority for carrying arms under the constitution. “If, indeed, the current government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is turning a blind to this development, it is creating a dangerous precedent where other parties will also want to arm themselves, leading the country into further lawlessness and anarchy,” he says, criticizing the federal government for being too lenient on the OLF.

Whether the federal government is too soft or not, the question that needs to be answered, according to many political commentators, is, what are the contents of the agreement that was signed between the two sides in Asmara and how long they will it stay undisclosed?

French Organizations Commemorate the Rejection of Nuclear Weapons by the UN in 1946

.DISARMAMENT & SECURITY.

Press Release January 24, 2019

On 24 January 1946, the very first resolution of the United Nations General Assembly called for the elimination of atomic weapons. Despite this historic decision, the nucleararmed States still continue to ignore this call and, on the contrary, are embarking on a new nuclear arms race.


Since the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1970, the United Nations initiatives for nuclear disarmament have multiplied, until the adoption by 122 countries on 7 July 2017 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In spite of these numerous resolutions and the commitment to nuclear disarmament by the NPT Nuclear-Weapon States enshrined in Article VI of the NPT, those states still reject the horizon of a world without nuclear weapons.

While the world stockpiles of nuclear weapons remain staggering, nuclear-armed states are developing new, more sophisticated and usable nuclear weapons that increase the risk of destruction of humanity caused intentionally (by nuclear war) or unintentionally (by human or technological error).

The threat of such destruction is now ranked among the highest for our planet.

In France, the absence of any objective debate on nuclear weapons suggests to public opinion that they would be an absolute guarantee of security. On the occasion of this anniversary of the first United Nations resolution, our leaders must become aware of the urgency of this situation and put an end to this absurd and suicidal nuclear arms race by finally committing to the path of general, progressive and controlled nuclear disarmament.

(Click here for the French version of this article.)

(Continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

(Continued from left column)

Let us remember the statement by Theodore Monod, French scientist and humanist in 1999: “Nuclear weapon is the accepted end of humanity”.

Signatory organizations

AFCDRP – French Association of Local Governments for Peace
michel.cibot@gmail.com
https://afcdrp.com/

AMFPGN – French Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
r.galinski@amfpgn.org
https://www.amfpgn.org/

GRIP – Research and Information Group on Peace and Security
https://www.grip.org/

IDN – Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament
idn.france.association@gmail.com
http://www.idn-france.org/

Mouvement de la Paix
national@mvtpaix.org
www.mvtpaix.org/

Pax Christi France
delegue@paxchristi.cef.fr
https://www.paxchristi.cef.fr/

Pugwash France
contact@pugwash.fr
pugwash.fr/

2019 Doomsday Clock Statement

.DISARMAMENT & SECURITY.

Press release by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention. These major threats—nuclear weapons and climate change—were exacerbated this past year by the increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world, amplifying risk from these and other threats and putting the future of civilization in extraordinary danger.


Video of announcement

In the nuclear realm, the United States abandoned the Iran nuclear deal and announced it would withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), grave steps towards a complete dismantlement of the global arms control process. Although the United States and North Korea moved away from the bellicose rhetoric of 2017, the urgent North Korean nuclear dilemma remains unresolved. Meanwhile, the world’s nuclear nations proceeded with programs of “nuclear modernization” that are all but indistinguishable from a worldwide arms race, and the military doctrines of Russia and the United States have increasingly eroded the long-held taboo against the use of nuclear weapons.

On the climate change front, global carbon dioxide emissions—which seemed to plateau earlier this decade—resumed an upward climb in 2017 and 2018. To halt the worst effects of climate change, the countries of the world must cut net worldwide carbon dioxide emissions to zero by well before the end of the century. By such a measure, the world community failed dismally last year. At the same time, the main global accord on addressing climate change—the 2015 Paris agreement—has become increasingly beleaguered.The United States announced it will withdraw from that pact, and at the December climate summit in Poland, the United States allied itself with Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait (all major petroleum-producing countries) to undercut an expert report on climate change impacts that the Paris climate conference had itself commissioned.

(Continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

(Continued from left column)

Amid these unfortunate nuclear and climate developments, there was a rise during the last year in the intentional corruption of the information ecosystem on which modern civilization depends. In many forums, including particularly social media, nationalist leaders and their surrogates lied shamelessly, insisting that their lies were truth, and the truth “fake news.” These intentional attempts to distort reality exaggerate social divisions, undermine trust in science, and diminish confidence in elections and democratic institutions. Because these distortions attack the rational discourse required for solving the complex problems facing humanity, cyber-enabled information warfare aggravates other major global dangers—including those posed by nuclear weapons and climate change—as it undermines civilization generally.

There is nothing normal about the complex and frightening reality just described.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today sets the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight—the closest it has ever been to apocalypse. Though unchanged from 2018, this setting should be taken not as a sign of stability but as a stark warning to leaders and citizens around the world. The current international security situation—what we call the “new abnormal”—has extended over two years now. It’s a state as worrisome as the most dangerous times of the Cold War, a state that features an unpredictable and shifting landscape of simmering disputes that multiply the chances for major military conflict to erupt.

This new abnormal is simply too volatile and dangerous to accept as a continuing state of world affairs.

Dire as the present may seem, there is nothing hopeless or predestined about the future. The Bulletin resolutely believes that human beings can manage the dangers posed by the technology that humans create. Indeed, in the 1990s, leaders in the United States and the Soviet Union took bold action that made nuclear war markedly less likely—and that led the Bulletin to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock far from midnight.

But threats must be acknowledged before they can be effectively confronted. The current situation—in which intersecting nuclear, climate, and information warfare threats all go insufficiently recognized and addressed, when they are not simply ignored or denied—is unsustainable. The longer world leaders and citizens carelessly inhabit this new and abnormal reality, the more likely the world is to experience catastrophe of historic proportions.