Category Archives: DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

Peacecamp Steinwenden, Germany, 28 June

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from the Ramstein Campagne

Between 23 and 30 June 2019, for the 5th year, a series of actions will be promoted to protest the continuation of the Ramstein Air Base – one of the biggest US-American military basis in the world, located in Germany. On this occasion, the campaign „Stopp Air Base Ramstein“ – together with the International Peace Bureau (IPB), the „No to War – No to NATO International Network“ & the European Left – invites you to the International Conference „Wars and Military Bases“, taking place on 28 June at the Apostelkirche in Kaiserslautern (Germany).

The meeting will be an opportunity for the peace movement to analyse the current international political situation, to report on actions around the world, and to discuss future actions and projects.

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Question for this article:

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

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We live in a time of wars and violence. The armament race has been growing, especially among the NATO countries. Their goal: 2% of country’s GDP for war and war preparations. Foreign military bases play an important role in the policy of confrontation: they are a crucial element for the preparation of yet new wars, the promotion of regime changes and the nurture of repression. While the USA has, by far, the highest number of military bases outside its territory (currently over 800), countries such as the UK, France, Russia and China also rely on military bases to project and enlarge their power.
We believe that sustainable peace and international security are best achieved by pursuing an approach of common security that is based on cooperation, trust, understanding, diplomacy and respect. Foreign military bases are not compatible with this vision: they represent constant threats of military action and the subsequent destruction that war casts over human life, nature, environment and infrastructure.
Due to our limited financial means, we cannot cover travel and accommodation costs. If you have any questions and/or comments, contact Reiner Braun at hr.braun@gmx.net. The conference will be conducted in English.
 
Download the program >

Give peace a chance, says South Korean cardinal

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from La Croix International

A South Korean cardinal believes that permanent peace is within sight on the Korean Peninsula.

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung made the statement in a keynote speech at the 2019 Korean Peninsula Peace-sharing Forum hosted by the National Reconciliation Committee of Seoul Archdiocese and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism at the Catholic University of Korea on May 18.


Participants in the 2019 Korean Peninsula Peace-sharing Forum

Cardinal Yeom, the archbishop of Seoul, said that “this year’s forum will serve as a cornerstone for permanent and genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula” and emphasized that “no matter how small, we should practice love that sows the seeds of peace and friendship.”

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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Guzman Carriquiry, vice-president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, gave a lecture titled “A culture of encounter, pacification and reconciliation” in which he detailed the reconstruction of Europe following the devastation and destruction of the Second World War.

He said the culture of peace depends on “overcoming deep-rooted enmities and smoothing over tensions between the winners and the losers.”

Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo testified that amid the political and social vortex of transitional chaos, the Catholic Church could build true friendships and cooperative relations within the Church as well as with civil society and members of neighboring countries.

Father Jeon Young-joon, dean of the College of Theology at the Catholic University of Korea, emphasized the importance of welcoming “people on the move” such as refugees and foreign students, who need special care.

Professor Kim Hak-sung of Chungnam National University told the forum that the Korean Peninsula’s long-standing internal conflicts had made immediate reconciliation difficult. He proposed that a lower level of reconciliation should occur first with an emphasis on expanding the national union for peace and reconciliation.

The forum is holding a Mass for national reconciliation and unity on May 21.

USA: Veterans For Peace Board President Gerry Condon was violently arrested in front of the Venezuelan Embassy yesterday afternoon attempting to deliver food to people inside.

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An article from Veterans for Peace

Over the last several days, VFP members from around the U.S. have joined the vigil outside the Embassy of Venezuela in support of VFP member Ken Ashe and other peace activists who are under siege inside the Embassy. The activists are in the Embassy at the invitation of the democratically elected government of Venezuela.


Video of arrest

On Tuesday night, five VFP members participated in a successful delivery of food, medicines, and clothing to our friends inside the Embassy. Despite intimidation and physical blocking from right-wingers, we remained nonviolent, and achieved our objective.

But Wednesday afternoon, while attempting a second food delivery, Gerry Condon was surrounded by Secret Service and thrown to the ground. See this Twitter thread to see how violently he was arrested while remaining completely peaceful.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help us by taking action now!

Call the Secret Service

Call the Secret Service and tell them that you object to their violent treatment of peaceful protesters attempting to legally deliver food to the embassy: 202-406-8800.

Help More VFP Members Get to the Embassy

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Question for this article:

Can peace be maintained in the Caribbean region?

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More VFP members are on the way. Some have requested and are receiving travel assistance funds from Veterans For Peace. San Diego VFP has contributed $500 for travel assistance. Chapter 27 in Minneapolis has contributed funds for food for the Embassy Protection Collective (those inside the Embassy).

To donate to VFP efforts, click here!

Most VFP members can stay in DC for a few days to a week. So in order to maintain a VFP presence, we will need to keep a good rotation going. The situation has been made even more critical after the power and water were cut off.

See the full report on VFP joining the Venezuela Embassy Protection Collective

For those folks not in D.C., Veterans For Peace urges all members to participate in this call to action from About Face:

Last Tuesday, opposition politician and self-appointed president of Venezuela Juan Guaido called for Venezeulan military leaders to stop defending President Maduro in an escalation of the attempted coup. While it is clear to us that the crisis in Venezuela continues to be devastating and in dire need of resolution, it is also clear to us that yet another coup supported by the United States will only lead to more disastrous outcomes.

That’s why we have joined calls to end the sanctions on Venezuela (recently linked to 40,000 deaths in the country), and to resume diplomacy and foreclose the possibility of any military intervention by the US.

Fortunately there are options available to us to pressure our Congress members: H.R. 1004 and S.J. Res. 11, which were crafted to hold the Trump administration back from “introducing armed hostilities to Venezuela.” In this moment, reminding our elected representatives that we won’t let history repeat itself in Latin America is vitally important.

Please let them know TODAY that as a constituent, you want them to take action to prevent yet another war waged by the U.S. for private gain and to end the devastating sanctions on Venezuela.

Contact your elected leaders by calling the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121

Many Peaces in Iraq: Creating a Foundation for Conflict Transformation Through Peace Studies

.DISARMAMENT & SECURITY.

An article by Aala Ali, Adham Hamed & Muntather Hassan from Impakter

“We heard children singing ISIL songs, and saw them role play executions in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp playground. We were distributing humanitarian aid. It was then that I realized, if we don’t do anything about this … a new, more extremist generation will be born,” Ziena, 27 years old.

Ziena graduated from one of six youth-training workshops hosted by UNDP Iraq partner, Iraqi Al-Amal Association, in 2018. Focused on preventing violent extremism (PVE) and conflict transformation, Ziena is one of 146 university students and youth activists who have been supported to carry out creative community-based activities in their universities and local communities.


In the Photo: IDP Camp Children with Song Book. Photo Credit: Iraqi Al-Amal/2019

Struck by her own experience in an IDP Camp, Ziena created a children’s songbook; filled with words of peace and ideas that support a non- discriminative, gender equal, and non-violent future for Iraq. Each page of the book is decorated with the artwork of IDP children, which today, Ziena and her team of volunteers take to IDP camps to share. She hopes that music and song will guide these children toward a culture of peace and a future free from divisive ideologies.

But, whilst her story is heartwarming and her hands are those working to directly mend the hearts of conflict-affected communities, Ziena is addressing just one layer of conflict in Iraq’s peace-building process. She is instrumental in building a bridge between academic ideas and concepts required to frame a new culture of peace in Iraq, and the tangible actions made in her community, where she encounters survivors of conflict every day. Both aspects are necessary, and indeed complimentary, but there is another layer which is critical to ensuring sustainability of peace in Iraq — the structures that enable peace. For this, the active engagement of the government is crucial.

Recognizing the complexity of this task, the UNDP-funded project, Education for Peace in the Iraqi Higher Education System,” implemented by national NGO Iraqi Al-Amal Association  and the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck’s Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies, is designed to address all three levels of conflict — grass-roots, middle and high-level — through a combination of community level programming, curriculum development with the Iraqi Universities Consortium for Peace Studies and government engagement through the  Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research (MOHESR).

Between October 2018 and March 2019, this culminated in the development of the first national Diploma for Peace and Conflict Studies, which will be piloted at the University of Baghdad later this year. Such an endeavor required an in-depth reflection about the potential meanings of peace and the impact of different notions of peace in the Iraqi context.

Defining Peace

UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) calls for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development — providing justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. In the same vein, on the International Day of Peace 2018, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated, “There is more to achieving peace than laying down our weapons.”

Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.

So, what are the potential meanings of peace beyond the absence of war and direct violence? The preamble of the UNESCO constitution provides a helpful reference point: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” Such an understanding of peace opens up a possibility to think about the idea of peace beyond a single universal notion that could be applied in all places and all times, regardless of the respective socio-political and cultural circumstances.

Wolfgang Dietrich, UNESCO Chairholder for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, proposed the idea of “many peaces;” a concept that suggests that there are as many interpretations of peace as there are human beings in the world. This perspective provides an alternative avenue to universalist notions of how peace ought to be. By contrast it introduces a human-centered approach that puts people and the diversity of their lived experiences at the center of conflict transformation work. In the Iraqi context, which has long experienced external interventions, this makes the radical shift of agency to Iraqi citizens, who are now considered the central agents for formulating their own understandings of peace.

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Question related to this article:

A culture of peace in Iraq, Is it possible?

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Conflict and Violence in Iraq

From the first Gulf War and the authoritarian rule of Saddam Hussein, to the 2003 invasion, the subsequent 8-year Iraq war and ISIL’s occupation between 2014-2017, it is no surprise that the scars of war and conflict have marred the economic and social development potential of Iraq, despite its considerable oil resources. In 2017, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, the economic impact of violence on the global economy was 14.76 trillion US Dollars or the equivalent of 12.4% of the global GDPBeyond Conflict Resolution

If it were the case that families, communities and societies could be fixed like the engine of a broken car, narrowly focusing on the material aspects of conflict might be a sufficient response. However, human relationships are more complex than the mechanistic qualities of an engine and they are not always rational, with messy human traits tied up in our experience, including crucial sexual, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions that all constitute a part of human existence.

All of these aspects contribute to the tangible costs of conflict, and using short-term solutions alone to address them will only temporarily suppress conflict — with a strong likelihood that it will appear again, somewhere new. This is why, beyond the idea of simple conflict resolution, a more comprehensive approach to conflict transformation needs to put the relationships of people living and surviving in protracted conflicts at the center of a journey toward peaceful communities.

We know from experience that conflict transformation processes require years, decades or even generations, in the case of large-scale violence. The concept of the “200-years present,” first introduced by sociologist Elise Boulding, explains how an experience of violence will continue to resonate in subsequent generations, through the trans-generational dimensions of trauma. Which is why episodes of violence, such as those experienced during ISIL’s occupation of Iraq, will likely affect the relatives of survivors and witnesses for many years to come.

Hence, while immediate interventions for peace are necessary to address the material dimensions of conflict, such as reconstruction, it is equally crucial to consider the mid and long-term processes of relational work through trauma healing and peace education. This is not only much more cost-effective than investing in further securitization and militarization, but it also opens up the possibility for long-term change processes through the education sector, strengthened to provide platforms for peace. Peace education provides a possibility to think about “many peaces” and conflict transformation as a means of addressing personal and collective challenges that remain deeply ingrained in families, communities and societies moved by the experiences of war and violence. It’s an approach that in the spirit of the UNESCO Constitution starts with the human mind as a central resource for defending peace. And, from experience we know that this may not only contribute to the prevention of further outbreaks of direct violence but that it’s actually a means of transforming cultures of violence to cultures of peaces; equipping people with alternative and effective tools to transform their conflicts peacefully, such as dialogue, and mediation.

Peace education can also be used to help people develop their own ways of living and fostering cultures of peace, and to avoid the belief that their reality is directed by external forces. In Iraq there is a widespread belief that violent conflict is merely imposed by foreigners. This sense is built up from the community level and challenges the notion that people were living in peace before foreign intervention. Whilst we can recognise that there are many external factors contributing to instability in Iraq, we also see how this recognition is used as a strategy to avoid personal responsibility and agency, limiting the possibility of addressing conflict from within one’s own context. Avoiding agency frequently occurs as part of a denial phase after trauma. However, the inclusive, and elicitive approaches in peace education can facilitate ownership for Iraqis, enabling them to take forward this type of peace work and enhancing their level of responsibility on foundational issues.

A Catalyst for Change

The development of a national pilot curriculum for a “Diploma of Peace and Conflict Studies” is an intervention that has come after many years of armed conflict. At the beginning of this project, promoting peace education in the Iraqi higher education sector was the goal, but how can you continue academic life in a context marked by war, where lecture halls and libraries have been destroyed or burnt to the ground? And beyond material damage and destruction: How do you continue academic work and life in a meaningful way after experiencing the kind of atrocities that put all meaning of life into question?

Whilst the circumstances in post-ISIL Iraq are in many ways different from the political, cultural and social situation in Europe post-World War II, there are also certain parallels. Most strikingly we see a new-found momentum to establish a foundation of Peace and Conflict Studies as an academic discipline — and a recognition that the neighboring discipline of International Relations, founded after World War I, was largely unsuccessful in finding the answers to prevent genocide and the use of weapons of mass-destruction. This had a direct effect on the development of a broad range of applied conflict transformation methods, which have been of utmost use for transforming conflicts in a non-violent manner, and which, with the right methodologies, may achieve positive results in Iraq too. This consideration was at the heart of the “Education for Peace in the Iraqi Higher Education System” project. But why academia? Because Iraqi academics have collectively demonstrated a desire to actively contribute to national reconciliation, with a strong will to work together to address the questions of peace and conflict transformation through establishing Peace and Conflict Studies as a new discipline in Iraq.

This culminated in the formation of The Iraqi Universities Consortium for Peace Studies, between 2016-2017, with support from Iraqi Al-Amal, UNDP Iraq and Eastern Mennonite University. The Consortium — comprised of academics from the Universities of Baghdad, Tikrit, Anbar, Basra, Karbala, Kufa and Mosul — became a vocal advocate for the development of Peace Studies in a post-conflict Iraq and actively participated in capacity building activities to train academics and in-turn contribute to the development of a context appropriate curriculum.

Latin America and the Caribbean need a culture of peace

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An letter to the editor of the Guyana Chronicle

Dear Editor,


THE situation in neighbouring Venezuela is very dangerous. It has led to many clashes between forces loyal to the government of President Maduro and the Opposition. The potential for escalation is great and the consequences for life and politics could be very serious.


Donald Ramotar, 
Former President of Guyana

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Question for this article:

Can peace be maintained in the Caribbean region?

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What happens in Venezuela would have repercussions on our whole continent. Outside intervention can be both positive and negative. I wish to urge that all efforts must be put to preventing the escalation of violence and to oppose any type of coup and military intervention.

Any action that could lead to the forceful overthrow of Maduro’s government would renew the culture of military coups and bloody dictatorship in Latin America, reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s. The scars from military intervention in our region hasn’t been totally healed as yet. To move for regime change through violence would only complicate and worsen an already serious situation.

The greatest contribution that external intervention can play is to encourage democratic solutions and promote political negotiations and dialogue, for a peaceful settlement. Any other course, such as economic sanctions, will only worsen the situation and lead to bloodshed and violence. Latin America and the Caribbean need a culture of peace.

Regards

Donald Ramotar

Former President [of Guyana]

Washington, DC: Peace Activists against NATO

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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

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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

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

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