Category Archives: global

UN General Assembly adopts Bangladesh’s resolution on a culture of peace

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from the Dhaka Tribune

Like every year, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has unanimously adopted Bangladesh’s flagship resolution on a “Culture of Peace”.

The main theme of the resolution is to ensure lasting peace in the world by ridding society of intolerance and hatred, according to a press release forwarded by the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York on Thursday.

Chargé d’ Affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative (DPR) of Bangladesh’s Permanent Mission to the UN Tareq Md Ariful Islam floated the proposal on Wednesday. The proposal was cosponsored by 101 countries from various regions of the globe.

In his statement, Tareq said: “Over the years, Bangladesh has remained committed to the values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and worked alongside the international community in promoting and protecting peace.

“The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remains committed to the issue, and underscores the importance of a ‘whole-of-society’ approach in our national context for promoting a culture of peace,” he said.

The concept of “Culture of Peace” on UNGA’s agenda was first mooted by Bangladesh in 1999.

The whole world celebrated a “Decade of Culture of Peace” following adoption of a resolution at the UNGA.

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Question(s) related to this article:

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

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The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN has been taking this follow-up resolution to the General Assembly every year since 2000, and each year it has been unanimously adopted, said the Bangladesh Mission.

This year the resolution recognized the contribution of a culture of peace to combating terrorism as well as peacebuilding and sustaining peace; it also highlighted the role of children and youth by engaging them more in promoting a culture of peace in the society inculcating values such as: peace, tolerance, openness, inclusion, and mutual respect.

Everyone has pledged to work together to implement this important resolution.

Despite various tensions across the globe, the continued support for this year’s resolution comes as a testimony to the confidence of international community in Bangladesh.

It also endorses the importance of a culture of peace involving all people in global development efforts.

Tareq also said they will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace on September 13, 2019.

“To this end, the draft Resolution requests the President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly to give special attention to its appropriate and befitting observance by holding the High-Level Forum on that date next year, which will be an opportunity for renewing our shared commitment to further strengthen the global movement for the culture of peace,” he added.

The DPR also mentioned that a culture of peace is an aspiration of all humankind. “Promoting and inculcating a mindset of a culture of peace is at the core of the creative management of differences and divisions”.

[Click here for the full resolution.]

The Elders challenge leaders to confront migration lies and make UN deal a success

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article by The Elders

The Elders today [December 11] welcomed the signing of the United Nations Global Compact for Migration in Marrakesh as a means of strengthening nation states’ ability to manage migratory flows by emphasising coordination and solidarity.


UNSG António Guterres and Special Representative of the SG for International Migration Louise Arbour in Marrakesh in December 2018. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

They noted that migration pressures are set to be exacerbated by the impact of climate change and conflict, making it all the more imperative that a robust international framework is put in place that can prioritise order, respect for human rights and equal burden-sharing between host countries.
 
They congratulated UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and Louise Arbour, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Migration, for their careful stewardship of the Compact process and the inclusive and respectful way the negotiations have been handled.

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Question for this article

The refugee crisis, Who is responsible?

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Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders, said:
 
“This Global Compact offers a way to manage migration that recognises the realities of our globalised world and respects the human rights of people on the move. As we celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, political leaders now need to show equal clarity of vision and purpose to implement the Compact.”
 
The Elders noted that the Compact is a non-binding, voluntary process rather than an attack on national sovereignty. They urged party leaders and parliamentarians in countries where the Compact is still under debate to reflect this in their interventions.
 
Recognising that migration is a contentious and sensitive topic in many countries, The Elders called on politicians, media and civil society to conduct their deliberations in a level-headed manner that is cognisant of global realities while sensitive to local opinion and specificities.
 
Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said:
 
“As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I was proud to launch the process to develop the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration in 2016. Today, I am encouraged by the result of the Marrakesh summit. I hope leaders will now act in the long-term interests of their people by implementing the Compact to protect the rights of migrants worldwide.”

For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of Communications at The Elders (+44 7795 693 903) or email: media@theElders.org

‘We Have Not Come Here to Beg World Leaders to Care,’ 15-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Tells COP24. ‘We Have Come to Let Them Know Change Is Coming’

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Jon Queally for Common Dreams (reprinted according to a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License)

Striking her mark at the COP24 climate talks taking place this week and next in Poland, fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden issued a stern rebuke on behalf of the world’s youth climate movement to the adult diplomats, executives, and elected leaders gathered by telling them she was not there asking for help or demanding they comply with demands but to let them know that new political realities and a renewable energy transformation are coming whether they like it or not.



Greta Thunberg speech to UN secretary general Antonio Guterres
“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago,” said Thunberg, who has garnered international notoriety for weekly climate strikes outside her school in Sweden, during a speech on Monday.
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Question for this article:

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

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Thunberg said that she was not asking anything of the gathered leaders—even as she sat next to UN Secretary General António Guterres—but only asking the people of the world “to realize that our political leaders have failed us, because we are facing an existential threat and there’s no time to continue down this road of madness.”

Thunberg explained that while the world consumes an estimated 100 million barrels of oil each day, “there are no politics to change that. There are no politics to keep that oil in the ground. So we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.”

“So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future,” she declared. “They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge.”

The climate crisis, she said, “is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. First we have to realize this and then as fast as possible do something to stop the emissions and try to save what we can save.”

“On climate change,” said Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester, the teenage Thunberg “demonstrates more clarity and leadership in one speech than a quarter of a century of the combined contributions of so called world leaders. Wilful ignorance and lies have overseen a 65 percent rise in CO2 since 1990. Time to hand over the baton.”

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

March For Our Lives wins International Children’s Peace Prize 2018

.DISARMAMENT & SECURITY.

An article from Kids Rights

The March for Our Lives initiators, who started the American mass youth movement for safer schools and communities and against gun violence, have won the International Children’s Peace Prize 2018.



Watch a short documentary about March For Our Lives 

Today [20 November], on Universal Children’s Day, David Hogg, Emma González, Jaclyn Corin and Matt Deitsch, received the prize from Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a special ceremony held in Cape Town, South Africa in the presence of distinguished guests and the world press. The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of the international children’s rights organization KidsRights. The young winner’s message each year reaches millions of people worldwide.

During the ceremony, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has been the patron of The International Children’s Peace Prize and KidsRights for more than a decade, said that March For Our Lives is one of the most significant youth-led mass movements in living memory. “The peaceful campaign to demand safe schools and communities and the eradication of gun violence is reminiscent of other great peace movements in history. I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can, no must, improve their own futures. They are true changemakers who have demonstrated most powerfully that children can move the world.”

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Questions related to this article:

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

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

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March For Our Lives

David, Emma, Jaclyn and Matt co-initiated March For Our Lives alongside more than 20 other students, after their school was the scene of a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida this past February, with 17 fatal casualties. Personally affected by the tragedy, they responded by organizing the March For Our Lives event in the spring of 2018 to demand safer schools and communities and to protest gun violence. Hundreds of thousands participated in the rally and more than 800 sister marches took place that same day across the US and beyond. For David, Emma, Jaclyn and Matt, this was only the beginning. In the summer of 2018 the group took to the road, visiting 80 communities in 24 states leading discussions and advocating for the creation of safer communities.

They lobbied, held town hall rallies, and motivated thousands of young people to register to vote. The March For Our Lives movement has continued to be highly vocal and very successful.

Since its advent, over 25 US states have passed more than 50 pieces of legislation in line with their cause.
 
A call on the international community to halt violence in schools

Marc Dullaert, founder of KidsRights and the International Children’s Peace Prize, said that out of the extremely impressive group of nominees, March For Our Lives was this year’s most deserved winner, if only due to the sheer size of the movement that it inspired in 2018: “March For Our Lives has transformed a local community protest into a truly global youth-led and peaceful protest movement. The initiators have utilized the skills and knowledge of young people to generate positive change, whilst mobilizing millions of their peers, controlling the public narrative on the issues that matter to them, and making people in power listen. This will shape the way in which children’s rights are campaigned in the future.”

During the ceremony today, Mr. Dullaert called upon the international community to halt the surge in school violence witnessed internationally. “Schools must be protected as safe havens for children. KidsRights calls upon the international community to halt this issue and to prevent schools from becoming battlegrounds.”

Hall’s poetry about more than ‘black history’

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by Jeff Schwaner in The News Leader

“We all have poetry in us.” This is the first thing Neal Hall wants to be clear about. The renowned African American poet and medical doctor reads from his work at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in the Carter Center for Worship and Music at Bridgewater College.

While Hall is identified as an African-American poet, the demand for him to accept reading engagements is not limited to Black History Month. Hall has performed poetry readings throughout the United States and internationally in Canada, France, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal and India. He participated in Bridgewater College’s 2015 International Poetry Festival last January.


Photo: SUBMITTED / Steve Ladner

The Bridgewater reading is sandwiched between trips to India and Italy, both chock full of readings and public addresses.

In an email interview, Hall responded to questions of how being an African-American contributed to his evolution as a poet.

“What comes with the label of African-American or Black is this institutionalized, generational legacy of a trail of tears we are forced to walk. This trail and our tears make us uniquely sensitive to the suffering and exploitation of all men and women. It qualifies us and challenges us to stand up to be the true standard bearers and guardians of freedom for all,” Hall writes. “My poetry is influenced by and speaks not just to the surface pain of injustice and inhumanity, but digs deep into that pain, into the genteel socio-political-economic- religious constructs used to blur the common lines of cause that is our shared story. This shared story, the poetry reminds us, should unite us in our common struggle to be free.”

When asked if being identified as an African-American poet could be an obstacle to his expression, Hall responded, “If it is an identifier and/or identity, I did not create it to identify me nor to limit me. As such, one has to ask the larger question: Who created it for me and for what reasons?”

Across the work of four books, Hall’s poetic voice is insistent on his readers realizing their own will to be free, but also identifies the oppressor in its various institutional and cultural forms. “When you see that you are not free / you must say and do, to be free,” he writes in one of the poems from his first book. In the poems “White Man Asks Me” (“A white man asked me to / be less than a man so that he could / find a face-saving way out”) and “Dr. Nigga” (“…save my life / without  changing my life / when my white life codes blue”) Hall directly confronts and reveals the structure of racism.

For some of his readers this is difficult but necessary: “knowing that you are the cause and then the painful act of changing your behavior which has afforded and enriched you (relatively speaking) generating socio-economic advantages over your brothers and sisters.”

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Question for this article:

How can poetry promote a culture of peace?

Are we making progress against racism?

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Poetry is one way to face such formidable challenges. “We are the only obstacle getting in the way of our deeper expressions. I find my deepest expression in breathing air in and out deeply in the full realization of my connection, brotherhood and common humanity with all that exists. This connection, this brotherhood, our common humanity is seamless. It is the greed of man exploiting our fabricated man-made differences that has created seams in us, to divide us from our oneness. There is nothing complex nor complicated about man’s gluttony.”

Hall earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an M.D. from Michigan State University. He received his surgical subspecialty training in ophthalmology at Harvard University’s Medical School and was in private practice for more than 20 years in Flourtown, Pa.

Hall is the author of four books of poetry, Nigger For Life, Winter’s A’ Coming Still, Appalling Silence and Where Do I Sit, that deal with oppression and exploitation in American society.

The poet’s charismatic reading style has captured international audiences that go far beyond what any label as an African-American poet might mean. I asked him about the connection. “I have learned from my travels that the oppressors, oppression and their methods are the same all over the world and thus those who suffer from them are connected,” Hall wrote. “The oppressed all understand that their oppression is based in large part on gluttony/greed. The need for a source of continuous cheap labor and to rob people of their substance, their lands and resources often under the guise of religion, democracy, freedom, education, tradition, culture and self-serving charity.”

Few poets read in public as often as Hall. And Hall recognized this activity as a watershed moment in his development as a poet. “There in real time with the poetry of your heart and mind flowing from your mouth, you see yourself touching, moving audiences’ hearts and minds to feel and live the poetry you’ve lived and are re-living in the readings before them. There in real time, I learned to live in my poetry as much as my poetry lives in me.”

I asked him how that speaks to the mysterious relationship between writer and poem and reader.

“It is no mystery. What people get from your poetry is not only what you give them, but also the life experiences they bring to your poetry. And the life experience they bring to your poem can illuminate the words and impact far more — or less — in them than in you or your intent.

So when readers respond in a very surprising manner to a poem, does it make him feel differently about the poem?

“No. The poem is my poem and my experience. I can only feel what I bring to it and it to me. On the other hand, I do feel honored and grateful that others bring their different life experiences into play when reading about and connecting with my life experiences through my poetry. We are, as I have said, seamless! Poetry can bear witness to erase the seams man creates in us.”

Hall writes in one of his poems, “We are socialized and emotionalized to see / our plight in black and white.”

No such adhering to stereotype in Hall’s work.

The program is free and open to the public.

 

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

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

A press release from the International Federation for Human Rights

Human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered this week [31 October] in Paris for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

After three days of discussions and strategy development spanning regional and global issues, environmental rights and women human rights defenders and the increasing attacks on human rights defenders everywhere, the momentum culminated in the presentation of a landmark action plan which will be presented to the UN in December.


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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who spoke at the opening ceremony said: “What human rights defenders teach us is that all of us can stand up for our rights and for the rights of others, in our neighborhoods, in our countries and all over the world. We can change the world .”

The Summit discussed calls on Governments, corporations, international financial institutions, donors and others, including the adoption of national governmental action plans, implementation of legislation to legally uphold the UN declaration, protecting defenders as a priority in foreign policy and prioritizing the protection and work of women human rights defenders, LGBT+, indigenous rights defenders and other marginalized defenders.

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Question related to this article:

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

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Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: “The level of danger facing activists worldwide has reached crisis point. Every day ordinary people are threatened, tortured, imprisoned and killed for what they fight for or simply for who they are. Now is the time to act and tackle the global surge in repression of human rights defenders.”

The closing ceremony took place at the Palais de Chaillot, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed 70 years ago. The 150 defenders gathered together to set out the Action Plan and pay tribute to the men and women who work tirelessly to defend human rights around the world.

Among those in attendance over the last three days were Alice Mogwe, Secretary General of FIDH and the Director of Botswana Ditshwanelo; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is calling for justice after his mother, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was assassinated one year ago in Malta; Anielle Franco, who is bravely campaigning on behalf of her sister, Marielle Franco, a Brazilian activist and elected councillor who was shot dead in her car seven months ago.

Hina Jilani, President of OMCT, founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and the first UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders said: “States have never given us space. It is because of human rights defenders that there is space for civil society. Seeing you all here engaged in defending human rights, I am not too pessimistic. As a movement, we have never been as global as we are now. But we have to be clear to states: you need to live up to the challenge and speak out for defenders. Human rights don’t come for free .”

The 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

In 1998, governments adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders to acknowledge the key role of human rights defenders. Despite progress in some areas, many governments are continuing to fall short of their commitments 20 years on from the first Summit and the global context in which human rights defenders operate in has become increasingly challenging. Democratic values are under threat and systemic corruption, extreme inequality and discrimination, religious fundamentalism and extremist policies are all on the rise. Alongside this, we have seen a concerted effort to undermine, discredit and kill human rights defenders. In 2017, at least 312 human rights defenders were assassinated, twice as many as in 2015, almost all with impunity for the perpetrators. The Action Plan hopes to tackle these injustices and support Human Rights Defenders to continue their critical work in a safe environment.

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

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A press release from Comunità di Etica Vivente

Can Peace be conquered on the Planet permanently? For the researchers of various branches of learning who took part in the International Conference “Scientists for Peace” – which was recently held in the “Aula della Cultura” – the answer is yes.


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The first step will be the commitment to increase the awareness of that part of the public opinion conditioned by information that is often distorted and incomplete.

Only effective communication can enable individuals to know, and therefore operate, with increasing awareness, in their daily actions, respecting themselves and their peers. Starting from their own consumptions and rethinking their needs, whose ideological, as well as economic, burden harms the entire planet and its resources.

All this requires dialogue between the various disciplines to arrive at a joint effort where Psychology and Physics intertwine in Mathematics and Law, Economics and Education, Philosophy and Medicine.

The goal is a Healthy world where Prejudice, Fear and War are no longer present. Where Science, as well, gives human beings awareness of the Cosmos, revealing more and more surprising analogical correlations and interconnections, taking a position for certain distortions to be corrected.

For these purposes, the scholars who took part in the Convention have signed the “Declaration of the Scientists for Peace” which will be sent to UNESCO [see text below]. Formative interventions are encouraged to increase a responsible human and social conscience in the school and university paths of those who become practitioners of applied sciences. Starting from the acceptance that scientists and technicians who are part (or that such could become) of a chain of production of war instruments can oppose, appealing to the ethical principles on which the applied sciences must be based. And that, at the same time, intervene in the media so that the war does not continue to be considered possible but definitely reveals the face of an absolute aberration and violation of fundamental human rights.

The Declaration will be brought into the world and will be enriched in the coming months with the signing of other scientists who will be joined under the aegis of “Flag of Peace”, the international association that promoted the conference and has in its mission the promotion of Culture as instrument of Peace, through Science, Art and Philosophy.

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Question for this article:

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

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Visit the Conference page to see photos, videos and to download the file of the abstracts of the speeches.

Declaration

Recommendations from the “Scientists for Peace” Conference

Science has an important role to play in promoting and achieving peace on Earth. The main question which we ask in this respect is, why are scientists and engineers, highly educated individuals, willing to violate basic humanistic principles by developing and producing weapons? This is mostly due to a limited ethical consciousness, whereby each human being is seen as an isolated individual, and the wider implications of one’s work for society and for humankind are usually belittled.

To change this state of affairs we must become conscious of the fact that humankind can only thrive in peace if it is able to live up to universal ethical principles. Peace on Earth can be fostered and maintained; a world without wars can be developed, where peaceful relationships of responsibility and respect among peoples and individual human beings are properly cultivated.

How can this vision be achieved? What is the proper role for scientists and engineers to fulfil this vision?

We are committed to a view of science as an invaluable resource to promote peace in all areas of life. Accordingly, as a meaningful step towards realizing Peace on Earth, we submit to the United Nations the following recommendations, directed to the world of science and engineering:

• Schools and universities should be strongly invited to offer courses addressing the social responsibilities of scientists and engineers, especially concerning the potential and actual warfare applications of their work. Along with their professional expertise, science and engineering students should develop the ability to raise societal awareness about the threats that existing and prospective weapons systems pose to the survival and flourishing of humankind, especially in connection with weapons of mass destruction.

• It should be made clear that scientists and engineers consciously participating in the development, production, distribution and use of weapons of mass destruction go against the fundamental ethical principles that should be at the core of science and engineering.

• Everybody shall have the right to refuse to obey when it comes to the use of weapons of mass destruction and should be protected accordingly.

• It should be continually reaffirmed that mass media and other sources of information which advocate the view that waging war is an acceptable way to solve conflicts betray universal ethical principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the prohibition of propaganda for war asserted in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(Thank you to the Good News Agency for calling our attention to this article)

Abolish Militarism and War: Mairead Maguire to the International Conference against US/NATO Military Bases

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

Transcript at Transcend

Presentation by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate at the International Conference against US/NATO Military Bases, 16-18 Nov 2018, Dublin, Ireland

Dear Friends, It is good to be here with you all. I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me to address the conference.  Firstly I thank you all for your work for peace.  It is good that we will have an opportunity in the next few days to get to know each other and together discuss what kind of a world we want to live in?  There will be many different perspectives on this and the way forward, but let us agree to respect each other and to engage in deep listening and conversation no matter how hard and where the dialogue might take us!


Let us be encouraged by the fact that we have made an important first step when we agree to enter into dialogue, and when we agree that peace is both the means and the great achievable gift. It would be wonderful too no matter what area of social/political change we work in, if we can unite on a shared vision of a demilitarized world and find strength in agreeing we will not limit ourselves to civilizing and slowing down militarism, but demanding its total abolition.

Some people might argue that peace is not possible in such a highly militarized world.  However, I believe that peace is both possible and urgent.  It is achievable when we each become impassioned about peace and filled with an ethic that makes peace our objective and we each put into practice our moral sense of political/social responsibility to build peace and justice.

To build peace we are challenged to reject the bomb, the bullet, and all the techniques of violence.  Unfortunately, we are constantly bombarded with the glorification of militarism and war; therefore building a culture of peace and nonviolence will not be an easy task.  We are hearing about the building of a European army and we are asked to accept austerity and budget cuts to our health, education, etc. whilst increasing money to our own armies and also European military expansion.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization-NATO, which should have been disbanded when the Warsaw Pact was dissolved, continue to carry out wars and proxy wars in many countries pushing towards the borders of Russia and resurrecting a cold war between the East and West. I believe that NATO should be disbanded and should be made accountable and make restitutions to the millions of people in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and many others it has illegally attacked, invaded, destroyed.   We will never be allowed by our governments, or our mainstream media, to hear many of the stories of the lives of so many civilians killed by US/NATO forces.  NATO forces have targeted and assassinated individuals and entire families.

It is to all our shame in the International community, that their illegal criminal acts   of horror and bloodletting which embodies the comeback of barbarism, is allowed to continue.  NATO should be brought before the International Criminal Court  for war crimes.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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It would be all too easy to point fingers and play the blame game but unless we all take responsibility for the highly dangerous militarised situation with which we are faced in the world today, things will not get better.

Ireland with the militarization of its Foreign and Defence Policy has been unfaithful to the Irish peoples’ wish for a Neutral State and worse by being complicit in accommodating illegal wars.  Ireland’s peace activists have been peacefully protesting US military use of Irish airports whereby over two and a half million armed US troops have passed through Shannon Airport on their way to and from the US-led Afghan and Iraq wars.  I believe ireland should refuse permission to any further stopover and refueling facilities being granted to aeroplanes ferrying troops or munitions to the wars and also withdraw Irish participation from all NATO and EU military operations overseas.

Ireland is deeply admired in many countries and has a proud record in helping developing countries.   Their role as mediators and peace negotiators is well known.   I would like to propose that Ireland disband their army and focus their finance and people on developing their great expertise in the science of peacemaking through a Government Dept. of Peace.   Recommitting to its tradition of neutrality and multilateralism, placing ethics, morality and justice as core values at the heart of its foreign policy would send out a clear message of Irish Government rejecting the road of militarism and war and choosing the road of peace and reconciliation, both locally and internationally.

For our survival through the UN we need to move to General and Complete Disarmament – including nuclear weapons.  This is not an impossible dream.  I commend the Irish Government in their work at UN to work for Nuclear Disarmament.  I believe we can take hope from Pope Francis statement after pointing out the dangers of nuclear weapons when he says‚

‘The threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.’

And the Pope quotes as an example the

‘historic vote at the UN the majority of the members of the international community determined that nuclear weapons are not only immoral, but also must be considered an illegal means of warfare.’

It is to be hoped that UK, Israel, USA and other nuclear armed states will begin to dismantle their nuclear weapons and help turn back the hands of the doomsday clock.   Up to the end of 1961 at the United Nations general and complete disarmament was the aim of all governments.  In a joint Soviet-United states statement of 20 Sep l961 they stated,

‘The goal of negotiations is to achieve agreement on a program which will ensure that disarmament is general and complete and war is no longer an instrument for settling international problems’.

Let us unite our voices to call for an end to enmity and war, and for President Trump and President Putin to join together with all world leaders in a World Peace Conference to work for an agreed Programme of General and Complete Disarmament.  Such courageous leadership towards dialogue and disarmament would give hope to humanity.

International Cities of Peace and Rotary Peace Clubs

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

Excerpts from an address by Fred Arment, Executive Diector of Inernational Cities of Peace to the Rotary E Club for World Peace, published November 18, 2018

In the International Cities of Peace we have had extraordinary growth in terms of being able to help and mentor and challenge people within communities to build city of peace efforts. . .

We started with the idea of the city of peace which is an idea that is not only hundreds of years old, but thousands. Jerusalem, for example, means city of peace in Hebrew and Arabic. The concept of a city of peace is really inspirational.

We define peace in a way that is a consensus value. So we define it as three freedoms:

– Safety: Freedom from risk of injury, danger or loss

– Prosperity: Freedom to achieve a good standard of living

– Quality of Life: Freedom to enjoy health and happiness

These cannot be taken for granted. I get emails every day from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from Palestine, from Colombia. These people have a vision and a hope for their lives and for their children to create a peacebuilding operation in their city that will achieve safety, prosperity and quality of life. . .

This is about Rotary because Rotary has such intense potential to create peace in the world. . . Every Rotary Club has this need and desire to create a better community . . . Rotary Peace Clubs are a huge benefit not only through the United States but throughout the world . . . International Cities of Peace fits in as a pathway to build stronger Rotary Clubs. . . . It’s a platform for inspiring community action, for creating larger peace within the community . . . and it’s a way for Rotary Clubs to connect to the global family where there are people in great need . . .

As of this morning we now have over 224 cities of peace in 50 countries on 6 continents. The last one this morning was Hyderabad in Pakistan which we just learned about over the past couple of months.

It takes several months for people to create a city of peace initiative. It’s not just a signature on a piece of paper. . . It’s rigourous and that is why it is making a difference. There are five steps to establishing a community as an International City of Peace:

1. Get signatures on a Letter of Intent. . . It must be community-wide. The signature has to do with the culture of peace as defined by UNESCO and signing up for that.

2. Write a vision, mission, and goals statement for their unique community. We help them through that, engagig about 500 different people working with International Cities of Peace who serve as mentors for people around the world.

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Questions for this article:

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

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3. Send photos and captions of local peace events and we create a free web page for each of our cities with contact information.

4. Submit a photo and bio for the leader of the group

5. Write a statement about the peace legacy of the community. Every community has a peace legacy, whether it’s teachers or artists. Our children need to know about the peace work that has been done in their community.

It’s a rigorous process that people go through. The key word is “transformative.” The people who develop city of peace initiatives transform themselves personally. It’s a different way of thinking about the world. How can we create a culture of peace? . . .

Here is the UNESCO definition of the culture of peace to which they adhere in their Letter of Intent:

– Education

– Sustainable economic development

– Human rights

– Equality of women and men

– Democratic participation

– Understanding and tolerance

– Free flow of information

– International peace and security

It’s amazing how, around the world, some of these items are very controversial, for example, equality of women and men, democratic participation. They are literally at risk when they sign the Letter of Intent to create what UNESCO has said is a culture of peace. And, there’s Hindus and Muslims and Buddhists and Christians and Jews and all of the different religions. The UNESCO resolution did not address directly the cultures of faith, so what we added, when someone creates a city of peace they sign a document that says they are going to be inclusive and we use the Golden Rule as the moral ethic for creating a city of peace. It’s very inclusive of all creeds and religions and races and cultures. . .

I want to tell a few amazing stories about International Cities of Peace and reflect on their connection to Rotary [for details, see minutes 19-23 in the YouTube broadcast]. . . .

In conclusion, our goal is to establish 1000 Cities of Peace around the world by year 2025. Imagine the difference that could make in the lives of our 7 billion companions on Earth. By creating the global infrastructure of peace, the great challenges and issues of our time could be addressed locally through democratic and reasoned debate and action. The dynamic of top-down prescriptions for how to create peace has not worked so well. It is only through bottom-up, “in situ” peace building by citizens who know the needs of their communities that will foster the kind of commitment and compassion that will change the world… and change the world, we will.

For more information on how to establish your community as an International City of Peace, send an email to info@internationalcitiesofpeace.org, or go to www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org for an easy-to-use web resource.

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

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Ultima Hora

Ten women leaders of politics and society closed today [Nov 8] the II World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace in Madrid with a message of peace.

“Women do not shy away from conflict. When there is injustice, it must be revealed, “said the mayor of the Spanish capital, Manuela Carmena. “But the big difference is that we do not use violence to resolve conflicts. Women are agents of peace.”

For two hours before an audience that interrupted the interventions with applause, the participants discussed from a feminist perspective a large part of the topics of the forum organized by the city council of Madrid in the Matadero cultural venue, which included dozens of papers, workshops and events.

Mayor Carmena had the last word, sending a message of hope and asking for a cultural change. “Why have we chosen this extraordinary panel to finish? It has an explanation: we have defined 2018 as the violet year. Millions of women went out to the streets to remember that the prominence of women is still pending. We must be protagonists in the 21st century and in the following centuries,” she said.

“Violence is still linked to the culture of machismo and that erroneous concept of masculinity. Earlier we heard that in Latin America there are 400 homicides a day. But that statistic does not say that most are committed by men. Just 1 percent are committed by women,” she added.

“We have to say it. Women do not have their hands stained with blood, “said Carmena, who nevertheless pointed out that the culture of peace has been moving forward in the 20th century despite the atrocities of world wars.

As noted, interpersonal violence has been reduced by 16 percent. “And that’s partly due to the triumph of women’s values,” she said. “You just have to read the women of the past. The war correspondents all spoke against the war, but they were not listened to. Now we are here their daughters and granddaughters so that it is known that the voice of women is the voice of peace “.

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(Click here for a version in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

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

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

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Sitting next to Carmena, the Ibero-American General Secretary, Rebeca Grynspan, drew a somewhat more pessimistic picture of Latin America, which she described as “one of the most violent regions in the world.”

To the data of 400 daily homicides, she added that more than half of citizens say they live with fear. In addition, she stated that many countries in the region are among the worst in feminicide statistics.

“We must change the conception of masculinities and we must ensure that women have more autonomy,” said the Costa Rican official, who also pointed out some immediate measures that can be taken to reduce violence in the cities.

“We know that where public areas are set up for sport, culture or art, violence is reduced. We know that where there is less overcrowding violence is reduced. We know that putting more light on the city reduces violence. But we also need a longer-term vision,” she said.

The Latin American region was also represented by the president of the Association of Municipalities of Bolivia, Rocío Alejandra Molina, and by the mayor of Rosario, Mónica Fein.

Molina said that her country is in a “process of change” and stressed that more than 50 percent of Bolivian parliamentarians are women, but that there is still much to be done to eradicate “structural violence.” For her part, Fein recalled the strength of the feminist movement in Argentina and the struggle to pass a law in favor of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy. “We have won many battles, but there are still many battles to be fought,” she warned.

Other participants in the panel included: Liv Torres, executive director of the Nobel Peace Center; Concepción Gamarra, mayor of Logroño and first vice president of the FEMP; Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons; Emilia Saiz, General Secretary of UCLG; Elena Biurrun, Mayor of Torrelodones, and Tunisian Ouided Bouchmaoui, Nobel Peace Prize 2015.

In her brief closing speech, Carmena thanked Pope Francis for the message of support he sent to the forum and that was read during the women’s talk, as well as insisting on what he said on Monday at the inauguration, citing the legendary former South African president Nelson Mandela: “Violence is not intrinsic in the human being.”