Category Archives: South Asia

India: Peace Channel promotes peace education in schools of Kohima

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Morung Express

Peace Channel conducted peace celebration and capacity building programmes in five schools of Kohima district – Little Flower Hr. Sec School, Kohima, Sacred Heart School, Khuzama, St. Paul School, Phesama, Don Bosco Hr. Sec. School, Kohima, and St. Andrews School, Jotsoma village – on the theme ‘Concept of peace and peace building’ in the months of March and April.


Participants of the programme organised by Peace Channel at Little Flower Hr. Sec School, Kohima.

Addressing the Peace Club members in the respective schools, Susan Kulnu, Peace Channel Kohima district coordinator emphasised on the main objective of peace and peace building

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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She motivated the students to understand the concept of peace, to think of peace, love peace and make peace so as to take up initiatives in one’s own home and locality, to transform a culture of violence into a culture of peace, stated a press release from Peace Channel.
 
Susan further spoke about human rights, which she said, are the vital assets for everyone. “These rights are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible,” she asserted. The speaker also emphasized on the principle of “Do No Harm” which is a holistic perspective that is focussed on mutual benefits and not win-lose situation. The students were also motivated on leadership and life skills.
 
Sedekieno Rino, a peace activist, also spoke on anti-war toys “as children are also seen to be manipulated into replicating the violent content they see on television, videos, video games or violent cartoons,” the release stated. She urged the students to dream of a peaceful society and put efforts of changing oneself towards promoting peace so that one day that dream will turn to a reality.
 
Altogether, 227 quality Peace Club members along with 10 teacher animators of different schools participated in the sessions, informed the release.
 
The participants have been encouraged to take initiatives in bringing peace wherever they are and “they are now to bring peoples together, striving for peace, justice, equality and fraternity.”
 
It was informed that Peace Channel is also undertaking similar programmes in other districts like Dimapur, Wokha, Mon, and Peren.

International Solar Alliance – A Symbol of Hope and Cooperation

.. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ..

An article by Dr Ravi P Bhatia from Transcend Media Service

Renewable energy is being tapped and promoted in many parts of the world to meet the challenges of environmental pollution, global warming and climate change. One of the main factors behind the environmental challenge is the factor of our dependence on coal powered energy production that is highly polluting and is causing various types of adverse effects including on the health of human beings.


These issues were discussed in great detail in the UN Convention of Climate Change held in Paris in December 2014 and commitments made by several countries including the major ones – USA, China, India, France Germany, Japan and others about taking measures to not increase the global warming beyond 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century. This would necessitate both financial commitments as well as by adopting technological measures such as stressing increased production and utilization of renewable energy.

As is well known by now, renewable energy does not have these adverse effects and hence it is being promoted worldwide. Of course tapping the renewable sources and putting them in practice have their own distinct difficulties but they do not cause the pollution that is so damaging. Renewable energy is produced mainly from the sun (solar energy), wind power, tidal waves. Great emphasis is being laid on harnessing the sun’s energy through the use of solar cells that convert sun’s rays into electricity.

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Question for this article:

Are we making progress in renewable energy?

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Unfortunately, USA appears to be backing out from its commitments on climate change made in Paris as well as the following year in Marrakesh. The responsibility of mitigating the effects of climate change is falling primarily on India, France and China. In order to meet the challenges of global warming and climate change, India had proposed an alliance of countries called the International Solar Alliance (ISA) two years back, with support of France and several countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The first meeting of ISA is being held in New Delhi from 11 March with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the French President Emmanuel Macron co-chairing the inaugural meeting. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Modi referred to the wisdom of India’s ancient Vedas that had clearly stressed the importance of our Sun for sustaining life – human, animal and plant, on the Earth. This was manifested in India’s respect for the Sun in various epics and its Mantras. He stressed that “We have to look at the balanced and all-encompassing philosophy of the Vedas to meet the challenge of climate change. We have to take urgent steps towards this objective.” The French President also spoke about the significance of solar power and renewable energy to meet the global challenge and committed both financial and technological support for this noble venture.

It was stressed by both the leaders that with these commitments and the active support of the 32 countries that have ratified the framework agreement of the Alliance, the target of about 175 GW of energy from renewable sources could be met by the end of 2022. Of this, solar and wind energies would contribute 100 and 60 GW respectively.

Many participating countries also spoke in favor of renewable energy and promised that they would also take appropriate steps, however small they may be to promote renewable energy in their countries. They also sought financial and technological support which France and India agreed to provide.

The inaugural meeting of the Solar Alliance gives us hope that the challenges of environmental pollution, global warming and climate change are being recognized and addressed by many countries. This meeting also encourages the coming together of different nations — developed and developing, to meet common challenges through goodwill and cooperation.

Nobel Women Peace Laureates Call for an End to Rohingya Genocide

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A press release from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

As three Nobel peace laureates—Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, and Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland – conclude their visit to Bangladesh on the six-month anniversary of the current Rohingya crisis, the three women are calling for an immediate end to the “genocide” of the Rohingya people.


Mairead Maguire meets with Rohingya survivors of gender based violence in Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp February 25, 2018 in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by Allison Joyce

This week, the three women Laureates ­––in partnership with Bangladesh women’s organization Naripokkho­­––spent time listening to stories, meeting over 100 women refugees in the Cox’s Bazar area, and travelling to “no man’s land”, where thousands of Rohingya have been stranded between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

After hearing testimonies describing how security forces burned villages, tortured, killed and systematically raped women and girls—as well as reports from humanitarian organizations and UN officials—the Laureates concluded that the on-going attacks on the Rohingya of Rakhine State amount to crimes against humanity and genocide.

The Laureates are calling on Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar military to put an end to the killings and the persecution of the Rohingya people.

“She must stop turning a deaf ear to the persecution of the Rohingya or risk being complicit in the crimes,” said Tawakkol Karman. “Wake up or face prosecution.”

As women committed to peace, the Laureates are urging Aung San Suu Kyi to exercise her personal and moral responsibility stop the genocide. “If she fails to do so, her choice is clear: resign or be held accountable, along with the army commanders, for the crimes committed” added Karman.

The Laureates heard how Rohingya women have been twice victimized: for being Rohingyas and for being women. They described stories of horrific violence and systematic mass rape.

“My 18-year old daughter had her breasts cut off and she died,” a Rohingya woman in the Thyankhali camp told the Nobel peace laureates.

“My baby was only 1-year and 6-months old. The military tore her from my arms and slaughtered her in front of me,” said a Rohingya survivor of rape. She then passed around a photo she had of her child. She wanted everyone to see her little girl.

The laureates heard stories of children being thrown into fires and drowned in rivers. They heard stories of houses and complete villages being burned to the ground and children being shot while running to the forest to seek shelter and safety.

“The torture, rape and killing of any one member of our human family must be challenged, as in the case of the Rohingya genocide,” said Mairead Maguire. “Silence is complicity.”

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Questions for this article

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

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The Nobel peace laureates were impressed by the strength and resilience of the women who had survived such horrific crimes. One woman at the Thyankhali camp told them, “Why should we feel shame? We were tortured. We don’t need to feel shame about that.”

Another woman at Camp Kutupalong said, “We are not afraid of anything. We want our stories to be told.”

The Laureates are calling for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to be brought to justice before the International Criminal Court.

“With over a million Rohingya displaced, countless dead or missing, and rape and sexual violence being used as a weapon of war, it is well past the time for the international community to act,” said Shirin Ebadi.

The Laureates met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, government officials, human rights organizations and humanitarian agencies. They extended their thanks to Prime Minister Hasina and to both the Government and the people of Bangladesh for their exemplary acts of compassion for the Rohingya refugees.

The Laureates also expressed deep appreciation to the Bangladeshi government and to the various humanitarian agencies that have met the extraordinary challenge of setting up the Refugee and Relocation Camps for over one million Rohingya refugees.

As a result of their visit to Bangladesh, the Nobel Laureates are calling for:

* An immediate end to the genocide against the Rohingya in Rakhine, and an order to the Myanmar military to immediately stop all acts of sexual violence.

* Justice for Rohingya victims: perpetrators of crimes must be brought to justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

* Bangladesh, as the only country in South Asia to have ratified the Rome Statute, should, along with other states parties, the UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council, refer the case to the ICC.

* Alternatively, the ICC Prosecutor should open an independent investigation into crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated in Rakhine State.

* A voluntary, safe and dignified return. There should be no forced repatriation. When Rohingya do return to Rakhine State, they should be offered security and be granted full citizenship.

* The government of Myanmar to take immediate action to address the systematic discrimination of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, and ensure the Rohyinga’s right to nationality, land ownership, freedom of movement and other fundamental rights.

* A comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar to ensure that there are no sales of weapons or other military equipment.

* The international community to increase its support to Bangladesh’s humanitarian response.

* Bangladesh to ratify the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, as a major step to give protection to refugees and set an example in South Asia.

For more information, please contact:
Ketty Nivyabandi, Media Associate: knivyabandi@nobelwomensinitiative.org + 1 613 691 1419
Katia Gianneschi, Media Outreach: Katia.Gianneschi@gmail.com +1 613 614 9740

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

India: ’Life: A Mystical Journey’- A Gathering of 500 Women Leaders To Explore Spirituality as Tool For Peace And Empowerment

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from India Education Diary

Over 500 accomplished women achievers, artists, policymakers, sportswomen among others will participate in the 8th International Women’s Conference (IWC). Titled, ‘Life: A Mystical Journey,’ the conference will be held at The Art of Living International Center, Bengaluru between February 23 and 25.


IWC has unique twin goals- individual development and collective action. It facilitates partnership-building and leadership development among women leaders globally.

Some of the speakers for this year’s conference include Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairman, State Bank of India; Chetna Gala Sinha, Founder-Chairperson Mann Deshi Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation, Rani Mukherji , Indian Actress,  Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, and ecologist; Madhoo Shah, actress, MridulaSinha, Governor, Goa,  Adriana Marais, theoretical physicist, head of innovation at SAP Africa; Professor MaithreeWickramasinghe, founder director of Center for Gender Studies at the University of Kelaniya.

“Women are leading peacemakers. They work together towards creating a stress-free, violence-free society. The conference is a message in peace and unity,” shares BhanumathiNarasimhan, Chairperson, IWC.

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Questions for this article

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

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Increasing number of women are leading from the front in multiple fields. The IWC builds on this trend. It works with women leaders to enhance their impact and gives an impetus to the global advancement of women from all backgrounds.

The 2018 conference will explore ways to amplify the message of peace and empowerment, including spiritual tools.

“The role of women in the development of a society is of utmost importance. It is the only criterion that determines whether a society is strong and harmonious,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, The Art of Living, which is one of the conference partners.

Since its inception in 2005, the conference has focused on diversity and inclusiveness. Over 375 eminent speakers and 5500 delegates from over 100 countries have participated in the conference. The IWC focuses on advancing the status of women in fragile and post-conflict states. It also worked with the World Bank Institute to develop empowerment schemes for women in vulnerable nations and expanded vocational training for widows in Iraq.

The IWC also supports The Art of Living’s Gift A Smile project. Over 58,000 students study in 435 free schools across 20 Indian states. Encouragingly, girl children comprise 48% while 90% are first-generation learners. Promoting girl child education is the underlined focus area for IWC.

This year the focus will also be to create open defecation free districts in India. In phase 1, the organization will work towards sensitization and awareness about use of toilets and increasing health and hygiene in these areas. In Phase II, 4000 toilets will be built.

IWC in the past has been associated with pivotal social initiatives like constructing homes for the under privileged, creating awareness about environment and environmental care, movement to stop violence against women, and child and women empowerment through skills training.

Pakistan: Asma Jahangir, Champion Of Human Rights, Critic Of Pak Army, Dies At 66

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article from New Delhi Television Limited

Leading Pakistani human rights advocate Asma Jahangir has died, her family said Sunday, in a major blow to the country’s embattled rights community. She was 66.

The lawyer and former UN special rapporteur died of cardiac arrest, according to her sister. “Unfortunately we have lost her,” Hina Jilani, also a prominent rights activist and lawyer, told AFP.


Pakistan’s top rights advocate Asma Jahangir braved death threats in her long career (AFP)

The lawyer and former UN special rapporteur died of cardiac arrest, according to her sister. “Unfortunately we have lost her,” Hina Jilani, also a prominent rights activist and lawyer, told AFP.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, according to a statement by her daughter Munizae Jahangir, as the family waited for relatives to return to their hometown of Lahore.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expressed grief at Asma Jahangir’s death, praising her contribution to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding human rights.

Ms Jahangir’s supporters and former opponents alike took to social media to offer their condolences and express shock at news of her death.

“Asma Jahangir was the bravest human being I ever knew. Without her the world is less,” wrote prominent Pakistani lawyer Salman Akram Raja.

“I and many others didn’t agree with some of her views. But she was a titan. And one of the brightest and bravest ever produced by this country,” wrote journalist Wajahat Khan on Twitter.

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Question for this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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In 2014 Asma Jahangir received France’s highest civilian award and Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award, for her decades of rights work.

Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of Ms Jahangir.She braved death threats, beatings and imprisonment to win landmark human rights cases while standing up to dictators.

Ms Jahangir also helped establish the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

The organisation made its name defending religious minorities and taking on highly charged blasphemy accusations along with “honour” killings — in which the victims, normally women, are murdered by a relative for bringing shame on the family.
 
There is still terrible violence against women, discrimination against minorities and near-slavery for bonded labourers, Ms Jahangir told AFP during an interview in 2014, but human rights have made greater strides in Pakistan than may be apparent.

“There was a time that human rights was not even an issue in this country. Then prisoners’ rights became an issue,” she said.

“Women’s rights was thought of as a Western concept. Now people do talk about women’s rights — political parties talk about it, even religious parties talk about it.”

Asma Jahangir secured a number of victories during her life, from winning freedom for bonded labourers from their “owners” through pioneering litigation, to a landmark court case that allowed women to marry of their own volition.

She was also an outspoken critic of the powerful military establishment, including during her stint as the first-ever female leader of Pakistan’s top bar association.

Ms Jahangir was arrested in 2007 by the government of then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf. In 2012 she claimed her life was in danger  from the feared Inter Services Intelligence spy agency.

Peace is not just a two-period a week subject – Prajnya Teachers for Peace Training (India)

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education

CHENNAI: In the wake of alarming incidents that have threatened the holistic peace in the country and across the world, Prajnya, a Chennai-based NGO has flagged a two-day workshop — ‘Prajnya Teachers for Peace Training’. “In 2005, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) came up with a National Curriculum Framework (NCF) which says that peace education is a ‘concern cutting across the curriculum and is the concern of all teachers’,” says Swarna Rajagopalan, MD, Prajnya Trust.


Training during a January 2016 peace training session (Photo: The New Indian Express)

Accordingly, schools and teachers are required to integrate peace education across the curriculum and extracurricular activities. “No matter what the teacher has taught, the value of peace education — be it acceptance, inclusivity and sensitivity should be integrated into curricula everywhere. For instance, if you have a math problem, instead of Raja and Jhony, it can be Raja and Lilly. So, inclusivity in everything — modeling and language, gender inclusivity and communal inclusivity are to be a part of the curriculum,” she shares.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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The idea is not just to teach peace as a ‘two-period a week’ subject. It’s to include the values in everything a teacher shares. But sadly, this practice hasn’t taken off. “It has been hard to implement it in schools. With a minimum classroom strength of 35 and a maximum of 70, multiple divisions and exam pressure, the focus has not fallen on peace education,” elucidates Swarna.

With these short training workshops, Prajnya is trying to give teachers a broad idea of how peace education can be integrated. The two-day training will introduce participants to peace education and the NCF recommendations, facilitate an introspective exploration of what teachers bring into classroom, their communication practices, and values for an inclusive classroom and society; provide the opportunity to identify and design class plans with peace education principles and include a practice and peer mentoring component. “We will have Priyadarshini Rajagopalan, a peace educator-come-teacher and Chintan Girish Modi, another renowned peace activist to facilitate the workshop,” she says.

While the workshop is being conducted in Chennai, it’s not confined to the city. “If anyone from Sriperumbudur, Pondicherry or Kanchipuram want to enroll for the workshop, they are welcome as well. We are looking for teachers from different spectra to join us. Even if one person from a school joins us, it goes back to the school in some way,” she shares.

The workshop will take place once in three months and will be scheduled after assessing  the optimal time for the participants. “As adults, we are losing perspective on how we perceive the world and about asking the right questions.

So, what are we teaching our children? This has to be addressed,” she adds.
(Reposted from: The New Indian Express.  December 30, 2017, by Roshne Balasubramanian)

India: Peace fiesta underway at Wokha

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from Eastern Mirror Nagaland

Peace Counts Wokha launched the third peace programme (Peace fiesta) a two day event on promoting peace at Don Bosco Higher Secondary School Wokha, ground under the theme Peace within, peace outside on Friday.


Peace Counts Wokha, as seen on their Facebook page
(click on photo to enlarge)

Ashanthung Humtsoe, General Secretary, Lotha Students’ Union exhorting and declaring the event open thanked the organisation for promoting peace through sports and encouraging the youths to come together, stating that the youths are the future of tomorrow in building the nation.

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Questions for this article:

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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Where he also informed that the world is today passing through an environment full of tension, violence, declining values, injustices, reduced tolerance and respect for human rights due to modernisation making smaller chance for peaceful coexistence with the gun culture taking a dominant position in most of the developing countries, threatening the future of the youths who deserve a peaceful and better quality of life.

He also highlighted the need to create a culture of peace and conflict free environment with youth’s involvement stating that the youths need to start thinking different and “be the change” where youth’s should learn to combine their enthusiasm with patience, realizing the importance of living together and should be responsible to defend the frontiers of peace and non-violence.

The two day event will feature painting, essay writing and poetry competition with poster expiation from peace builders around the world and hand prints of peace camping will also be organised for all the participants.

Sixteen (16) teams from various schools, colony and organisations from Wokha registered for participation in the event.

Creating a new normal, students across Bangladesh say no more sexual harassment

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from UN Women

Women, everywhere, have had enough. Around the world, they are saying #metoo, no longer willing to suffer sexual harassment in silence. In cities across Bangladesh, sexual harassment against women is a daily reality. A project implemented by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) and UN Women in four major universities is engaging male and female students, as well as teachers, to challenge gender stereotypes, speak out and learn how to prevent sexual harassment. Koyesh Miah from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology and Sumaya Rahman Kanti from the University of Rajshahi, recently spoke to UN Women about their experience. They too, have had enough, and will not be silent bystanders.


caption: Students gather to share their experience and organize to prevent sexual harassment on campus.

It’s simple they say. “Let’s learn to respect women as our equals!” says 23-year-old student Koyesh Miah, from Sylhet.

In homes, schools and public spaces across Bangladesh, women and girls face sexual harassment every day. “Many men in Bangladesh do not see women as equals in any respect. Gender-based violence and harassment is considered normal,” says Miah. “Growing up, we saw discrimination against girls everywhere. They get less food and poorer education than boys; throughout their lives, they receive fewer opportunities than their male counterparts.”

“Before we joined the campaign group, many of us thought [sexual harassment] was harmless fun…We didn’t realize how our behaviour affected women and girls.

Through the campaign, students got the opportunity to hear from their female classmates about the way they feel about sexual harassment. It helped us understand how much this so-called ‘funny’ behaviour humiliated women and girls…how it affects their self-esteem, confidence, mobility and opportunities.

Today I know how to raise my voice against sexual harassment. Whenever and wherever a girl faces harassment in front of me, now I never think twice about protesting.”
 
Until recently, Miah used to be a silent bystander, like many others when other men sexually harassed women. Since participating in the “Building Capacity to Prevent Violence Against Women Project” implemented by UN Women and Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA), things are changing and Miah fully understands the serious ramifications of sexual harassment and is ready to tackle it head on.

The project, which started two years back in October 2015, was initiated in four major universities across Bangladesh—Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Sylhet, East West University in Jahangirnagar, University of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and the University of Rajshahiin Rajshahi—with generous support from Embassy of Sweden in Dhaka. The project has set up Sexual Harassment Prevention Committees (SHPC) which meet weekly or monthly, and provide a safe space for students to share their experience and organize to prevent sexual harassment on campus.

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Question related to this article:

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

What role should men play to stop violence against women?

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During one of Miah’s campus meetings, a student shared how her friend was being harassed by a guard outside their hostel. When the harassment escalated, she reported the incident. The guard was transferred, but not fired. Miah uses this case as an example and says “this made us realize how difficult it is for girls to feel safe when someone who is supposed to protect them acts like this.”

On the other side of the country, Sumaya Rahman Kanti, aged 21, from the University of Rajshahi in the north-west part of the Bangladesh, believes that it is crucial to involve men in campaigns against sexual harassment. She says, “men must strongly say no to sexual harassment first and act accordingly. They shouldn’t walk away from any situation where a girl is being harassed, rather, they should take immediate steps to prevent any form of sexual harassment or violence.”

“Women are being harassed regularly regardless of how they look, what they wear, or what their educational or family background is.
There are laws, but no implementation… Women shouldn’t wait for someone to protect them or to speak for them. If we don’t ask for justice, if we don’t ask for change, nobody will come forward.”
 
Kanti knows, first-hand, the impact of sexual harassment: “As a female student, I know how other female students suffer, and the kinds of barriers and obstacles they need to overcome. I have faced this harassment too, and I don’t want any other girl to suffer what I’ve suffered, and I want to make people understand that being born a girl in our society is not a sin.”

UN Women has helped in establishing and expanding on-campus mechanisms in all four universities to prevent violence and support survivors. Sexual Harassment Prevention Committees now manage dedicated telephone hotlines, among other forms of assistance, and have clearly defined procedures for investigations, as well as referrals to university authorities and law enforcement.

“Changing the culture starts with the young,” says Mahatabul Hakim, UN Women Programme Analyst in Bangladesh.. “We started this project because there was an urgent need for an intervention. A survey by UN Women in 2013 showed that 765 female students faced sexual harassment within university campuses in Bangladesh. The project targeted male and female students, so that together they can create a new normal by refusing to accept sexual harassment against women.”

Both Miah and Kanti feel that these campaigns in their campuses have been extremely helpful. Kanti has seen a change on campus and among leaders of student unions, which are affiliated to various political parties. She says, “before the campaign, many political leaders misused their power to harass female students. However, this year they’re involved with our campaign, and they have committed to protest and take necessary actions to prevent any kind of harassment they see around.”

Koyesh Miah agrees, adding: “Today I know how to raise my voice against sexual harassment. Whenever and wherever a girl faces harassment in front of me, now I never think twice about protesting.”

Using theatre, music, arts and sport, students and faculty have engaged 20,000 people in the last two years. The momentum for change continues to build, as more students like Kanti and Miah step in to stop sexual harassment and start challenging the various forms of gender inequality in their daily lives.

As the next step of the programme, UN Women is working with university authorities to strengthen institutional response to violence against women on campus. Safety Audits have been completed in all four universities; authorities will be trained on gender-responsive budgeting, so that appropriate resources are allocated to prevent violence; and accountability mechanisms within universities will also be strengthened.

Nobel Laureate leads historic march across India to keep children safe

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

An article from Education International

When Kailash Satyarthi commits there is no way of stopping him, which was evident as millions followed his call to end the sexual abuse and trafficking of children in what was the country’s biggest march.

Over the course of the past month Indians voiced their opposition to the abuse of children with their feet as they marched across the country in droves with estimates exceeding 10 million participants.


Launched by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the Bharat Yatra, A March to End Sexual Abuse and Trafficking of Children, covered more than 11,000 km across 22 States and Union Territories from 11 September to 16 October.   

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(click here for the Spanish version of this article or here for the French version.)

Question related to this article:

How to stop violence against children?

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“What our children are facing is not an ordinary crime. This is a moral epidemic haunting our country as well as the rest of the world. We cannot accept it. We have to break our silence as a nation. We have to raise our voice and unite as a nation,” said Satyarthi.

Delhi was the final leg of the journey where Satyarthi spoke before thousands of students across the city as they pledged to support the campaign. Joining him for the end of the march was Education International General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, a long-time friend and supporter. Together, Satyarthi, van Leeuwen and Sylvia Borren created the Global Campaign for Education (GCE).

Keeping children safe in India is an immense challenge. The campaign let it be known that every day 40 children are raped while another 48 are sexually abused and hundreds of thousands have been trafficked for nefarious reasons.

The campaign is focused on urging the government to take greater steps to ensure that children’s safety is a top priority. Together, people from all walks of life, from business and policy, teachers and women’s groups to faith leaders, children and parents have taken part.

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

Asia: International Day of Peace

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

A survey by CPNN

The following 67 events in 20 Asian countries were listed in “Google News” during the week of September 21-28 under the key words “International day of peace” and 国际和平日 (Chinese). This includes also some events listed on the websites of the Global Feast for Peace, the Peace Wave, the event map for the International Day of Peace, and the Campaign Nonviolence. No doubt there were many events listed on the Internet in languages other than those for which we searched.


Here are excerpts from the articles.

ASHBURTON , AUSTRALIA : Love Peace Harmony Fun : Afternoon to celebrate International Day of Peace for 2017.

BUNDABERG, AUSTRALIA : The Bundaberg Lions Club joined forces with Bundaberg Regional Council to unveil a peace pole in Buss Park yesterday.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA : In Sydney, an International Peace Day Gala Dinner Convention sponsored by the United Nations Association of Australia Peace Program was organised by its very capable director Dr Zeny Edwards. The event, which was held at Novotel Hotel, Darling Harbour, was attended by dedicated diplomats from various countries, Australian peace advocates and peace volunteers.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA : September 21 was the annual United Nations “International Day of Peace”, and this Sunday 24th September the 10.30 Mass is celebrated in conjunction with the United Nations Association of Australia as the annual Choral Mass for Peace.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH : On September 23, 2017, Junior Chamber International (JCI) Bangladesh organised ‘2017 JCI Bangladesh Peace is Possible Awards’ at Spectra Convention Centre in Gulshan 1 of Dhaka city.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH : In observance of International Day of Peace, UNIC Dhaka jointly with the Dhakabashi organization and the National Federation of Youth Organizations in Bangladesh (NFYOB) organized a Children Art Contest and Rally respectively at Hazaribagh Community Centre and Hazaribagh Park area on 21 September 2017.

BEIJING, CHINA :On September 21, at the occasion of the commemoration of International Day of Peace, the China World Peace Foundation, the Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) The 4th “Peace Court Peace Festival” was held in Beijing. Envoys came from more than 100 countries on five continents, international organizations, government representatives, business representatives, experts and scholars and representatives of young people. The theme of the “Peace Court” is the “peace of mind” and the President of the China World Peace Foundation, Mr. Li Ruohong, read the message from the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova and said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on governments, civil society and international and regional institutions to work together to maintain peace (from Chinese original).

NANJING, CHINA : Today (September 21) is the 36th “International Day of Peace”, and the anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Nanjing. At the Massacre Memorial Hall Peace Square, there were peace message signature activities. Visitors from across the country have signed the memorial Hall Peace Square signature message. Ms. Ma from Anhui, said her first visit to the memorial hall, visiting the “million people pit” site, struck her heart like a knife. Memories of the Japanese violence at that time is really hateful Peace is too precious. Officers and men lined up in front of the Statue of Liberty to take pictures of the world forever peace symbol. (from Chinese original)

BANGALORE, INDIA : Celebration of international day of peace 2017 @ gfgc k.r.puram, bangalore (college)

BHUBANESWAR, INDIA : To celebrate International Day of Peace on Thursday, students from eight educational institutions participated in a skit competition on the theme of peace and harmony in the afternoon.

HYDERABAD, INDIA :. Marking the occasion, of the International Day of Peace . . . and contributing to a culture of peace . . . Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM, a UN NGO) that spreads the message of ‘heartfulness meditation’ technique, conducted the ‘Making peaceful, powerful’ session at Shilpakala Vedika, Shilparamam, Hyderabad. The session included a talk by president of SRCM Kamlesh D Patel (Daaji) and an experience of the ‘Heartfulness meditation’ session for over 1,500 IPS, IRS, doctors and other prominent members of the society.

JAMMU, INDIA : The Panun Kashmir Human Rights Committee organised a special programme to observe the International Day of Peace here today. . . .. The programme was presided over by Ashwani Chrungoo, Panun Kashmir president and chairman, Human Rights Committee. Others who attended the programme included Prof ML Raina, chairman, Political Affairs Committee, Upinder Kaul, general secretary and Virender Raina, national spokesperson of Panun Kashmir.

KALINGA, INDIA : The International Peace Day was observed at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences on 21 September 2017 on the theme #PeaceFirst. The students of KISS actively took part in the functions throughout the day. The students wrote Peace Wishes on the Peace Wish Tree. A human peace formation was created by the students of KISS to promote peace awareness.

LAITUMKHRAH, INDIA :To commemorate World Peace Day, the Lou Majaw Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Art and Culture observed the occasion with poetry and music at Andante Music School, Laitumkhrah. Several music bands including Haystack Ladies, an all ladies band from Tura, Tengnang D Sangma, the Fourth Element, Empirical Tribe, Nexus, Twilight a newly formed band from Jowai, Felixes and Lou Majaw himself rocked the crowd with their excellent musical forte.

KOHIMA, NAGALAND, INDIA : The Nagaland State Bharat Scouts & Guides (NSBSG) observed the International Day of Peace 2017 at Mezhür Higher Secondary School, Kohima on Sep. 21, where state coordinator of State Resource Centre for Women, Gracy Ayee, talked on “youth speech for peace.”

NAGALAND, INDIA : The International Day of Peace was observed in Dimapur and Peren districts. Peace Channel observed International Day of Peace-cum-12th Peace Channel foundation day in collaboration with Community Education Centre School (CECS). Speaking on the occasion, Dimapur district co-ordinator, Garrol Lotha asserted that since its inception Peace Channel have been relentlessly rendering its service to the people and effectively working to promote culture of peace in the society. The highlights of the programme include peace anthem, special number by the peace club members of CECS, group activity on the issues related to peace and conflict in the society initiated by NEISSR interns, vote of thanks delivered by teacher animator of the Peace Club, Maong followed by a Peace Prayer.

NAGPUR, INDIA : The India Peace Centre, on September 21, 2017, organised a ‘Peace Bicycle Rally’ in Nagpur to celebrate International Day of Peace. . . . Speaking on the occasion, Dr Amit Samarth appealed to participants to adapt to cycling as a pollution-free and fitness oriented means of transport, and lauded the efforts of India Peace Centre in using bicycle as an instrument to spread the message of peace.

TEHERAN, IRAN :The First Expert Meeting on Youth and Urban Peace was held in the Iranian capital on the occasion of International Day of Peace. The event was organized by the Young Shahryaran Club affiliated to Tehran Municipality and supported by the United Nations Information Center (UNIC). UNIC Director Maria Dotsenko, Head of Elite Commission of Iran’s Expediency Council’s Secretariat Mohammad Ebrahim Maddahi and Head of Environment Commission of Tehran City Council Zahra Sadreazam-Noori were the main speakers of the meeting.

BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN : Youth peer mentors from around Kyrgyzstan climbed a mountain and hauled hundreds of rocks to craft this awesome peace sign in Koh Tash village near Bishkek to highlight the importance of peacebuilding. The mentors are taking part in leadership training this week as part of our constructive dialogues on religion and democracy project.

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Question for this article

What has happened this year (2017) for the International Day of Peace?

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YANGON, MYANMAR : We had a great turnout on Saturday for our #PeaceDayMyanmar celebration with Moving Forward Together in Mahabandoola Park, Yangon. Lots of people braved the rain to listen to live music and poetry and to share messages of peace. Below, reggae artist Saw Poe Kwar performs songs of peace, harmony and tolerance to a big crowd.

PAITA, NOUVELLE CALEDONIE (French territory) : On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, and dressed in the colors of the rainbow, nearly a thousand schoolchildren from the private schools Luc-Amoura and Dumbéa-sur-Mer gathered yesterday at the Arena of the South to present their work on the theme of Peace: “Pacific-Actions”.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN : Young students of Roots Garden Schools, Roots IVY Schools and Roots DHA1 celebrated ‘International Day of Peace’ to highlight the significance of world peace and harmony by expressing their heartfelt feelings, compassionate ideas and visions of a peaceful world by singing a special peace song by the school choir that sung, “Long live absolute world peace” at a ceremony held in Islamabad.

MULTAN, PAKISTAN : UPF Pakistan in collaboration with Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a seminar on UN international day of Peace Celebrations, on September 21, 2017. The theme was “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN : Walks, seminars, vigils held to mark International Day of Peace

LAHORE, PAKISTAN : The interfaith groups in Pakistan dedicated the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 to Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore chaired an inter-religious seminar in Lahore at the Dominican Peace Centre where prayers, speeches, poetry, songs and candles vigil were held for the Muslim minority, at least 420,000 of whom have fled to neighboring Bangladesh. United Religions Initiative Pakistan was the main organizer.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN : 21st September was observed as the International Day of Peace at Lahore College for Women University.

CEBU, PHILIPPINES : So Alive led the International Day of Peace celebration at the SM City food court on September 21, last Thursday. An Interfaith Prayer of the Nations opened the program. The national anthem was sung with a dance of OLJLC Performing Arts Group.They were attired to represent different communities of our islands. . . There were many songs and messages of peace.

QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES : On Saturday, the #Everydaypeace Concert in Quezon City saw the launch of our new app in the Philippines promoting the idea that ‘peace is within our power’, plus the new single Kalinaw by music icon Dong Abay.

PAPEETE, TAHITI (French territory) : The Peace Concert, held on Friday 29th September at 19:30 in the main Hall of the City Hall of Pirae, is the 13th artistic and charity gala organized jointly by the Art Conservatory and Soroptimist International Charity Club Tahiti / Papeete from the beginning of their collaboration. The Tipaerui Institution will engage 40 volunteer artists and volunteers, including 11 professors and teachers, 22 high-level students and seven musicians (traditional orchestra), who will offer the general public a first part of traditional dance and a second part of chamber music.

TONGATAPU, TONGA : Some 35 girls from various secondary schools in Tongatapu are holding a Girls Empowerment Camp from September 19-23 as part of activities marking the International Day of Peace

In addition to the above events with links on the Internet, there are a number of events in Asia listed on the event map for the International Day of Peace.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA held Gathering in peace for conversation and prayer.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA held a water ceremony for peace on the banks of the Torrens River.

ARMIDALE, AUSTRALIA had presentations and lectures on Peace, with multicultural food and music.

UNHAM, INDONESIA held a memorial ceremony and seminar.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Students created Graphic novels to promote a Culture of Peace.

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN : The United For Peace Film Festival (UFPFF) is held every year on September 21st, the United Nations International ‘Peace Day’.

CANTERBURY, NEW ZEALAND : A small but perfectly formed group of people gathered in the Botanic Gardens to ring World Peace Bell.

TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND: A meditation for personal and world peace was held on the beach in Tauranga

WHANGANUI, NEW ZEALAND : Panel discussion on the annual theme, “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”.

RAWAI PHUKET, THAILAND : Peace picnic at Palm House Primary School

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM : Our Pre-school is making an art installation of pinwheels to celebrate peace

Some Asian events are listed on the Peace Wave webpage of the International Peace Bureau:

SUVA, FIJI : Peace Wave teach-in at the University of the South Pacific

INDIA: activities for the Peace Wave in the following cities:

– JAMMU: Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

– VISAKHAPATNAM: Peace March, meeting and signature drive.

– PARVATIPURAM: Meeting and signature drive.

– NAGPUR: (1) Meetings and signature drive and (2) Meeting, photo exhibition and signature drive.

– BHUBANESWAR: Meetings and signature drive, Organizer: Mr. Maheswar Raut.

– INDORE: Meeting and signature drive.

– DIDGHAPANDA: Meeting and signature drive.

HIROSHIMA, NAGASAKI & TOKYO, JAPAN : At noon, September 20, Gensuikyo will declare the start of the “Peace Wave”

MARSHALL ISLANDS : Desmond Narain Doulatram, REACH-MI (Radiation Exposure Awareness Crusaders for Humanity

TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND : candlelit vigil every evening from 20th – 26th September

SEOUL, REPUBLIC OF KOREA : Press Conference, rallies and performances are planned during Peace Wave campaign period.

Many cities and communities are members of the International Peace Cities network and the following are listed on the Global Feast Map as celebrating a feast to mark the International Day of Peace. They include:

INDIA: NAGPUR, KOCHI, SRINAGAR, RAIPUR, PIRWADHAI, MUMBAI, CHANDIGARH, GOYA

PAKISTAN: AHMEDABAD, QUETTA, MULTAN, ISLAMABAD, MURIDKE, KARACHI, CHITRAL-KHYBER

NEPAL: KATMANDU, LALITPUR

PHILIPPINES: MATAKI

THAILAND: PATHUTHANI

Campaign Nonviolence events took place in:

AFGHANISTAN, KABUL (involving participants from all Afghan provinces)

AUSTRALIA: ADELAIDE, PARKVILLE AND MELBOURNE

INDIA, CHANDIGARH

IRAQ, KURDiSTAN (36 peace actions and events)