Tag Archives: East Asia

Give peace a chance, says South Korean cardinal

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from La Croix International

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

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


Participants in the 2019 Korean Peninsula Peace-sharing Forum

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

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The peace process on the Korean Peninsula must go on

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

A press release from People Power 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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

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

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

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

55 Civil Society Organizations in ROK

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

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

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

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

A press release from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

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

February 20, 2019

Dear Mr. President and Mr. Chairman:

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

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

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

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Questions for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely on behalf of the global women’s campaign,

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

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

A slew of electric truck plans may deliver the goods for China’s EV ambitions

.. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ..

An article by Norihiko Shirouzu for Thomson Reuters (reprinted by permission)

Having just broken ground for a new factory in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, the head of electric car startup Singulato Motors has grand plans: build up to 50,000 electric vans per year and ride the crest of a wave for e-truck demand in China.


Visitors looks at the frame of an electric vehicle next to a Foton autonomous truck at the stall of the BAIC Group automobile maker at the IEEV New Energy Vehicles Exhibition in Beijing, China October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

For a growing number of automakers operating in the world’s biggest vehicle market, it’s time to invest in electric vans and trucks. They’re convinced by increasingly stringent restrictions aimed at reining in pollution, generous subsidies as well as robust demand for light-duty trucks as e-commerce flourishes.

“We think China’s about to see an electric commercial vehicle revolution,” Singulato co-founder Shen Haiyin told Reuters in an interview. “In many ways, the EV future might arrive faster with commercial vehicles than passenger EVs.”

Singulato, which is due to launch its first electric car by the middle of next year, hopes to open the e-truck plant by 2020 and quickly ramp up annual output to 50,000. Shen envisions two main models that would appeal to e-commerce and logistics firms: a small intra-city delivery van the size of the Ford Transit or the Toyota HiAce, and a delivery truck under 2 tonnes.

Growing momentum for e-trucks could prove to be a tipping point for the electric vehicle, first in China and eventually worldwide – encouraging the mass adoption that Tesla Inc and other EV makers are aiming to give rise to with passenger cars.

“It’s a new game,” said Bill Russo, head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automobility Ltd and a former Chrysler executive. “The advantages of electric vehicles become apparent when vehicles are deployed into transportation and logistics services fleets.”

Impediments that come with electric vehicles, such as the high cost of the battery and cumbersome charging needs, could with a truck fleet be erased to make the total cost of operation cheaper than gasoline or diesel.

Batteries could be designed smaller since routes would be predictable, charging stations and schedules could be deployed more strategically and as trucks are often operated around the clock, economies of scale could be achieved, Russo said.

Foton, part of Beijing-based BAIC Group and China’s biggest maker of light-duty trucks under 6 tonnes, is also looking at expanding further into electric delivery vans, people with knowledge of the matter said.

In August, a group of Foton officials gathered in a small spartan office in low-rise building near Tokyo’s posh Ginza district. Eager to develop a compelling mini delivery e-van, they had come to seek advice from a highly regarded engineer, now retired from a Japanese automaker.

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Question for this article:

Are we making progress in renewable energy?

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The officials, who believed that Japan’s minicar technology could offer a good base for a low-cost van, wanted his input on how to design one that could be sold for as little as 50,000 yuan ($7,225), according to two people who were at the meeting.

“That was a second visit since late last year,” said one of the two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They’re serious,” he said.

A representative for Foton declined to comment. Foton has some electric commercial vehicles on the market but volumes are still tiny with around 800 sold last year.

BOXY AND PRACTICAL
While electric trucks may not grab the public imagination in the same way Tesla’s electric vehicles have done, their advent has long been advocated by many auto experts.

Skeptical of the merits of the industry’s rush into long-range passenger cars, they believe battery electric technology, because of its heavy weight and the limits on driving ranges, has a more natural home in short-haul trucks. That’s particularly so for intra-city delivery vans and trucks plying routes that are pre-determined or at least predictable.

Last year, the number of electric light-duty commercial vehicles – both all-electric and plug-in hybrids – sold in China was roughly 200,000, about 6 percent of the market for trucks under 6 tonnes.

Nissan Motor Co, one of the first global automakers in China to develop an e-truck line-up through its venture with Dongfeng Group, believes that demand for light-duty e-trucks will quadruple in four to five years. Its joint venture, Dongfeng Motor Co Ltd, is aiming to lift its electric commercial vehicle sales six times to 90,000 by 2022.

Nissan’s partner Renault SA is also on the case. Its new venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd plans to launch three electric delivery vans in two years, starting next year.

Warren Buffet-backed BYD and Geely [GEELY.UL] also have some electric trucks and vans on the market, although volumes are still quite small.

Growth in e-trucks fits hand in glove with efforts by Beijing and Chinese local authorities to promote electric vehicles – both to jump-start a domestic auto industry that lags global rivals in internal combustion engine technology and to combat smog – a constant source of public discontent.

Subsidies, up to 100,000 yuan from the central government alone, are helping to propel the shift. Nissan’s most popular electric commercial vehicle, the Dongfeng D94 van, is eligible for combined subsidies of up to about 80,000 yuan from the central government and regional authorities, knocking roughly a third off its purchase price.

Nearly two dozen cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have put in place restrictions on fossil-fueled trucks coming into city centers. Beijing for instance last year banned heavier trucks from entering the city center between 6 a.m and 11 p.m. and next year will place further limits on diesel and some other commercial vehicles.

“We’re betting on the e-truck because pretty soon only e-truck and e-vans will be allowed to enter city-centers,” a Nissan China executive said, declining to identified as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “With the continued rise of e-commerce, we see a bright future in electric delivery vans.”

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

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from Tempo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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

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

Australia: Conference Calls for Mainstreaming Human Rights Education

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article by Neena Bhandari from InDepth News

More investment is needed in human rights education and strengthening of civil society to address inequality and sustainability – the main objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This was the key message from the Ninth International Conference on Human Rights Education (ICHRE) held in Sydney, Australia.


A glimpse of the exhibition on human rights education. (Photo credit: NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning)

Drawing inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which marks its 70th Anniversary this year, the ICHRE 2018  (November 26-29) recommended all stakeholders to mainstream human rights education as a tool for social cohesion towards peaceful coexistence; and strive to bridge the significant gap between integrating human rights education in the curricula and its implementation.

“Beyond human rights education, people have to be enabled and empowered to exercise their inalienable rights, to live by those rights, and to uphold their rights and the rights of others,” said Dr Mmantsetsa Marope, Director of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education, in her opening address.

She highlighted: “Three core factors – good governance, good health, and quality and relevant education – converge to enable and empower people to create and live a culture of human rights. These three factors are paramount, because they determine other factors that can facilitate or impede the realization of human rights.”

The sixth consultation of the implementation of UNESCO’s 1974 Recommendation  in 2016 reported that more effort was required to strengthening teachers’ capacity to implement human rights education.

Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education, which provides tools and training to teachers and people working with children to integrate human rights values and approaches in the work that they do, reaches out to 100,000 young people across 50 communities in Canada each year.

Equitas Executive Director Ian Hamilton told IDN, “Currently our programme is focused on helping to educate primary school children aged between 6 and 12 years and adolescent youth between 13 and 18 years.

“Through our program, Play It Fair  we use a series of games and activities to introduce human rights to children and encourage them to think critically about what is happening around them and how they can promote human rights values – equality, respect, inclusion and exclusion.

“For example, we ask children to play musical chairs the traditional way and then play a cooperative version and use that as an entry point to talk about inclusion and exclusion.”

Hamilton added: “We have seen that these tools also transform the people, who are working with children. They learn the content about the same time as the children, but it also makes them feel empowered, being equipped to deal with these issues.” 


Equitas also works with young adults using similar participatory approaches and results, and through its virtual forum: speakingrights.ca.

Youth is the focus of the fourth phase  (2020-2024) of the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education launched in September 2018.

Elisa Gazzotti, Programme Coordinator and Co-chair NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning, Soka Gakkai International Office for UN Affairs in Geneva, told IDN, “We use the technique of storytelling to engage young people to share how through human rights education they were able to steer their lives in a positive direction and become fully engaged actors in their communities.”

“We organised a workshop here around Transforming Lives – the power of human rights education exhibition, which was co-organised by SGI together with global coalition for human rights education HRE2020, the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning and others in 2017 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. It shows how human rights education has transformed the lives of people in Burkina Faso, Peru, Portugal, Turkey and Australia,” Gazzotti added.

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Questions for this article:

How can we promote a human rights, peace based education?

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Arash Bordbar, a third-year engineering student at the Western Sydney University and Chair of the UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council had fled Iran at the age of 15 years and stayed in Malaysia for five years before being resettled in Australia in 2015. He is now a youth worker at the Community Migrant Resource Centre, where he is supporting newly arrived migrants get education and find employment.

Similarly Apajok Biar, 23, who was born in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and came to Australia in 1997 with her family under a Humanitarian visa, is chairperson and co-founder of South Sudan Voices of Salvation Inc, a not-for-profit youth run and led organisation. As youth participation officer at Cumberland Council in Sydney, she has been working to ensure that young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to have a say in decisions that affect them at all levels – local, state, international.

“Knowledge of these rights can both improve relations between people of different ethnicity and belief, and nourish civil society,” said Dr Sev Ozdowski, Conference Convener and Director of Equity and Diversity at Western Sydney University.

Over 300 representatives from international human rights organisations, civil society, educational institutions, media and citizens participated in the ICHRE 2018, a series initiated by Dr Sev Ozdowski, to advance human rights education for the role it plays in furthering democracy, the rule of law, social harmony and justice.

While UDHR has been reinforced by several legal instruments, including conventions, charters, declarations, and national legislation, and the global discourse has broadened to include gender equality, people living with disabilities and LGBTIQ communities, the biggest challenge is the threat facing human rights organisations and defenders.

“That is the most dangerous threat because if we silence those voices then our capacity to educate and mobilise the public reduces and we will end up excluding most people,” Equitas Executive Director Hamilton told IDN.

In many countries, human rights are still not a priority. Tsering Tsomo, Executive Director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, an NGO based in Dharamsala (India) said: “In Tibet, the Chinese authoritarian regime has criminalised the UDHR itself by punishing people who translated the UDHR in Tibetan language and disseminated it amongst Tibetans.

“This happened in 1989 when 10 Tibetan monks were sent to jail for propagating the UDHR, just a year after the Chinese government publicly acknowledged the existence of Human Rights Day. Along with celebrating the 70th anniversary, we also observe the 30th anniversary of the imprisonment of the 10 Tibetan monks.”

UDHR holds the Guinness Book World Record as the most translated document. It is now available in more than 500 languages and dialects.

“In Tibet, there is a lot of rhetoric about human rights, but no implementation. Instead there is total impunity for the crimes committed by security forces and an upsurge in government spending on domestic security, which has long surpassed defence spending. This has resulted in a series of human rights violations.

“The challenge for the UN and human rights organisations is to counter the economic and political pressure exerted by powerful countries in reframing the international human rights discourse and in silencing critical civil society voices,” Tsomo told IDN.

Speaking on the path from UDHR to the World Programme for Human Rights Education, Cynthia Veliko, South-East Asia Regional Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Bangkok said: “The shocking retrenchment in leadership on human rights in many States across the globe over the past few years poses a real threat to the historic progress made, often painstakingly, over the decades that followed the 1948 adoption of the UDHR.”

“The continued realisation of the principles set out in the UDHR ultimately cannot be achieved without human rights education. It is an essential investment that is required to shape future world leaders with the principles of humanity and integrity that are required to build and sustain a humane world,” Veliko added.

The ICHRE 2018 Declaration  also raised concerns on the human rights implications of insufficient progress in climate change mitigation and adaptation, increasing food and water insecurity, rising sea levels, inter-state and internal conflict leading to increased migration, escalating new arms race among major powers, and rising levels of violence – particularly violence against women and children.

The Declaration called for greater awareness of the opportunities and risks of new forms of communication and media opportunities, which will help engage and reach more children and young adults, but also pose the threat of human rights abuse online.

(Thank you to the Global Campaign for Peace Education for calling our attention to this article.)

Philippines: Peace Education among top priorities in the new Bangsamoro Government

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

“Kung gusto natin ng kapayapaan, simulan natin sa silid-aralan (If we want peace, let’s start in the classroom).”

This was emphasized by Commissioner Susana Anayatin of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) during the sectoral forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Wednesday [December 6] here in [Cotabato City].

Saying the education sector holds a vital role in shaping the minds of the youth, Anayatin urged school officials to support the advocacy for peace provided in the BOL.

“The Bangsamoro Government shall institutionalize peace education in all levels. Sa magiging curriculum natin, i-mainstream na iyong framework of peace such as respect for human rights, conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution, and environmental care,” Anayatin said.

In September 2006, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Executive Order 570 which requires elementary and secondary schools all over the country to include peace education in their curriculum.

Anayatin, however, said past administrations failed to fully implement the order especially in public schools.

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Questions for this article:

Can peace be achieved in Mindanao?

Where is peace education taking place?

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“Ang karamihan po sa sumunod doon ay private schools. Sa Bangsamoro, susundin po natin ang kautusan na iyon. Di po iyan bagong kautusan pero inilagay natin sa batas 

(It was mostly implemented by private schools. In the Bangsamoro, we will follow this order. It’s not a new order but it’s something we placed in the law),” she added.

Anayatin said this measure will prevent the recruitment of the youth to violent extremist groups.

“Maraming kabataan ang di nakakapag-aral. Iyong iba naging rebelde, iyong iba naging terorista na ngayon. Iyong nangyari sa Marawi, mga professionals ang ibang nandoon. Bakit? Sapagkat nawawalan na sila ng tiwala sa gobyerno,” Anayatin said.

(A lot of young people are not able to go to school anymore. Some become rebels, others terrorists. Those who laid siege to Marawi included professionals. Why? Because they lost trust in government.)

For his part, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Nabil Tan urged the participants through a video message to maximize the opportunity as they play a vital role in passing on information about the landmark measure.

The same sentiment was shared by Edgar Sumapal, OIC Assistant of Cotabato City Schools Division.

“As an educator and school leader, it is incumbent upon us to provide accurate information about the BOL,” Sumapal said.

The forum, which was attended by around 100 officials and administrators from Cotabato City Schools Division, was held to provide updates on the conduct of the plebiscite and shed light on the pressing issues surrounding the BOL.

Among the resource speakers present during the forum were BTC Commissioners Mohagher Iqbal, Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph, Ibrahim Ali, and Atty. Lanang Ali.

(Thank you to the Global Campaign for Peace Education for calling this article to our attention.)

Special Train Departs for Railway Groundbreaking Ceremony in N. Korea

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from KBS World Radio

A special train carrying about 100 South Koreans has left for North Korea for a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for a project aimed at modernizing and connecting roads and railways across the border.


Photo YONHAP News

The train carrying nine cars departed Seoul Station at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday [December 26] for the ceremony set for 10 a.m. at Panmun Station in the North’s border town Gaeseong. 

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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The South Korean delegation includes Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee, ruling Democratic Party of Korea Chairman Lee Hae-chan and floor leaders of ruling and opposition parties.

The North’s delegation will be led by Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country. He will be joined by high-ranking North Korean officials including Kim Yun-hyok, the railway minister.

The 50-minute ceremony will feature events in which officials of the two Koreas will sign a sleeper, connect railroad tracks and unveil a road sign.

The South Korean delegation will return on Wednesday afternoon after a lunch at a lodging facility in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex.

Australia: Thousands of students walk out of school to demand politicians stop dangerous climate change

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from the website of School Strike 4 Climate

In an Australian-first, as the nation experiences unprecedented fires, drought, heat and storms, thousands of students from hundreds of schools across metropolitan and regional Australia are today [30th November] striking from school to demand their politicians act urgently to stop further dangerous climate change and the Adani coal mine, which threatens their future.

30 major strike events are taking place across the country, in every capital city and almost 20 regional centres including Townsville, the Whitsundays, Inverell, Coffs Harbour, Ballarat, Newcastle and Bega. Instead of going to school, students will today be at their nearest Parliament House or Federal MP’s office for the day.

See the full list of strikes taking place here. Student spokespeople can be made available for interview, and links to vision and stills can be found below.

In a week of storms, fires and record heat: On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison used Question Time to urge students not to join the strike. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a motion in support of the strike. On Wednesday, over 200 student strikers flooded Federal Parliament to meet with MPs about climate change. On Thursday, Adani announced it has funding to push ahead with its coal mine which is a key target of the students.

Inspired by 15 year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who has been striking outside the Swedish Parliament since August, year 8 students from Central Victoria brought the initiative to Australia and have been striking in Bendigo a day a week during November. As a show of support for the Australian strike, students in Sweden, France, Norway and Finland are also striking this week.

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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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Harriet O’Shea Carre, 14 years old, from Central Victoria, said: “As young people, we will inherit the decisions that our politicians are making about climate change. We learn in school that scientists think we have just a decade to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and yet our politicians are helping rich companies like Adani mine and burn more coal that will only make this worse. We’re striking from school to tell them to stop, now.”

Jean Hinchliffe, 14 years old, from Sydney, said: “As a generation, we are sick of those in power failing to stop the climate crisis. We’ve spent our entire lives hearing the dire warnings. Our future is on the line, and sitting around waiting until we can vote and lead the country just isn’t enough. We are striking to tell our politicians to stop all new coal and gas projects, including Adani’s mine, and take immediate action to move Australia to 100% renewable energy.”

Ruby Walker, 17 years old, from Inverell, said: “I wake every morning in a state that is 100% drought declared. I have seen our government axe policies to protect my generation’s future. I have seen the failure to invest in solutions that would protect us and the failure to prevent and prepare for the climate crisis. Enough is enough. As young people, we didn’t create this problem, but we’re going to do everything we can to stop it. We are striking to push our politicians to treat climate change as the crisis it is and do everything in their power to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

Students plan to continue strike action after the summer holidays and ahead of the Federal election. Many are organising meetings with their Federal Politicians to call for an end to the Adani coal mine, no new coal and gas projects and a commitment to get Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Media Enquiries: 0427 485 233 or 0437 316 331 to arrange interviews with student strikers or schoolstrike4climate@gmail.com

Website: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/

Photos from the walk-outs will be uploaded HERE with November action pics.

Vision from the walk-outs will be uploaded HERE.

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

“Peace through dialogue: Our destiny” is theme of Mindanao Week of Peace 2018

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article by Carolyn O. Arguillas from Minda News

“Peace through Dialogue: Our Destiny” is this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP)  theme.

Held every last Thursday of November until the first Wednesday of December, this year’s celebration from November 29 to December 5 is the 20th Mindanao-wide week of peace that the Bishops-Ulama Forum (now Conference) initiated in 1999, inspired by the annual week of peace in Zamboanga City that the Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) organized.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The BUC was born three years earlier, on November 29, 1996.

In their joint statement, the BUC convenors — Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla for the Catholics; Aleem Caboali Cali of the Ulama League of the Philippines, for the Muslims; and Bishop Emeritus Hilario Gomez, Jr. of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) for the Protestants — said dialogue is important because as social beings, “humans are destined to associate in order to survive and to grow in humaneness.”

“It is a natural need and therefore a task,” they said, adding that it is necessary to “be present in person with respect, to speak with sincerity, to listen with interest, to be open to all ideas and to seek the truth,” describing it as “the art of humane dialogue.”

The Joint Statement said underpinning dialogue is “the awareness of being a believer in the Oneness of God Who as Creator brings humans to unity and peace, to integrity and solidarity.”

In a separate message, Mindanao’s lone Cardinal, Orlando Quevedo, OMI, newly-retired Archbishop of Cotabato and prsently Apostolic Administor Sede Vacante of the Archdiocese of Cotabato said dialogue is not mere intellectual discussion but “listening humbly and respectfully to ‘the other,’ listening not only with one’s ears, but most importantly listening with one’s heart” as this transforms hostility and suspicion into understanding and trust.

He said this was the internal process that the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front developed through long years of patient dialogue for peace.

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Questions for this article:

How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

Can peace be achieved in Mindanao?

(continued from left column)

Since 1999

MindaNews tracked down the MWOP themes across two decade, and found a number of them recurring.

1999: Healing the Past, Building the Future

2000: Mindanaoans Journeying Together Towards a Culture of Peace.

2001: Peace: Sharing the Vision of Unity and Hope
2002: Peace through Reconciliation: Mindanaoans seeking a Common Ground

2003: Healing through Forgiveness: Key to Total Human Development

2004: A Reconciled Family, Agent of Reconciliation

2005: Millennium Development Goals: Women and Youth as Partners in Peace Building

2006: In the Name of the Almighty, God of Harmony, Care for the Earth
2007: Building Bridges of Peace with our Peace Officers
2008: Integrity of Mind and Heart a way to Reconciliation and Peace!

2009: Think Mindanao, Feel Mindanao, Bring Peace to Mindanao

2010: Responsive and Responsible Governance: Key to Peace, Development and Sustainability
2011: Common Word between us and you: Love of God, Love of Neighbor

2012: Love of God and Love of Neighbor, A Challenge for Mindanao

2013: Dialogue and Hope: Key to Peace

2014: We pray for long-lasting peace in Mindanao. Give, Share, Live and Proclaim Peace

2015: Mindanaons’ Aspiration for Peace

2016: Healing for Personal and Social Transformation

2017: Owning Mindanao History for Peace and Development

2018: Peace through dialogue: Our destiny

Then President Joseph Estrada issued Proclamation 207 on November 5, 1999, declaring November 25 to December 1, 1999, “and every year thereafter” as the Mindanao Week of Peace, “to provide a venue for the expression in various forms of the peace aspirations of the people of Mindanao and for convergence of peace initiatives.”

The Proclamation said all concerned government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and members of the private sector and civil society based in Mindanao “are enjoined and encouraged to engage in relevant and meaningful activities in celebration” of the MWOP in coordination with the BUF (now BUC).

It also said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in partnership with the secretariat of the BUC Secretariat, “shall provide all the necessary help to ensure a successful coordination of all undertakings during the said week of peace.”

In March 2000, four months after issuing Proclamation 207, Estrada waged an “all-out war” against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), displacing nearly a million residents, some of whom returned home only after Estrada was ousted in January 2001.

On November 3, 2000, Estrada issued Proclamation 408, amending Proclamation 207 by resetting the date of the MWOP to the last Thursday of November until the first Wednesday of December of every year thereafter.

The following year, on November 26, 2001,  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who assumed the Presidency in January that year following the impeachment of Estrada, issued Proclamation 127 which was practically a reiteration of Proclamation 207.

Arroyo’s Proclamation declared the last Thursday of November up to the first Wednesday of December of every year thereafter as the Mindanao Week of Peace.