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English bulletin January 1, 2018

. . . . REVIEW OF 2017 . . . .

As we finish the year 2017 we can see continued progress in all areas of the culture of peace.

The struggle to stop violence against women was more pronounced than ever this year, as described in the December bulletin, devoted to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This month the mobilization was continued in the 16 days of activism with examples, from Senegal, Burundi, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Yemen and Australia, among others and a major effort by education unions.

We begin to see the possibility of nuclear disarmament as a result of progress at the United Nations in 2017 as a result of important initiatives of the civil society, as described in the bulletins of June, July, August and November, and marked by the Nobel Prize for Peace.

The decision by the World Bank to halt investment in exploration for fossil fuels is the latest in many important disinvestment initiatives last year. Along with the progress in renewable energy, this begins to allow us to escape from the climate warming caused by fossil fuels, as demanded by the climate marches of Earthday described in our bulletin of May.

In our bulletin of March, we reviewed mass mobilizations that have supported democratic participation. A recent study, reviewed in an article we published last month, shows that such mobilizations have a measurable effect in both the short term and the long term.

As for actors, the United Nations continued to play a key role for a culture of peace, as featured in our February bulletin and as marked last month by its annual culture of peace resolution.

As we have seen in recent years, and featured in our bulletins of July and September, a leading role for the culture of peace continues to be played by Latin America. In December we carried articles from Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Honduras.

Celebrations of the International Day of Peace continue to grow around the world. This year, we found 562 events listed on the internet, much more than the 182 that we were able to find in 2016. It is especially remarkable that the events this year came more or less evenly from all regions:

128 in North America
104 in the former Soviet Union
96 in Europe
81 in sub-Saharan Africa
67 in Asia
58 in Latin America and the Caribbean
28 in the Middle East and Arab States

As described in our October bulletin the celebrations of the International Day of Peace were often led by children.

In sum, we see the continued development of anti-war consciousness and recognition of the need for a culture of peace. On the other hand, we have yet to see this progress resulting in the development of an institutional framework for the culture of peace.

      

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Education unions join in the global call to end school-related gender-based violence

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



The League of Ulema, Preachers and Imams of the Sahel Countries: Communication to counter extremism

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Brazil: State Government of Acre establishes union with institutions for the culture of peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



UNESCO and UNWTO Sign Muscat Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Nobel Peace Prize Lecture – 2017 – Beatrice Fihn

HUMAN RIGHTS


How Nonviolent Resistance Helps to Consolidate Gains for Civil Society after Democratization

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Gabon: Pan-African youth commit to fight against radicalization and to promote a culture of peace

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Mexico: Hip-hop: coexistence for peace

English bulletin December 1, 2017

. STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN .

On November 25, 1960, the Mirabal sisters – three of four Dominican political dissident sisters – were murdered by order of Dominican dictator (1930-1961) Leonidas Trujillo, and since 1999, the United Nations General Assembly, designated the date as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor. Is it our imagination or was the day not marked this year by actions that were stronger and more widespread than ever before?

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that unless the international community tackles the problem, the world will not eradicate poverty or reach any of its other goals.

According to UN Women, “The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign spanning from 25 November through 10 December, is taking place this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global outcry. Millions have rallied behind the hashtag #MeToo and other campaigns, exposing the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day. Breaking the silence is the first step to transforming the culture of gender-based violence.”

Our survey of Internet articles found marches and other manifestations in Turkey, France, Chile, Italy, Mozambique, Sweden, Spain, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Mexico and Peru, many of them with colorful photos.

Heads of state and other political leaders took part. In France, President Emmanuel Macron announced an initiative to make it easier to report sexual assault claims to police. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a new reform plan to protect women from physical and sexual abuse. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau encouraged all Canadians to join the #MYActionsMatter campaign and find a way to combat violence against women.

The European Commission stated that “We have dedicated 2017 to European action to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, both in the public and private spheres.”

In Ecuador, the mayor of Esmeraldas, Lenin Lara, took part in 2nd International Conference on ‘Gender Violence in Ecuador and Latin America sponsored by his city, saying that “the fundamental vision is that of a culture of peace, a culture without violence of gender in general that discards the violence of our interpersonal relationships of our lives daily ”

In Africa, local radio, supported by UNESCO, is raising awareness for gender violence across many hard-to-reach regions through dedicated gender-sensitive programming, Our article includes examples from Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

In Latin America, many countries have recently strengthened their legal codes to combat femicide. These include Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Mexico. In recent months CPNN has carried details about the movements involved in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

In the United States, the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment has recently taken over social media.  As explained by Tarana Burke, the original creator of the campaign, “It was a catchphrase to be used from survivor to survivor to let folks know that they were not alone and that a movement for radical healing was happening and possible.”

In Bangladesh, 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.

It is important that in some cases the leadership of the activities has been taken up by men. For example, in the Dominican Republic, The Inter-institutional team for a Culture of Peace in San Francisco de Macoris, organized a men’s walk against gender violence called “All United for Respect for Women.” The mottos that accompany this walk include: I respect women, I respect mothers, I respect my grandmother, I respect my daughter, I respect my sister, I respect my wife.

      

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Latin America: What are countries doing to combat femicide?

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Burkina Faso: A forum talks about peace

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



El Salvador: Project to promote a culture of peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Tunis: Strengthening the scientific partnership between Iran and the Arab countries

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


4th Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa

HUMAN RIGHTS


Nobel Laureate leads historic march across India to keep children safe

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Gabon: Pan-African Youth Forum for the Culture of Peace and the Fight Against Radicalization

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Mexico: Marcos Aguilar Inaugurates Forum “Towards a Culture of Peace”

English bulletin November 1, 2017

CAN WE ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), one of the civil society coalitions that supported the development of the United Nations Treaty to ban nuclear weapons. To quote the Nobel Committee, “Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth. Through binding international agreements, the international community has previously adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition.”

For several months now, we have been following progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. The July bulletin of CPNN followed the ongoing development of negotiations at the United Nations for the Treaty. The August bulletin headlined that the Treaty was adopted by a majority of the UN General Assermbly – 122 countries.

More recently, during the general debate of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly from 19 to 25 September in New York, many presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers from all regions of the world spoke in favour of the Treaty. And on September 26, Ministers and representatives of 46 Member States, delegations, the United Nations system and civil society took the floor during a day-long General Assembly high-level meeting to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

However, as we have recognized, while the Treaty is an “important victory for our shared humanity“, its effectiveness is limited, because the UN delegations from all of the countries with nuclear weapons, as well as most of their allies, boycotted the Treaty conference and many of them announced their opposition.

The Treaty will not take effect until it has been formally ratified by 50 Member States of the UN. Although it has been signed by many countries, it has only been ratified by three at last count: Guayana, Thailand and the Holy See. Activists agree that a priority in the coming months is to get at least 50 countries to ratify the treaty.

Where activists do not fully agree is the question of a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament (UNHLC) proposed to be held by the United Nations in 2018:

Abolition 2000 has established a working group on the UNHLC;

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) organized an event at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in St Petersburg to promote the ban treaty, nuclear-risk reduction measures and the 2018 UNHLC; PNND has just produced a Parliamentary Action Plan for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World;

The Abolition 2000 Youth Network and PNND are organising an international youth conference on the UNHLC to take place in Prague, Czech Republic on Nov 28-29, 2017;

UNFOLD ZERO maintains a webpage dedicated to the 2018 UN High-Level Conference that includes all relevant documents, reports and actions;

UNFOLD ZERO and PNND will produce a civil society action guide for the 2018 UNHLC;

Arguing in favor of the UNHLC, one leading activist, Alyn Ware, has told CPNN that it follows the model of other UN High Level conferences such as the Sustainable Development Conference (2015) which adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. the Climate Change Conference (2016) which adopted the Paris Agreement. the Oceans Conference (2017) which adopted the 14-point action plan ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’, and the Refugees conference (2016) which adopted the New York Declaration. He emphasized that one key aspect which ensured their success was strong cooperative action by civil society.

On the other hand, Alyn regrets that some disarmament organisations are calling the UNHLC a ‘distraction’. This includes ICAN that won the Nobel Prize. We may assume that they are skeptical about UN High Level Conferences in the same way that leading environmental activists were skeptical about the outcome of the Climate Change Conference that adopted the Paris Agreement in 2016. At that time, CPNN reported that James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, called the Paris talks ‘a fraud’ and Naomi Klein, another leading environmenal activist said that “We are going backwards, COP21 is the opposite of progress.”

To make the Treaty effective, and to make a High-Level Conference effective, it will not be enough to have the words of the non-nuclear Member States. We must have actions as well as words. It is up to cities, parliaments and non-governmental organizations to put sufficient pressure on the states with nuclear weapons to bring them to the point of disarmament. The Treaty and High-Level Conference can be effective tools to be used in this process.

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
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Spain: Melilla Unesco Center will host the presentation ‘Islam: Culture of peace and non-violence’

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Madrid will again host the World Forum for Peace in 2018

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Costa Rica A Role Model for Sustainable Tourism to the World

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Mexico: Expanding the Women’s Network against Gender Violence

HUMAN RIGHTS


Indonesia’s Supreme Court Upholds Water Rights

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Ecuador: ‘Dedicated Lives’ at the Casa Carrión

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Challenge in Colombia: Peace displacing violence as inspiration for the arts

English bulletin October 1, 2017

. . YOUTH TAKE THE LEAD . .

Youth and children took the lead as millions of people celebrated the International Day of Peace around the world. One cannot help but be charmed by their photos as they engage in many ways to promote a culture of peace.

Especiallly impressive are the hundreds of schools in all of the former republics of the Soviet Union where children cut out paper doves, wrote on each one the name of someone who died defending their country in World War II and sent them aloft in helium-filled balloons. This symbolic demonstration transcended the boundaries of political conflict. For example, teachers and children on both sides of the civil war in the Ukraine celebrated the day in the same fashion, often deploring that war had divided them from their friends and neighbors.

In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, youth peer mentors, taking part in leadership training as part of the constructive dialogues on religion and democracy project of International Alert, climbed a mountain and hauled hundreds of rocks to craft an awesome peace sign in Koh Tash village, highlighting the importance of peacebuilding (see photo).

Children often played the leading role in local celebrations. For example, in Northfield, Minnesota: “Students led the rally as speakers and performers, communicating the significance of the international holiday and why the next generation needs to step up to shape their future, Sunny Leonard, sixth-grader and rally organizer, made the closing speech before the march to Carleton College’s Weitz Center of Creativity. She said youth are the future and it’s they who needs to decide how that future will look.”

In Pinto, Spain, a highlight of the celebration was the reading of a manifesto drafted by the Council of Children of Pinto which highlights the defense of peace along with various proposals to maintain it from the point of view of the children of the municipality.

The African Union celebrated the International Day of Peace under the theme “Engaging youth in peacebuilding”. “This slogan has been celebrated to highlight the role of young people in achieving peace and development,” said AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ismail Shragine.

In Colombia, youth are deeply involved in the reconciliation process. The Youth Network “This is Peace Too” in Tumaco, is carrying out various activities within the framework of the peace week, September 19, 20 and 21 as part of the strategy to reflect on the situation of the country and to transmit messages about forgiveness and reconciliation. They are performing activities such as staging and theater image with a gallery of body images. Young people who are part of the project “Use Your Power to Build Peace” are also participating in the Youth Encounter for Peace in Tumaco, where they exchange ideas with other young people with different youth processes for peace that take place in the surrounding municipalities. Among their activities are murals, ancestral recovery through women’s songs and young songwriters, actions that favor the integration of communities and the construction of healthy spaces for the population.

To celebrate the International Day of Peace, students studying at universities in Uganda from South Sudan are embracing their country’s cultural diversity to foster peace rather than focusing on tribal differences that have torn their country apart. The South Sudanese Students’ Union in Uganda organized a festival in Kampala as part of a series of events marking the United Nation’s International Day of Peace on September 21, whose theme this year is: “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” Organizers said the event brought together South Sudanese communities and students in Uganda who have been divided along tribal and political lines.

In many cases, music is being used as the universal language of peace. The annual music festival in Nouakchott, Mauritania around the International Day of Peace is dedicated to “jazz music as a vector of peace, freedom of expression and unity.” An especially remarkable example of music for peace is the map of hundreds of Montessori schools around the world taking part on September 21 in the project “Sing Peace around the World.”

Thanks to the new generation, yes, there is a global movement for a culture of peace. To quote Karen Stanley, an organizer of the events in Lexington, Virginia, “there are lots of places around the globe that are connecting to each other with the International Day of Peace. So it was exciting just to add our little town into that mix and do something for peace.”

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Children and youth celebrating a culture of peace around the world

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



From Europe to the United States, these cities oppose their governments to better accommodate migrants

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Brazil: Community mediation centers begin to work in Recife and Olinda

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



China eclipses Europe as 2020 solar power target is smashed

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Egypt: Women’s Conference in Gharbia organizes “Women’s Peacemaker” conference

HUMAN RIGHTS


USA: Labor Unions Are Stepping Up To Fight Deportations

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


USA: Campaign Nonviolence Mounts Nationwide “Week of Actions” September 16-24, 2017

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Mauritania: Festival Nouakchott Jazz Plus: 18th to 23rd of September 2017

English bulletin September 1, 2017

. . VISIT TO LATIN AMERICA . . .

As the coordinator of CPNN, I was invited recently to take part in peace seminars in Mexico and Brazil. Along with a conference that I attended at the end of 2015 in Colombia, it has given me the chance to appreciate the great advances being made towards a culture of peace in Latin America.

In particular I have been impressed by the Latin American advances in participative budgeting as a form of democratic participation, in mediation and restorative justice, in the struggle against violence against women, and in tourism for peace. Also, it is Latin America that has given us the World Social Forum. Of course, the peace process in Colombia has been the leading peace process in the world in the last few years. And now there is movement towards the development of networks of city peace commissions in Brazil and Mexico.

Participative budgeting allows citizens to debate and define policies, by deciding each year on the city’s budget priorities for investments and services. This stimulates the involvement of the citizenry in the public good and the city’s management. The process was started ten years ago in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre and has since spread to many cities around the world. My visit this month included the cities of Santos and Curuaru in Brazil as well as Mexico City, and CPNN this month carries articles about participative budgeting in each of those cities.

Brazil is a leader worldwide in the development of restorative justice, as we have seen last October in CPNN. This month we carry an article about progress in restorative justice in the southern region of Brazil. Similar systems of mediation as alternative justice are increasingly used in Mexico as we have seen in previous articles in CPNN in July and November, 2016, and we carry an article this month from Chiapas, the southern region of Mexico.

I was impressed during my visits by the high level of violence against women, and the increasing struggle in those countries to stop the violence. In Brazil, the struggle is carried out in the framework of a law named after one of the victims, Maria da Penha, while in Mexico, it is in the framework of the General Law for Women’s Access to a Life Free from Violence. In Colombia, one of the initiatives is being carried out in the framework of traditional indigenous rituals. In a related note, we carry an article from Colombia this month about the creation of a Council of Indigenous Women as a integral part of the peace process in that country.

Latin America is also a leader for peace tourism. This will be considered in October at the Latin American Congress of Tourist Cities, entitled “Constructing Peace through Tourism.” In this regard we carry stories this month about tourism in Puebla, Mexico, and the development of tourism as a contribution to the peace process in post-conflict zones of Colombia.

The World Social Forums, which began in Brazil, can be considered as the most important global gatherings for a culture of peace. CPNN has previously carried stories about the World Social Forum Belem (2009) in Brazil, as well as the last Forums in Canada and Tunisia. Next year the forum returns to Brazil where preparations are being made in Salvador de Bahia.

Finally, I want to mention that progress is being made in Mexico and Brazil towards networks of city peace commissions. A number of commissions were established in Brazil during the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and we carry an update on their activities, including the most city peace recent commission in Santos, which is now giving consideration to include the culture of peace activities by the youth of that city such as those previously described in CPNN. As I write this, a network of city peace commissions is being established in Pernambuco, Brazil, and the Mexican Association of Mayors is considering a proposal for city peace commissions at their annual meeting.

I would like to thank my friends in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia for inviting me to visit and take part in their development of a culture of peace, and I am sure we will hear much more from them in the future.

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Brazil: Open Letter convenes World Social Forum 2018 in Salvador

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



10th Annual Japan-Korea “Peace & Green Boat” Joint Statement

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Brazil: Restorative Justice: AJURIS and its Judiciary School sign agreement with Terre des Hommes and MPRS

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Colombia: Tourism in post-conflict zones, another contribution to peace

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Women’s Council for Peace in Colombia created by indigenous women

HUMAN RIGHTS


Cape Verde: Youth take human rights to the streets

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly now endorsed by over 1,500 current and former lawmakers from 120 countries

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Iceland: Spirit of Humanity Forum promotes love, transformation and humanity

English bulletin August 1, 2017

. PARLIAMENTARIANS FOR PEACE .

In recent months, we have been following the United Nations initiative for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

On July 7, the treaty was adopted by a majority of the UN General Assermbly – 122 countries.

Although the treaty is an “important victory for our shared humanity“, its effectiveness is limited, because the UN delegations from all of the countries with nuclear weapons as well as most of their allies boycotted the conference and many of them announced their opposition.

On the other hand, last month we saw that with regard to nuclear weapons, cities do not agree with their national governments. The United States Conference of Mayors demanded that the US participate in good faith in the negotiations and they urged mayors to join Mayors for Peace, the global organization opposed to nuclear weapons with a goal of 10,000 member cities by 2020. Mayors for Peace represent many of the largest cities, not only in the United States, but also in the other countries with nuclear weapons.

And this month we see that, in this matter, parliaments do not agree with their governmants either. The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, which includes many of the nuclear countries and their allies, adopted a Declaration which “Calls on all countries to participate in UN negotiations on nuclear disarmament and to pursue the adoption of nuclear risk reduction, transparency and disarmament measures.” The European Parliament took a similar position at the beginning of the UN negotiations last year.

We are still far from nuclear disarmament as a result of this treaty, but as Richard Falk reminds us, we have historical precedents to be optimistic: “to convert this text into an effective regime of control will require the kind of deep commitments, sacrifices, movements, and struggles that eventually achieved the impossible, ending such entrenched evils as slavery, apartheid, and colonialism.”

A key role can be played by parliamentarians. An Action Plan, which has been developed by Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament in consultation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, includes 14 key nuclear disarmament actions that can be taken by parliamentarians. Similar actions are proposed by the organization “UNFOLD ZERO” to make the nuclear ban treaty effective.

Previously we have seen how cities are promoting a culture of peace above and beyond the policy of their national governments. This month we see the similar potential of parliaments.

In the Middle East, despite the lack of movement towards peace by the governments of Israel and Palestine and their neighbors, the parliamentarians from those countries have succeeded in working together for an agreement to share water resources in the region. This has been supported by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

In Africa, a recent meeting of the Pan-African Parliament continued working on the concept of a Pan-African passport as well as initiatives to open the borders of the countries of Africa to trade and travel by all Africans. A Pan-African union could be based on a culture of peace rather than culture of war if based on the tradition of peace-building by Nelson Mandela.

And in Mexico, the Senate-sponsored Seminar on Violence and Peace: Diagnoses and Proposals for Mexico includes several sessions on the culture of peace. One concerns the United Nations Program of Action for a Culture of Peace and another concerns Culture of Peace and Environment.

Finally, there is increasing demand for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

For more than twenty years the European Parliament has been pushing for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, and last month in its annual recommendations to the United Nations, it repeated the request.

Last November, an international conference of around 300 chief justices, judges, legal experts and ambassadors from nearly 60 countries predominantly from the Global South adopted a declaration that called on heads of states and governments to convene a world summit “to consider the present grave global problems facing mankind” and “to work for establishment of a World Parliament to enact enforceable World Laws, a World Government, and a World Court of Justice.”

This echoes a declaration made last year by the Pan-African Parliament that called on the African Union and Africa’s governments to support the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly “to strengthen democratic participation and representation of the world’s citizens in the UN” and to “contribute to strengthening democratic oversight over UN operations, particularly in Africa.”

The potential and problems for establishing a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is explored in a recent meeting that included representatives from regional parliaments, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly and academia.

In sum, when we listen to cities and parliaments, we realize that there is an alternative to the nation-state and its culture of war. A better world is possible!

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


UN conference adopts treaty banning nuclear weapons

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Dominican Republic: Mayor praises successful congress for peace in Southern region

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Members of Parliament from Middle East find innovative solutions to regional water issues

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Gambian Youth Engage in the Promotion of Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Africa: UN deputy chief says ‘messages of women’ vital to sustainable peace, development

HUMAN RIGHTS


USA: A Victory March For Nury – and for immigrant rights

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Seminar on Violence and Peace: Diagnoses and Proposals for Mexico

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Nigeria: Plateau To Tackle Boko Haram With Peace Education

English bulletin July 1, 2017

. . . PEACE IS ADVANCING . . .

It has been a busy month at CPNN, reflecting progress in many areas of the culture of peace (37 articles in English, 8 of which also in Spanish and 5 of which are in French).

Four of the articles follow the ongoing development of negotiations at the United Nations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. As the July 7 deadline for the vote approaches, the work has been intense by Member States and Non-Governmental Organizations. Delegations from the Member States concluded their first read-through of the entire draft on June 21, and a revision on June 27.

The nuclear states and their allies are boycotting the negotiations; hence the treaty will not affect them directly. However, there are a number of proposed elements of the draft treaty which could impact them indirectly, although agreement on these proposals is proving to be difficult to achieve. They include proposals to prohibit the transit of, threat to use, and financing of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear-armed states currently spend US$100 billion collectively on nuclear weapons programs annually and the corporations manufacturing the weapons and their delivery systems are a major driver of the nuclear arms race. If all of the States joining the nuclear ban treaty divested their public funds from these corporations, and disallowed banks from investing in them, it could radically change the economics of the nuclear arms industry. And it would give support to efforts of parliamentarians and civil society in the nuclear arms States to cut the exorbitant nuclear arms budgets and re-direct these funds to health, education, jobs, environment and sustainable development.

We see an example of this strategy in the decisions this month by the U.S. Conference of Mayors at their annual meeting. They supported two resolutions submitted by member cities urging Congress to move funding out of the military and into human and environmental needs rather than the reverse. And they adopted a new resolution which concludes as follows:

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges all U.S. mayors to join Mayors for Peace in order to help reach the goal of 10,000 member cities by 2020, and encourages U.S. member cities to get actively involved by establishing sister city relationships with cities in other nuclear-armed nations, and by taking action at the municipal level to raise public awareness of the humanitarian and financial costs of nuclear weapons, the growing dangers of wars among nuclear-armed states, and the urgent need for good faith U.S. participation in negotiating the global elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Meanwhile, four of this month’s articles follow the progress towards peace in Colombia. On June 26, the United Nations announced that the FARC has completed the process of turning in their weapons as called for in last year’s peace agreement. And on June 6, the Colombian Government and the other guerilla group, the ELN, announced that they reached a series of agreements, including international financing to push forward the peace process. Although violence continues in many regions of the country, there are important grass-roots initiatives to promote non-violence, including “Community Radios for Peace and Coexistence”, launched in mid-2016, with support from the European Union. This supports 400 of the 627 community radio stations in Colombia to generate a culture of peace in the most remote rural areas, those most affected by the armed conflict.

Seven articles this month reflect the ongoing progress in peace education around the world, including initiatives in the Dominican Republic, Northern Ireland, Ecuador, Mexico and Cote D’Ivoire, as well as plans for the annual meetings of the International Institute for Peace Education and the Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association.

Also three articles inform us about the continuing development of journalism and writing for a culture of peace in Africa. A regional seminar on “ The role of journalists and the media in preventing violence” was sponsored by the United Nations in Dakar, Senegal. Also in Dakar, the members of the Writers’ Union of Africa, Asia and Latin America refirmed their commitment to promote a culture of peace. “Children, adolescents and adults who read us need to read positive things that can boost their creativity, and it is in peace that we can create,” said the Special Advisor to the President of the Republic, Macky Sall. And in Uganda, traditional leaders who have been active in the peace and reconciliation efforts say that peace journalism as a tool has been “useful in mobilising people and reaching out to rebels”.

Finally, in a good surprise for the peace movements around the world, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British opposition Labour Party and former chairman of the Stop the War Coalition, led his party to a remarkable advance in the recent General Elections. It was all the more remarkable because the attacks by his opponents and much of the mainstream media against his anti-war positions seem to have backfired, and to have helped rather than hurt him and his party in the elections. It seems that British voters want peace instead of continuing their involvement with the various wars and military threats headed up by the United States and NATO.

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


UN: Conference Considers Revised Draft of Proposed Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Côte d’Ivoire: Preservation of the peace in Port-Bouët: Communal youth give their recipes

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



U.S. Conference of Mayors Opposes Military-Heavy Trump Budget

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Montreal: Official Conference of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


UN: New films on Global Goals spotlight women’s journeys of resilience

HUMAN RIGHTS


USA: A Call to Mobilize the Nation through 2018

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



The Government of Colombia and the ELN agree on international aid to support the peace process

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Africa: In a World of Turbulence, Writers Reaffirm Their Role for Enlightenment and Information

English bulletin June 1, 2017

TREATY TO BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS

You probably won’t read about it in the commercial mass media, but a very important event is taking place at the United Nations this month. From June 17 –July 7, a conference of the UN General Assembly is scheduled to negotiate a treaty to ban nuclear weapons!

The draft treaty was released on May 22 by Costa Rica’s ambassador to the UN, Elayne Whyte Gómez in her capacity as chair of the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination. The new draft treaty is based on the proposals put forth in the negotiations of the Conference in March. It would require the states to “never under any circumstances … develop, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices … use nuclear weapons …  carry out any nuclear weapon test”. States would also be required to destroy any nuclear weapons they possess and be prohibited from transferring nuclear weapons to any other recipient.

The negotiating conference was established after a series of meetings in Norway, Mexico, and Austria with governments and civil society to examine the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.  The meetings were inspired by the leadership and urging of the International Red Cross to look at the horror of nuclear weapons, not just through the frame of strategy and “deterrence”, but to grasp and examine the disastrous humanitarian consequences that would occur in a nuclear war. 

The first session of the ban treaty negotiations took place on Feb 16, 2017, considered procedural matters such as the election of officers, agenda for the negotiations, rules of procedure and participation of NGOs. More substantive negotiations on the proposed ban treaty took place March 27-31.

According to an analysis of votes of the UN Member States, a majority are in favor of the treaty, including the countries of Latin America, Africa, and most of the Arab States and the smaller states of Asia-Pacific.

However, there is still a long road to putting the treaty into practice. All of the nuclear powers (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea) are opposed to the treaty, along with their allies, includiing most European countries.

The longer we wait to abolish nuclear weapons, the harder it becomes. As WILFP (the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) has testified to the UN conference: “All of the nuclear-armed states . . . are investing in the expansion, development, or so-called modernisation of their nuclear arsenals. These programmes are not just about “increasing the safety and security” of nuclear weapon systems, which is what the nuclear-armed states claim. The “upgrades” in many cases provide new capabilities to the weapon systems. They also extend the lives of these weapon systems beyond the middle of this century, ensuring that the arms race will continue indefinitely.”

In addition to WILPF, many other civil society organizations are pushing the UN Member States to adopt the treaty. A forum this month in Brooklyn will include speakers from a number of organizations including Peace Action, MoveOn and the American Friends Service Committee. And on June 17, there will be a Women’s March to Ban the Bomb to the United Nations in New York, a women-led initiative building on the momentum of movements at the forefront of the resistance, including the Women’s March on Washington.

The annual meeting of Abolition 2000, an international organization dedicated to nuclear disarmament, gave support to the Women’s March, and heard reports from their projects, working groups and affiliated campaigns, including De-alerting and nuclear risk reduction, Don’t Bank on the Bomb, Economic Dimensions of Nuclearism, ICAN, Interfaith action, International law and nuclear weapons, Mayors for Peace, Missile control, Nuclear Weapon Free Zones, Nukes Out of Europe, Parliamentary Outreach, Peace and Planet, UNFOLD ZERO and Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. They established a new working group to build support from civil society and governments for the United Nations High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, which will take place in 2018.

As Alice Slater concludes in her article, Time to Ban the Bomb, “We need to get as many countries to the UN as possible this June, and pressure our parliaments and capitals to vote to join the treaty to ban the bomb.   And we need to talk it up and let people know that something great is happening now! ”

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Countries for and against the UN resolution to launch negotiations for a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Mexico: Colima will host the Meeting of Youth Peace Leaders

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Latest News from International Cities of Peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Swiss vote in in favor of gradual nuclear phaseout

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Kenya’s pastoralists look beyond patriarchy to property rights for women

HUMAN RIGHTS


The Palestinian Hunger Strike: “Our chains will be broken before we are..”

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Argentina: Meeting with Nobel Peace Laureates

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Nonviolence Charter: Progress Report 10 (Apr 2017)

English bulletin May 1, 2017

. MARCHING TO SAVE OUR PLANET .

Two major mobiliztions to preserve the planet took place this month in the United States and Canada. Close to a million people turned out across the United States and Canada for the March for Science on April 22. A week later, at least a quarter of a million turned out for the Peoples Climate March.

At the main March for Science in Washington, D.C., the American scientist Bill Nye, an honorary co-chair of the event, delivered a speech to a crowd of tens of thousands in pouring rain. ‘Show the world that science is for all. Our lawmakers must know and accept that science serves every one of us,’ Nye said before shouting out, ‘Save the world!’

For the Peoples Climate March a week later, over 200,000 people took part in the Washington, D.C. march and another 50,000 or so in 370 sister marches across the country. According to its national coordinator, ““This march grew out of the relationship building among some of the country’s most important progressive organizations and movements. . . . to pressure global leaders to act on climate change. There was a simple demand – act . . . act on climate while creating family-sustaining jobs, investing in frontline and indigenous communities and protecting workers who will be impacted by the transition to a new clean and renewable energy economy.””

If one were to map the largest turnouts, it would look almost the same as the map we published back in January for the women’s marches against the inauguration of President Trump, which, in turn was almost the same as the map for the election results.

The marches for science were appropriately set for April 22, which is recognized by the United Nations as Mother Earth Day.

The UN initiative came from Latin America, and, indeed, it was celebrated this year in most Latin American countries, including statements from the Presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela that linked it to the culture of peace and to socialism. In addition to Bolivia and Venezuela, we gave some details from celebrations in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Argentina.

For example, in Honduras, public and private environmental organizations planted thousands of trees in urban and rural areas to raise awareness of the importance of caring for the planet, while in Argentina there were workshops, ecological activities and even the country’s first “bio festival” of music, held in the city of Rosario.

In addition to the science marches, there were many other celebrations of Earth Day across the United States and Canada. These included Earthday fairs with educational activities, tree planting and community environmental cleanups. Especially unique and appropriate was the earthday event in North Dakota, where the horseback riders of the Dakota Exile Healing Ride celebrated the “Sweet Corn Treaty” that occurred in 1870 with the Chippewa and Sioux tribes. They called for “sharing our homelands and responsibilities to the lands, and water as well as respect for each other’s cultures and traditions by sharing once again as Dakota did”.

One would have hoped that Earth Day would be celebrated around the world and would indicate a growing consciousness for the culture of peace, given that sustainable development is one of its eight program areas. Indeed, some claim that these celebrations involved “a billion people.” in “195 countries.” Unfortunately, our survey of Earth Day activities around the world failed to confirm any large participation outside of North and South America.

Certainly, there is a growing consciousness around the world that we must act to save our planet, a consciousness that complements the anti-war consciousness that we have seen on the UN International Day of Peace. Although the consciousness is worldwide, perhaps it is appropriate that the largest mobilizations at this time are taking place in the United States, since it is the American empire that poses the greatest threat to the environment.

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Earth Day around the World – 2017

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Beirut Declaration enhances role of religions in promoting human rights

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Paraná, Brazil: Draft Law for Culture of Peace as public policy

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



USA: Peoples Climate March a Huge Success: Final Count: 200,000+ March in D.C. for Climate, Jobs and Justice

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Togo: Women’s groups in the Plateaux region sensitized on social cohesion and the culture of peace in Atakpamé

HUMAN RIGHTS


Sanctuary city leaders vow to remain firm, despite threats from U.S. attorney general

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



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EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Mexico, Los Cabos, Baja California Sur: Theater show celebrated on Theater Day

English bulletin April 1, 2017

. . . WOMEN ON THE MOVE . .

Since women’s equality is an essential part of the culture of peace, we must appreciate the great mobilization around Women’s Day, March 8, and the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

On International Women’s Day, women around the world celebrated by marching in more than 50 countries. The photo essay republished by CPNN includes images from Ukraine, Bangladesh, Australia, Nigeria, Georgia, Palestine, Spain and USA. Especially impressive was the mobilization in the United States where millions of women took part in a “Day without a woman.” It was organized by means of social media in the same way as the women’s demonstrations January 21 in which over 2 million protested the policies of the newly inaugurated President Trump. We have not found any way to measure how many women participated by staying away from work or to what extent their refusal to shop led to decreased sales on March 8, but we provide links to many descriptions of the day in the mass media.

Women activists were featured by various international NGOs in March. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court presented women leading the fight for global justice from Colombia, Mexico, Philippines, Lebanon, Ukraine and Mali. Amnesty International celebrated the US mobilization of “Day without a woman” by publishing “eight women who are battling on the frontline to claim their rights, refusing to wait in the face of injustice.” They came from South Africa, Canada, El Salvador, China, Afghanistan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Iran. And Nonviolent Peaceforce presented a tribute to Joan Bernstein: “Joan was the heart and soul of the U.S. and Canadian chapters of NP for many years. She helped organize the founding conference for NP, and later the annual conference of North American chapters. She provided us with vision, inspiration, resources, skills — and the endless belief that we could rise to any challenge.”

Women activists from around the world gathered at the United Nations for this year’s meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The meetings featured :

– The priority theme: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work
– Review theme: Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls (agreed conclusions of the fifty-eighth session)
– Emerging issue/Focus area:The empowerment of indigenous women

They received a report from the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment which identified seven main drivers of transformation:

1) tackling adverse norms and promoting positive role models;
2) ensuring legal protections and reforming discriminatory laws and regulations;
3) recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid work and care;
4) building digital, financial and property assets;
5) changing corporate culture and practice,
6) improving public sector practices in employment and procurement; and
7) strengthening visibility, collective voice and representation.

Many of these points were addressed in the opening statement of the CSW by the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In one of the many side events of the CSW, the International Institute on Peace Education and the Pasos Peace Museum urged women to use important existing UN resolutions as tools for achieving equality:

UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Several speakers and reports pointed to Iceland as an example of a country where women’s equality is being achieved. To mark International Women’s Day, the government of Iceland announced that they will become the first country in the world to require companies to prove they pay all employees the same, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality.

We conclude with the words of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in her speech to the CSW: “The much-needed positive developments are not happening fast enough. . . . let us agree to constructive impatience.”

      

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



Opening statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women for the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Burkina Faso: Dialogue of religions and cultures: prospects for the Ouagadougou symposium

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



USA: Video about the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



France: The farmers who bought an old Lidl supermarket

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Colombia: Santos Welcomes Approval of Special Jurisdiction for Peace

HUMAN RIGHTS

Amnesty: 8 women show us why International Women’s Day is the day to declare: We won’t wait for our rights!

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



UN commences nuclear abolition negotiations

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


Peru: Art in the streets to promote the culture of peace