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English bulletin January 1, 2020

. THE STRUGGLE AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING .

The world went to Madrid last month in the hope that the countries of the world would finally take serious action to stop global warming.

An example came to us from Lok Raj Joshi in Nepal.

He writes that “a government team from Nepal led by the Minister for Forests and Environment, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, is taking part in COP-25. . . . Nepal is going to propose formulating a plan for coping with the adverse conditions resulting from global warming. Nepal is also lobbying for the Green Climate Fund. Highly affected countries like Nepal are entitled to receive it as compensation from the responsible countries that are releasing large quantity of carbon into the atmosphere.”

Lok explains that “climate change is an urgent matter for Nepalese people. First, its northern region is comprised of the snow-covered Himalaya mountains . . . The region of the Terai which supplies food to the rest of the country depends on water from the north. This relationship makes the adverse effects of global warming even more complex, more intense and more widespread creating a vicious cycle of disasters in Nepal. Second, agriculture and tourism based on natural beauties including the Himalayas, rivers, glaciers, lakes, jungles and wild animals are the major sources of income for Nepal. Hydroelectricity is the most potential area that is expected to contribute to realization of the Nepalese dream of prosperity. Unfortunately, these all have been the first targets of global warming.”

Environmental activists came to Madrid from around the world to urge action, especially young people (See CPNN, A Global Youth Movement ? ) The 500,000 people who marched in Madrid were addressed by Greta Thunberg who told them “We have been striking for over a year, and basically nothing has happened . . . The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power, and we cannot go on like this.”

Many of those coming to Madrid were representatives of indigenous peoples who are especially threatened by climate change. Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, put it this way:  “We’re here to stand in support of the people of Chile. We’re here to support the people of Colombia and Ecuador and Brazil who are fighting climate capitalism. We have to stand together with the people of the streets and of the forests and the land and the oceans, fighting neoliberalism, fighting imperialism. We’re fighting against the United States and its white supremacy, militarization. We have to look at these things and stand together in solidarity with the people.” CPNN readers might recall Tom Goldtooth from the Peru Climate Summit of 2014.

But those who came to Madrid, and the rest of the world, were to be disappointed by the results of the COP25 conference, as they were after previous COP conferences. In 2009, the rich countries pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 for the United Nations Green Climate Fund. But only $3.5 billion has been committed  out of $10.3 billion pledged. Now not only is Trump attempting to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, but last year, he straight-up canceled $2 billion in promised climate aid to poor countries.

At the end of this year’s conference, civil society groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Oil Change International, and Friends of the Earth said, the deal that had been hammered out by the parties included an agenda brought by big polluters “straight to the halls of the U.N.” with the help of countries “historically most responsible for the climate crisis.” The deal as it stands would “condemn those on the frontlines of the climate crisis, while hiding the crimes of polluters . . . And it would lead to increased inequality with no increase in ambition, no real emissions reductions, and no pathway to 1.5 [degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.]”

“I’ve been attending these climate negotiations since they first started in 1991,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the  BBC. “But never have I seen the almost total disconnect we’ve seen here at COP25 in Madrid between what the science requires and the people of the world demand, and what the climate negotiations are delivering in terms of meaningful action.”

The issue of military pollution does not even make it onto the agenda of the COP. According to the study cited by the International Peace Bureau, “The US military is not only the most funded army in the world, it is also “one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more climate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries”. The Department of Defence’s daily consumption alone is greater than the total national consumption of countries like Sweden, Switzerland or Chile.”

However, the relation of militarism and pollution is increasingly on the agenda of the global movements for peace and the environment. As we wrote in the November bulletin: The Pope’s propsal “that the money spent for these works of death should be devoted to human development and the struggle for the climate corresponds to the slogan adopted by the 160 or so organizations of the Collective “En marche pour la paix” which called for September 21 (International Day of Peace) to march for peace, climate, social justice and nuclear disarmament.”

          

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



In Final Hours, COP 25 Denounced as ‘Utter Failure’ as Deal Is Stripped of Ambition and US Refuses to Accept Liability for Climate Crisis

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Groundswell of support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

HUMAN RIGHTS




PAYNCoP Gabon Pleads for Youth Involvement in the National Commission for Human Rights

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



International Cities of Peace in China

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Xalapa, Mexico: International Film Festival for a Culture of Peace

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



Bolivia: Post-Coup Update

TOLERANCE & SOLIDAIRTY


UN commemorates International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



The world went orange: Putting a spotlight on ending violence against women

English bulletin December 1, 2019

THE POPE AND CULTURE OF PEACE

Pope Francis is committing the Catholic Church to nuclear disarmament, sustainable development and the rights of indigenous peoples, key components of the culture of peace.

Speaking in Hiroshima on November 23, he said that “The use of atomic energy for the purpose of war is today more than ever a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future for our common home.”

And at the Vatican from October 6 to 27, the Pope hosted an unprecedented meeting of the Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region that denounced attacks on the environment and the life of indigenous people of the Amazon region and called for radical changes in planetary lifestyles, including:
– to stop excessive consumption;
– reduce dependence on fossil fuels, plastics and consumption of meat and fish;
– and to seek sustainable alternatives in agriculture, energy, and transportation.

According to the spokesmen of Mouvement de la Paix, the Pope’s declaration in Hiroshima is another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. His proposal that the money spent for these works of death should be devoted to human development and the struggle for the climate corresponds to the slogan adopted by the 160 or so organizations of the Collective On the Move for Peace, which called for September 21 (International Day of Peace) to march “for peace, climate, social justice and nuclear disarmament”.

In the United States the Pope’s remarks were welcomed by activists who are opposing nuclear weapons, including progressive journalist Amy Goodman, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the Plowshares movement, the group of seven Catholic peace activists who are awaiting sentencing for breaking into the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. Ellsberg reminds us that the Pope is a” powerful voice in the world” and that “he has obviously undergone a considerable education on this, as have the people in Plowshares movement. And if he can pass that requirement on and its urgency to the bishops throughout the world, it will I am sure create conditions in which our own representatives will call on our executive branch at last to . . . negotiate seriously toward a verifiable mutual elimination of nuclear weapons.”

And according to the Climate Change News, the decisions of the Amazon Synod set out a collision course with Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro for the future of the Amazon and the “potential to reach a great audience” given the church’s presence across the region. Whereas Bolsonaro was elected on a campaign pledge to open-up the Amazon for mining and developments, the bishops agreed the need for an alternative development plan for the Amazon, focused on indigenous rights and environmental protection.

Writing in America, the Jesuit Review, Luke Hansen provides “five key takeaways from the synod“:

1. It placed the indigenous communities at the center of the synod process over foreign economic interests. In the two-year preparatory process over 80,000 people participated.

2. It called for “conversion”, challenging Europeans and North Americans to examine and change their lifestyles and engage in political action in solidarity with Amazonian communities.

3. It sought to practice what it preached regarding “integral ecology” and care for our common home.

4. All 120 paragraphs of the synod’s final document (currently available in Spanish only) were approved with the necessary two-thirds majority vote, including proposals related to married priests and women deacons.

5. Since his election as pope in March 2013, Pope Francis has transformed the Synod of Bishops into a privileged place of discernment and conversion.

A similar analysis is made by the Jesuit Michael Shuck from Georgetown University, who adds that a sense of urgency pervaded the testimonies of Indigenous men and women throughout the synod. At the final press briefing, Cardinal Czerny remarked that the ecological and human crisis is so deep that without this sense of urgency “we’re not going to make it.” This bold assertion was matched by the Final Document’s declaration that “integral ecology is not one more path that the Church can choose for the future in this territory, it is the only possible path.”

While these declarations are welcomed by nuclear activists, climate activists and Jesuits, we may see them in an even broader context as a major step in the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace.

          

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima marks another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Gambia : Banjul Regional Forum 2019: Engaging Young African Leaders to Achieve the 2030 and 2063 Agendas

HUMAN RIGHTS




USA: Exoneration of Scott Warren is a triumph for humanity

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Alternative justice strengthens the culture of peace in Chiapas

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Dominican Republic: Education ministry continues training on ethics, culture of peace and protection of rights

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Catholic church denounces ‘attacks’ on Amazon people and forest

TOLERANCE & SOLIDAIRTY


Top 5 takeaways from the Amazon synod

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



#NousToutes : Tens of thousands march in Paris

English bulletin November 1, 2019

. . PRIZES FOR PEACE . .

This year, the Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. Readers of CPNN may be already familiar with his contribution to ending the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, a conflict that had been going on for decades despite a peace deal that was signed some 18 years ago. In announcing the award the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated that they hope that the Prize “will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation.”

October was not only the month for the Nobel Prize for Peace, but also for many other peace and culture of peace prizes.

Desmond Tutu Announced the Winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize for 2019: Greta Thunberg from Sweden and Divina Maloum from Cameroun: “I am in awe of you. Your powerful message is amplified by your youthful energy and unshakable belief that children can, no must, improve their own futures. You are true change-makers who have demonstrated most powerfully that children can move the world.”

This year’s Seán MacBride Peace Prize, given by the International Peace Bureau, was awarded to Bruce Kent, who was one of the founders and main organizers of the European Nuclear Disarmament Campaign in the 1980s and who has continued to provide leadersip for disarmament even now in his 90th year.

The Peace Prize of the US Peace Memorial Foundation was awarded this year to Ajamu Baraka. In addition to being the national organizer and spokesperson for Black Alliance for Peace, Baraka is also an administrative committee member for the United National Antiwar Coalition and an executive board member of the U.S. Peace Council. He was the Green Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in 2016.

The Alfred Fried Photography Awards for world-best pictures on the theme of peace went this year, among others, to photographers of climate protests in Europe, reconciliation in South Africa and animal sanctuaries in Asia.

The 2019 Goi Peace Award was presented this year to Nipun Mehta and ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 600,000 members from 171 countries that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free.

The 2019 Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders Awards went to Youth for Homeland in Yemen, Open Art Space in Syria (women-led peacebuilding) and the Amani Institute in DR Congo (music and the performing arts for community reintegration).

In Australia, the Sydney Peace Prize honored leaders of the Me Too Movement, and the Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize honored Antony Loewenstein, journalist, author, and film-maker, co-founder of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices and supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Moroccan researcher Karima El Azhary was awarded the International Sustainable Development Award for her work developing new sustainable construction and insulation materials, based on alimentary and agricultural waste. The aim of her work is improving thermal insulation and energy efficiency of buildings, mainly in underprivileged areas. Sustainable development is one of the key action areas of the culture of peace.

In the Philippines, the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement was recognized by the 2019 TOWNS awards. Its mission is to Make Every Filipino Child and Youth a Peace Hero.

Speaking of peace heroes, peace prizes can have an important positive effect, especially on young people. For example, Greta Thunberg, winner of this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize, was inspired by the 2018 winners of that prize the March for Our Lives in the United States.

          

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Desmond Tutu Announces the Winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize 2019

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



Sign the petition: Down with war, let’s build peace!

HUMAN RIGHTS




PAYNCoP Gabon Partners with the National Youth Council to Stop Violence against Youth

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Mexico: Inauguration of the II Global Forum of Culture of Peace, in CUCEA

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Extinction Rebellion, not political? “We occupied the center of Paris for five days! “

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Moroccan Researcher Karima El Azhary Wins International Sustainable Development Award

TOLERANCE & SOLIDAIRTY


Kashmiri students run out of essentials, money; Khalsa Aid, J&K Students Assn extend help

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



Honouring the Me Too Movement with the 2019 Sydney Peace Prize

English bulletin October 1, 2019

. INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE .

In our survey this year we found 655 actions for the International Day of Peace that took place throughout the world. It is more or less the same number as last year, although we counted them in a different way this year.

The theme this year, decided by the United Nations, was climate action for peace. In this way the theme of peace was linked to the enormous mobilizations against climate change that took place this month throughout the world.

The greatest number of actions for the International Day of Peace, 280, took place in the United States and Canada, thanks to the remarkable mobilization by Campaign Nonviolence. To quote from their website:, “For three decades, Pace e Bene has been leading nonviolence trainings, publishing books on nonviolence, and taking action for nonviolent change. In the spirit of St. Francis, Gandhi, Dorothy Day and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we have persistently invited people everywhere to walk the path of nonviolence. Now Campaign Nonviolence is taking this work further . . the annual Campaign Nonviolence National Week of Action, where every September we mobilize across the country and around the world for a culture of peace, economic equality, racial justice and environmental healing.”

There was also a very broad mobilization this year in France, thanks to the efforts of Mouvement de la Paix which was responsible for half of the 144 actions in Europe. To quote from their website, as translated by CPNN, “The Mouvement de la Paix acts for the disarmament, in particular nuclear, but also against the production and the transfers of armaments, for the reduction of the military budgets. Made up of close to 150 committees spread all over France and forming links with international peace organizations, the Mouvement de la Paix intends to propose initiatives around the 8 constituent points of the international decade (UN – UNESCO) of the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence:
1. Strengthening a culture of peace through education,
2. Promoting sustainable economic and social development,
3. Promoting respect for all human rights,
4. Measures to ensure equality between women and men,
5. Measures to promote participation in democratic life,
6. Measures to develop understanding, tolerance and solidarity,
7. Measures to support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge,
8. Measures to promote international peace and security.”

In the rest of the world, unlike North America and Europe, people are suffering from wars and armed conflicts, and that is where we find the most remarkable mobilizations for the International Day of Peace.

In Latin America, there were actions in Colombia in order to strengthen the peace agreement that put an end to decades of war and suffering. Especially remarkable was the fashion show in Bogota by former FARC guerillas who have turned from the gun to the sewing machine and who paraded on the catwalk with placards calling for implementation of the peace agreement.In Medellin it was a local bar that took the lead for for workshops and sporting events to support the agreement. In Tumaco it was a theatrical play and in Valleduopar a photo exhibition.

In the Ex-Soviet countries, the majority of the 54 actions took place across the two sides of the armed coflict in the Ukraine. There were poignant cries from both sides by mothers and children calling for an end to the violence and separation. Let us hope that their cries are heard and lead to peace!. In the East at Rovenka, “To the sound of the “Bells of Peace” the children stood in a circle and joined hands. . .  Together, they made a wish that the war would end in the Donbass.” “In Avdeevka, which has repeatedly come under fire, where they still hear gunshots and heal wounds (there are still a lot of houses destroyed and damaged by shelling), there is a special relationship to World Peace Day. It was expressed yesterday by students of school No. 7. . . who made paper doves, wrote what they would do for peace and and also arranged a dance flash mob on the street.” In the West in Kvasilovsky, “All those present had tears in their eyes as they watched the children . . . reach out to us adults: “I want peace! I don’t want to hear the word “war”! “..

In Africa 9 of the 53 actions took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which continues to suffer from decades of local wars. In Beni “While peace is celebrated in other countries of the world, here we celebrate assassinations, massacres, looting.” In Kananga “Since we are in the citizen movement fighting for change during or after the atrocities of kamwina nsapu we never stop to launch the message of peace, carry out awareness campaigns, participate in various broadcasts of radio stations to call the people who had the weapons in their hands to lay them down and make peace.” And in Sud Kivu “The International Day of Peace is celebrated while a climate of insecurity is maintained by the presence of armed groups that sow terror and desolation in South Kivu and throughout the eastern part of the DRC.”

As for the Arab states and the Middle East, in the face of a terrible ongoing war in their country, the International Day of Peace was celebrated in three cities of Yemen: Aden, Hadramaout and Taiz. In the latter young art students produced drawings with “writings expressing peace, coexistence, brotherhood, tolerance, expressions calling for dialogue and tolerance among all sects, parties and groups, giving priority to the interest of the nation, renouncing sectarianism and violence, and calling on all to work together for lasting peace . . .to deliver a message that Taiz, despite its siege and war, is still a city that loves life, art and beauty and is still a city of love, coexistence and peace.” Other actions were carried out to celebrate the recent peace accords in Sudan and to consolidate peace in Syria.

In Asia and the Pacific, the Day was not dedicated to the resolution of conlicts and tensions such as those in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Myanmar and Korea, but in China the massacre of Nanjing, which took place durig the Japanese invasion of 1937 continues to be commemorated, this year by a concert of peace songs by the choir “Zi Jincao.”

To conclude, we have emphasized here the aspects of the International Day of Peace that contribute to the consciousness needed for an eventual transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace.

      

GLOBAL



What has happened this year: International Day of Peace

UNITED STATES AND CANADA



United States and Canada: International Day of Peace

EUROPE




Europe: International Day of Peace

ASIA AND PACIFIC



Asia and Pacific: International Day of Peace

EX-SOVIET COUNTRIES



Ex-Soviet countries: International Day of Peace

ARAB STATES AND MIDDLE EAST



Arab and Middle Eastern States: International Day of Peace

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN


Latin America: International Day of Peace

AFRICA



Africa: International Day of Peace

English bulletin September 1, 2019

FOR PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND

If we look at the news and consider only the short-term, peace seems very distant between Israelis and Palestinians. But if we take a long-term historical view, there is reason to hope.

We begin with the short-term news.

The first two Muslim-American women in Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were barred from visiting Israel and the Occupied Territories, presumably because they support the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Commenting on this, Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories, remarks that this was due to the “unhealthy relationship” that has evolved between the US and Israeli Presidents Trump and Netanyahu. For example, Trump had tweeted that Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib, hate Israel and all Jews.

Also in recent news, Democracy Now featured an interview with a Palestinian girl, Janna Jihad, who, at the age of 13 years, continues to expose the Israeli occupation of Gaza. She started telling stories about her home of Nabi Saleh when she was only 7, after her cousin and her uncle were killed in the village. Since then, Janna has shared countless videos about Palestinian resistance with viewers around the world, on Twitter, on YouTube, on Facebook, garnering tens of thousands of followers. Asked by Amy what she thought could be the solution, Janna replied “For me, the one-state solution is the solution that would work. It can be that all of us could live together, same rights, under one government, getting exactly the same rights, me like the same as any other person. And all the refugees could come back to Palestine. All the people could live in peace, just in equality. ”

There is more hope if we look at the long-term.

Dr. Bahan Bastani traces the history of cultural interactions between Islam and Judaism, Muslims and Jews. He reminds us that during the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization, 9th-12th centuries, both the Muslim and the Jewish civilizations flourished in the Islamic centers of higher learning in Baghdad and al-Andalusia-Spain, and the Muslim territories was safe heaven for the Jewry of the world. In the fertile multicultural environment of al-Andulus, the Jewish and Muslim scholars made significant strides in astronomy, astrology, optics, geometry, medicine, philosophy, and literary works. Also, when Spain fell under the Spanish Catholic rule in 1492 and the Jews were being persecuted, it was the Ottoman Empire that send ships to rescue the Jews from Spain into the Muslim territories. For the following three centuries, the Jews in the Turkish Muslim Ottoman Empire ascended to high positions as court physicians and as foreign diplomats.

An even longer term view is taken by the Palestinian Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh who traces the history of the Land of Canaan. He begins with the dawn of civilization which took place in this region when people went from hunter-gatherers to agricultural communities. For the first 12,000 years there was very little conflict. “Palestine was multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural and multilingual society.

If you go back before the present conflict, you would go to the Crusaders, 1190 AD. Like the present conflict, that, too, came from outside.” But, as Qumsiyeh says, “the patient is not hopeless . . . in biology when I look at the forest and I see one species dominate I don’t say this is a healthy forest. I say this is unhealthy, it’s going to decline. The strength comes from diversity, so we say that’s what will happen here and that’s another reason why I’m optimistic – we fight for equality and to maintain the country the way it was supposed to be: multi-ethnic multi-cultural and multi-religious.


Looking at the present times, Rabbi Michael Lerner says it compounds the problem to say simply that “Israel is a racist society and most Israelis are racists.” Instead of dismissing those who disagree, leftist activists need to understand the historical origins of Zionist attitudes, coming not only from the Holocaust, but also the experience of Jews from former Communist countries and those coming from Arab countries who were disrespected by Jews of European origin. He concludes “The outrageous actions of the Jewish majority in becoming oppressors of the Palestinians will remain, for thousands of years into the future, one of the most disgraceful moments in Jewish history. But it won’t be overturned until we can develop a new politics of compassion for both sides, and a renewed belief that people can be reached if we start from a perspective of respect and caring for them, even when we disagree with their current political proclivities”

As long-time peace activists Len and Libby Traubman have put it: “An enemy is one whose story we have not heard. ”

Can Zionism be redeemed?“. The question is explored by Tikkun writer Yehezkel Landau. He sees hope in the mutual struggle of Israelis and Palestinians against the degradation of the environment as exemplified in the annual climate march. “When it was first organized five years ago, some 200 people took part. This year over 5,000 people marched, Palestinian and Jewish citizens from all over Israel. They carried banners proclaiming mutual solidarity in the face of environmental threats and the need to work together to ensure a common future. . . We need more signs of hope like these to boost our spirits and motivate action, within our respective communities and across boundaries.”

Meanwhile, the struggle for justice goes on. Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, urges support for the BDS in the face of attempts by the US Congress to suppress it. He reminds us that “BDS calls for Palestinian liberation on terms of full equality with Israelis and categorically opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.” And he concludes that “Our hope remains alive as we witness an inspiring shift in public opinion in favor of Palestinian human rights.”

      

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Manifesto on diversity: the Land of Canaan

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Kazakh capital to host 2019 UNWTO Urban Tourism Global Summit on SDGs

WOMEN’S EQUALITY




Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Colombia: Barranquilla will host the first Ibero-American Education Congress

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



The Americas are preparing for the second World March for Peace and Nonviolence

HUMAN RIGHTS

PAYNCoP Gabon and AFRICTIVITIES inform civil society organizations about the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Colombia: Rigoberta Menchú asks the Government to strengthen the peace agreement

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Building infrastructures for peace

English bulletin August 1, 2019

. CULTURE OF PEACE CONFERENCES .

This summer and fall there are international conferences for the culture of peace sponsored by organizations throughout the world.

The United Nations on September 13 will hold a high level forum at its New York headquarters to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Organizations are invited to initiate actions to mark the event such as: mention Culture of Peace anniversary on your website front page, conduct a Culture of Peace workshop, initiate an educational Culture of Peace campaign, advocate with your government officials for Departments, Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, citing the Culture of Peace resolution as the basis for them. The meeting is convened by the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa.

The government of Angola and UNESCO will hold a Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace 18-22 Sept, called the Luanda Biennale. The event is expected to take place every two years to develop actors and partners of a Pan-African movement for the prevention of violence and conflict, and the consolidation of peace. It continues a series of inititiatives by UNESCDO for the culture of peace in Africa that has been developing over many years.

Luanda is also the site for an International Symposium on the Culture of Peace, sponsored by the Instituto Superior Politécnico Tocoísta and including participants from Brazil, Portugal and the United States. The specific objective of the Symposium is to consider the creation of a Masters in African and African American Studies in Political Science (Sociology) with Howard University in the US]and Bahia State University in Brazil.

A conference on Youth and Peacebuilding in Africa was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on July 16-17, sponsored by two Ivoirian research centers and the the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Africa Program based in Washington, D.C. Among the sessions was one entitled “Building a Culture of Peace: Educating Youth for Peace.”

The 14th World Congress of Mediation and a Culture of Peace: Integrating approaches will be held on Sept 17 in Buenos Aires in conjunction with the organization T20 Argentina which strives to add value to the G20 process with evidence-based public policy proposals on areas of interest for the international agenda. The Congress brings together international professionals to exchange practices that help to address conflict and to construct a culture of sustainable peace in Latin America and the world.

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), based in Berlin, will hold a Youth Network Conference under the theme of Transform! Towards a Culture of Peace on Sept 20-22. The Youth Congress will engage youth from various different backgrounds and with varying perspectives and approaches to peace, justice and sustainability as well as diverse experts and lays from different fields related to the Congress’ issues. The IPB is one of the oldest and most prestigious peace organizations, having received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910.

Work for peace by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot teachers was a highlight of the annual meeting of the International Institute for Peace Education. This year’s meeting, which brought together 75 participants from 35 countries during the week of July 23-28. was held in Cyprus to showcase initiatives that have the potential to turn the island into a hub of innovation in the fields of History for Reconciliation and Education for a Culture of Peace. The IIPE is currently coordinated via a secretariat at The University of Toledo in the United States.

A World Forum for the Culture of Peace was held in the Hague, Netherlands on June 13, organized by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation of Kuwait and the International Peace Institute based in New York. According to the Forum, “the definition of peace has shifted in the United Nations community from the absence of conflict to a more active, “positive peace” . . . The ‘culture of peace’ recognizes the link between peace, development, and human rights. Defined in 1999, the term seeks to tackle the root causes of conflicts emphasizing the importance of dialogue, negotiation, and cooperation among individuals, groups, and nations.”

The World Peace Award: International Peace Conference was held in Stockholm, June 29-July 3. The focus of the conference was “to explore what universally shared values are and how they can contribute to a world of peace and provide hope for the future of humankind.” The initial session was devoted to “the agenda for how to share a mutual responsibility to create a culture of peace.” Most of the sponsors were Buddhist organizations, including those based in Thailand, Sweden, USA, India-Nepal, UK, Europe and China.

The United Nations High Level Forum is explicit that the culture of peace is based solidly on the 1999 United Nations Declaration and Program of Action for a Culture of Peace. While the other international conferences listed here do not explicitly mention the resolution for the culture of peace, they acknowledge that it is the United Nations that has provided a universal basis for its concept and practice.

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


8th Annual UN High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Environmental damage is a war crime, scientists say

WOMEN’S EQUALITY




Venezuela. The construction of peace must have the quality of feminism

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Argentina: The T20 Summit and the 14th World Congress of Mediation and a Culture of Peace: Integrating approaches

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Officials Urge Disarmament ‘Stepping Stones’

HUMAN RIGHTS


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UN chief welcomes power-sharing deal between Sudanese military and opposition

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Muslim World League, Patriarchate of Moscow sign cooperation deal

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Council of Europe: Culture of peace preventing violence and terrorism

English bulletin July 1, 2019

MASS PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD .

Around the world people are taking to the streets in nonviolent demonstrations to demand justice and democracy.

In some cases (Hong Kong, Russia and Algeria), the mass demonstrations have already led to some changes, while those in Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Sudan and Brazil have not yet achieved the desired results.

Hong Kong. Almost two million people took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest a Chinese proposal that would enable the extradition to mainland China of Hong Kong residents and Chinese or foreign nationals traveling through the city. Critics believed it would tighten Beijing’s grip on the autonomous city, which is governed under a “one country, two systems” policy cemented during the British handover of Hong Kong in 1997. Opposition to the extradition bill came from broad sectors of society, including the business community, professionals, teachers, students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups.  As a result of the mass demonstrations, the bill was suspended. However, it has not been completely withdrawn and the Hong Kong leader, appointed by Mainland China, is stil in place despite calls for her resignation.

Russia. Protests broke out in Russia following the arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov on trumped-up drug charges.  Golunov mainly publishes investigative reports exposing corruption, and Meduza, the online platform for which he writes, is one of the most widely read Russian-language media outlets in the world. After various smaller pro-Golunov rallies, thousands had planned to take to the streets on Wednesday June 12 in support of the journalist, even though authorities had not approved the protest. Golunov was released before then, however, following simultaneous publication by three top independent newspapers with the headline “We are Ivan Golunov.” As a result Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced that those responsible for the arrest and charges will be fired.

Algeria. In April, following mass demonstrations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had been in power for several decades, was forced to resign. Mass protests have continued, however, demanding the resignation and prosecution of other figures from his government. Some arrests of corrupt former officials and businss people have been made but demonstrations continue demanding more prosectuions and a new government without links to the previous government of Bouteflika.

Kazakhstan. Protesters in Kazahstan continue to take to the streets following a snap election after the unexpected March resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had led the country since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The protesters allege that the election to choose his successor was not free or fair, and, as expected, the hand-picked successor to Nazarbayev was elected.

Czech Republic. Hundreds of thousands of activists flooded the center of Prague on Sunday, June 23, in the culmination of anti-government protests against the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis. Previously, some 400,000 people signed a petition calling on billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis to step down amid allegations of fraud. The rallies were triggered after Babis appointed a close ally as the country’s new justice minister at a time when prosecutors are deciding on a potential indictment against him.

Sudan. After the three-decade autocratic rule of President Omar al-Bashir ended in a military takeover in April, talks faltered in May between protesters and the ruling Transitional Military Council over a timetable for civilian rule. On 3 June, security forces and paramilitaries fired on pro-democracy protesters  holding a sit-in outside army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, leaving a number of people dead and many more injured. Demonstrators in Sudan planned to return to the streets on Sunday, June 30, for mass rallies dubbed the “millions march“. [Update: “The revolution will not die.” That was the message from tens of thousands of protesters, as they poured into Sudan’s streets on June 30, demanding civilian rule.]

Brazil. Millions participated in the general strike in Brazil on 14 June, with demonstrations in 380 cities across the country. The strike had been called to reject the proposed counter-reform of the pension system by the Bolsonaro government, but also reflected opposition to education cuts, which had already brought millions onto the streets on 15 and 30 May. The Bolsonaro government was hit by revelations of collusion between the judge and the prosecution in the trial against former president Lula. The judge involved was then awarded the Ministry of Justice by Bolsonaro. There is also strong resistance to the Bolsonaro government’s policies regarding indigenous peoples and the environment and Bolsonaro’s attacks on the gay community.

Although there was police violence against protesters in Sudan and Kazakhstan, the protesters themselves were nonviolent in all the above cases. It is a good sign that people are taking to the streets rather than remaining passive in this moment of history with its many setbacks to democracy and the fact that they are nonviolent is especially important. As reported previously in CPNN, a research project on Nonviolent Resistance and Democratic Consolidation, based on 101 democratic transitions that occurred within the time period of 1945 to 2006 found that nonviolent resistance, including mass protest marches, is more effective than violent resistance in both the short term and the long term.

      

HUMAN RIGHTS



Hong Kong protesters march demanding leader resign

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Agroecology and peasant agriculture to preserve biodiversity

WOMEN’S EQUALITY




Peace through Tourism: Celebrating Her Awards

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



PAYNCoP Gabon organizes a conference on the challenges of building peace in Africa

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan Elected Chair of Rotary Middle East Initiative Council

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Luanda Biennale: Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



EDUCATION: Imagine programme helping to reconcile divided Cyprus

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Restorative Justice in Brazil: Culture of Peace instead of Punishment

English bulletin June 1, 2019

. . . LEADERSHIP FOR PEACE . . .

In a time of bad news and confusion, we seek those who can lead us towards a future of hope and stability. Here are some good examples of leadership that we have cited recently in CPNN.

Africa:

Following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, and now including his widow Graça Machel as deputy chair, the Elders continue to give us good leadership. Most recently, at their biannual board meeting in Addis Ababa, they met with the Ethiopian Minister of Health and workers at a health center, where they discussed the country’s efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage. As expressed by Graca Machel, “Health is a human right, and health workers are human rights champions. I applaud the Ethiopian Government’s commitment to delivering free primary care services at a community level, and urge them to commit further public funds to the health budget to reach this goal.”

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali, has been awarded the Félix Houphouët-Boigny – UNESCO Peace Prize for his role as the instigator of a peace agreement between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Eritrea. See the recent CPNN articles about this agreement.

The Nobel Women’s Initiative was hosted in Monrovia, Liberia by Nobel peace laureate, Leymah Gbowee, and the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa for a groundbreaking summit of Emerging Feminist Voices for Peace. The five Nobel Peace Laureates present (Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Wiliams, Rigoberta Menchú Tum and Tawakkol Karman) shared some of their experience and offered advice for young, ‘emerging’ feminist leaders. “The overarching theme was that we (women) are powerful and worthy; that we must claim our space, we must use our voice and we must not ask for permission to do so.”

The youth of Africa continue to mobilize for peace. The National Co-ordination in Gabon of the Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP,) has recently unveiled its roadmap of actions to be carried out over the next two years. The action plan provides for four strategic axes, including the popularization of PAYNCoP, the promotion of a culture of peace, the appropriation of Resolution 2250 (youth, peace and security) and the transformation of PAYNCoP into a social enterprise .

Latin America:

21 Nobel Peace Laureates Have Confirmed Attendance at the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates titled: “Leave Your Mark for Peace” to take place in in Mérida, México. This year’s program will focus on both the Mexican legacy and the nation’s involvement in the global peacebuilding process. The program will engage civil society and youth from throughout the world by providing them the tools and strategies needed to achieve peace at the local and global levels.

In the face of the neo-colonial threats of the United States and its allies against Venezuela, 
the fomer President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, has warned that “Any action that could lead to the forceful overthrow of Maduro’s government would renew the culture of military coups and bloody dictatorship in Latin America, reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s. . . . The greatest contribution that external intervention can play is to encourage democratic solutions and promote political negotiations and dialogue, for a peaceful settlement. Any other course, such as economic sanctions, will only worsen the situation and lead to bloodshed and violence. Latin America and the Caribbean need a culture of peace.”

North America:

Although the government and the mass media of the United States are not providing good leadership, there are individuals who are (or have) done so. Richard Falk, who served as the UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine during the period between 2008 and 2014, explains in a recent blog why he cannot abandon his long-standing commitment to take controversial public positions, such as his defense of the human rights of the Palestinian people, his objection to the threats against Iran and his defense of the whistle-blowing of Julian Assange.

Recently we lost a great peace activist of the United States, Michael True. Mike was a tireless advocate of people power. He believed deeply in the capacity of ordinary folk to effect social change, and expressed that conviction in his many books, lectures, and personal support for a myriad of campaigns, including the Peace and Justice Studies Association and the International Peace Research Association. When the UN came out with its Culture of Peace documents, he was ecstatic, because finally an international body recognized what he had known all along, that individual initiative, nonviolent direct action, and people power matter.

Europe:

Religious leaders are working for world peace. In Geneva, the conference on ‘Promoting Peace Together’ Promoting Human Fraternity and Harmonious Co-existence through Dialogue was sponsored by two of the largest Christian organizations, the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The conference presented their document “Education for Peace in a Multi-religious World: A Christian Perspective. It also discussed the document ‘Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together’ jointly signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi in February, 2019,

East Asia:

And religious leaders are working specifically for peace in Korea. South Korean Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung believes that permanent peace is within sight on the Korean Peninsula. He made this 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.

Globally:

As we have previously reported, students around the world have taken the leadership in the fight to save the planet from global warming. The recent strike on May 24 is said to involved over a million students, and we show their photos from the Philippines, Germany, Syria, South Korea, New Zealand, India, Italy, Uganda, Ireland, USA and Sweden as well as links to photos from Chile, Mexico and Brazil.

It should not be surprising that the leadership we need comes especially from the sectors that have been ignored and oppressed by the culture of war,: women, youth and the continents that were victims of colonialism and continue to be exploited by neo-colonialism, Africa and Latin America.

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



21 Nobel Peace Laureates Have Confirmed Attendance at the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Youth for climate: 130 scientists support the youth climate strike

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Liberia: Feminist Voices for Peace

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



PAYNCOP Gabon Presents its Roadmap to the President of the National Assembly

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Latin America and the Caribbean need a culture of peace

HUMAN RIGHTS



The Global Campaign for the Prevention of Child Marriage

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Geneva: Conference on ‘Promoting Peace Together’ Promoting Human Fraternity and Harmonious Co-existence through Dialogue

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Spain: What a city of peace should be like, according to youngsters in Barcelona

English bulletin May 1, 2019

FREEDOM OF PRESS IS UNDER ATTACK

Freedom of the press is under attack around the world, with the biggest deterioration in North and South America. And the most spectacular and dangerous example is the arrest of Julian Assange of Wikileaks and the threat that he he may be extradited and tried by a kangaroo court in the United States.

According to Bruce Shapiro, the executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University School of Journalism, the very essence of the press freedoms in the United States is under attack in the U.S. attempt to extradite and try Assange. He calls it an “attempt to criminalize investigative reporting.”

Not only freedom of the press, but also democracy, human rights and peace are under attack.

Daniel Ellsberg, himself the courageous whistle-blower of the Pentagon Papers that revealed the lies of the Vietnam War, puts it this way: “Without whistleblowers we would not have a democracy. And there have to be people to distribute work and publish it. Julian Assange has done that in a way in which other publishers have not been willing to. . . . it is now up to us to make sure that the First Amendment is preserved.”

United Nations experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, the UN independent expert on the right to privacy, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture warned that the arrest and threatened extradition of Assange is a violation of his human rights, “including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial, and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

An example of how Wikileaks revelations promoted democracy comes from Kenya. Writing in Al Jazeera, Patrick Gathara describes how a report about government corruption was suppressed by that same government, but was obtained and revealed by Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Gathara states that  “For once, Kenyans were afforded an unvarnished and detailed glimpse of the amount of national wealth that was being stolen by the very people tasked with protecting it.”

The list of Wikileaks evelations of government corruption is quite long, and it takes the journalist Alison Weir 8,000 words to describe them in the article we have reprinted in CPNN. Wikileads revealed “the U.S. government’s cover-up of torture, cruelty, the killing of civilians, spying on its own citizens and others. It exposed Democratic Party cheating and manipulation, the fraudulence of ‘Russiagate.’ It unmasked Israeli plans to keep Gaza on the brink of collapse, to use violence against Palestinian nonviolence, to make war upon civilians.” And the list could be even longer, if one includes examples like the corruption in Kenya mentioned above.

Although the United States is exerting pressure behind the scenes, the arrest was due to the actions of the governments of Ecuador and the UK.
For Noam Chomsky, it shows the global reach of the American empire: “why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time.”

Fortunately, many people are taking positive steps to support Assange. In CPNN, we have carried several articles of support from Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. On January 7 she nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. And after his arrest in April, she demanded the right to visit him in prison.

Mairead Maguire reminds us that the actions of Assange are an important contribution to peace: “By Julians courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. . . . I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be haunted like an animal by Governments, punished and silenced.  . . .. This man is paying a high price to end war and  for peace and nonviolence and we should all  remember that.”

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


2019 World Press Freedom Index – A cycle of fear

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Photo essay: Climate Change Protests Sweep Europe

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


UNCSW63’s positive outcomes for women’s human rights

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



National Campaign for Peace Education launched in Cameroon

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



Statement on Escalating Tensions in Venezuela Issued by the Caribbean Community

HUMAN RIGHTS



South Africa Launches Plan to Combat Xenophobia and Racism

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Haiti – Dominican Republic : “For a culture of peace theme of the week of the diaspora

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Benin: The Youth Movement for the Preservation of Peace and Democracy

English bulletin April 1, 2019

A GLOBAL YOUTH MOVEMENT ? .

Millions of students went on strike from school on March 15 to pressure their governments to address seriously the problem of global warming. Photos from that day on CPNN show their demonstrations around the world: in the UK, Australia, Philippines, Sweden, Italy, Uganda, Belgium, USA, Canada, Portugal, Ukraine, Spain, Chile, Nigeria, France and Bangladesh.

The movement has been inspired by the actions of a girl in Sweden, Greta Thunberg, who sat last year by herself outside the Swedish parliament to demand that they take action. Since then Greta has spoken out in many venus, including the meeting of the world’s richest bankers and executives in Davos, Switzerland. Her words at Davos struck a chord, especially among young people around the world: “Act As If Our House Is on Fire. Because It Is.” She has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. If Thunberg won, the 16-year-old would be the youngest winner ever and the second after 2007 co-winners former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be honored for work on climate change.

The mission statement of the American Youth Climate Strike is a clear exposition of their demands, “We, the youth of America, are striking because decades of inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change, according to the Oct 2018 UN IPCC Report. We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. We are striking because marginalized communities across our nation —especially communities of color, disabled communities, and low- income communities—  are already disproportionately impacted by climate change. We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change. With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people.”

Here are a few of the colorful, hand-lettered placards at the youth march in New York City:
– There is no plan(et) B
– One people One planet
– I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized I was the somebody!
– Respect existence or expect resistance !
– Break the climate silence !
– Youth strikes harder when climate change strikes !
– Change is coming whether you like it or not !

The collective “Youth for the climate” was formed in Spain by groups of young people who joined as a collective last February and who are organized in assemblies. Eight weeks ago these young people decided that they had to strik along with young people in Europe and around the world. We link to a video of several of these activists who say, among other things that “No es la tierra de nuestros hijos sino nuestro proprio futuro . . . ” (We are concerned not only with the world for our children, but for our own future as well.)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres has praised the youth movement, saying that ““These schoolchildren have grasped something that seems to elude many of their elders”, he said, adding that “we are in a race for our lives, and we are losing. The window of opportunity is closing; we no longer have the luxury of time, and climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial.” The Secretary-General acknowledged that his older generation “has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change.  This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.”

Representing CPNN, I had the chance to go to the march and demonstration of school students in New York against climate change on Friday, March 15. There were a series of demonstrations ending up with a big enthusisastic crowd at the Museum of Natural History. The average age was under 20. I’d have to back to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to remember big demonstrations with majority youth. Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

      

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT


Global Climate Strike in Pictures: Millions of Students Walk Out to Demand Planetary Transformation

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


United Nations: ‘Global clarion call’ for youth to shape efforts to forge peace in the most dangerous combat zones

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Photos: International Women’s Day marked by strikes, protests and celebrations

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Mexico: authorities sign agreement for peace in Tecomán

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY



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

HUMAN RIGHTS



Amnesty International: After Christchurch, how to beat Islamophobia and hate

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Fourth edition of living together in Togo

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



El Salvador: Associations present project to promote a Culture of Peace