Tag Archives: english bulletin

English bulletin April 1, 2018

. . . THE NEW GENERATION . . .

The news this month is dominated by the new generation.

In the United States on March 14, over one million students in over 3000 schools walked out of classes to protest gun violence, led by the survivors of the massacre of 17 students and staff in Parkland, Florida, last month.

As explained by Chelsea, a high school student, “We’re here protesting gun violence all across America. Guns don’t solve problems, they create problems. And obviously, as you can see, we all feel strongly about this. This is something that’s been going on for far too long. And if people—if adults aren’t going to take action, we need to take action.”

In the words of another high school student, Jayleen Flores, “A big part of this was to show that our generation is going to make the change because we are the future, and we are soon to be adults. So it is like this is our time to really get out there and have them listen to us,””

Ten days later, on March 24, young people took the leadership in over 800 ‘March For Our Lives’ events across the United States, including almost one million in Washington, D.C. alone. The most remarkable moment at the Washington rally was when 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, addressed the crowd and paused for a full 6 minutes and 20 seconds silence – the time it took for the gunman to kill 17 of her Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School classmates.

In some of the biggest U.S. youth demonstrations for decades, protesters called on lawmakers and President Donald Trump to confront the issue. Voter registration activists fanned out in the crowds, signing up thousands of the nation’s newest voters. In Washington, Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old high school junior, told the crowd: “Politicians: either represent the people or get out. Stand with us or beware, the voters are coming.”

The young people are finding substantial support in their efforts to change the gun laws of the United States. Both of country’s teacher’s unions are supporting the student walkout and demonstrations. Many politicians and Hollywood stars joined in the demonstrations.

One especially symbolic contribution was that of the New England Patriots football team which offered their airplane to transport the students from Parkland, Florida, to the Washington demonstration.

Photos illustrate the historic nature of the demonstrations.

And there are already important economic effects. Major corporations are cancelling the discounts that they previously offered to members of the National Rifle Association. And the oldest gunmaker in the country, Remington, has filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, it is a teenager, 17-year-old Amed Tamimi, who has become the heroic representation of resistance by the Palestinians to the Israeli occupation. She has been sentenced by a secret military court to 8 months in prison for have slapped, pushed and kicked an Israeli soldier who was occupying her house not long after he or another soldier in his squad shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, forcing him into a coma. Her mother filmed the episode and uploaded it onto Facebook. As a result Amed has become a hero while her mother has been sentenced to prison for “incitement.” Meanwhile, the film has sparked solidarity actions around the world.

The scale and historical importance of these actions by the new generation reminds one of the leadership by youth in the global movement against the war in Vietnam in the 1960’s and in the movement against Apartheid in South Africa in the 1970’s. As a result, the Vietnam War had to be abandoned, and Apartheid was overthrown. Will America’s lax gun laws be changed and will the Israeli occupation be overcome? The answer is in the hands of the new generation.

      

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


USA: Enough! A Million Students Walk Out of Schools to Demand Action on Guns in Historic Day of Action

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Brazil: World Social Forum concludes in Salvador

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



World Peace Flame to be lit in Ashland, Oregon (USA)

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



France: Citizen vote against nuclear power

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


What Is CSW and Why Are We in New York to Be Part of It?

HUMAN RIGHTS



Cuba a ‘Champion’ of Children’s Rights: UNICEF

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Ahed Tamimi and the Pathology of the Israeli Mind

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



‘Back to Learning’ education campaign to benefit half a million children in South Sudan

English bulletin March 1, 2018

SOLIDARITY INSTEAD OF THREAT

The theme this month is solidarity instead of military threat.

We begin with the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Speaking at the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, in the Republic of Korea, he said, “Let the Olympic flame shine as a beacon to human solidarity.  Let the Olympic Truce help spread a culture of peace.”

And speaking to the meeting on combating the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa held by Peace and Security Council of the African Union, he concluded that “we face a serious challenge — but I believe it is one that we can meet with solidarity, common action and a shared resolve.”

In Korea the Olympic Games have inspired the first peaceful contact between North and South in many years. This flies in the face of the threat of military action by the United States.

As athletes from North and South Korea marched together, the head of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee, Lee Hee-beom, addressed the closing ceremony, saying “the presence of both Koreas at these Olympic Games has laid a solid foundation for the future of the two Koreas. The seed of peace you have planted here in PyeongChang will grow as a big tree in the not-distant future. The hope and aspirations of South and North Korean athletes together with cheerleaders will definitely serve as a cornerstone of the unification of the Korean Peninsula.”

In Africa, the call by Guterres for solidarity echoes the actions for a culture of peace by UNESCO, designed to “draw on the sources of inspiration and the potential of the cultural, natural and human resources of the continent in order to identify concrete lines of action to build a lasting peace, the cornerstone of endogenous development and Pan-Africanism.” These can be seen as an alternative not only to the threat of terrorism, but also to the threat posed by American military expansion on that continent.

In Latin America, there are two good examples of solidarity this month. Writing from Mexico, Leonardo Boff, the Brazilian theologian and writer, recalls the remarkable spirit of solidarity and cooperation of the Mexican people in response to the earthquake last year. And writing from the organization Tikkun in the United States, David Sylvester, recalls how the presence of a delegation of some 50 interfaith and peace activists prevented violence against the peaceful protests of the people of Honduras.

In Europe, activists of Amnesty International and Anafé (the National Border Assistance Association for Foreigners) continue to give aid to refugees at the border despite prosecution by the French authorities.

In the Middle East, despite pressure by the government of Israel, the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement that seeks to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and human rights violations, continues its activity and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the United States, the movement of solidarity and resistance to protect immigrants from the threat of deportation by the government of Donald Trump, continues to gain support, as exemplified by the”state of the city” address by New Haven mayor Toni Harp.

Finally, on a global scale, we publish the latest news from the Youth Solidarity Fund of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, which we have followed since its beginnings over a decade ago. And a former director of the Alliance, Shamil Idriss gives us his vision for the actions of Search for Common Ground in 2018, based on their actions of solidarity during 2017.

      

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



The People of Mexico Give the World an Example of Solidarity

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


UNESCO brochure: Africa, Culture of Peace, 2017

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



UN chief in Pyeongchang; Olympic message of peace is universal, beacon for human solidarity, culture of peace

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



China Reassigns 60,000 Soldiers to Plant Trees

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


First National Bank dumps NRA, will no longer issue NRA Visa card

HUMAN RIGHTS



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

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


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

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Search for Common Ground: Vision for 2018

English bulletin February 1, 2018

MASS MEDIA FOR CULTURE OF PEACE

It has been the dream at CPNN from the beginning that our website and others like us would be able to attract so much readership that the mass media would need to take up the theme of the culture of peace in order compete with us.

I don’t know if we have played a role in this, but indeed we see increasingly, at least in Latin America and Africa, that commercial media are taking up the theme of the culture of peace.

The latest example comes from Mexico as described in the CPNN article, “Zacatecan Radio and Television System to introduce ‘the culture of peace’ as a transversal theme.

The many decisions taken in their manifesto “Public radio as a force for peace in Mexico” include:

* Every news program should start and end with positive news and should include at least one story related to “peace initiatives”

* Each radio station should hold a marathon at least every quarter with readings, verses, songs and poems for peace and profiles of people who have contributed to peace

* A 30-episode radio program. 15 minutes of duration will be broadcast by all public broadcasters in Mexico with content derived from the manifesto
The manifesto was developed with input from journalists in Colombia who explained how the media are playing a positive role in the transition to peace that their country.

In Colombia, for example, the initiative “Community Radios for Peace and Coexistence”, launched in mid-2016 with support from the European Unon, supports 400 of the 627 community radio stations in the country to generate a culture of peace in the most remote rural areas, those most affected by the armed conflict. The initiative not only opens microphones to the people, but also includes workshops in which 200 community radio journalists have been trained in the elaboration of educational content on peacebuilding,

Last year in Colombia, the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace began training journalists and announcers working at hundreds of small community radio stations across the country including many remote regions where radio is the only medium to which people have access.

In Africa, there are now so many media initiatives for a culture of peace that we have started an entire section of CPNN dedicated to the question “African journalism and the culture of peace, A model for the rest of the world?” Links are provided to CPNN articles from Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Somalia.

In Uganda, since the end of the civil war with the LRA, local community radio stations have been reaching out to the public through peace reporting with a focus on development. International agencies have trained hundreds of local journalists in peace reporting. A number of community radios were set up with a commitment to peace journalism and are still active today.

UNESCO’s project “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” is helping radio stations to inspire intolerance for gender-based violence and hold perpetrators and duty-bearers responsible in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Burundi.

In Senegal last year, journalists and experts from the countries of West Africa and the Sahel met together in a seminar on “The role of journalists and the media in preventing violence and violent extremism.”

“It is the responsibility of each person to spread positive content and useful experiences that participate in the construction of the world, and thus in a culture of peace. It is therefore up to us to make the media a positive tool for the construction of society,”
according to Patrick Busquet, the head of the Hirondelle Foundation (Democratic Republic of Congo). It is in pursuit of this ideal that as of 2014 the Hirondelle Foundation had installed several media in Africa: Radio Okapi in Kinshasa, Radio Ndeke Luka in Bangui, the Tamani studios in Mali, Mozaïk in Ivory Coast, and Hirondelle in Guinea.

Back in 2011, The Journalists’ Network for Peace and Security (NetPeace) was officially launched at the AU headquarters of the African Union under the theme “Promoting a Culture of Peace through the Media”. Regional coordinators were established in Mauritania, Mali, Liberia, Djibouti, Kenya, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

In the United States last year CPNN took part in a panel at Southern Oregon University called “Cultivating a Culture of Peace in an Era of Trump: What’s the Media’s Role?” Among the panelists were Jeff Golden from Southern Oregon Public TV and Bert Etling, a member of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission and editor of the newspaper Ashland Daily Tidings. Articles on the culture of peace from the Daily Tidings are frequently reprinted by CPNN.

Hopefully, we will see further development of media for a culture of peace in the North, but for the time being, it is Africa and Latin America in the lead.

      

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION


Mexico: Zacatecan Radio and Television System to introduce “the culture of peace” as a transversal theme

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY



Burkina Faso: Inter-religious dialogue for peace: “It is the diversity of religions that gives meaning to religion”

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Honduras: Culture of peace promoted in 200 young people from “hot” areas

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



‘World’s First Solar Highway’ Opens in China for Testing

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY


Baltimore, USA: Conference on US foreign military bases

HUMAN RIGHTS


Uruguay’s main trade union center plans massive mobilization to construct a culture of peace

WOMEN’S EQUALITY


Women’s March protests across America against President Trump

EDUCATION FOR PEACE


El Salvador to prioritize culture of peace in its schools

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