All posts by CPNN Coordinator

About CPNN Coordinator

Dr David Adams is the coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, proclaimed for the Year 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Peter Kuznick on the Significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons


An article from World Beyond War

Peter Kuznick answered the following questions from Mohamed Elmaazi of Sputnik Radio and agreed to let World BEYOND War publish the text.

1) What’s the significance of Honduras being the latest country to join the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?

What a remarkable and ironic development, especially after the U.S. had been pressuring the previous 49 signers to withdraw their approvals. It is so fitting that Honduras, the original “banana republic,” pushed it over the edge–a delicious fuck you to a century of U.S. exploitation and bullying.

Peter Kuznick on Sputnik

2) Is it possibly a bit of a distraction to focus on countries that have no nuclear capability?

Not really. This treaty represents the moral voice of humanity. It may not have a universal enforcement mechanism, but it clearly states that the people of this planet abhor the power-hungry, annihilation-threatening madness of the nine nuclear powers. The symbolic significance can not be overstated.

3) There already is a Treaty on Nuclear Non-Proliferation which came into force in 1970 and which has been nearly every country on the planet is a party to. Is the NPT being lived up to?

The NPT has been lived up to to a surprising extent by the non-nuclear powers. It is amazing that more countries have not gone the nuclear path. The world is fortunate that more haven’t made that leap at a time when, according to El Baradei, at least 40 countries have the technological capability of doing so. The ones who are guilty of violating it are the five original signatories–the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France. They have completely ignored Article 6, which requires the nations possessing nuclear arsenals to reduce and eliminate those arsenals. The total number of nuclear weapons may have been cut from an absolutely insane 70,000 to a slightly less insane 13,500, but that is still enough to end life on the planet many times over.

4) If it isn’t, what good will yet another treaty, such as the one Honduras just joined, be in such an environment?

The NPT didn’t make possession, development, transportation, and threat to use nuclear weapons illegal. The new treaty does and explicitly so. This is a major symbolic leap. While it won’t put the leaders of the nuclear weapons states on trial by the International Criminal Court, it will put pressure on them to heed global sentiment as has been the case with chemical weapons, land mines, and other treaties. If the U.S. wasn’t concerned about the effect of this pressure, why did it make such an effort to block the treaty’s ratification? As Eisenhower and Dulles both stated during the 1950s, it was the global nuclear taboo that stopped them from using nuclear weapons on several occasions. Global moral pressure can constrain bad actors and sometimes even force them to become good actors.

In 2002 the US administration of George W Bush Jr withdrew from the ABM treaty. The Trump Administration withdrew from the INF Treaty in 2019 and there are questions as to whether the New START treaty will be renewed before it expires in 2021. Both the ABM and the INF treaties were signed between the US and Soviet Union to reduce the risk of nuclear war.

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Question related to this article:
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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5) Explain the consequences of the US withdrawal from key nuclear controls treaties such as the ABM and the INF treaty.

The consequences of U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty were enormous. On the one hand, it allowed the U.S. to continue with implementation of its still unproven and costly missile defense systems. On the other, it induced the Russians to begin research and development of their own countermeasures. As a result of those efforts, on March 1, 2018, in his State of the Nation address, Vladimir Putin announced that the Russians had now developed five new nuclear weapons, all of which can circumvent U.S. missile defense systems. Hence, abrogation of the ABM Treaty gave the U.S. a false sense of security and by putting Russia in a vulnerable position, it sparked Russian innovation that has put the U.S. in a weakened position. Overall, this has only made the world more dangerous. Abrogation of the INF Treaty has similarly resulted in introduction of more dangerous missiles that can potentially destabilize relations. This is what happens when shortsighted, advantage-seeking hawks make policy and not responsible statesmen.

6) Why do you think the US has been moving away from these nuclear arms control treaties that it originally signed with the Soviet Union? Have they not been serving their purpose?

The Trump administration policymakers do not want to see the U.S. constrained by international treaties. They believe the U.S. can and will win an arms race. Trump has said so repeatedly. In 2016, he declared, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” This past May, Trump’s chief arms control negotiator, Marshall Billingslea, similarly stated, “We can spend Russia and China into oblivion in order to win a new nuclear arms race.” They are both insane and should be taken away by the men in white coats. In 1986, during the previous arms race before Gorbachev, with a little late help from Reagan, injected some sanity into the world, the nuclear powers had accumulated approximately 70,000 nuclear weapons, equivalent to some 1.5 million Hiroshima bombs. Do we really want to get back to that? Sting sang a powerful song in the 1980s with the lyrics, “I hope the Russians love their children too.” We were lucky that they did. I don’t think Trump is capable of loving anyone other than himself and he has a straight line to the nuclear button with no one standing in his way.

7) What is New START Treaty and how does it fit into all of this?

The New START Treaty limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 and also limits the number of launch vehicles. Because of technicalities, the number of weapons is actually higher. It is all that is left of the nuclear arms control architecture that has taken decades to erect. It is all that stands in the way of nuclear anarchy and the new arms race I was just talking about. It is set to expire on February 5. From Trump’s first day in office, Putin has been trying to get Trump to extend it unconditionally for five years as the treaty allows. Trump disparaged the treaty and established impossible conditions for its renewal. Now, desperate for a foreign policy victory on the eve of the election, he has tried to negotiate its extension. But Putin refuses to accept the terms that Trump and Billingslea are proposing, making one wonder just how firmly Putin really is in Trump’s corner.

8) Where would you like to see policy makers go from here, in particular among major nuclear powers?

First, they need to extend the New START Treaty for five years, as Biden has promised he will do. Second, they need to reinstitute the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) and the INF Treaty. Third, they need to take all weapons off hair-trigger alert. Fourth, they need to get rid of all ICBMs, which are the most vulnerable part of the arsenal and require immediate launch if an incoming missile is detected as has happened numerous times only to be found to be false alarms. Fifth, they need to change command and control to insure that other responsible leaders have to sign off besides just the president before nuclear weapons are ever used. Sixth, they need to reduce arsenals below the threshold for nuclear winter. Seventh, they need to join the TPNW and abolish nuclear weapons entirely. Eighth, they need to take the money they’ve been wasting on weapons of annihilation and invest them in areas that will uplift humanity and improve people’s lives. I can give them lots of suggestions of where to begin if they want to listen.
Peter Kuznick is Professor of History at American University, and author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists As Political Activists in 1930s America, co-author with Akira Kimura of  Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and American Perspectives, co-author with Yuki Tanaka of Nuclear Power and Hiroshima: The Truth Behind the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power, and co-editor with James Gilbert of Rethinking Cold War Culture. In 1995, he founded American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute, which he directs. In 2003, Kuznick organized a group of scholars, writers, artists, clergy, and activists to protest the Smithsonian’s celebratory display of the Enola Gay. He and filmmaker Oliver Stone co-authored the 12 part Showtime documentary film series and book both titled The Untold History of the United States.

Africa Beijing+25 Youth Baraza: Fem-Foster, Enable, Mobilize


Video on Youtube

The Office of the Envoy of the African Union for Youth in collaboration with the Women, Gender and Development Directorate has organized five regional events of the “Beijing + 25 Mobilization of Young African Women” co-organized with the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Young Women Leaders Caucus and the International Youth Task Force for Beijing + 25.

The events take place by internet.

Here are some notes from the event for East Africa that took place on October 20. For details, see the video link above.

The closing remarks were moderated by Dr. Chiamaka Nwachukwu from the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy. She introduced reports from the following breakout groups.

Ms Mohamed reported from the group on economic rights and justice.

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Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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Ms Joyce Nwati reported from the group on sexual reproductive health and rights.

Ms Joanita B reported from the group on feminist action for climate justice.

Ms Sodfa Daaji reported from the group on technology and innovation for feminist action.

Ms Steff Musho reported from the feminist movement and leadership group.

Ms Lusunga Kalanga reported from the gender-based violence group

Ms Irena Kinabo reported from the group that addressed youth silencing the gun.

Ms Gloria Mangi, speaking on behalf of the African Union Youth Task Force and the Moremi Initiative for Leadership Development and Empowerment (MILEAD) addressed the development of young women leadership in Africa.

The event for West Africa was scheduled for October 16. Click here for a video from the event.

The event for Southern Africa took place on Friday, October 23. Here is a video of the closing remarks.

The event for Central Africa was scheduled to take place on October 27 at 14H00 EAT (GMT+3)

The event for Northern Africa was scheduled for October 30.

Red Cross : Nuclear ban: “Today is an historic day. We call on world leaders to act with courage and join the right side of history”


A press release from  The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

October 24. Fifty States have now ratified the Treaty, meaning that it will enter into force as an instrument of international humanitarian law in 90 days. The Treaty is the first globally applicable multilateral agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons. It prohibits their use, threat of use, development, production, testing and stockpiling. It also commits States to clearing contaminated areas and helping victims. By providing pathways for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the TPNW is an indispensable building block towards a world free of nuclear weapons

Photo: ICRC

Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:

“Today is an historic day: even a few years ago, the dream of a nuclear ban recognized by the international community seemed unfathomable. This is a victory for every citizen of the world, and it demonstrates the importance of multilateralism. I would like to congratulate all 50 States that have ratified the treaty and to call on all the other world leaders to act with courage and join the right side of history.

“The simple reality is that the international community could never hope to deal with the consequences of a nuclear confrontation. No nation is prepared to deal with a nuclear confrontation. What we cannot prepare for, we must prevent”, Mr Rocca said.

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Question related to this article:
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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There are over 14,000 nuclear bombs in the world, thousands of which are ready to be launched in an instant. The power of many of those warheads are tens of times greater than the weapons dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said :

“Today is a victory for humanity, and a promise of a safer future. Too many times we have seen the dangerous logic of nuclear deterrence drag the world to the brink of destruction. Too many accept nuclear weapons as an inevitable part of the international security architecture. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons allows us to imagine a world free from such inhumane weapons as an achievable goal.”

Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders have over the past years advocated with government leaders, parliamentarians, academics and with the public to reflect in depth on the humanitarian consequences of Nuclear weapons and the need to have a legally binding commitment for their prohibition and in the long term for their elimination. They also have urged the Nuclear possessing states to urgently take interim steps to reduce the immediate risks of use of nuclear weapons by intent, miscalculation or accident, and in the long term to sign and ratify the treaty.

Prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons is a humanitarian imperative, and a promise to future generations that they will never have to live under the threat of nuclear catastrophe as we have experienced the past 75 years.

“The use of nuclear weapons is, under any circumstances, unacceptable in humanitarian, moral and legal terms. We are ready, together with our Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, to continue our advocacy to build a world without nuclear weapons: we need to scale-up and intensify our efforts. We must do it for future generations,” concluded Mr Rocca.

United States : There Are Anti-War Candidates


An article from David Swanson

I don’t have any use for PEP politicians (progressive except on the Pentagon), but there are going to be serious members of the U.S. Congress next year who aren’t afraid of flags and war songs. There are going to be a lot more than (AOC+3) four of them.


One is going to be Cori Bush from St. Louis who won her primary against a long-time incumbent. She’s recently tweeted the following:

“If you’re having a bad day, just think of all the social services we’re going to fund after we defund the Pentagon.”

“Militarization makes up 64% of our federal budget. Medicare & Health are 6%. Education is 5%. Social Security, Unemployment, and Labor together are 3%. Ignorance is thinking those priorities keep our families safe.”

“220K+ people, including 1,700 healthcare workers, have died from COVID-19 due to our government’s inability to protect its citizens & pass pandemic relief. Ignorance is Trump’s Pentagon taking $1 billion in funding designated for PPE production to make jet engine parts.”

“@BernieSanders and @EdMarkey proposed a 10% cut on the Pentagon budget to use to fund health care, housing, childcare and educational opportunities for cities and towns experiencing a poverty rate of 25% or more. Ignorance is blocking this bill knowing it would save lives.”

“Ignorance is paying Lockheed Martin more than $1 trillion over the course of a 60 year contract for a dysfunctional F-35 program. Ignorance is letting their CEO take a $20 million dollar salary while military veterans go homeless.”

“The Department of Defense has never passed an independent audit, yet we continue to give them money unchecked. Ignorance is the Trump administration *INCREASING* the Pentagon budget by more than $100 billion since he was elected.”

“Ignorance is giving weapons of war to local police departments with no accountability or oversight. Ignorance is calling us radical for saying that’s wrong.”

Cori Bush may appreciate this billboard going up in St. Louis. And I’m sure she fully appreciates that she’s up against Joe Biden on all of the above just as much as Trump. But she’s not going to be alone.


Jamaal Bowman of New York said of his now-defeated primary competition:

“My opponent, Representative Eliot Engel, and I do not share the same foreign policy vision. He voted for one of the worst policy disasters of my lifetime — an unjust and costly 2 trillion dollar war in Iraq. He voted against President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement which put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program. He went on CNN this past year and said he didn’t want to tie Trump’s hands when it came to strikes on Iran. He was one of only 16 House Democrats in 2016 to vote against an amendment that blocked the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia which has been relentlessly dropping them on Yemeni civilians. My opponent accepts donations from corporations and arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. He supports a hawkish and costly foreign policy agenda instead of focusing on the communities in our district that have been neglected for far too long. We must dramatically reduce the Pentagon’s budget over the next ten years, end the forever wars, and rebuild a diplomacy-first approach through the State Department. We have been in Afghanistan for 19 years, in Iraq for 17 years, and in Syria for five years. Congress must reassert its authority to bring our troops home.”

Engel stood by his warmongering and sank with it. This means that a different warmonger will become the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, while Engel likely heads off to make the big bucks from a yet-to-be-named weapons dealer.


Mondaire Jones of New York also won his primary. His website says:

“The United States has been at war for most of my life — wars that have led to hundreds of thousands of people being killed and millions more displaced. We were led into the disastrous war in Iraq under false pretenses. The war in Afghanistan has been raging for almost 19 years. We are contributing to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, in Yemen, by providing weapons to the Saudi-led coalition. Extreme war powers, and a reluctance by members of Congress to exert oversight, have enabled the Trump Administration to bring us dangerously close to the brink of war with Iran. . . . Enough is enough. Our national security depends on a sane approach to American foreign policy that centers diplomacy, peace, human rights, and cooperation on the challenges facing our world. We must stop fighting endless wars. As a member of Congress, I will fight to finally repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has given the executive branch a blank check to pursue foreign wars having nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. I will work to bring an end to existing conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan, through inclusive peace processes that center human rights, including women’s rights. I will support barring the sale of weapons to human rights violators, including Saudi Arabia, and I will support redirecting funds towards conflict prevention, including through development aid to reduce poverty and inequalities and combat climate change. . . . Our budgets reflect our values and priorities. Currently, the United States has chosen to prioritize investing in war and weapons ahead of providing for the basic needs of our people. The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allocates a whopping $738 billion dollars for military spending. We spend more than approximately the next seven countries combined. It is estimated that we have spent almost $6 trillion dollars on the Global War on Terror alone. The United States maintains hundreds of costly military bases in dozens of countries throughout the world. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has gutted funding for the State Department and USAID, making the United States less able to lead on diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to address our world’s biggest challenges. As a member of Congress, I will push to reduce military spending and reinvest this money in the State Department, to strengthen diplomacy and peacebuilding, as well as domestically, in programs that meet the needs of our civilian population. I will fight to prioritize investment in human security approaches, which focus on meeting the human needs of people and protecting our environment.”

Those three are going to be added to Congress anew. That’s a big improvement. A couple more might get in, the first more likely than the second.

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Question for this article:

The peace movement in the United States, What are its strengths and weaknesses?

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Mike Siegel, who won his primary in Texas, has not a word on his website but has said this:

“Let’s rebuild the State Department and our diplomatic corps. Let’s revamp our foreign aid spending to encourage the development of civil society and local economies. And instead of over-spending on war industries, let’s invest in the domestic safety net and the conditions for peace around the world.”


Qasim Rashid, who won his primary in hyper-militarized Virginia, says on his website:

“The United States spends twice as much on national defense as China and Russia combined. We can spend this money more wisely and find ways to cut costs. US defense spending priorities must focus on foreign threats, assemble the defense infrastructure necessary to protect Americans from these threats, and support the men and women who defend our way of life, while they’re serving and after they serve.”

“[W]e should not be running our foreign policy through the Pentagon. It’s time to invest in diplomacy, and take time during the COVID-19 pandemic to think about what national security truly means in a 21st century world.”

Then there are incumbents.


This co-chair from Washington State of the extremely unreliable Progressive Caucus recently said:

“This will be a top priority of the progressive caucus — to really get some meaningful budget cuts in Pentagon spending this next cycle.”

She recently tweeted:

“We must retire the days of incremental change and usher in a new age of bold, progressive transformation. That means finally cutting wasteful defense spending to make long overdue investments in health care, infrastructure, and clean energy.”


Jayapal and Pocan, of Wisconsin, recently wrote:

“Every dollar wasted at the Pentagon is a dollar not being spent on test kits, personal protective equipment or contact tracing. Every handout to Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman is money that could have been spent on ending this pandemic, keeping small businesses afloat and staving off an economic meltdown. We hope our colleagues will join us in voting to cut the Pentagon budget, so we can redirect funding to where it’s needed in our communities.”


A possibly ally is Katie Porter who recently asked a Lockheed Martin executive:

“Why should the taxpayer foot the bill to help Lockheed Martin at this time?”

Then there are the five most reliably antiwar Congress Members of recent years:






That makes a possible baker’s dozen out of 435 House Members, not counting 100 Senators. There are more:


In July, Congresswoman Lee of Oakland and Congressman Pocan announced the formation of a Defense [sic] Spending Reduction Caucus. I have been unable to learn who is in it.



Defazio and Blumenauer of Oregon have been relatively outspoken, even on their websites.


Congressman McGovern of Massachusetts is a pretty reliable vote.

There are others.

This year 93 House Members voted to move 10% of military spending to human needs on a vote that was not even close and on which none of them were threatened or bribed by their party “leadership” to vote the wrong way, and with Trump available as the target of their rhetoric. Could boosting the number of members willing to speak out against militarism to over a dozen boost the number willing to vote against it on even the weakest measures to over 93, even if the White House changes?

There are numerous other candidates for Congress whom people have claimed should be added to “the squad” but unless they will talk about war and peace, they’re not getting a jersey on my squad and they’re not serious about what they claim to be serious about.

There may be others I don’t know about. Please add them in the comments under this article on

Not a single one of these members of Congress has ever proposed their ideal federal budget. The Progressive Caucus has a budget proposal that is much improved over past years in that it would move a teeny bit out of military spending, specifically $63 billion out of the off-the-books slush fund, $38 billion out of supplemental spending, and $62 billion out of the Pentagon’s budget. That’s $163 billion moved to useful things out of well over $1 trillion going to militarism.

Most Democrats and all Republicans in Congress are not listed above. The same goes for almost all “white” Congress Members. Also wildly under-represented here: men in Congress. Almost all Democrats running for Congress have zero foreign policy or budget positions on their website at all, other than their great love for veterans. In my view, what happens will depend very largely on public activism. Can we make opposing militarism mainstream, respectable, acceptable? Can we make warmongering marginal, shameful, despicable? We have to try.

Scientists Found A New Way To Break Down the Most Common Plastic


An article by Dharna Noor in Gizmodo

The petrochemical industry produces more than 88 million tons of polyethylene, making it the most common plastic in the world. Scientists have found a new way to upcycle it, according to a study published in Science on Thursday. It could help deal with the growing plastic pollution crisis.

This could all be turned into useful chemicals. Photo: Prakash Singh (Getty Images)

Polyethylene comes in several different forms and is used in everything from plastic bags and food packaging to electrical insulation and industrial piping. Since it’s so common and our recycling system is so broken, we end up throwing away a shitload of the stuff. It can end up in landfills or the ocean where it breaks down veeeery slowly, or get burned up in waste incinerators that emit toxic chemicals.

But in the new study, the authors found a way to speed up the process of breaking down polyethylene and turn it into alkylaromatic molecules, which are used as surfactants in cosmetics and laundry detergent, lubricants for machinery, and refrigeration fluids.

“Globally, it’s a $9 billion market today,” Susannah Scott, a chemical engineer at University of California, Santa Barbara who co-authored the study, said in an email in reference to alkylaromatic molecules. “There is economic value and scale here.”

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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This isn’t the first time scientists have figured out how to break down polyethylene—there are other methods of chemically recycling the material. But conventional methods of breaking the plastic down require heating it up to temperatures between 983 and 1832 degrees Fahrenheit (500 and 1000 degrees Celsius) and using solvents or added hydrogen to speed up the process.

By contrast, the authors’ new method only requires heating it up to around 570 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius) and uses no solvents or added hydrogen, instead relying on only a comparatively gentle catalyst of platinum with aluminum oxide. Their process helped disassemble the plastic’s polymers in a less rough manner, allowing them to extract the valuable intact alkylaromatic molecules. Scott said the catalyst works to “cut the bonds which hold the polymer chain into smaller pieces,” eventually turning the solid plastic into a liquid they can extract the valuable chemicals from.

The authors’ new process is far less energy intensive than other means of breaking down polyethylene. That’s good news for the environment. It’s also cheaper, which is good news for companies who may want to scale this up. The technique isn’t ready for that scaling up just yet, but the discovery could eventually be used to give plastics a new life as valuable raw materials instead of as polluting waste.

“We dig a hole in the ground, we produce, we make, we use, we throw away,” Mahdi Abu-Omar, a chemical engineer at University of California, Santa Barbara who co-authored the study, said in a statement. “So in a way, this is really breaking that way of thinking. There’s interesting science to be done here that will lead us into new discoveries, new paradigms, and new ways of doing chemistry.”

To be clear, this new method should in no way give the petrochemical industry license to produce even more plastic. Though it’s great to have a better alternative to tossing it out, the creation of polyethylene also threatens public health through toxic emissions as well as the climate. We still need to be working to wean the world off of plastic production and consumption in the first place. But the new technology could help play a role in eventually reducing the amount of waste that gets produced and help clean up the mess we already have on our hands.

Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the Colombian Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition


A press release from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

“Transitional justice processes are among the most powerful instruments to overcome conflict and break with cycles of violence and impunity. This is why my Office fully supports the Colombian Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, which is the cornerstone of the historic Peace Agreement signed in 2016 between the Government – on behalf of the Colombian State – and the FARC-EP to put an end to more than 50 years of armed conflict.

Michelle Bachelet


Question related to this article:

Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Today I met with the Truth Commission, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Search Unit for Persons deemed as Missing, the three mechanisms that together form the Colombian transitional justice system. I would like to acknowledge the significant achievements of these institutions, as well as the courage of all those who continue to work for the truth to be known. They are fulfilling a fundamental and unique role in ensuring victims’ participation and the realization of their rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.

Their contribution to the consolidation of peace in Colombia is essential. I urge the State authorities to unconditionally support and cooperate with the transitional justice system, and to guarantee the full independence of its mechanisms, including financial autonomy and the ability to operate in a safe and secure environment.

Truth and accountability for the crimes committed are crucial to restore the dignity of victims and to lead to reconciliation, for the benefit of the whole of Colombian society.”

(Click here for the Spanish version of this article.)

Montreal: Demonstration for “climate justice”


An article from the Tribune de Geneva (translation by CPNN)

Several thousand people demonstrated in Montreal on Saturday for “climate justice”. Several organizations had called for the rally to advocate for the social project “linking ecological action to social justice”. “Social justice – climate justice – same fight,” proclaimed a large banner, while another called for a “just and green revival”.

As of September 27, 2019, nearly half a million people had already marched through the streets of Montreal. AFP

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(Click here for the original article in French

Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Last year, on September 27, nearly half a million people marched through the streets of Montreal with Swedish activist Greta Thunberg as part of the “global climate strike.” The march was called “the biggest demonstration in Quebec history” by one of the organizers.

Children’s shoes

Among the organizations that called for the demonstration on Saturday, on the occasion of the world day of climate mobilization, were notably the student coalition for an environmental and social shift (CEVES), “the planet is invited to parliament” and the ” coalition for the de-financement of the police ”.

The protest began in front of a downtown monument that until recently housed the statue of a former prime minister of Canada. The bronze statue of John A. Macdonald, accused of carrying out a policy of forced assimilation of indigenous populations, was thrown to the ground in late August during an anti-racism rally.

Children’s shoes were placed in front of the monument to symbolize the threat of climate change to new generations.

United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security Holds its Nineteenth Consultative Meeting on 16 October 2020


A press release from the United Nations

The United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security held its nineteenth consultative meeting via virtual platform on 16 October 2020. 

The meeting reviewed the status of the partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) with an update on the implementation of the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. The meeting discussed developments and cooperation in support to on-going electoral processes in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Guinea. The meeting also exchanged views on the situations in Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Western Sahara. 

The AU Commission and the UN Secretariat were represented respectively by Commissioners Minata Samaté-Cessouma (Political Affairs), Smaïl Chergui (Peace and Security); and the Under-Secretaries-General Rosemary DiCarlo (Political and Peacebuilding Affairs), Jean-Pierre Lacroix (Peace Operations), Atul Khare (Operational Support), Hanna Tetteh, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and Assistant Secretary-General Bintou Keita (Africa). The meeting was also attended by other senior officials from the two Organizations. 

The Joint Task Force took note of the considerable progress achieved in the UN-AU partnership including with regional economic communities and mechanisms in Africa together with international partners. These include sustained collaboration on support to African Union peace support operations, early warning and prevention initiatives, as well as coordinated support to national authorities for the conduct of timely, peaceful and inclusive elections as well as for the promotion and protection of human rights. Both organizations strengthened collaboration in mediation support and have begun to focus more on their joint initiatives on the women, peace and security, and youth for peace and security agendas.

The Joint Task Force took note of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace and security in Africa and welcomed the swift actions taken by the continent’s leadership to contain the spread of the pandemic. They further welcomed the collaboration between both organizations, Regional Economic Commissions and Member States in responding to the peace, security and humanitarian impact of the pandemic. 
The Joint Task Force exchanged views on the socio-political situations in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Guinea, ahead of the elections scheduled in October and December in those countries. The meeting agreed to foster complementarity in electoral support to Member States and undertake joint conflict prevention initiatives aimed at mitigating election related crisis. The Joint Task Force further agreed to work together in supporting Member States efforts in strengthening their electoral institutions and processes and in enhancing their capacities to organize peaceful, credible, transparent and inclusive elections which among others provide for the participation of women, youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups.

The Joint Task Force welcomed increased coordination and collaboration in supporting elections in West Africa. A joint UN-AU-ECOWAS analysis paper, joint messaging and joint solidarity missions to Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea illustrated this increased partnership. 

The Joint Task Force expressed concern about the tense environment ahead of the presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire. They urged all stakeholders to refrain from incendiary speech and violence, and to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences and create an environment conducive to a peaceful, inclusive and credible election. They further encouraged the authorities, including the security forces to protect and uphold human rights in the electoral process. The Joint Task Force reassured the people of Côte d’Ivoire of the continued solidarity and support of the African Union and the United Nations. 

The Joint Task Force called on the relevant Ghanaian stakeholders to ensure the holding of peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible elections. It further encouraged the competing parties to call on their supporters to adhere to the agreed code of conduct, to refrain from the use of hate or inflammatory speech and any acts of violence before, during, and after the general elections. The Joint Task Force further encouraged all parties to resolve any differences that may arise in connection with the elections through dialogue and in strict respect for the rule of law. The Joint Task Force remains confident that Ghana will, as in the past, continue democratic consolidation by delivering peaceful and credible elections. 

The Joint Task Force called on Guinean stakeholders to ensure the holding of peaceful and credible elections. They condemned the frequent recourse to hate speech and the manipulation of ethnicity for political purposes. They urged all actors to act with responsibility, refrain from violence and resolve through dialogue and legal means any disagreements that may arise in connection with the election. They further urged the defence and security forces to exercise utmost restraint and uphold international human rights standards in their conduct during the electoral process. The Joint Task Force reiterated the commitment of the African Union and the United Nations to continue supporting the people of Guinea in the consolidation of democratic gains. 

Further, the Joint Task Force exchanged views on the situation in Libya and welcomed the conclusion of the Ministerial Meeting on Libya co-chaired by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Foreign Minister of Germany, Mr. Heiko Maas, on 5 October 2020. They agreed that UN, AU, EU and LAS should continue to work towards enhanced cohesion through the Libya Quartet. 


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Question for this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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On the situation in Mali and the Sahel, the Joint Task Force took note of the start of the political Transition in Mali following the establishment of an inclusive transitional government headed by a civilian Prime Minister and a civilian President. The Joint Task Force welcomed the lifting of sanctions and reiterated the African Union and United Nations’ full support to the Transition authorities and people of Mali towards peace, stability and restoration of constitutional order. It committed to deepen the AU-UN collaboration to assist the transitional authorities in the preparation of elections and launch of priority reforms, within the 18-month transition period. 

The Joint Task Force urged the parties to uphold their commitment under the Agreement and prioritize the key institutional reforms of the peace process. It welcomed the participation of the signatory armed groups in the Transition Government and called on all stakeholders to work in a spirit of compromise to accelerate the implementation of the Peace Agreement. The Joint Task Force urged for enhanced participation of women in the peace process. It recognized the important role MINUSMA and MISAHEL continue to play in support of the Malian parties to advance the implementation of the Peace Agreement and to address the situation in central Mali. 

The Joint Task Force expressed concern over the alarming deterioration of the situation in Mali and the Sahel region, and reaffirmed the determination of both Organizations to continue supporting national, regional and international initiatives. The United Nations reiterated its commitment to support the African Union in the strengthening of its engagement in the Sahel, including through the deployment of 3,000 troops in support to the G5 Joint Force. The Joint Task Force also called on international partners to scale up their support, and provide the resources and assistance required by the G5 Sahel Joint Force to fully play its critical role in fighting terrorism and transnational organized crime. 

With regards to Ethiopia, the Joint Task Force noted the UN and AU’s support to the country’s ongoing reforms, including to domestic initiatives aimed at facilitating a consensus on key political, social and economic issues. The meeting commended the efforts of the AU to facilitate a mutually beneficial trilateral agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. 

On South Sudan, the Joint Task Force called to resolve pending issues particularly agreement on Transitional Security Arrangements (TSAs) and formation of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). The meeting further committed to support the participation of women in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement for Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), and encouraged  the appointment of the head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).On Sudan, the Joint Task Force highlighted the continuing critical strategic and political partnership between the United Nations and the African Union and noted that the two organisations will continue to be close partners throughout Sudan’s transitional process. The meeting commended the engagement of the African Union in the planning process for UNITAMS, which will maximise the two organisations’ comparative advantages in support of the transition. The Joint Task Force welcomed the peace agreement signed in Juba on 3 October between the Sudan Revolutionary Front, the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi faction and the Government of Sudan and urged the non-signatories to the agreement to fully engage in the peace process. 

On Somalia, the Joint Task Force welcomed the resumption of political dialogue among the leaders of the Federal Government and the Federal Member States that led to the agreement on a model for elections, albeit indirect parliamentary elections for 2020/21, and stressed the importance of concerted efforts to work towards universal parliamentary elections in 2024/25. The meeting expressed hope that the upcoming electoral process would be timely, free, fair and inclusive of all sectors of Somali society including women, youth and minority groups, and guarantee at least a 30 per cent representation of women in Parliament. Recognizing that 2021 will be a transition year in Somalia toward a new political dispensation as well as towards Somalis taking the leading role on security, the Joint Task Force underscored the criticality for the dialogue among Somalia’s leaders to continue and extend to other priority areas including the constitutional review, building a federal Somali security sector and other institutions, and resolving outstanding differences between the Federal Government and Federal Member States. 

The Joint Task Force recognized AMISOM’s continued critical contribution to peace and security in Somalia and welcomed its efforts to collaborate with Somali Security Forces to consolidate and extend security gains, notwithstanding challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic The meeting took note of efforts underway to chart the way forward on the transition to Somali security responsibility, notably the Federal Government’s work to update the Transition Plan. With regards to the independent assessment, the AU highlighted that its views should be taken into account. The meeting called for continued efforts to strengthen a common approach among Somalia’s partners towards support to peacebuilding and state-building in the country. 

With regard to Western Sahara, the Joint Task Force looks forward to the appointment of a new Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and encourages the parties to refrain from rhetoric and actions that are harmful to a political solution to the conflict. The Joint Task Force discussed the resource shortfall for the humanitarian assistance for the Sahrawi refugees particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Joint Task Force also discussed UN-AU cooperation in counterterrorism. While commending ongoing cooperation in counterterrorism, participants underlined the need for greater coordination and consultation to ensure synergies, build on each other’s efforts and avoid duplication. The meeting agreed therefore to work towards the establishment of a joint coordination mechanism that will be responsible for providing oversight and strategic level guidance to the joint working groups to be subsequently established. 

The next statutory meeting of the Joint Task Force will be hosted by the African Union Commission in February 2021, on the margins of the 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. 

UNESCO-sponsored Nanjing Peace Forum


A compilation by CPNN of information provided by Palas Athena, J. Frederick Arment,, and UNESCO Kazakhstan

The UNESCO-sponsored Nanjing Peace Forum, October, 2020 will start in Nanjing and, as time zones change, travel virtually to Paris, France; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Baghdad, Iraq; Bamako, Mali; and Brasilia, Brazil. This prerecorded video speaks about HOW peace can be won globally through decentralized NGOs. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay will kickoff the event with officials and scholars around the globe in attendance.

Question related to this article:

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

The video from Brazil will addess the challengs and opportunities for a culture of peace in Brazil in the post COVID-19 era. It will be moderated by the UNESCO representative in Brazil, Marlova Noleto and will include as speakers Lia Diskin of Palas Athena (See CPNN January 30, 2005) and Leoberto Brancher, the judge who has worked for restorative justice in Brazil (See CPNN October 14, 2016).

One of the guest speakers at the forum will be J. Frederick Arment, Executive Director of International Cities of Peace

The video from UNESCO Kazakhstan addresses the role of youth in peacebuilding.

Quintana Roo, Mexico: Judicial Power for Culture of Peace


An article by Christian Trejo in Diario de Quintana Roo

SOLIDARIDAD, October 19.- The Judicial Power of Quintana Roo, through the Center for Alternative Justice and the Private Certification and Mediation Unit, is conducting, in coordination with the Judicial School, the training program “Training of Trainers in culture of Peace in the classroom and community ”.

The Directorate of the Family Strengthening Center, of the State DIF, promotes these courses —which are based on activities through games— to build a culture of peace, through conflict negotiation and resolution.

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Question for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Where is peace education taking place?

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This training provided by the Judicial Power of Quintana Roo, is aimed at public servants of the different dependencies and institutions such as the State Center for Social Crime Prevention and Citizen Participation, the Secretariat of Social Development, Institute for the Development of the Maya People and the Technical Secretariat of the Social Development Hub.

This program, which began on October 5th, will conclude on October 30 with a theme and modules related to “Presentation and Generalities”, “Basic strategies for improving Coexistence and Conflict Resolution”, “Conflicts and their educational potentialities ”,“ Conflict resolution and education in values ​​”,“ Activities in the Classroom for Trainers ”.

Other topics include “Mediation between peers at School and Community”, the “Basic Concepts”, “On the Tools Used in the Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts” and “On the Phases and Stages of the Hearings.”

(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)