Category Archives: TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

Peacebuilding during a time of war? Bottom-up Peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from Peace News

While the world focuses on the human tragedy of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, there are hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals actively working to build peace. Peace News spoke to some of these peacebuilders to understand their experience during this war.


Dialogue Meetings
: The meetings are led by two PCFF members, an Israeli and a Palestinian, who tell their personal stories of bereavement and explain their choice to engage in dialogue instead of revenge

Yuval Rahami is the Israeli co-general director of the Parent’s Circle Families Forum. He lost his father in the 1967 Six Day War. Bassam Aramin is the former Palestinian co-director of the organization. He lost his 10-year old daughter in 2007 when she was shot and killed by an Israeli border guard. Despite these unimaginable losses, both work together with hundreds of families, both Israeli and Palestinian, who have lost loved ones to the conflict. Using their shared loss and desire for peace, they form connections on a human level. They believe that reconciliation and nonviolence are necessary for a future political solution, and that this is the only way forward.

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Question related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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Both emphasized what they believed was the most important project of the Parent’s Circle – education. The program facilitates programs in schools where students are given the chance to meet their supposed “enemy” and can see that the “enemy” is a human like them, and that forgiveness and reconciliation are possible. Rahamim described the experience of the students as deeply impactful, mentioning stories of soldiers at checkpoints in the West Bank who recognize the Palestinians who came to speak to their classes.
 
Aramin is also a member of Combatants for Peace. The organization was founded by former combatants on both sides and promotes nonviolence to break the cycle of violence. Combatants for Peace has been featured in the award-winning documentary Disturbing the Peace.
 
The work of both organizations has become harder during the 2023 Israel-Hamas war, which has claimed over 1,400 Israeli and 8,500 Palestinian lives. The Parents Circle’s education work in schools was already stopped by the new Israeli government even before the war, and, with the West Bank on lockdown, it is difficult for Palestinian peacebuilders to meet in person. Members of both organizations continue to meet virtually, and have not given up on their belief in a peaceful future despite these challenges. 

Avi Meyerstein, the Founder and President of the Alliance for Middle East Peace, a coalition of over 170 peacebuilding groups, highlighted a number of touching stories of peacebuilders during the current war. One such example is Vivian Silver, who is currently a hostage in Gaza. Silver is a core member of Women Wage Peace, who would drive Palestinians from Gaza to Israeli hospitals for treatment, and yet is now a victim of the hatred she has spent her life trying to combat. Another is Dr. Izzeldin Abduelaish, a Palestinian doctor whose daughter and niece were killed by an Israeli tank. Like Rahamim and Aramin, Dr. Abuelaish has lost so much, and yet chooses to continue fighting for peace. He wrote a recent op-ed in the Jerusalem Post in support of peace and an end to the cycle of war and violence.

While the prospect for peace at the moment appears bleak, as Aramin pointed out, there is a German ambassador in Tel Aviv and an Israeli ambassador in Berlin, something which seemed unimaginable after the Holocaust. There is always hope for peace, and the work of these groups and others like them shows that Israelis and Palestinians can reconcile through nonviolence. 

Mercosur without Racism: Brazil will propose a campaign at a meeting of ministers from the bloc

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from the Government of Brazil

The Ministry of Culture (MinC), in the exercise of Pro Tempore presidency of Mercosul Cultural, will propose the campaign “Mercosul without Racism, with Diversity and Inclusion”, to create common strategies to combat prejudice in the countries that make up the economic bloc. The action will be presented on November 9th, in Belém, Pará, during the meeting of Mercosur Ministers of Culture. The meeting will begin at 9:30 am, in the Oval Room of the Government Palace of the State of Pará. 

The expectation is that, with approval of the campaign by the participants, the bloc’s ministers and authorities will sign the joint declaration of adherence to the agenda, expressing the commitment of all Mercosur member countries to adopt actions that guarantee the promotion of ethnic-racial equality in their territories, in an intersectoral and continuous manner.
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Led by Minister Margareth Menezes, the meeting will be attended by the Minister of Culture of Argentina, Tristán Bauer, the Minister of Culture and Heritage of Ecuador, Maria Elena Machuca, the Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat of Culture of Paraguay, Adriana Ortiz, the Vice Minister of Heritage, Memories and Cultural Governance of Colombia, Adriana Molano and the director of the Office of International Cooperation of Peru, Wilyam Abelardo Lúcar Aliaga. The Minister of Cultures, Decolonization and Depatriarchalization of Bolivia, Sabina Orellana Cruz, the National Director of Culture of Uruguay, Mariana Wainstein, and the representative of the Chilean Embassy in Brazil, Alejandro Guzmán, will be present by video.

During the 54th Meeting of Ministers of Culture of Mercosur, which took place in June this year, in Buenos Aires, minister Margareth Menezes received the Pro Tempore Presidency of Mercosur Cultural. At the time, the head of the Ministry of Culture had already announced that one of the main actions of Brazil’s mandate would be Mercosur without Racism.

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(Click here for the original Portuguese version of this article)

Question(s) related to this article:

Are we making progress against racism?

Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

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Officially, the Campaign is an invitation to the governments of Mercosur member countries, as well as organizations and society. “A Democratic State is only possible by guaranteeing equal rights, social equality, ethnic-racial equality and freedom for all people. At this meeting, we will reaffirm our commitment to adopting social development policies for discriminated and vulnerable populations in the countries. These guarantees are fundamental to improving the region’s economic development conditions”, highlights the minister.

The Secretary of Citizenship and Cultural Diversity in the Ministry of Culture, Márcia Rollemberg, reinforces the need for Mercosur countries to adopt measures that will guarantee the population’s equal rights. She states that the Mercosur Without Racism Campaign aims to recognize the contribution of indigenous and Afro-descendant populations to the social formation and cultural identity of member countries.

“Racism encourages the maintenance of a social structure of great inequalities in access and opportunities, in which skin color and other bodily characteristics establish boundaries and limitations in access to social and cultural rights”, he highlights. “The goal is for countries to value and promote diversity, anti-racist education and good living, strengthening the culture of peace and interculturality in our region”, concludes secretary Márcia Rollemberg.

Mercosur Cultural works in an expanded manner, with the participation of member states Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela (despite the suspension of the latter since August 2017), as well as associated states such as Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Bolivia also participates as an associated state and is in the accession process. This collaboration has strengthened public cultural policies in the region, providing a valuable exchange of information and experiences from successful cultural programs and projects.

Declaration

The Declaration, which will be presented by Brazil, highlights the importance of adopting and enhancing specific cultural policies for the black population, indigenous peoples and traditional peoples and communities, in confronting inequalities and combating racism. The measures adopted will strengthen cooperation at national, regional and international levels to ensure the full exercise of the economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of people who are discriminated against.

The text points out that racism consists of a derogatory and discriminatory attitude based on the race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin of a person or group. The consequence is racial inequality as a structural problem to be faced throughout the region. It also argues that racial discrimination encourages the maintenance of a social structure based on inequalities in access and opportunities, and affects both economic inequalities and influences social, cultural and political dynamics. 

More Demonstrations for Palestine

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

It’s been a week now since we published photos of demonstrations in support of Palestine involving millions of people around the world. Since the Israeli genocide continues, so, too, the demonstrations continue. Here are some videos and photos.

Video: Pro-Palestinian Protesters fill London bridge on October 28


Video: Despite attacks by Israeli security forces, Protesters in Hebron on the West Bank waved Hamas and Fatah flags and changed for Qassam Brigades.

Thousands gathered at a rally in San Francisco, California to protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza and call the US to stop aiding Israel. [Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu]

Yemenis performed prayers and demonstrated in support of Gaza, Oct. 27, 2023. | Photo: X/ @QastalNewsEn

October 27: A large night demonstration is currently being held on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, in Tunis.

October 28: People wave Turkish and Palestinian flags as the Turkish president speaks during a rally in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, in Istanbul. [Handout/Turkish Presidency Press office via AFP]

Video: October 26, Chileans have been gathering in their thousands in the capital Santiago to raise money for Palestinians under siege in Gaza.

October 28: Thousands of demonstrators protested in Paris on Saturday in a banned march in “support of the Palestinian people”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 28: PAS’s pro-Palestine rally draws large crowd. About 5,000 attended the gathering outside the US embassy earlier today.

Australia: October 28, Thousands gathered outside the Victorian State Library in a show of solidarity with the two million civilians trapped in Gaza. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

Video: A huge crowd of protesters demonstrate on Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil this Sunday morning (October 29) in defense of Palestine.

People gather during a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Baghdad, Iraq, October 28. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani

Video: October 27, Thousands of Jordanians marched in support of the Gaza Strip and demanded the cancellation of the peace agreement with Israel.

Demonstrators on Elielinaukio square by Helsinki’s Central Railway Station on 28 October. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

Sri Lanka, October 26: A protest was staged in front of Fort Railway station today expressing solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, who have been under siege by the Israeli forces

Video: October 28, Protests in support of Palestine were held in Japan

Protesters wave Palestinian flags and hold signs as they take part in a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people, in Madrid on October 29, 2023 (JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Polish capital Warsaw’s Old Town Square on Sunday, October 29, in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people and to strongly denounce Israel’s attacks on Gaza

People march over the Brooklyn Bridge as Pro-Palestinian protesters attend “Flood Brooklyn for Gaza” demonstration, as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in New York, US, October 28. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

Video Oct 28, 2023: A demonstration was held in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, in support of Palestinians.

Video: October 28, Stockholm saw one of the largest protests in modern history today, as thousands came out to support the people of Gaza.

The Bahraini Society Against Normalization with Zionist Enemy organized, in front of its headquarters on Friday, October 27, 2023, a vigil in solidarity and support for the Palestinian people under “A cry of anger” slogan.

Video: October 28, Now in Tel Aviv first protest against the war

Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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Thousands of supporters of a religious party Jamat-e-Islami take part in a rally against the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinian people, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 29, 2023.

October 27: More than 300 Muslims in Southern Thailand today participated in a Palestine solidarity gathering to support the Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East that has claimed thousands of lives.

October 28: Indian Union Muslim League, a regional party in India’s Kerala state, organised a massive rally in Kozhikode (Calicut) city. Tens of thousands of people joined the rally with the message: ‘Save Palestine, save Humanity; end Israel’s attack on Gaza; free Palestine’. [Handout via Al Jazeera]

Video: October 27, Pro-Palestine supporters rally in Doha, Qatar, in solidarity with the Palestinian people, protesting Israeli genocides in Gaza.

Supporters of the Islamic Group in Lebanon and Hamas protest in solidarity with Palestini-ans in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in front of the Al-Amin mosque in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 29, 2023. (Reuters)

Protesters shout slogans as they unfurl Palestinian flags during a rally supporting the Palestinian people, outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, October 28, 2023. (AP)

October 28: Rally in support of Gaza fills downtown Toronto as Middle East violence continues

October 26: Hundreds of Iranians demonstrate in solidarity with Hamas and the Palestinians in Teheran

Video: Oct 28, A group gathered in front of the railway station in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and organised a demonstration in support of Palestine.

A view of a crowd gathered in Copenhagen on Saturday, October 28, to take part in a demonstration organized by Amnesty International Denmark, CARE Denmark and Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke. (Emil Nicolai Helms/Ritzau Scanpix/Reuters)

People take part in the national demonstration in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, October 28, in support of the Palestinian population and against the bombings in Gaza, as the conflict between Israel and the Hamas group continues, causing thousands of civilian casualties.

Video: October 29, Ordinary South Africans should not tire of making their voices heard against the human rights atrocities in the Middle East. That’s the message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign that took to the streets in Cape Town.

October 28: Marchers gathering in Civic Square in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Re: News

October 29: Thousands take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and against normalisation with Israel, in Casablanca, Morocco. [Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP Photo]

Video: October 28, Thousands of people gathered in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, in a demonstration in support of Palestine.

October 29: People march towards the Israeli embassy shouting ‘stop bombing’ during a pro-Palestine protest in Athens, Greece. [Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters]

Islamic followers and supporters of the Palestinian cause march in front of Seoul Central Masjid, the first mosque in South Korea, in the capital on Oct. 27, 2023, to express their objection to a ground assault in the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces. (Yonhap)

People rally in support of Palestinians in Geneva, Switzerland. [Martial Trezzini/EPA]

The Church of Norway and several organisations held a rally in front of the Norwegian Parliament, demanding an immediate stop to the killing of civilians in Gaza, in Oslo, Norway. [Frederik/NTB Ringnes via Reuters]

Participants walk during a demonstration in solidarity with people in Gaza, in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, Germany. [Clemens Bilan/EPA]

Thousands in Caracas, Venezuela demonstrated in support of the Palestinian people, rejecting the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip on Friday, October 27.

Two-Thirds of American Voters Want US to Back Cease-Fire in Gaza

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article by Jake Johnson on October 20, 2023 in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Most members of the U.S. Congress have thus far refused to support a cease-fire in Gaza as Israel's siege and airstrikes inflict horrific damage on the occupied territory.

But according to a Data for Progress survey released Friday, the tiny fraction of Congress that has backed a cease-fire is more in line with the views of U.S. voters than the overwhelming majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate—and President Joe Biden.


Click on image to enlarge

The poll shows that 66% of likely voters agree that "the U.S. should call for a cease-fire and deescalation of violence in Gaza" and "leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths."

IfNotNow, a Jewish-American group that has helped organize major demonstrations in support of a cease-fire this week, said in response to the survey that "it's past time for our political leaders to listen to their constituents and put a stop to this violence.

On Monday, a group of 13 House progressives led by Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) introduced a resolution urging the Biden administration to support a cease-fire in order to "save Israeli and Palestinian lives."

Several additional Democrats, including Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), have signed onto the resolution since its introduction, bringing the total number of backers to 18.

But support for a cease-fire remains marginal in Congress, something that activists and a growing number of Capitol Hill staffers are working to change. More than 400 Muslim, Jewish, and allied congressional staffers have signed an open letter calling on their bosses to "join calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas."

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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On Thursday, more than 260 former staffers from Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) 2020 presidential campaign released an open letter imploring the senator to "demand an immediate cease-fire in Palestine and the return of Israeli hostages, and take concrete steps to end Israeli occupation."

"In its attacks against Palestinians in Gaza, Israel has demonstrated a brazen disregard for human life—with some officials going as far as to make their genocidal intent public—and has broken international law repeatedly," the letter reads. "Major humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch agree: the two million people in Gaza—half of whom are children—are experiencing collective punishment, and all people of conscience must call loudly and vociferously for a ceasefire."

"Our government enabling this violence and these blatant war crimes is a failure."

As of this writing, just one U.S. senator has publicly expressed support for a cease-fire and some, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), have dismissed the idea outright. Schumer pledged Friday to "move expeditiously" to approve Biden's request for $14 billion in additional military aid for Israel.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Senate's leading progressive, has accused Israel of violating international law and urged the country's military to exercise "restraint" in Gaza. In a statement on Tuesday, Sanders said that "the bombs and missiles from both sides must end, massive humanitarian aid must be rushed to Gaza, and the hostages must be returned to their families."

Sanders also joined his Senate colleagues on Thursday in unanimously approving a resolution that affirms the chamber's readiness to "assist Israel with emergency resupply or other security, diplomatic, and intelligence support needs, both during the immediate crisis and in the near future, including by accelerating delivery of defense articles and systems."

The resolution does not mention the catastrophic impact that Israel's assault has had on civilians in Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 4,000 people in just two weeks. The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said Thursday that "over a quarter of the area of Gaza City and northern Gaza has been affected by the destruction" and "20% of the houses there are no longer fit for habitation."

In a statement to The Hill on Friday, Bush said that she is "disturbed by our government's willingness to immediately cave to calls for unconditional support and write a blank check for the Israeli military while blatantly ignoring the violence and dehumanization of Palestinian civilians"

"Our government enabling this violence and these blatant war crimes is a failure," said Bush.

Montpellier: Euro-Africa Biennial and Water Days

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

Extracts from the web sites of Entreprendre-Montpelier – Biennale and Entreprendre-Montpelier – Water Days

In 2021, Montpellier hosted an innovative event promoting a desire to reinvent the links between the African continent and the French territory: the New Africa-France Summit. A Summit highlighting the links between civil societies, in which the participants were not heads of state or ministers, but artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, or even researchers and African academics and French.

Today, we must urgently innovate and together forge the conditions for a sustainable future for all. As you know, our metropolis is still in the running to become European Capital of Culture in 2028, as such, I wanted this first edition of the Euro-Africa Montpellier Biennale to be the highlight of our candidacy. For a week, we will bring together a wide range of actors from our two continents to discuss together the subjects that connect us. Whether by addressing the theme of water, a crucial subject for our territories and so central to our MedVallée strategy, or the importance of changing views on the African continent, Montpellier creates, through this Biennale, a framework conducive to innovation and the collective implementation of concrete solutions.

Michaël Delafosse Mayor of Montpellier
President of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole


Click on image to enlarge

The Euro-Africa Biennale will have two parts:

A general public cultural component

The program includes events of national and international influence to promote existing and future cooperation between Montpellier and the African continent (general public festival, screening evenings, concerts, dances in the halls and emblematic places of the city as well as ‘in the open air”, artist residencies in places of art, culture and knowledge in the city) We hope to transform the public’s outlook on the reality of current African cultures, particularly in the field of Cultural and Creative Industries (ICC).

An exposition of African fabric will be displayed at the Halle Tropisme and in the city’s spaces, as an extension of the Africa Past Forward Forum which will be held at the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris on October 6 and 7, 2023.

A development and innovation component

The “Euro-Africa Montpellier Water Days” will take the form of a multi-stakeholder congress around issues linked to water resource management and cooperation between territories, scientists and civil society.

Another highlight will be the “Young African Entrepreneurs Campus” which will open its doors for its second edition in Montpellier from October 1 to 11. This offers a support program to innovative African entrepreneurs operating in the fields of technology and innovation, global health, cultural and creative industries and sport in Africa.

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(Click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

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And three axes:

Axis 1: The water that connects us,

Axis 2: Future plans for other modes of cooperation,

Axis 3: Transforming the views of European citizens on the reality of the African continent.

Water Days

Water is a major issue within the framework of the MedVallée strategy, the water which connects us is at the heart of the issues of health, environmental preservation and agriculture which constitutes the basis of the strategy and image of the triptych “Heal, Protect, Nourish”. Responding to the challenges of these days, the scarcity of precipitation, over-demanding resources and lack of infrastructure, we want to createa dialogue between state and private stakeholders, scientific or from the field, to solve the geopolitical and economic problems posed by the lack of water in a context of global warming, increasing urban demography and supply inequalities.

October 9 to 10: 2 days of discussions to explore reality and find solutions between stakeholders involved in the following themes:

° Climate change and hydrological risk
° Urbanization of Mediterranean and African megacities
° Access to water
° Sanitation and health
° Urban and peri-urban agriculture
° Governance
° Water and gender
° A look back at the United Nations Water Conference (March 2023)

To address these themes, the planned round tables and workshops will bring together:

° Scientists: 40 Mediterranean, African and European scientists.

° Mediterranean, European and African private sector companies: 30 company representatives.

° Institutionals and decision-makers: 40 representatives of local, regional, national, Mediterranean, African or European governance
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° International organizations: 40 representatives from various international organizations and associations
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° UNESCO Representatives and Chairs: 20 people are invited to participate in the round tables.

(Thank you to Emanuelle Defossez, the reporter for this article.)

The sea rescue association SOS MEDITERRANEE wins the Right Livelihood Award 2023

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from SOS Mediterranée

As the humanitarian crisis intensifies in the Mediterranean, the humanitarian and maritime organization SOS MEDITERRANEE is the winner of the Right Livelihood Award 2023, considered the “alternative Nobel Peace Prize”.

In 2023, the Mediterranean saw the highest number of deaths since 2017. A dramatic observation for a humanitarian crisis that continues. A crisis recognized and highlighted by the presentation of the Right Livelihood Award to the SOS MEDITERRANEE association, for having provided assistance to more than 38,500 people in the central Mediterranean.


“There are already more than 2,000 deaths recorded in 2023, just in the Central Mediterranean region. » declares Caroline Abu Sa’da, General Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Switzerland. “For us, it is therefore extremely important that the Right Livelihood Award highlights the situation of these thousands of people who are trying to cross the Mediterranean, risking their lives. »

The humanitarian and maritime organization is honored to be among the winners of the Right Livelihood Award 2023. For more than 40 years, this award has recognized and supported individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to solve the world’s greatest challenges. SOS MEDITERRANEE thus joins the prestigious list which notably includes the Ukrainian human rights defender, Oleksandra Matviichuk and the Congolese doctor Dr. Denis Mukwege.

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(Click here for the French version.)

Question for this article

The refugee crisis, Who is responsible?

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The Right Livelihood Award provides valuable visibility on the dramatic situation at sea, as well as on the new constraints weighing on the association, such as the considerable increase in the price of fuel or the allocation of very distant disembarkation ports, after the rescues.

SOS MEDITERRANEE would like to warmly thank all its volunteers, donors, partners and supporters who make its mission possible. “This award is the result of collective work and the commitment of many people dedicated to sea rescue.” concludes Caroline Abu Sa’Da.

About SOS MEDITERRANEE:

SOS MEDITERRANEE is a maritime and humanitarian organization rescuing people in distress at sea. It was founded by European citizens in 2015 and launched rescue operations in the central Mediterranean in February 2016. Since then, the organization has provided assistance to more than 38,000 people at sea. More than 9,000 people have been rescued by the Ocean Viking since it began operating in August 2019. The non-profit organization, based in Switzerland, France, Germany and in Italy, is mainly financed by donations.

About the Right Livelihood Award:

For more than 40 years, Right Livelihood has honored and supported courageous people working to solve global challenges. Each year, Right Livelihood highlights changemakers with an award. To date, 194 winners from 76 countries have received this distinction. By recognizing the actions of these visionaries and making meaningful connections around the world, Right Livelihood encourages urgent, long-term societal change.

The prize was created in 1980, after the Nobel committee rejected a proposal to create two new prizes to recognize those who work for social justice and environmental protection.

(Thank you to Kiki Adams, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

World’s Children Launch Appeal for Peace from Rabat

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

An article from the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication of Morocco

Children from 26 countries launched an appeal for peace in Arabic and English on Wednesday from the Parliament building in Rabat, calling for a world of understanding and harmony, free of hatred and intolerance.


Video of Festival

“We, children from different parts of the world, are gathered here in Morocco to raise our voices and call for peace in all corners of our beloved country,” they stressed in this message read by one of the girls participating in a ceremony organized by the House of Representatives on the occasion of the 15th International Children’s Festival for Peace, organized by the Bouregreg Association under the honorary presidency of HRH Princess Lalla Meryem (July 23-31).

In their appeal, these children recall with hope and pride the achievements of the Moroccan football team during the World Cup in Qatar, noting that the round ball has once again demonstrated its power to unite hearts, spread love and strengthen the bonds of brotherhood between peoples. “Through their dedication and selflessness, the Atlas Lions have shown the world the power of diversity and cultures,” they said.

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This spirit of solidarity can go beyond the stadiums and point the way to the peace that is longed for, the signatories of the appeal said, noting that in today’s world, the emergence of artificial intelligence offers endless opportunities to strengthen peace, understanding and cooperation around the world.

In this context, they called on governments, institutions and individuals to prioritize the ethical and responsible development of AI, while ensuring that this technology is governed by principles of justice and transparency for the benefit of humanity.

Speaking on the occasion, Hassan Benomar, Vice-President of the House of Representatives, said that the appeal launched by these children was aimed at instilling the culture of peace, friendship and fraternity in the minds of future generations.

He pointed out that the International Festival of Children for Peace has become a tradition that makes it possible to know Moroccan children and their life in a strong, democratic, stable and peaceful society.

He welcomed all the children participating in the Festival, highlighting Morocco’s millenary history, its cultural richness and its orientations that privilege universal values under the wise and insightful leadership of HM King Mohammed VI.

He also welcomed the choice of the United Arab Emirates as Guest of Honor for this edition, as a tribute to its cultural and social characteristics, as well as its economic and urban development.

For his part, Abderrahmane Rouijel, founding director of the International Children’s Festival for Peace, told MAP that 500 children participated in the preparation of the Rabat Appeal, which was launched from the seat of the Parliament and addressed to the whole world.

PAYNCOP Gabon Trained Youth and Women in Political Leadership in the City of Oyem

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

Special for CPNN by Jerry Bibang

Thanks to the support of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) the Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon section (PAYNCOP Gabon) trained, over the past weekend, around thirty youth and female candidates from the commune of Oyem for political leadership.

The town hall hosted the training workshop which brought together nearly forty participants, from the political parties of the majority and the opposition as well as independent candidates.

Long before the training workshop, an intergenerational dialogue was organized between the local authorities and the participants. This dialogue allowed participants to exchange freely with local authorities in order to strengthen collaboration between the two parties, in an inclusive management approach that gives young people the opportunity to participate in public affairs.

“We cannot all be mayors, municipal or departmental councillors. However, it is possible to participate in the management of public affairs when there is genuine collaboration between the local authorities and the citizens united in associations. This is the meaning of this intergenerational dialogue,” explained Jerry Bibang, the Project Coordinator.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

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“The representation of young people and women remains very low in political decision-making bodies, although they are the most numerous activists in the political parties of the majority and the opposition. This is why we want to accompany them during these various elections in order to improve this representativeness,” he added.

For the Secretary General of the prefecture, Cyprien Meboune M’Esso, “the project is in line with the country’s public policies, in particular the National Youth Policy (partnership contract for responsible youth) which recommends associating young people in the management of public affairs. It is also part of the political will of the highest authorities, a will materialized by several measures, in particular “the youth seven-year term” and “the women’s decade”.

The training, provided by the geopolitical expert and international consultant Francis Sima Mba, was intended to be very practical, essentially concerned elements relating to the electoral campaign, including political strategy, development of a political program, political marketing as well as public speaking tips.

“It was very instructive for us. We learned a lot about the actions to take before, during and after the vote. I also learned about managing a campaign team and even how to behave during the campaign,” said Junior Franck Nkou-Nkou, young candidate for the Forum pourla République Gabonaise (FRG) political party.

“The seminar was very fruitful for us because we learned how to run an effective campaign with limited resources,” added Mengue Arlette, young candidate for the Mon Destin en Main (MDM) party.

In addition to training, the project provides logistical support for young and female candidates who meet the defined criteria.

18 Years of BDS. 18 Years of Impact in Turning Darkness into Light

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from the BDS Movement

Today marks 18 years since the historic call from the largest Palestinian coalition to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid (BDS). On this anniversary we acknowledge the many dark days that have cast a shadow over our hearts. This year alone, Palestinians everywhere have faced escalating Israeli massacres, atrocities, siege, pogroms, airstrikes and unmasked genocidal calls. As painful and devastating as they are, these are also signs of the darkest hour of this 75-year-old regime of oppression and of the nearing light of liberation. 

From Jerusalem to Gaza, from Masafer Yatta to Jenin, from an-Naqab to the Galilee, and across our refugee camps in Palestine and in exile, we resist the colonization of our land and the forcible displacement of our people, just as we resist their attempts to colonize our minds with horror and hopelessness.

With our popular resistance in its many diverse forms, we are steadfast, we resist, and we insist on our full “menu of rights”. 

BDS supports Palestinians to continue to endure and resist the darkness of settler-colonialism and apartheid until we reach the light of freedom, justice and dignity. The nonviolent, anti-racist BDS movement is now supported by mass movements struggling for racial, social, Indigenous, economic, climate and gender justice representing tens of millions of people worldwide, as well as by dozens of progressive Jewish groups. 

International figures including Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Annie Ernaux, Charles P. Smith, Mairead Maguire, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams, and influential authors including Naomi Klein, Stéphane Hessel, Judith Butler, among many others, have endorsed BDS, military embargo on Israel, or other BDS-related accountability measures in solidarity with Palestinian rights. 

To mark the BDS movement’s 18th anniversary, we are highlighting its indispensable role in bringing about an unprecedented narrative shift around Palestine and the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, and we are sampling the most significant moments (outside the Arab world) of BDS-related impact in advancing accountability and fighting state, corporate and institutional complicity worldwide.

APARTHEID-FREE POLICIES

2023: The unified Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Call is issued by the Anti-Apartheid Department of the PLO, the BDS movement, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), and the Palestinian Ministry of Justice, calling for establishing a “Global Front to Dismantle Israel’s Regime of Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid.”

2020 – 2023: 10 ex-Presidents and 700+ MPs, eminent personalities and civil society leaders from the Global South respond to the Palestinian call against Israel’s apartheid by urging the UN to investigate Israeli apartheid, re-activate the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid and to impose sanctions. Since then, led by South Africa and Namibia, a growing number of states have acknowledged Israel’s apartheid, and civil society across the globe is pushing for UN action now.

2023: Cities around the world cut ties with Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid, including Barcelona, Liège, Verviers, Oslo, and Belem.

2023: Apartheid-Free Communities is launched, convened by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), endorsed by tens of faith and other communities in North America pledging “to step away from any and all support to Israeli apartheid, occupation, and settler colonialism.”

2016 – 2023: Thousands of social clubs, restaurants, stores, offices, student unions, city councils and organizations around the world declare themselves Apartheid Free Zones.

2021 – 2022: Amnesty International (2022), Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem (2021), and Al-Haq (2022) release groundbreaking reports concluding Israel is perpetrating the crime against humanity of apartheid over the Palestinian people.

STATE-LEVEL ACCOUNTABILITY & SANCTIONS

2023: South Africa’s parliament votes for downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel. Minister of International Relations & Cooperation Naledi Pandor calls on the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for the “leaders of apartheid Israel” who are responsible for “the massacre of the people of Palestine.”

2023: The European Parliament PEGA Committee recognizes that spyware originates from Israel and is illegally tested on Palestinians, becoming the first official EU body to recognize that military ties with Israel pose a significant risk to human rights and to call for restricting it. This comes after sustained pressure from the BDS movement’s #BanSpyware campaign, including a recent Global Day of Action against spyware, with over 3.4 million people worldwide calling to ban spyware.

2022 – 2023: Following a year long European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to ban settlement trade, the European Committee on Petition (PETI) decides unanimously that the European Commission must respond to our demand to stop trade with illegal settlements.

2020: In a major legal win for BDS, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rules unanimously that the French highest court’s 2015 repressive conviction of BDS activists nonviolently advocating for Israel boycotts violates article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

2016: EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, affirms the #RightToBDS in the EU region, following grassroots campaigns and letters signed by 350+ human rights organizations and 30 MEPs. The same year, the Netherlands rejects calls for punishing BDS activities on the grounds that they involved “discrimination” against Israel, saying “human rights, including the prohibition of discrimination, aim to explicitly protect individuals [and] groups of individuals,” not states.

2014: The Chilean government freezes free trade agreement talks with Israel following campaigning by MPs and Palestinians in the country.

2014: Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) cancels a project with Israel’s biggest military corporation Elbit Systems to build a microsatellite for the Brazilian military, and the province of Buenos Aires (Argentina) cancels a contract with Israel’s national water carrier Mekorot for a major water purification plant.

2013: The EU issues guidelines that prohibit EU financing of Israeli activities and projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem.

DIVESTMENT

2009 – 2021: Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund in 2009 divests from Elbit Systems and in 2021 divests from 2 firms linked to Israeli settlements in the OPT. Also in 2021, with over US$95 billion worth of assets, Norway’s largest pension fund KLP divests from 16 companies due to their ties to settlements.

2020: The University of Manchester (UK) divests nearly £2 million from companies complicit in Israel’s oppression. In the US, students at Columbia University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and San Francisco State University all vote to divest from Israeli apartheid.

2021 & 2012: In 2021, New Zealand Superannuation Funds, which had in 2012 divested from Elbit Systems, divest from Israeli banks. Also in 2021, the East Sussex Pension Fund (UK) divests from Elbit Systems.

2016 & 2014: Presbyterian Church USA in 2014 divests from HP, Caterpillar, and Motorola Solutions. In 2016, the United Methodist Church divests from G4S and all Israeli banks.

2012: The Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation and US pension fund giant TIAA-CREF divest almost $73 million from Caterpillar.

ECONOMIC & CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY

2023: With the rise of the far-right Israeli government and its far-reaching judicial plans, Israel’s economy is facing serious instability and capital flight, further exacerbating the impact of the ongoing Palestinian-led campaigning in isolating apartheid. Moody’s downgrades Israel’s credit outlook; US Tech Companies begin to shut down Israel operations; Israeli hi-tech companies move abroad; investments in Israeli hi-tech are declining sharply; and former chair of Israel’s National Economic Council Prof. Eugene Kandel predicts 2 scenarios for Israel’s economy, “a heart attack or cancer.” In short, Israel is fast becoming a #ShutDownNation.

2023: #BDS declares a major victory as the world’s largest security firm G4S divests completely from apartheid Israel by selling its shares in its police training academy.

2023: Carrefour announces it will not open any stores in settlements, to avoid “risk of complicity,” provoking a counter boycott campaign against the company by far-right Israeli settlers. Carrefour’s ongoing complicity in apartheid also means the BDS #BoycottCarrefour campaign is continuing.

2022: The multinational, socially-responsible ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s stops operating in apartheid Israel. In 2021, the company’s independent board had decided to stop selling its products in Israel and its illegal settlements.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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2018: AXA IM, the fully-owned AXA subsidiary, divests from Elbit Systems, following pressure from the Stop AXA Assistance to Israeli Apartheid coalition. AXA’s ongoing investments in deeply complicit Israeli banks means the #BoycottAXA campaign is continuing.

2016: Orange drops Israel affiliate following inspiring BDS campaign, and Irish building materials corporation CRH exits the Israeli market selling its equity stake in its complicit Israeli company Nesher Cement.

2015: French conglomerate Veolia buckles under massive BDS pressure, which cost it global tenders worth over $20 billion, ending all its Israeli business.

2014: Israeli company SodaStream is forced to close its illegal settlement factory near occupied Jerusalem, following a worldwide BDS campaign that made many retailers dump its products.

2013: Unilever closes its factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Barkan following boycott threats and pressure from human rights organizations. A UN report condemning companies operating in illegal settlements and calling on them to withdraw is issued around the same time.

2011: Giant Swedish Mul-T-Lock manufacturer Assa Abloy closes its factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Barkan after pressure from human rights organizations and the Church of Sweden.

2011: Agrexco, Israel’s primary fruit and vegetable exporter and a primary BDS target, goes bankrupt for lack of investors after years of declining sales across 13 European countries.

TRADE UNION-LABOR SOLIDARITY

2005 – 2023: Major trade union federations and labor bodies across the world have endorsed BDS including: Congress of South African Trade Unions-COSATU and South African Federation of Trade Unions; Irish Congress of Trade Union; Central Única dos Trabalhadores-CUT (Brazil); CTA Autonoma (Argentina); Trade Union Congress (UK); LO (Norway); Solidaires (France); Canadian Union of Postal Workers; United Electrical-UE and branches of United Auto Workers-UAW at the University of California, NYU & UMass Amherst (US); Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (Belgium); Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia; WFTU-affiliated trade unions including CITU, AICCTU (India); Italian Federation of Metalworkers-FIOM (Italy).

2023: Trade Union Federations MLC, CTSPP, and FPBOU (Mauritius) call on their government to support the reconstitution of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid.

2009 – 2021: Following the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in 2009, dockworkers across the globe prevent apartheid Israel’s ships from docking or unloading in India, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the US. In 2021, dockworkers lead or support initiatives, like AROC’s Block the Boat, blocking Israeli ships from loading/offloading in ports from Oakland, California (US) to Durban (South Africa) to protest Israeli atrocities in Gaza and Jerusalem.

2017: All India Kisan Sabha representing 16 million Indian farmers endorses the call for BDS and supports the campaign against Israeli agribusiness interventions in India.

CULTURAL BOYCOTT

2004 – 2023: Thousands of influential artists and other cultural figures worldwide in all fields, in addition to several significant artists’ unions and collectives, endorse the cultural boycott of Israel. These artists include pop and rock stars, rappers, DJs and producers, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and playwrights, leading filmmakers and actors, visual artists, dancers and many others. Pledges such as Black for Palestine, Musicians for Palestine and Visual Arts for Palestine are launched, as well as pledges in Latin America, India, South Africa and across Europe. Figures include musicians Roger Waters, Brian Eno, FKA Twigs, Seun Kuti, Patti Smith, and Rage Against the Machine; writers Sally Rooney, John Berger, Henning Mankell, China Miéville, Caryl Churchill and Kamila Shamsie; visual artist Tai Shani and photographer Nan Goldin, to mention only a few.

2004 – 2023: World famous artists cancel shows and events in apartheid Israel after appeals from Palestinian and international artists and human rights defenders. These include Lorde, Lana del Rey, Shakira, Natalie Portman, Elvis Costello, Pharrell, The Killers, Gil Scott-Heron, Lauryn Hill, Gilberto Gil, Zakir Hussain, Faithless, Big Thief, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Marianah, U2, Bjork, Snoop Dogg, Cat Power, Vanessa Paradis, Gorillaz and many others.

2004 – 2023: Leading film figures including in Hollywood call for meaningful solidarity with Palestinians and endorse accountability measures against Israel. These include Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, Tony Kushner, Tilda Swinton, Pedro Almodovar, Miriam Margolyes, Boots Riley, Alia Shawkat, Ken Loach, Julie Christie, Jim Jarmusch, Thandiwe Newton, Gael García Bernal, Maxine Peake, Mike Leigh, Sarah Schulman, James Schamus, Mira Nair, Viggo Mortensen, Harriet Walter and more.

2004 – 2023: Hundreds of artists boycott international events and venues that are sponsored by Israeli embassies and consulates, or that censor and exclude artists supporting Palestinian rights including BDS. These include artists withdrawing from Sydney Festival, Pop-Kultur Berlin festival, Ruhrtriennale festival, German techno clubs, and many more.

2018-19: The year-long campaign to boycott Eurovision hosted in apartheid Tel Aviv results in reducing its international visitors by some 90%, forcing organizers to literally give away empty seats to Israeli soldiers and settlers. Israel is forced to remove the contest from Jerusalem, failing to use the contest to bolster its illegal annexation of the city and occupation of Palestinian East Jerusalem. More than 150,000 people, hundreds of artists and well over 100 LGBTQIA+ organizations and centers join the campaign. Mainstream media consistently describes it as the most controversial Eurovision ever. Across millions of posts, the word most-tweeted alongside Israel’s official Eurovision hashtag, apart from “Israel”, is “apartheid”.

ACADEMIC BOYCOTT & CAMPUS ACTIVISM

2013 – 2023: The US-based American Studies Association (ASA) votes to boycott Israeli academic institutions, as do the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the Association of Black Anthropologists, the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), Canadian Society for Socialist Studies (SSS) and the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), with more than 800 research centers in 55 countries.

2014 – 2022: The Graduate Institute Student Association, Harvard’s student newspaper The Crimson, more than 50 New York University student groups, the Canadian Federation of Students, Student Federation of the Austral University of Chile (FEUACh), the UK National Union of Students, among others, pass motions in support of BDS.

2021: In unprecedented numbers hundreds of academic departments, programs, societies and unions, and tens of thousands of scholars worldwide stand for Palestinian rights, including boycotts or other accountability measures.

2021: University of Brasilia Professors Association (Brazil) votes by 80% against collaboration with Israeli apartheid.

2011: The University of Johannesburg (South Africa) severs ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) due to complicity in Israeli apartheid.

2005: Association of University Teacher-AUT (UK) adopts the academic boycott of Israel.

SPORTS BOYCOTT

2021 – 2022: Sports stars and teams stand up for Palestinian rights and refuse to sportswash Israeli apartheid in unprecedented numbers.

2018 – 2022: The Oakland Roots SC, Premier League Qatar Sports Club, UiTM, Malaysia’s largest university, Luton Town FC, Forest Green Rovers FC, and Chester FC drop PUMA sponsorship or pledge not to sign with PUMA over its complicity in Israeli apartheid.

2021: A “friendly” match between FC Barcelona and racist Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem is canceled after FC Barcelona conditioned the match on it not being played in Jerusalem, where Israel continues its gradual ethnic cleansing of Indigenous Palestinian communities.

2021: Malaysia denies Israeli squash team from participating in the world tournament.

2018: Following a pressure campaign, Argentina’s men’s football team cancels a trip to apartheid Israel for a “friendly” match.

2017: More than half of NFL (US) players booked withdraw from an all-expenses paid propaganda trip organized to improve Israel’s image.

ANTI-PINKWASHING

2019 – 2023: Over 50 filmmakers have pulled their films from the pinkwashing, Israeli government-sponsored TLVFest in response to the call from Palestinian queers and partners around the world.

2023: Brit and Grammy award-winning artist Sam Smith cancels their performance in apartheid Israel, avoiding artwashing and pinkwashing Israel’s oppression against Palestinians.

2022: Lisbon Pride refuses participation of apartheid Israel’s ambassador, saying it would be “hypocritical” to allow an apartheid state to join a celebration of “the struggle for LGBTI+ rights, human rights and equality.”

2020 – 2021: In 2020, Queer Cinema for Palestine (QCP) is launched as a pledge for queer filmmakers committing not to participate in Israeli government-sponsored events, including TLVFest. Over 200 queer filmmakers have signed the pledge. In 2021, the first edition of QCP film festival is organized by a coalition of 30 groups around the world as a solidarity initiative offering a vibrant space to stand together with Indigenous Palestinians. 

These BDS-related impacts are just a snapshot of where we stand today. Thank you for helping us turn darkness into light by continuing to stand in solidarity with our non-violent, anti-racist struggle against apartheid, settler colonialism and occupation and for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality!

India: Interfaith Forum for Peace and Harmony formed in violence-hit Manipur for restoration of humanity

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from the Eastern Mirror of Nagaland

With an objective to provide relief, healing and restoration of humanity to those affected by the ongoing violent conflicts in Manipur, more than 30 people including religious leaders from diverse faith converged at Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple in Imphal and formed Interfaith Forum for Peace and Harmony (IFPH) on Tuesday.

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Manipur has been in turmoil since violent clashes broke out between the Meitei and Kuki communities on May 3, claiming more than 100 lives and leaving thousands of people homeless after thousands of houses were destroyed.

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Question related to this article:
 
How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

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The forum (IFPH) was launched following a meeting attended by 34 people, including religious leaders representing diverse faiths like Christianity, Sanamahi, Manipuri Gauriya Vaisnav, Islam and Tingkao Ragwang, as well as various spiritual communities such as Divine Life Society, Art of Living, Brahmakumari, Bhakti Seva Lup and Gandhian movement Ekta Parishad.

The members of the forum resolved to embark on a journey of interfaith understanding and culture of peace by taking moral and social responsibilities of the sufferings caused to thousands of people in both the hills and valley of Manipur,’ read an update received here on Tuesday.

It was also resolved to organise an all faith prayer programme to end the violence and heal the sufferings through humanitarian support services throughout the state.

All the religious leaders appreciated the eight core values of Sanamahism, including humility, trust, calmness, honesty, compassion, good thought, reflection and contentment shared during the meeting and accepted it as common values for interfaith understanding.

The update went on to inform that a working committee of the forum was constituted comprising two representatives from each faith and Deben Bachaspatimayum was appointed as the convener.