Category Archives: DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

South Sudan : Community leaders in Unity state pledge to promote a culture of peace

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from United Nations Mission in South Sudan

Some 60 participants from local administration, including women’s representatives, from Guit and Rubkona counties in Unity state attended an UNMISS forum on enhancing peace and stability.


Photo by Jacob Ruai/UNMISS

“We must stop the perennial cycle of revenge killings if we are to live in peace and prosper,” said Jany Nyang, a traditional leader in Budang payam [administrative division] located within Rubkona county in Unity state.

“Frequent cattle raids lead to outbreaks of conflict and this, in turn, destroys the fragile fabric of people’s lives. Peace doesn’t just happen; we have to all shoulder our individual responsibility and learn to coexist if we want our children to have a bright future,” he continued.

Mr. Nyang was speaking at a three-day forum hosted by the Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which brought together local administrators as well as traditional and community leaders from two counties, Guit and Rubkona, to find localized solutions to issues such as cattle rustling, intercommunal conflict and increasing social cohesion.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

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More than 60 participants, including women, participated in these discussions, which also included the important topic of cooperation among politicians from different parties across the state.

For Mary Nyakun Diew, a women’s representative, inclusion of women and youth in decision-making is key to establishing a sustained peace. “The participation of women in peacebuilding is of utmost importance. Women constitute 50 per cent of any society and this country’s leadership must make all efforts to include us in peace activities,” she stated.

Another participant, Nyakun Nyadiew explained that real peace cannot be achieved when every civilian is holding a gun. “If we want to live in a secure and free society, the government needs to carry out disarmament across the country. The proliferation of arms among civilians is one of the root causes of insecurity in our community,” he averred passionately.

For his part, Matthew Gatmai, Executive Director, Bentiu Town Council, advised communities to put their differences aside. “We cannot have a sense of peace if we don’t invest in it ourselves and our investment should take the form of tolerance. We need to forgive past hurts and look towards the future.”

According to Paul Adejoh, Civil Affairs Officer, UNMISS, discussions like this enable local-level authorities and communities to understand and own ongoing peace processes in the world’s youngest nation.

“As Civil Affairs Officers, we constantly engage with community leaders and members across South Sudan and we have come to realize that most conflict stems from a lack of investment in building peace from the ground up,” said Mr. Adejoh. “What we try and do is bring people together so that they can have free and frank discussions and realise that all citizens have a role to play in establishing durable peace. Every opinion counts, every individual matters.”

Israeli and Arab women demand peace between Israelis and Palestinians

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Prensa Latina

Some 1,000 Israeli and Arab women marched in Jerusalem to demand peace between Palestinians and Israelis, whose Government currently keeps the door closed to any negotiation.


Click on image to enlarge

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Question related to this article:
 
Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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

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Convened by Women Wage Peace, the women on Thursday (September 21) formed a human chain along the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem before assembling for a rally in Jaffa Gate square, The Jerusalem Post informed.

Tel Aviv’s continued military operations failed to achieve the promised security, Women Wage Peace member Nadia Hamdan stressed, referring to the Israel Defense Forces’ successive attacks on Palestinian territories, especially the Gaza Strip.

Founded in the summer of 2014 following the Israeli attack on Gaza, Women Wage Peace has some 45,000 members in the Israeli state.

Since Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office in June, he has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the Palestinian National Authority and has shown his opposition to establish a state for that people.

Peace and Common Security Advocates from Around the World Oppose QUAD , & AUKUS Militarism – 26 Sept 2021

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network

Meeting on the eve of the QUAD alliance summit, peace, justice and common security advocates from the QUAD and AUKUS member countries, and Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, India, Britain, Germany, and the U.S. met to analyze and build opposition to the dangerous and increased militarism of the QUAD and AUKUS alliances.

The incipient coalition decries the QUAD and AUKUS alliances which dangerously intensify geostrategic military tensions with China. In addition to increasing the dangers that accidents or miscalculations to trigger escalation to catastrophic wars, this increased military competition seriously undermines the possibility of U.S.-Chinese and broader international cooperation to reverse the existential threats of nuclear weapons, the climate emergency, and pandemics. The strategic competition between the great powers includes the danger of a great power war which will destroy the planet.

Opposing the recently announced U.S.-Australian-British alliance, Australian peace organizations are demanding that Australia not become a staging point for the U.S. military, that Australian sovereignty not be abrogated to the U.S. and their government must not encourage the nuclear proliferation and risk environmental catastrophe inherent in the agreement to purchase submarines powered by highly enriched uranium.

President Biden has spoken of an inflection point. Negotiation and announcement of the AUKUS alliance indeed marks a dangerous turning point in geostrategic situation. Among them:

Instead of increasing stability and security, the QUAD and AUKUS alliances fuel dangerously spiraling cold war-like arms races that must be reversed with common security diplomacy.

The transfer of highly enriched uranium and related technologies to Australia, violates the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and encourages nuclear weapons proliferation. It provides Australia with resources needed to become a nuclear power, and significant political and military figures in India, South Korea and Japan ask why they have been denied these capabilities.

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Question for this article:

How can we stop the new cold war with China?

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Announcement of the AUKUS alliance has disastrous global strategic ramifications. Coming on the heels of the precipitous NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration has again acted without consulting its NATO allies. This fuels calls from European and E.U. leaders to create an independent European military superpower. The new military alliance strengthens worldwide the arms race

The AUKUS alliance increases pressure on ASEAN and other nations to choose between sides in a way that compromises their independence.

Forty years ago, the adoption of common security diplomacy played major roles in the negotiation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the end of the Cold War. The new international peace coalition is committed to building international pressure for Indo-Pacific demilitarization and common security diplomacy to address and reverse the existential threats posed by nuclear weapons, the climate emergency, and pandemics.
 
No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars. Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate.

(signatories as of Sept.26, 2021)
 
International Peace Bureau
Asia Europe Peoples Forum – Peace and Security cluster
Independent and Peaceful Australia Network
Australian Anti Bases Campaign Coalition
Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice (Guam)
Le Mouvement de la Paix (France)
Veterans For Peace Chapter 113 Hawaii
Peace Women Partners, Philippines
Action for Sovereign Philippines
I Hagan Famalao’an Guahan, Inc. (Guam)
KILUSAN (Movement for National Democracy) Philippines
KAISAKA (Unity of Women for Liberation) Philippines
Maui Peace Action (Hawaii)
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers/BMP) Philippines
Committee for a Sane U.S.-China Policy (US)
Philippine Women’s Network for Peace and Security
Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice
ʻOhana Koa / Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific
Blue Banner Mongolia
Initiatives for International Dialogue
ALAB Katipunan (Philippines)
Japan Asia Africa Latin America (Japan)
MapaladKa Peace Movement (Philippines)
Communist Party of Australia
Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
Dap-ayan ti Babba-I (North Luzon, Philippines)
YouWin (Young Women’s Initiatives)
Kauai Women’s Caucus (Hawai’i)
Ko’olauloa Waialua Alliance
LABAN ng MASA (Philippines)

United States Conference of Mayors Calls on the United States to Welcome the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to Act Now to Prevent Nuclear War and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Pressenza (reprinted by permission)

At the close of its 89th Annual Meeting, held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on August 31, 2021, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Executive Committee unanimously adopted a bold new resolution Calling on the United States to Welcome the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons [TPNW] and to Act Now to Prevent Nuclear War and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.


The resolution calls on the United States government “to welcome the Treaty as a positive step towards negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on the achievement and permanent maintenance of a world free of nuclear weapons.” It continues: “The United States Conference of Mayors welcomes the June 16, 2021 Joint Statement by President Biden and Russian President Putin in which they ‘reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’; and calls on the Biden Administration to reduce nuclear tensions through intensive diplomatic efforts with Russia and China, and to actively pursue a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals in conformity with requirements of international law preceding the TPNW by decades.”

Observing that, “according to a report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in 2020, the nine nuclear-armed states spent $72.6 billion on nuclear weapons, with the U.S. leading at $37.4 billion, or $70,881 per minute,” the USCM resolution opens with a stark warning from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

WHEREAS, on January 27, 2021, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced it is keeping the hands of its Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest we’ve ever been to global annihilation, stating: “By our estimation, the potential for the world to stumble into nuclear war-an ever-present danger over the last 75 years-increased in 2020,” and noting: “the existential threats of nuclear weapons and climate change have intensified in recent years because of a threat multiplier: the continuing corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision-making depend…[T]he COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call.”

The USCM resolution underscores that “tensions between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China have increased dramatically, with flashpoints in Ukraine and Taiwan that could potentially spawn nuclear confrontations.”

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

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The USCM expresses its concern that “President Biden’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2022 increases military expenditures by $11 billion and extends funding for all nuclear warhead and delivery system upgrades in his predecessor’s budget, as well as its massive investment in the nuclear weapons infrastructure, to project nuclear weapons research, development, production, and deployment well into the 21st century, in violation of United States disarmament obligations under the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.”

The USCM resolution reports that “the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force on January 22, 2021, prohibiting the development, acquisition, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons for those countries that have ratified it.” But it points out that, “while the TPNW represents the total repudiation of nuclear weapons by most of the states that do not possess them, the United States, the eight other nuclear-armed states and almost all of the countries under the U.S. nuclear umbrella boycotted the negotiations and have not joined the treaty.”

The USCM makes several concrete policy recommendations in its new resolution:

“call[ing] on the Biden Administration to fully incorporate United States obligations regarding non-use and elimination of nuclear weapons under international law into its forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review”;

“call[ing] on the President and Congress to cancel the plan to replace the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons and to redirect funds currently allocated to nuclear weapons and unwarranted military spending to address decades of inaction on infrastructure, poverty, the growing climate crisis, and rising inequality”; and

“call[ing] on the President and Congress to elevate arms control and disarmament as a federal priority by reestablishing the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.”

As recognized in the resolution, “Mayors for Peace, founded in 1982 and led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is working for a world without nuclear weapons, safe and resilient cities, and a culture of peace, as essential measures for the realization of lasting world peace;” and “Mayors for Peace has grown to 8,043 cities in 165 countries and regions, with 219 U.S. members, representing in total over one billion people.”

Noting that, “The United States Conference of Mayors has unanimously adopted Mayors for Peace resolutions for sixteen consecutive years,” the USCM “urges all of its members to join Mayors for Peace to help reach the goal of 10,000 member cities.”

The 2021 USCM resolution was sponsored by Mayors for Peace U.S. Vice-President Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa, and co-sponsored by Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio and current President of the USCM; Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina and past President of the USCM; Patrick L. Wojahn, Mayor of College Park, Maryland; Roy D. Buol, Mayor of Dubuque, Iowa; J. Christian Bollwage, Mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey; Jon Mitchell, Mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts; and William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The United States Conference of Mayors  is the official nonpartisan association of more than 1,400 American cities with populations over 30,000. Resolutions Adopted at annual meetings become USCM official policy.

Click here for the full text of the resolution.

The cost of the global war on terror: $6.4 trillion and 801,000 lives

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Brown University

Nearly two decades after New York’s Twin Towers fell on 9/11, the estimated cost of America’s counterterrorism efforts stands at $6.4 trillion.

That’s according to a Nov. 13 report released by the Costs of War project based at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

According to the report, since late 2001, the United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend $6.4 trillion on counterterrorism efforts through the end of 2020. An estimated $5.4 trillion of that total has funded, and will continue to fund, counterterrorism wars and smaller operations in more than 80 countries; an additional minimum of $1 trillion will provide care for veterans of those wars through the next several decades.

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Catherine Lutz, co-director of Costs of War and a Brown professor of international and public affairs and anthropology. “These reports provide a reminder that even if fewer soldiers are dying and the U.S. is spending a little less on the immediate costs of war today, the financial impact is still as bad as, or worse than, it was 10 years ago. We will still be paying the bill for these wars on terror into the 22nd century.”

In a separate report released on the same day, Lutz and Neta Crawford, another Costs of War co-director and a professor of political science at Boston University, estimate that between 770,000 and 801,000 people have died in post-9/11 wars. The total estimate includes civilian deaths — some 312,000 or more — as well as deaths of opposition fighters (more than 250,000), members of the U.S. military (7,014) and journalists and humanitarian workers (1,343).

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Question for this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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The Costs of War project, a joint effort between Brown’s Watson Institute and Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, was launched in 2011 with the goal of comprehensively documenting the costs of the United States’ counterterrorism wars in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Unlike accounts of war costs released by the Pentagon, Costs of War financial reports take into account not only Department of Defense (DOD) spending but also spending by the departments of state, veterans affairs and homeland security, as well as the cost of interest paid on borrowed funds. The Costs of War death toll is calculated based on casualty reports released by the DOD and Department of Labor, figures provided by the United Nations, and obituaries and other news stories.

“If you count all parts of the federal budget that are military related — including the nuclear weapons budget, the budget for fuel for military vehicles and aircraft, funds for veteran care — it makes up two thirds of the federal budget, and it’s inching toward three quarters,” Lutz said.

“I don’t think most people realize that, but it’s important to know. Policymakers are concerned that the Pentagon’s increased spending is crowding out other national purposes that aren’t war.”

This month’s new reports are among the first to be published in the Costs of War project’s “20 Years of War” series, which recognizes the anniversary of the beginning of the global war on terror with new research and updates to existing papers. The research series launched thanks to a $450,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, along with support from the Watson Institute and the Pardee Center.

All three of the Costs of War co-directors — Lutz, Crawford and Watson Institute Senior Research Associate Stephanie Savell— kicked off the “20 Years of War” series with a visit to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, where they presented their latest findings to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and an international pool of journalists.

“We have already seen that when we go to Washington and circulate our briefings, they get used in the policymaking process,” Lutz said. “People cite our data in speeches on the Senate floor, in proposals for legislation.

The numbers have made their way into calls to put an end to the joint resolution to authorize the use of military force.

They have real impact.”

Search for Common Ground: Engagement — Not Isolation — Offers Best Hope for Afghanistan

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Search for Common Ground

August 18, 2021 — Search for Common Ground expresses profound concern for the safety and well-being of the people of Afghanistan and urges the international community to engage with all parties, including the Taliban leadership, who can affect the well-being of the Afghan people. We also urge the Taliban to engage with the full diversity of Afghan society, as well as international actors, to support intra-Aghan reconciliation and the protection of the rights of all Afghan citizens.

“International isolation will hurt all Afghans by exacerbating an already-dire humanitarian crisis and raising the specter of renewed civil war” said Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground. “Engagement offers the best promise of securing progress toward internationally recognized standards to which Afghans – and all people – aspire, which are articulated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the rights of women and ethnic minorities. While international actors work to assure the safety of their colleagues and partners in Afghanistan, we ask that all who are able redouble their commitment to engaging and supporting the Afghan people and society.”

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Question related to this article:

Is peace possible in Afghanistan?

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In Afghanistan, Search for Common Ground will continue its work as guided by the Common Ground Approach. This is a process that: humanizes people using diverse methods devised by local teams who, themselves, embody the dividing lines that they seek to bridge; mobilizes people to advance common interests, understanding that shared success is the best way to build trust and make allies out of adversaries; and systematizes cooperation through changes in institutions and the culture of conflict resolution. This approach does more than resolve disputes; it changes systems.

Search for Common Ground recognizes that the Taliban, Afghan public, and international community share substantial common ground. All parties want Afghanistan to have standing and participate in the community of nations. All parties want a functioning nation-state that protects rights and dispenses services through functioning institutions. And all parties want basic security and dignity for Afghans in their daily lives. From this foundation of shared wants, peace can take shape.

“Afghanistan is facing a new and uncertain phase. Search for Common Ground encourages all parties to work towards a healthy, safe and just society. Isolation would likely lead to renewed violent conflict, and violent conflict is not a solution,” Idriss said.

(Editor’s note: At CPNN we have received an email from the Director of Search for Common Ground, Shamil Idriss, saying “We want you to know that we are not giving up. Our country director, Zuhra Bahman, and her staff are committed to continuing to work in Afghanistan. We are staying the course because we know that intensive and consistent dialogue between all parties is the key to building a safe, healthy, and just society.  . . Please send a gift today to help ensure Zuhra and her staff have the support they need — because they are needed now more than ever. All donations will be matched by a board member and worth 2X as much.”)

United Nations from the field: Desert artisans in Mali foster dialogue and tolerance

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

Two articles from the United Nations

Traditional arts and crafts are being used to build peace and dialogue in Mali thanks to the work of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSMA.


MINUSMA/Gema Cortes. Tuareg women artisans produce leather goods as part of a project supported by the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

Some 360 artisans based around Menaka, in the far northeast of the West African nation, some of whom fled as refugees to neighbouring Niger, have been encouraged to return to the town’s newly restored House of Artisans to practice a range of traditional crafts, including leatherwork, silver-smithing, sewing and carpentry.

MINUSMA, which supported the restoration, is hoping bringing artisans together from a range of ethnic groups will help to reinforce social cohesion, tolerance and improve security as well as providing much-needed employment.

The Menaka region is experiencing increasing insecurity as a result of attacks by terrorist groups and armed bandits.

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Using art to promote social cohesion in Mali

A related article from the United Nations

Taking a piece of leather in her hand, Bachira, a Tuareg artisan, starts weaving an ornament that will be sewed onto a new colourful tribal saddle cushion that may end up decorating a home somewhere.

Bachira is an accomplished leather worker. She is among 360 artisans in Mali sponsored by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to promote social cohesion and dialogue through traditional art.

“When I returned home from exile, the only personal belongings I brought were my knowledge and my hands. This project is helping me to make the most of what I have. It ensures I can cover my family essential needs. I want them to have a better life than mine,” she said.

Bachira Walet Mohamed, a 50-year-old mother-of-eight is from a village close to Menaka, in the far north-east of Mali. She fled her home with her family during the humanitarian crisis following the 2012 conflict. The whole family lived one year in exile in Niger, before returning in 2014.

Only last year did Bachira fully retake her tribal leather work. Thanks to “The House of Artisans’, a regional crafters association, rebuilt and equipped using MINUSMA support. “During those difficult years of violence shaking our town, the workshop was vandalized and as a result it closed down. I didn’t have anything, not even to buy food,” she recalled.

Art to foster dialogue and tolerance

MINUSMA saw the potential to promote peace and dialogue through traditional arts and crafts, thus the idea to restore “The House of Artisans” to its glory, through a Quick Impact Project (QIP). The Menaka ‘House of Artisans” was completely rebuilt and equipped with furniture, machines and tools for artisans working in jewelry, welding, leatherwork, forging metal, carpentry, sewing and wood carving.

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Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

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The project, under USD$45,000, gave back an economic activity to up to 360 artisans from different ethnics’ groups It even improved the operating environment and enhanced their production and distribution capacities through training.

MINUSMA’s QIP objective is to contribute to the socioeconomic development by improving the income of artisans across the Menaka region, which is experiencing increasing insecurity as a result of attacks by terrorist groups and armed bandits.

According to Adass Ag Abdoul Karim, President of the Union of Artisans and coordinator of the project, art can break barriers and promote tolerance because “the objective to create a space for dialogue, tolerance and peace through art,” he said. “Thereby, reducing unemployment and improving family income of the artisans.”

Metalsmith (left) pictured with Adas Ag Abdoul Karim (right), President of Union of Artisans in Menaka, Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Gema Cortes

Adass is grateful for MINUSMA’s continuous support to his community and for helping rebuild the confidence in Mali’s well-known craftsmanship. Nevertheless, he underlines the need for young people to be trained, in order to safeguard the ancient traditions of Malian artistry. By doing so, one is both promoting the quality and marketing skills of artisans, particularly those of women and the creation of employment. All leading to peace and stability.

Since 2013, MINUSMA sponsored more than 740 QIPs projects in Mali totalling USD$24 million benefitting over 10 million people. These projects contributed to strengthening social cohesion and security, improving access to basic health care and water, fostering training and education, promoting the use of agro-pastoral resources, creating temporary and long-term employment and supporting cultural heritage.

Providing a crucial lifeline for struggling artisans

While the temperature is reaching its peak in the sandy streets of Menaka, under e blazing sun, several Tuareg jewelers toil away inside the House of Artisans. Most of them are hand-engraving silver pieces homemade tools. This shows how little has changed in the traditional Tuareg jewelry making process.

Alhader Ag Tital is fifty-one-year-old. He is Tuareg, very quiet and a silversmith. He learnt the trade from his grand-parents and parents, becoming a master himself. His quietness ends up when he talks about his participation in this project. “I am very, very, very happy. It’s the first time we have a proper space for working. We now have a safe and operational place, and we are so grateful.”

Despite being the most dangerous active peacekeeping deployment in the world, with so far 158 blue helmets killed by hostiles forces, and dozens more killed by accidents and illness since its creation in 2013, MINUSMA remains committed to help rebuild sustainable peace in this landlocked north-west African nation. This project proves peace and dialogue can be achieve through numerous actions, involving all groups and different communities, and, at the same time promoting livelihoods and empowerment.

Cameroon : From a life of violence to a culture of peace

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from the United Nations

A young peace campaigner from Cameroon who turned his back on the violence prevalent in his hometown and became a youth civil society activist, has been telling the United Nations about how he is helping other young people to reject conflict, and take a greater role in building peace in the country.


© UNICEF/Salomon Marie Joseph Beguel
Young people in Cameroon are key to promoting a peaceful culture in the West African country.

Christian Achaleke spoke to the UN ahead of International Youth Day, which is marked annually on August 12th.

“My decision to become a peace activist was influenced by my personal experience. I grew up in a community plagued by violence: it was a way of life. At some point, I came to realize that violence leads us nowhere. I lost some friends and acquaintances, and others were thrown into jail.

I began volunteering in 2007, and this gave me a new perspective built around peace and helping to improve communities. It has been an inspiring, life-changing experience.

As a young person involved in peacebuilding and countering violent extremism, I find myself speaking to my peers. When I go to prisons to speak to other young people, I can show them that there are better ways to respond to the challenges they face than violence and develop solutions to the drivers of conflicts.

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(Click here for a French version of this article.)

Question related to this article:
 
“Put down the gun and take up the pen”, What are some other examples?

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Underestimated youth

However, I would say that our role has been underestimated. Sometimes I feel that communities, leaders and institutions turn a blind eye to what we are doing, even though we are the ones who suffer the most in times of conflict. 

In Cameroon, we have tried to provide young people with the opportunity to engage in local community peacebuilding and peace process initiatives, giving them guidance, mentorship and support. 

We are telling the government, the UN and other organizations that it is a good strategy to involve youth, to give them the skills to take part in mediation and provide a safe space in which they can be a part of the process.

Culture, diversity and heritage are very important to me as a Cameroonian. They should serve as a unifying factor but, because we did not properly harness them, we are facing a violent conflict. 

That is why managing culture, heritage, diversity and our diaspora community is very important for peace, and it is something that we have been trying to practice for a long time.

Values to prevent conflict

To me, a culture of peace is a set of values, lifestyle, morals, and ethics which are developed as a way to prevent conflict or violence and also to engage people towards peaceful and ethical living. 

To create a culture of peace in Africa, young people and women need to be engaged, and at the forefront of the process. It is also important to provide opportunities for people and communities to be able to share experiences and ideas.

Little is being spoken about young people changing the face of the African continent but that does not mean that we are not doing good work. I am calling on heads of States, policy makers, communities and every person of good will, to stand and support young boys and girls, and ensure that they can lead the transformations of their countries, and build the African continent”.

UN pledges full support to Nagasaki voices fuelling ‘powerful global movement’ against nuclear arms

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from the United Nations

António Guterres has reaffirmed the full support of the United Nations to amplifying the powerful testimony of the survivors of the atomic bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, 76 years ago, which has helped build a “powerful global movement against nuclear arms”.


In his message to the Nagasaki Peace Memorial on the 9 August anniversary, the UN Secretary-General said he continued to be humbled by the “selfless acts of the hibakusha, the name given to those who survived and continue to bear witness.

“Your courage in the face of immense human tragedy, is a beacon of hope for humanity”, he said in his address, delivered on his behalf at the ceremony by the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu.

“I reaffirm the full support of the United Nations to ensuring that your voices are heard by the world’s people, and especially by younger generations.”

Out of the ashes

The UN chief told the people of the city that was devastated in 1945, just days after the first bomb was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima during the final days of World War Two, that they had built a “cultural metropolis” out of the ashes.

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

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“Your dynamic city exemplifies modernity and progress, while you work diligently to prevent devastation from ever befalling another city”, he said, warning however that the prospect of another nuclear weapon being used, were as dangerous now, as any time since the height of the Cold War between the US and former USSR.

“States are racing to create more powerful weapons, and broadening the potential scenarios for their use. Warlike rhetoric is turned up to maximum volume, while dialogue is on mute”, said the Secretary-General.

Grounds for hope

But two developments this year provide grounds for hope, in the form of the reaffirmation from the US and Russia, “that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”, together with a commitment to engage in arms control talks.

Secondly, said Mr. Guterres in his message, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now come into force, representing “the legitimate fears of many States, about the existential danger posed by nuclear weapons.”

And for the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the UN chief said they all parties now need to reinforce “the norm against nuclear weapons” at the upcoming Tenth Review Conference, and take real steps towards elimination.

It is incumbent on all Member States of the UN, “to seek the abolition of the most deadly weapons ever made”, said Mr. Guterres, and together, we must prevent the tragedy of Nagasaki’s nuclear destruction, “from ever occurring again.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

UNAC statement: Ban nuclear weapons starting with the US! Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A statement from the United National Antiwar Coalition

On August 6, we will once again recognize one of the most horrendous events ever to take place in human history. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the largely residential city of Hiroshima. Three days later they dropped a second nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki. As many as 250,000 people, men, women and children were annihilated and many more died subsequently from the wounds, radiation poisoning and radiation-induced cancers. The United States is the only country to ever drop a nuclear bomb on people.

The stated reason for this barbaric act was to hasten the end of World War II. But many historians believe that Japan was ready to surrender before the dropping of the bomb especially once the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan and moved its forces into Manchuria. Germany had already surrendered, and Japan stood alone. At the time, some argued that the bomb should be dropped in Tokyo Bay in the water where it would have done far less damage and Japan’s leaders could see its destructive potential, but the decision was made to drop it on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki. Once was not enough, they had to do it twice.


Many people now believe that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not to end WWII, which was in its final days but to start the Cold War and show the Soviet Union and the world what the US could do if any country dared to oppose it.

One also wonders if dropping the bomb on non-white people played a role. Were Japanese lives valued less by the white supremacist US government, which maintained a segregated military during World War II? After all, people of Japanese descent, including US citizens were put in internment (concentration) camps in the US while people of German descent were not.

There was also serious consideration by the US of using nuclear weapons in the Korean war. The US actually sent the B29 bombers used to drop the bombs on Japan to a military installation in Okinawa along with the nuclear bombs and the fissile cores needed to make them work. This was in preparation for their possible use in the war. President Truman told a press conference in November 1950 that he would take whatever steps were necessary to win in Korea, including the use of nuclear weapons. General Douglas MacArthur, who was the “supreme commander” of the US led forces in Korea disagreed with Truman on the use of nuclear weapons in the war. So, Truman fired MacArthur and replaced him with General Matthew Ridgway, who was given “qualified authority” to use the bombs if he felt they were necessary.

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

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The problem the US administration faced with in the use of the atomic bomb in Korea were two-fold. The first was that the US public and certainly the people of the world were horrified after seeing the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Much of this horror was accredited to the book Hiroshima by John Hershey which was published in its entirety in the New Yorker magazine in 1949. The book described the destruction and told the story of 6 survivors of the bombing. It led to a groundswell of opposition to nuclear weapons. The second problem for the US administration was that in 1949 the Soviet Union conducted their first tests of an atomic bomb, and the assessment was that they soon would have a workable weapon. Although nuclear weapons were not used in Korea, the military did several test-runs with their B29 bombers carrying conventional bombs.

Unlike WWII, the United States has consistently refused to end the Korean war. To the US government, it is still going on and they still intend to win. The US maintains a large troop presence in Korea at the border with the North and has conducted annual “war games,” which many consider practice invasions of the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK), AKA, North Korea. These “war games,” typically include scenarios in which the US uses nuclear weapons against the DPRK. In recent years the US has provocatively sent nuclear capable bombers within 75 miles of the border with the DPRK. Yet in the upside-down logic of US Imperialism and its corporate media it is not the war games, the US troops on the border, or the nuclear capable flights that are provocative but the clearly defensive nuclear program of the DPRK.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki opened the nuclear arms race that has led to today’s reality where it is possible to kill off the entire population of the world several times over. This is supposed to make us safer.

But the nuclear arms race was always one-sided, with the US making the new and more advanced systems, and then the Soviet Union and later China taking steps to do the same to gain parity. After the development of the atomic bomb, the US made the more powerful hydrogen bomb, then the Soviets did the same. The US then made missile delivery system and multiple warhead missiles, nuclear submarines, etc. and then others scrambled to gain parity. And now the US has announced it will develop a space force, so other countries feel the need to find a way to counter or do the same. Without the investment of money and effort that was put into these weapons of mass destruction, the world may have been able to address global warming, hunger, poverty, etc. That would have made us safer.

In recent years the U.S. has unilaterally withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, has initiated a $1.5 Trillion program to modernize the US nuclear arsenal and started the creation of the new military space force.

For these reasons, the United National Antiwar Coalition sees the main danger of nuclear war coming from the United States and believes that we in the US have a special obligation to the world to oppose that danger.

Ban nuclear weapons starting with the US!
Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki