Category Archives: DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

Statement of Moscow Helsinki Group

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An article from Moscow Helsinki Group (google translation)

On the International Day of Peace, Russia took another step towards the escalation of the armed conflict in the center of Europe

An attempt, under any pretext, to unilaterally redraw internationally recognized borders and annex the territories of another state is a gross violation of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Accords and leads to increased isolation and worsening attitudes towards Russia and its citizens around the world.


If before February 24, decision makers could still have some illusions about the attitude of Ukrainian citizens to the policies and actions of the Russian authorities or about the legitimacy of the Ukrainian authorities, now it is clear that the vast majority of Ukrainians support their government and ready to make sacrifices for the sake of preserving the independence and territorial integrity of their country. This means that the continuation, and even more so the escalation of hostilities will lead to more and more casualties on all sides and to new war crimes. We must stop before it’s too late!

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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We are convinced that the minimum necessary actions of Russia in the current situation should be an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops to positions as of February 23 with guarantees of asylum and citizenship for supporters of Russian policy wishing to enter Russia, the immediate exchange of all available prisoners and the bodies of the dead. We are confident that all controversial issues can be resolved at the negotiating table with much greater efficiency than involving even more people on both sides in an armed confrontation – in order to save lives and protect human rights, regardless of citizenship and views. 

We also remind you that, despite the tightening of Russian legislation, it still protects the right of citizens to refuse to participate in hostilities with weapons in their hands for reasons of conscience and belief, including through the institution of alternative civilian service. Those people whose beliefs are contrary to the performance of service in the current conditions should loudly and unequivocally declare this, saving their lives and dignity and other people and bringing peace closer. Human rights organizations are ready to assist in this, defending the freedom of conscience and the right to refuse to participate in the war. 

Board of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World

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Statement of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, adopted at the meeting on International Day of Peace 21 September 2022 and published by World Beyond War
Video of statement

Condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine, the UN General Assembly called for an immediate peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and emphasized that parties to the conflict must respect human rights and international humanitarian law. We share this position.

Current policies of war until absolute victory and contempt for criticism of human rights defenders is unacceptable and must be changed. What is needed is a ceasefire, peace talks and serious work to correct the tragic mistakes made on both sides of the conflict. Prolongation of the war has catastrophic, deadly consequences, and continues to destroy the welfare of society and environment not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world. Sooner or later, parties will sit at the negotiating table, if not after their reasonable decision, then under the pressure of unbearable suffering and weakening, the last better to be avoided by choosing the diplomatic path.

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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It is wrong to take the side of any of the warring armies, it is necessary to stand on the side of peace and justice. Self-defense can and should be carried out by non-violent and unarmed methods. Any brutal government is illegitimate, and nothing justifies the oppression of people and bloodshed for the illusory goals of total control or conquest of territories.

No one can evade responsibility for his own misdoings by claiming to be a victim of misdoings of others. Wrong and even criminal behavior of any party cannot justify creation of a myth about an enemy with whom it is allegedly impossible to negotiate and who must be destroyed at any cost, including self-destruction. A desire for peace is a natural need of every person, and its expression cannot justify a false association with a mythical enemy.

Human right to conscientious objection to military service in Ukraine was not guaranteed according to international standards even in peacetime, not to mention the current conditions of martial law. The state shamefully avoided for decades and now continues to avoid any serious response to the relevant suggestions of the UN Human Rights Committee and public protests. Although the state cannot derogate this right even in time of war or other public emergency, as says the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the army in Ukraine refuses to respect the universally recognized right to conscientious objection to military service, denying even to replace coercive military service by mobilization with an alternative non-military service according to the direct prescription of the Constitution of Ukraine. Such scandalous disrespect to human rights should have no place under the rule of law.

The state and society must put an end to the despotism and legal nihilism of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, manifested in policies of harassment and criminal punishment for refusal to be engaged in war effort and the forced turn of civilians into soldiers, due to which civilians cannot move freely within the country nor go abroad, even if they have vital needs to rescue from danger, to obtain an education, to find means for living, professional and creative self-realization, etc.

Governments and civil societies of the world appeared to be helpless before the scourge of war, drawn into the funnel of conflict between Ukraine and Russia and wider enmity between NATO countries, Russia and China. Even the threat of destruction of all life on the planet by nuclear weapons had not put an end to the mad arms race, and the budget of the UN, the main institution of peace on Earth, is only 3 billion dollars, while global military expenditures are hundreds of times larger and have exceeded a wild amount of 2 trillion dollars. Due to their inclination to organize mass bloodshed and coerce people to kill, nation states have proven to be incapable of non-violent democratic governance and the performance of their basic functions of protecting life and freedom of people.

In our view, the escalation of armed conflicts in Ukraine and the world are caused by the fact that the existing economic, political and legal systems, education, culture, civil society, mass media, public figures, leaders, scientists, experts, professionals, parents, teachers, medics, thinkers, creative and religious actors are not fully perform their duties of strengthening the norms and values of a non-violent way of life, as envisages the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, adopted by the UN General Assembly. Evidences of the neglected peace-building duties are the archaic and dangerous practices which must be ended: military patriotic upbringing, compulsory military service, lack of systematic public peace education, propaganda of war in the mass media, support of war by NGOs, reluctance of some human rights defenders to advocate consistently for the full realization of human rights to peace and to conscientious objection to military service. We remind stakeholders of their peace-building duties and will steadfastly insist on compliance with these duties.

We see as goals of our peace movement and all peace movements of the world to uphold human right to refuse to kill, to stop the war in Ukraine and all wars in the world, and to ensure sustainable peace and development for all the people of the planet. To achieve these goals, we will tell the truth about the evil and deception of war, learn and teach practical knowledge about peaceful life without violence or with its minimization, and we will help to the needy, especially those affected by wars and unjust coercion to support army or participation in war.

War is a crime against humanity, therefore, we are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.

Sign the World Peace Treaty

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Introduction from facebook page of Pathways to Peace

With so many conflicts today being waged between political militias, criminal, and international terrorist groups, feelings of uncertainty and conflict are top of mind around our world. In response, a coalition of peacebuilding organizations launched a project for people around the world to sign on to a World Peace Treaty.


Called Sign the World Peace Treaty, the initiative intends to give both organizations and individuals around the world a vehicle to express their desire for a more peaceful world, and then encourages them to take concrete steps that activate that desire. The initiative culminates on September 21, the International Day of Peace (Peace Day.)

We invite you to join Pathways To Peace, Police2Peace, the Rotary EClub of World Peace, and our partner organizations, and Sign the World Peace Treaty Now!

Sign here.

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Question related to this article:

How can the peace movement become stronger and more effective?

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Text from website of Sign the World Peace Treaty

Each year on September 21st, the world celebrates the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) as established by unanimous resolution by the United Nations in 1981.

We witness our world yearning for peace, and there is a step we can all take toward greater unity. This month of September is dedicated to peace.  Let us recommit to peace by removing the perception of separation, perceived borders, differences, and limitations.  Let’s work together and engage in shaping and building peace. It is how peace can be realized for us all.

Signers of the World Peace Treaty:

° Commit to moving beyond the myth of separation to recognize our common humanity and support unity through diversity.

° Model integrity, high ethical standards, and peace that is grounded in love.

° Act to end violence and to embody the peace our humanity cries out for and deserves.

° Promote earnestly the ideals of peace and articulate positive evidence of peace in all viable ways, in particular by advancing the Culture of Peace in the best interest of humanity.

° Recognize The International Day of Peace (Peace Day) as a day to commemorate, strengthen, and celebrate the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.

° Can be organizations or individuals

NPT Review Conference ends without agreement: What next?

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Unfold Zero

Can new actions/initiatives come from the NPT deliberations?
On Friday (August 26), after four weeks of deliberations, the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty  concluded with no final agreement.


flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency

A 35-page long draft final document prepared by the Review Conference President Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen had agreement of most, if not all, of the NPT States parties except one – Russia. (See No consensus at NPT review conference after Russia blocks draft document , NHK, August 27, 2022).

A key objection of Russia was the opposition expressed in the draft document to the military activities conducted near or at nuclear power plants, in particular the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which has been occupied and militarized by Russia. These activities pose severe risks to the integrity of the nuclear power plant that could result in a nuclear catastrophe of a similar or worse nature than the Chernobyl nuclear accident. (See In Ukraine, a Nuclear Plant Held Hostage , NY Times, August 23, 2022).

The draft document also affirmed that the security of non-nuclear States must be protected, and that States Parties must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

While not mentioning Russia by name, this language was correctly perceived by Russia as condemning their invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine relinquished nuclear weapons, which they possessed at the break-up of the Soviet Union, in return for security guarantees in the Budapest Memorandum   which protect their territorial integrity. Russia has violated both the UN Charter and the Budapest Memorandum by its invasion of Ukraine.

The international community should welcome the principled refusal of the other NPT States Parties to delete these important provisions. Such deletion would have been required to get agreement from Russia, but would have resulted in a weak final document that did not address real nuclear threats of today. Consensus should not be achieved by abandoning important principles and international law.

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

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What now: New action from a ‘failed’ NPT Review Conference?

The failure of an NPT Review conference to adopt a final document does not necessarily imply a failed conference. Proposals discussed during an NPT Review Conference can take a life of their own despite of – or even stimulated by – the lack of agreed outcome.

This happened for example in 2015. A final document was unable to be agreed. The main dispute was on the proposal to convene a UN conference to establish a Middle East Zone from Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction regardless of whether or not all states in the region participated in the UN Conference. A secondary dispute was on the proposal to start negotiating a threat to prohibit nuclear weapons regardless of whether or not nuclear armed and allied states joined such negotiations.

Despite no final agreement, the NPT Review Conference provided the incubation space for both proposals, which then were taken up through the UN General Assembly resolutions.

These resulted firstly in the UN Open Ended Working Group being reconvened in 2016 to prepare the basis for a nuclear ban treaty, which was then negotiated and adopted at the UN General Assembly in 2017. This was followed in 2018 by the UN General Assembly establishing a UN Conference on a Middle East Zone free from Nuclear Weapons and other WMD , which convenes annually (except during the COVID-19 pandemic) until it concludes a legally binding treaty.  

Issues/initiatives at the 2022 NPT Review Conference that drew a lot of attention, possibly paving the way for action in other forums, included nuclear risk reduction, non-use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict, the adoption of no-first-use policies and negative security assurances.

The call for adoption of no-first-use policies, for example, found much stronger support than in previous NPT Review Conferences, and for the first time ever was included in the draft final document (up until the final few days). This was in large part due to the campaign activities of NoFirstUse Global, including the presentation to the NPT Review Conference of the Open Letter Fulfil the NPT: From nuclear threats to human security , and advocacy in capitals and during the Review Conference.

In addition, informal discussions were held during the NPT Review Conference, on a proposed United Nations General Assembly resolution on reducing the threat of nuclear-weapons-use arising from armed conflicts including the Ukraine conflict.

UNFOLD ZERO, NoFirstUse Global   and other partner organizations will use the momentum generated at the NPT Review Conference on these initiatives (and others) to make progress in the UNGA and other relevant forums. We encourage you to stay tuned and engaged in this.   

According to Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen, President of the NPT Review Conference, the conference was “very meaningful.” “Delegations engaged in discussions on very complex issues, and the lack of an outcome document did not diminish their work. It is like we had a movie for four weeks, but we couldn’t take a picture at the end of the movie. So not having the picture of that doesn’t reflect that the movie didn’t exist.” (See UN Chief disappointed nuclear treaty conference ends without consensus , UN News, August 27, 2022)

Mayors for Peace: Delegation attended the 10th NPT Review Conference

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Excepts from the website of Mayors for Peace

A Mayors for Peace delegation attended the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (10th NPT Review Conference) in New York. Headed by Vice President TAUE Tomihisa (mayor of Nagasaki) and Secretary General KOIZUMI Takashi, the delegation appealed to the representatives of national governments to adopt a final document for promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and respect what had been agreed on at the first Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Mayors for Peace delegation also requested greater understanding of and continued support for the initiatives of Mayors for Peace from the national government representatives.

At the UN Headquarters, the venue of the 10th NPT Review Conference, Mayors for Peace also hosted an Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibition, aiming at building momentum for achieving a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

Meeting with Former UN Under-Secretary-General Chowdhury

The Mayors for Peace delegation handed to former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury a letter from President Matsui requesting a commemorative lecture at the 10th General Conference of Mayors for Peace, and had exchange of views on the culture of peace—championed by former Under-Secretary-General Chowdhury himself.

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

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Other meetings

(Other meetings were held with the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, with Special Representative of the U.S. President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, the  Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, the Director of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland, Hibakusha Ms. Setsuko Thurlow, the Permanent Representative of UK to the Conference on Disarmament, the Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament and the President of the 10th NPT Review Conference.)

Speech at the NGO presentations session of the 10th NPT Review Conference

Representing the Mayors for Peace network, Vice President Taue delivered a speech at the NGO presentations session. He stated that what prevented another Hiroshima and Nagasaki from happening for the past 77 years is the hibakusha’s long-standing call for the abolition of nuclear weapons—which has resonated throughout the world, raising awareness of their inhumanity. Nevertheless, decades of such effort can be undone if just one nuclear-weapon state decides to use all of its power to tyrannize other states, he continued. He then addressed the complementarity of the TPNW with the NPT, appealing that the two treaties reinforce each other and that they both are integral for international society to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, he urged the attendees to fulfill the nuclear disarmament obligations as stipulated in Article VI of the NPT, as well as to propose concrete strategies to ensure progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures.

He also expressed the determination of Mayors for Peace, to continue striving for a world without nuclear weapons. He closed his statement by imparting a message: May Nagasaki be the last wartime atomic bombing site.

India: No More Hiroshima; No More Nagasaki; Nuclear Weapon Free World

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article received at CPNN from Dr Balkrishna Kurvey, President, Indian Institute for Peace Disarmament & Environmental Protection 

No More Hiroshima: No More Nagasaki: Peace Museum. , Indian Institute for Peace Disarmament & Environmental Protection , with Raman Science Centre, Ministry of Culture, National Council of Science Museums. Government of India arranged No More Hiroshima: No More Nagasaki: remembering event from 6 to 10 August 2022. Bombing posters were displayed for public. More than 5000 people visited


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On 6th August Arnab Chtterjee Project Director , Raman Science Centre, inaugurated No More Hiroshima: No More Nagasaki: Peace Posters. On 10 August Dr Balkrishna Kurvey Honorary Executive Director of No More Hiroshima: No More Nagasaki: Peace Museum addressed the students/youths on Nuclear Weapons Free World with special reference to India and Pakistan. The event was arranged in Raman Science Centre, Nagpur.

Dr Kurvey informed that India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons and there is an arms race between these countries. India posses 120 – 130 and Pakistan posses’140-150 nuclear weapons. There are many complex reasons for present nuclear arms race in South Asia. There is mistrust, misunderstanding and animosity between nuclear weapons countries in South Asia. Any fanatic military officer or political leader or due to misunderstanding, may start a nuclear war. The terrorist groups in Pakistan may possess and control the nuclear bombs which will be dangerous to whole world.

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

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The use of just 150 kiloton nuclear bomb over a city like Mumbai could cause upto 86, 60,000 deaths.

Research carried out by International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility, came to conclusion that limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan , 2 billion people will be at risk. And 1 billion will die due to starvation in global south.. It will have horrible consequences of:

1) Nuclear famine: regional nuclear war will cause global mass starvation; 2 billion people will be affected and 1 billion will due to starvation in global south. .

2) Nuclear ozone hole: the global cancer burden of a regional nuclear war;

3) Nuclear winter: the Earth’s life sustaining ecosystems remain at risk;

4) The casualties of nuclear war: .

By displaying the photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing, we do not intend to emphasize the horrible account of that war but to think how peace is fragile and to convey the horrors of war to the future generation

Most Indians do not know what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We could build the public consensus by displaying the photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing..

We must remember what happened on the fateful days of 6th and 9th August 1945!

The purpose of No More Nagasaki: No More Nagasaki Peace Museum is to reach out maximum people in world to create solidarity and public peace education and awareness towards immediate and long range effects of atomic weapons and need of signing of CTBT by Governments.

We have to educate the people that the assumption is wrong that nuclear weapons increase security. Instead, they have environmental and health impacts.

Seeds for peace must be sown in the minds of youngsters through history books and peace posters.

Calls for Peace Mark Six Months of ‘Senseless’ War in Ukraine

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.-)

While Russia presses on with its lumbering invasion of Ukraine and Western nations led by the United States keep sending billions of dollars in arms and aid to bolster Ukrainian resistance, peace advocates on Wednesday marked the war’s six-month anniversary—and Ukraine’s independence day—with renewed calls for peace.


UNICEF video based on children’s drawings from Ukraine

Decrying the “senseless war,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told  the world body’s Security Council on Wednesday that “the people of Ukraine and beyond need peace and they need peace now. Peace in line with the U.N. Charter. Peace in line with international law.”

Writing for the U.K.-based Stop the War Coalition, journalist Shadia Edwards-Dashti noted  that “the war has been a disaster for the Ukrainian people, resulting in tens of thousands of Ukrainian casualties and displacing more than 13 million people—just shy of a third of the population. On the Russian side, some estimates suggest up to 75,000 are dead or injured.”

“From the very start of the invasion the Western response has focused on the military solutions,” she continued. “Within a week of the invasion, NATO forces had drummed up their biggest military mobilization in Europe since the end of the Cold War. The aim from the start was a decisive military victory against Russia. As a result, negotiations have been discouraged and chances for peace squandered.”

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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“We simply cannot allow this six-month war to drag on for years as some analysts are predicting, Edwards-Dashti added. “Decisive victory for either side looks remote. The only possible solution is a process of negotiation. As the economic crisis deepens and Western governments threaten to raise defense spending, we in the West must intensify our call for peace and sanity.”

Anatol Lieven, director of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft’s Eurasia program, warned  that while NATO countries “can now afford to be less afraid of Moscow” given the Russian military’s battlefield woes, “the risk of unintended escalation to nuclear war does however remain very real.”

“Since nuclear weapons are the one area in which Russia remains a superpower, there is an obvious temptation for Moscow to engage in nuclear brinkmanship,” he added, “and anyone who decides to walk along a brink runs the risk of falling over it.”

Martin Kimani, Kenya’s ambassador to the U.N., similarly cautioned  that “unless the Ukraine war is stopped through dialogue and negotiation, it could be the first of a series of conflicts that future historians will name the Third World War.”

“Such a disaster would be different from the last world wars, and all the wars before them,” he said. “The dangers of direct conflict between nuclear-armed powers means that most of their confrontations would be undertaken by proxy. Africa and the rest of the world would be thrown into a mirror of the Cold War.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy marked the war’s six-month anniversary and his country’s independence day by hailing Ukraine’s unexpected success in resisting Russia’s invasion.

“Every day is a new reason not to give up,” he said  in a video address from central Kyiv. “Because having gone through so much, we have no right not to reach the end. What is the end of the war for us? We used to say, ‘peace.’ Now, we say, ‘victory.'” 

Asked in an interview with NPR if she sees “any negotiated way out” of the war, Norwegian U.N. Ambassador Trine Heimerback replied: “I think that’s the question we all have. Right now, I don’t think we are too optimistic, unfortunately.”

James Kariuki, Heimerback’s British counterpart, said the issue of negotiations is “for the Ukrainians” to decide.

“But,” he added, “the best way to end the conflict would be for Russia to withdraw its troops and end its illegal occupation.”

Proposal for a nuclear weapon trade-off to end the Russia/Ukraine war

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Received by email from Unfold Zero (info@unfoldzero.org)

On July 19, The Hill (which goes to most US congressional offices) published Nuclear strategy and ending the war in Ukraine, a very interesting article by Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Costa Rica; and Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, a co-founding organization of UNFOLD ZERO.

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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Mr Arias and Mr Granoff propose that the United States and NATO “plan and prepare for withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear warheads from Europe and Turkey” as a way to “get Putin’s attention and bring him to the negotiating table” and possibly agree to end the war.

It’s a very interesting and bold proposal that could possibly work. It would allow Putin a way to end the invasion by claiming domestically (to Russians) that he had scored a victory – the elimination of US nuclear weapons in Europe. At the same time it would not diminish the security (or perception of security) NATO countries ascribe to nuclear deterrence, as such deterrence does not rely on the US nuclear weapons currently based in Europe.

According to the two authors “NATO’s nuclear arsenal failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has almost no utility as a weapon of war. But NATO’s nuclear weapons can still be put to good use, not by threatening to launch them and escalate the war, but by withdrawing them to make room for new negotiations and eventual peace.”

Nigeria: Reps Push For ‘Silence The Guns’ Implementation

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Philip Nyam in New Telegraph

The House of Representatives recently passed a resolution calling on the executive to immediately implement the “silence the guns” peace policy of the African Union (AU). PHILIP NYAM reviews the roadmap

Worried by growing conflicts and widespread insecurity across the continent, the African Union met in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016 and drew a master roadmap of practical steps to silence guns in Africa by the year 2020. Six years after, the implementation of the roadmap titled “Lusaka Master Roadmap 2016” has been beset by challenges and Nigeria, the biggest black nation on earth is yet to fully integrate the policy.

It was in view of this that the House of Representatives last month passed a resolution to impress on the government to speed up the process of its implementation. The House resolution came barely after the meeting of the African Union Commission in Lusaka, Zambia, between June 6 and 8 brought together participants from the relevant departments of the AU Commission, Divisions within the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, representatives from RECS/RMs, representatives of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and representatives of AUC partners supporting silencing the guns project such as the UN Department of Political and Peace-building Affairs.

The meeting finalised an implementation plan that will guide the operationalisation of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework of the AU Master Roadmap Silencing the Guns AU and Regional Economic Communities converge to finalise the implementation plan and road map on practical steps to silence the guns in Africa. This is in addition to adopting the terms of reference of an AURECs/ RMs Steering Committee on Silencing the Guns. The meeting also agreed on the establishment of the Steering Committee including the relevant departments of the AUC and focal points/officers in each REC/RM to follow up and coordinate activities related to the STG Initiative.

It also served as a collaborative platform to facilitate regular exchanges between the AU, RECs/RMs, Civil Society Organisations, academia, the private sector and other stakeholders that have a role to play in the implementation of the Silencing the Guns Master Roadmap. Explaining why the implementation had to be postponed from 2020 to 2030, the Coordinator of Silencing the Guns under the Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the African Union Commission, Mr. Advelkader Araoua, said that “the extension of the life span of the AU master roadmap on practical steps to silence the guns in Africa to the year 2030, is a test of our ability to deliver on our commitments to free the African continent from wars, civil conflicts, humanitarian crises, human rights violations, gender-based violence, and genocide.” Also, the Head of Governance, Peace and Security at the COMESA Secretariat, Ms. Elizabeth Mutunga stressed the need to continuously assess the external environment in developing an implementation plan for the monitoring and evaluation.

“Emerging and unpredictable factors, that have not necessarily originated from our region are having a very big impact on the peace, conflict and security dynamics of our region,” she noted. The motion It was after the meeting that the House of Representatives passed a resolution pushing for the implementation of the roadmap. In a motion titled “Need to adopt and implement the “Silencing the Guns” Road Map, Hon. Ahmed Munir noted that “Silencing the Guns 2030” is a flagship roadmap project adopted in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016 by the African Union with the aim of realising a Conflict-Free Africa by the year 2030. He said that the concept of silencing the guns was borne out of the observation that the African Continent is the scene of numerous violent conflicts that make the desired economic and political integration of the continent difficult. As part of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the AU sought to ensure that Africa is characterised by peace, political tolerance and good governance.

Hon. Munir expressed concerns that initially, the roadmap was to be achieved by 2020 of which the continent fell short and the goal was further extended to 2030 “cognisant that peace and security matters across Africa are interwoven and the continent cannot afford to further miss the 2030 set target.” In adopting the motion, which was unanimously endorsed, the House urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fully embrace the report and ensure relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) key into the roadmap. The lawmakers also urged the office of the National Security Adviser to fully adopt the report and cascade it down to other relevant security agencies.

Synopsis of the roadmap

The African Union Master Roadmap of practical steps to silence guns in Africa by the year 2020 better known as the Lusaka Master Roadmap 2016 entails the following. The continuing insecurity, instability, disruption of political harmony, erosion of social cohesion, destruction of the economic fabric and public despondency in various parts of Africa call on the Peace and Security Council (PSC) to play a locomotive role in spearheading strategic interventions to put this sad situation to an end.

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Question related to this article:

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

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Most crises and violent conflicts in Africa are being driven by poverty, economic hardships, violation or manipulation of constitutions, violation of human rights, exclusion, inequalities, marginalisation and mismanagement of Africa’s rich ethnic diversity, as well as relapses into the cycle of violence in some post-conflict settings and external interference in African affairs. Undoubtedly, these challenges can be overcome, as long as the correct remedies are idenpletified and applied.

It is in this context that the PSC convened a Retreat that was dedicated to the theme: Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020, from 7 to 9 November 2016, in Lusaka, Zambia. The Retreat regrouped the PSC Member States, representatives of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), the AU Commission, Regional Economic Communities/ Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA).

This was all the more urgent given the central thrust of Agenda 2063 and the overall AU Vision of building a peaceful, stable, secure, integrated and prosperous Africa, and the essence of Agenda 2030 on sustainable development goals. Notably, the 4th aspiration of Agenda 2063, which is the African Union’s strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next five decades, highlights the need for dialoguecentred conflict prevention, as well as the management and resolution of existing conflicts, with a view to silencing the guns in our Continent by the Year 2020. Agenda 2063 provides that in order to achieve sustainable conflict prevention and resolution, a culture of peace and tolerance must be cultivated and nurtured in our children and youth, among others, through peace education.

Furthermore, in its first 10 years implementation plan, Agenda 2063 stresses the imperative of ending all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence and violent conflicts and prevent genocide, as part of Africa’s collective efforts to silence the guns in the continent by the year 2020. In organising the retreat, the PSC was inspired and guided by the clarion call in the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration adopted by the AU Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa on 26 May 2013, in which they, among other aspects, expressed their “determination to achieve the goal of a conflict-free Africa, to make peace a reality for all our people and to rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, human rights violations, humanitarian disasters and violent conflicts, and to prevent genocide.”

The PSC’s resolutions further read: “We pledge not to bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars in Africa by 2020. In this regard, we undertake to address the root causes of conflicts, including economic and social disparities; put an end to impunity by strengthening national and continental judicial institutions, and ensure accountability in line with our collective responsibility to the principle of non-indifference.

“We undertake to eradicate recurrent and address emerging sources of conflict including piracy, trafficking in narcotics and humans, all forms of extremism, armed rebellions, terrorism, transnational organized crime and new crimes such as cybercrime; push forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peace-making, peace support, national reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction and development through the African Peace and Security Architecture; as well as, ensure enforcement of and compliance with peace agreements and build Africa’s peacekeeping and enforcement capacities through the African Standby Force.

“We will maintain a nuclear-free Africa and call for global nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy; ensure the effective implementation of agreements on landmines and the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons; address the plight of internally displaced persons and refugees and eliminate the root causes of this phenomenon by fully implementing continental and universal frameworks.”

In conceiving practical steps to silence the guns in Africa by the year 2020, the PSC took into consideration the political history of the African continent, which has been marred particularly by three major tragedies, namely, slavery, colonization and the unpaid extraction/ exploitation of natural resources, which have created a huge burden for Africa and its people. The end of slavery at the end of the 19th century and the fall of colonialism under the weight of protracted nationalist and liberation struggles across the continent ushered in a new era in Africa.

However, the new era is faced with a myriad of challenges that the continent has not yet been able to successfully overcome. The cycle of violent conflicts and disruptive crises persist on the continent, so do situations of relapses back into the cycle of violence and destruction for some countries that were perceived to have already emerged from conflicts. It is therefore critically important for Africa and its people to put in place strategic guidelines for addressing these challenges.

In some instances, the African continent has also not been able to foster and manage effective political transitions, partly due to the fact that the erstwhile liberation movements have taken too long to transform themselves into dynamic governing political parties, which could more successfully adapt to operating in pluralistic democratic societies as agents of political discourse and crucial facilitators rather than act as a stumbling block to any democratic dispensation.

Similarly, failures to transform some of the military wings of some of the liberation movements into professional and disciplined national armies, which pledge loyalty to civilian government regardless of the political party in power, have brought problems to some parts of Africa. All of these facts have stifled serious attempts to silence the guns in Africa.

Yet, peace, security and socio-economic development should be pursued simultaneously. Equally challenging is the task of sustaining transitions from war to peace and to prevent relapses. This is why the AU PSC developed a Master Roadmap of realistic, practical, time-bound implementable steps to silence the guns in Africa by 2020.

The master Roadmap is premised on the principle that Africa should take, assume total responsibility for its destiny. Assuming such responsibility should also take into account the fact that, while appropriate decisions and programmes have been adopted with a view to resolving some of the challenges Africa is faced with, there has been encroachment on some of those decisions by the implementation deficit.

Nagasaki mayor warns of ‘crisis’ on atom bomb anniversary

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Radio France International

Nuclear weapons present a “tangible and present crisis” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the mayor of Nagasaki said Tuesday, August 9, the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing that destroyed the Japanese city.

On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was flattened in an inferno that killed 74,000 people, three days after the world’s first nuclear bomb attack in Hiroshima.

The twin strikes by the United States led to the end of World War II, and to this day Japan remains the only country to be hit by atomic weapons in wartime.

But on Tuesday, mayor Tomihisa Taue sounded a note of alarm.

“In January this year, the leaders of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China released a joint statement affirming that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’,” he said.

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Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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“However, the very next month Russia invaded Ukraine. Threats of using nuclear weapons have been made, sending shivers throughout the globe.

“The use of nuclear weapons is not a ‘groundless fear’ but a ‘tangible and present crisis’,” Taue said, warning that they could be unleashed through mistaken judgements, malfunctions or in terror attacks.

Survivors and foreign dignitaries joined by hundreds of members of the public offered a silent prayer at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), the exact moment the bomb was dropped on the port city.

Bells rang out and doves were released during the sombre memorial at Nagasaki’s Peace Park, with purified water offered in a prayer ceremony for the victims who died of burns and other injuries.

Instead of waging war, mankind should foster “a ‘culture of peace’ that spreads trust, respects others and seeks resolutions through dialogue”, Taue said.

On Saturday, UN head Antonio Guterres gave a speech in Hiroshima on the anniversary of the attack that killed around 140,000 people, including those who perished after the blast from radiation exposure.

He warned that “humanity is playing with a loaded gun” as crises with the potential for nuclear disaster proliferate worldwide.

A message from Guterres, read out in Japanese at Tuesday’s ceremony, said that “in these times of high tensions and low levels of trust, we should draw on the lessons of Nagasaki”.

Japan has long called for a world free of nuclear weapons but has not joined a nuclear ban treaty that took effect in 2021, saying it hopes to bridge the gap between nuclear powers which did not join the treaty and non-nuclear countries.