Category Archives: DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

United Nations High Level Forum: The Culture of Peace Bolsters the Potential for Sustainable Peacebuilding

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An article by Anwarul K. Chowdhury in Indepthnews

23 years ago today, on 13 September 1999, the United Nations adopted the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, a monumental document that transcends boundaries, cultures, societies, and nations. It was an honor for me to Chair the nine-month long negotiations that led to the adoption of this historic norm-setting document by the United Nations General Assembly.

(Editor’s note: The Declaration and Programme of Action was drafted by UNESCO on the request of the UN General assembly and submitted in 1998.)

That document asserts that inherent in the culture of peace is a set of values, modes of behaviour and ways of life. I was highly privileged to introduce at the 53rd Session of UN General Assembly on its concluding day that resolution for adoption without a vote presenting the consensus text reached under my chairmanship.

20th anniversary of the culture of peace decision was the last in-person High Level Forum in 2019. After two years of virtual Forums, on 6 September this year, President of the 76th General Assembly Abdulla Shahid convened the in-person High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace. That was the eleventh in the series of annual Forums, the first day-long Forum being convened by the 66th President Ambassador Nassir Al-Nasser in 2012.

As his Senior Special Advisor, I had the full responsibility of organizing this pioneering initiative on 14 September. It was a huge success particularly amongst the UN’s civil society organizations which welcomed the opportunity they received to participate proactively along with the Member States and the rest of the UN system. Since then, the afternoon’s Panel Discussion has been considered as the civil society component of the Forum all these years.

Mandated by the UNGA resolutions, the Presidents of the General Assembly have been convening the annual high-level forums since 2012. The Forum provides a platform for the Member States, civil society, and relevant stakeholders to deliberate on the continuing applicability of the Culture of Peace in the contemporary contexts.

The Forum also has been the only UN gathering which was addressed by the largest number of women Nobel Peace laureates—six times out of eleven Forums. Also, the Forum’s panelists were always gender-balanced, on most occasions with more women, as was the case this year.

The Culture of Peace remains one of the key items for the General Assembly since 1997 when the Assembly decided to include a new and self-standing item to its agenda. This was followed by the UNGA resolution 52/15 of 20 November 1997 that proclaimed the year 2000 as the “International Year for the Culture of Peace” and GA resolution 53/25 of 10 November 1998, that proclaimed the period of 2001-2010 as the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World”.

Over the years the scope of the Culture of Peace expanded allowing adoption by the General Assembly multiple resolutions on a wide range of issues relating to various areas of its Programme of Action.

This year’s Forum theme was “The Culture of Peace: Importance of justice, equality and inclusion for advancing peacebuilding”.

It provided an opportunity to Member States, UN system and the civil society to explore and discuss ways to promote justice, equality, and inclusion for advancing peacebuilding and sustaining peace, especially through inculcation and promotion of the values of the Culture of Peace, as the concept note stated.

The concept note also underscored that “… there is no alternative to investing in peacebuilding and sustaining peace, with a view to build a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account. Such vision encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation, and recurrence of conflict and addressing root causes. At the same time, there is an urgent need to eliminate discrimination and inequalities and promote social cohesion and inclusive development, to ensure no one is left behind. In this context, as elaborated in the UNGA resolution on the Culture of Peace, empowerment of people to address the challenges in a peaceful and non-violent way is an essential component.”

The United Nations was born in 1945 out of World War II. The UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace was born in 1999 in the aftermath of the Cold War. Apart from the Charter, the Declaration and Program of Action is the only document which has focused so comprehensively on peace. Simply put, the Culture of Peace as a concept, as a motivation means that every one of us needs to consciously make peace and nonviolence a part of our daily existence. We should not isolate peace as something separate or distant.

Ever since the initiative taken by me in July 1997 to formally propose inclusion of a separate agenda item on the culture of peace in the UN General Assembly and its decision to do so, for the last two decades and half, my focus has been on advancing the culture of peace which aims at making peace and non-violence a part of our own self, our own values, our own personality. This has now become more pertinent amid the ever-increasing militarism, militarization and weaponization that is destroying both our planet and our people.

I believe there are two major developments that have the enormous opportunity to bolster the global movement for the culture of peace. Decision with regard to one has already been initiated while the other is still being brewed and hopefully will be ready by next week.

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Question(s) related to this article:

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

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First the upcoming one—recognizing that education is a foundation for peace, tolerance, human rights and sustainable development, Secretary-General António Guterres has convened a Transforming Education Summit (TES) 16th to 19th September. Its three overarching principles are Country-led; Inclusive; Youth-inspired. All very relevant to creating the Culture of Peace. The Summit provides an opportunity to mobilize greater political ambition, commitment, and action to reverse the slide on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on education of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Summit should highlight that the Point 4.7 of that Goal includes, among others, promotion of culture of peace and non-violence, women’s equality as well as global citizenship as part of the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. It also calls on the international community to ensure that all learners acquire those by the year 2030. I hope the outcome document of the Summit would reflect 4.7 of the SDG 4 with strong emphasis.

Never has it been more important for us to learn about the world and understand its diversity. The task of educating children and young people to find non-aggressive means to relate with one another is of primary importance.

Targeting the individual is meaningful because there cannot be true peace unless every one of us value peace and non-violence and practices the culture of peace in their actions. Connecting the role of individuals to broader global objectives, Dr Martin Luther King Junior affirmed that “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” The UN Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace pays special attention to the individual’s self-transformation.

All educational institutions need to offer opportunities that prepare the students not only to live fulfilling lives but also to be responsible and productive citizens of the world. For that, educators need to introduce holistic and empowering curricula that cultivate the culture of peace in each and every young mind.

Indeed, such educating for peace should be more appropriately called “education for global citizenship”. Such learning cannot be achieved without well-intentioned, sustained, and systematic peace education that leads the way to the culture of peace.

The other major development was announced in 2021. At last year’s Forum during the Panel Discussion, the peace activist and globally respected Mayor Kazumi Matsui of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace in his virtual participation announced that “On the 7th of July this year, Mayors for Peace adopted its new Vision, titled: “Vision for Peaceful Transformation to a Sustainable World”. One of the objectives set forth by the new Vision is to ‘promote the culture of peace’, in addition to the ongoing objectives, “realize a world without nuclear weapons,” and “realize safe and resilient cities.”

He added that “Under this new Vision, Mayors for Peace will continue making our utmost efforts toward our ultimate goal of realizing lasting world peace in solidarity with its 8,043 member cities in 165 countries and regions.” This new vision would be placed at the center of the deliberations during 10th Annual General Conference of Mayors for Peace in Hiroshima this October.

These two developments—outcome of Transforming Education Summit and the Mayors of Peace initiative on the Culture of Peace—have the potential of making the Culture of Peace a major force in sustaining peace.

In conclusion I would reiterate that women have a major role to play in promoting the culture of peace in our violence-ridden societies, thereby bringing in lasting peace and reconciliation. While women are often the first victims of any conflict, they must also and always be recognized as key to the resolution of the conflict. It is my strong belief that unless women are engaged in advancing the culture of peace at equal levels with men, sustainable peace would continue to elude us.

In various parts of the world, women have shown great capacity as peacebuilders.  They assumed activist roles while holding together their families and communities. At the grassroots and community levels, women have organized to resist militarization, to create space for dialogue and moderation and to weave together the shattered fabric of society. Through my field experiences, I am proud to recognize that involvement of women in the peace process in various conflict areas of the world has contributed immensely to ensuring longer term benefits for their present as well as future generations.

As has been rightly said, without peace, development is impossible, and without development unachievable, but without women, neither peace nor development is even conceivable.

Often, I am asked how the UN is doing in the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted by the General Assembly in 1999. I believe that the Organization should own it fully and internalize its implementation throughout the UN system.  Also, Secretary-General should prioritize the culture of peace as a part of his leadership agenda. He should make good use of this workable tool that UN possess to advance the objective of sustainable peace. Not using the tool of the culture of peace is behaving like a person who needs a car to go to work and has a car… but with a minimal interest in knowing how to drive it.

I would repeat for the umpteenth time what former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace laureate Kofi Annan had said: “Over the years we have come to realize that it is not enough to send peacekeeping forces to separate warring parties. It is not enough to engage in peace-building efforts after societies have been ravaged by conflict. It is not enough to conduct preventive diplomacy. All of this is essential work, but we want enduring results. We need, in short, the culture of peace.”

I continue to emphasize that The Culture of Peace is not a quick fix. It is a movement, not a revolution!

One voice creates a ripple—many ripples make a wave—collectively, our voices for the culture of peace can transform the world.

2022: Nobel Committee Gets Peace Prize Wrong Yet Again

. HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by David Swanson in World Beyond War

The Nobel Committee has yet again awarded a peace prize  that violates the will of Alfred Nobel and the purpose for which the prize was created, selecting recipients who blatantly are not “the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”


With its eyes on the news of the day, there was no question that the Committee would find some way to focus on Ukraine. But it steered clear of anyone seeking to reduce the risk of that thus-far relatively minor war creating a nuclear apocalypse. It avoided anyone opposing both sides of the war, or anyone advocating for a ceasefire or negotiations or disarmament. It did not even make the choice one might have expected of picking an opponent of Russian warmaking in Russia and an opponent of Ukrainian warmaking in Ukraine.

Instead, the Nobel Committee has chosen advocates for human rights and democracy in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. But the group in Ukraine is recognized for having  “engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population,” with no mention of war as a crime or of the possibility that the Ukrainian side of the war was committing atrocities. The Nobel Committee may have learned from Amnesty International’s experience of being widely denounced for documenting war crimes by the Ukrainian side.

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Question related to this article:

Nobel Prize for Peace: Does it go to the right people?

When does human rights become a tool of propaganda?

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The fact that all sides of all wars have always failed and always will fail to engage in humane operations is possibly why Alfred Nobel set up a prize to advance the abolition of war.  It’s too bad that prize is so misused. Because of its misuse, World BEYOND War has created instead the War Abolisher Awards.

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Adding here some thoughts from Yurii Sheliazhenko:

NGO Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) recently was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize  with Russian and Belarussian human rights defenders.

What is the Ukrainian secret of success? Here are some tips.

– don’t rely on support of local citizens, embrace international donors with their agendas, like the U.S. Department of State and NED;

– support NATO membership of Ukraine, shame those who seek compromise with Russia  and ask the West to engage in war against Russia on Ukrainian side by imposing no-fly zone and delivery of armaments;

– insist that war is necessary for survival and no negotiations are possible;

– insist that international institutions are worthless and therefore human rights activists must ask for weapons for the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

– insist that only Putin violates human rights in Ukraine, and only the Ukrainian army are real human rights defenders;

– never criticize Ukrainian government for suppression of pro-Russian media, parties, and public figures;

– never criticize Ukrainian army for war crimes, for violations of human rights related to war effort and military mobilization, like beating of students by the border guard for their attempt to study abroad  instead of becoming cannon fodder, and nobody should hear from you even a word about human right to conscientious objection to military service.

“End War in Ukraine” Say 66 Nations at UN General Assembly

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies in the TRANSCEND Media Service

We have spent much of the past week reading and listening to speeches by world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York. Most of them condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the UN Charter and a serious setback for the peaceful world order that is the UN’s founding and defining principle.

But what has not been reported in the United States is that leaders from 66 countries, mostly from the Global South, also used their General Assembly speeches to call urgently for diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine through peaceful negotiations, as the UN Charter requires. We have compiled excerpts from the speeches of all 66 countries to show the breadth and depth of their appeals, and we highlight a few of them here.

African leaders echoed one of the first speakers, Macky Sall, the president of Senegal, who also spoke in his capacity as the current chairman of the African Union when he said, “We call for de-escalation and a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, as well as for a negotiated solution, to avoid the catastrophic risk of a potentially global conflict.”

The 66 nations that called for peace in Ukraine make up more than a third of the countries in the world, and they represent most of the Earth’s population, including India, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brazil and Mexico.

While NATO and EU countries have rejected peace negotiations, and U.S. and U.K. leaders have actively undermined them, the leaders of five European countries – Hungary, Malta, Portugal, San Marino and the Vatican – joined the calls for peace at the General Assembly.

The peace caucus also includes many of the small countries that have the most to lose from the breakdown of the UN system that recent wars in Ukraine and the Greater Middle East represent, and who have the most to gain by strengthening the UN and enforcing the UN Charter to protect the weak and restrain the powerful.

Philip Pierre, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, a small island state in the Caribbean, told the General Assembly,

“Articles 2 and 33 of the UN Charter are unambiguous in binding Member States to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state and to negotiate and settle all international disputes by peaceful means.…We therefore call upon all parties involved to immediately end the conflict in Ukraine, by undertaking immediate negotiations to permanently settle all disputes in accordance with the principles of the United Nations.”

Global South leaders lamented the failure of the UN system, not just in the war in Ukraine but throughout decades of war and economic coercion by the United States and its allies. President Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste directly challenged the West’s double standards, telling Western countries,

“They should pause for a moment to reflect on the glaring contrast in their response to the wars elsewhere where women and children have died by the thousands from wars and starvation. The response to our beloved Secretary-General’s cries for help in these situations have not met with equal compassion. As countries in the Global South, we see double standards. Our public opinion does not see the Ukraine war the same way it is seen in the North.”

Many leaders called urgently for an end to the war in Ukraine before it escalates into a nuclear war that would kill billions of people and end human civilization as we know it. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, warned,

“…the war in Ukraine not only undermines the nuclear non-proliferation regime, but also presents us with the danger of nuclear devastation, either through escalation or accident. … To avoid a nuclear disaster, it is vital that there be serious engagement to find a peaceful outcome to the conflict.”

Others described the economic impacts already depriving their people of food and basic necessities, and called on all sides, including Ukraine’s Western backers, to return to the negotiating table before the war’s impacts escalate into multiple humanitarian disasters across the Global South. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh told the Assembly,

“We want the end of the Russia-Ukraine war. Due to sanctions and counter-sanctions, …the entire mankind, including women and children, is punished. Its impact does not remain confined to one country, rather it puts the lives and livelihoods of the people of all nations in greater risk, and infringes their human rights. People are deprived of food, shelter, healthcare and education. Children suffer the most in particular. Their future sinks into darkness.

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Questions related to this article:

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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My urge to the conscience of the world – stop the arms race, stop the war and sanctions. Ensure food, education, healthcare and security of the children. Establish peace.”

Turkey, Mexico and Thailand each offered their own approaches to restarting peace negotiations, while Sheikh Al-Thani, the Amir of Qatar, succinctly explained how delaying negotiations will only bring more death and suffering:

“We are fully aware of the complexities of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the international and global dimension to this crisis. However, we still call for an immediate ceasefire and a peaceful settlement, because this is ultimately what will happen regardless of how long this conflict will go on for. Perpetuating the crisis will not change this result. It will only increase the number of casualties, and it will increase the disastrous repercussions on Europe, Russia and the global economy.”

Responding to Western pressure on the Global South to actively support Ukraine’s war effort, India’s Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, claimed the moral high ground and championed peaceful diplomacy,

“As the Ukraine conflict continues to rage, we are often asked whose side we are on. And our answer, each time, is straight and honest. India is on the side of peace and will remain firmly there. We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles. We are on the side that calls for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out. We are on the side of those struggling to make ends meet, even as they stare at escalating costs of food, fuel and fertilizers.

It is therefore in our collective interest to work constructively, both within the United Nations and outside, in finding an early resolution to this conflict.”

One of the most passionate and eloquent speeches was delivered by Congolese Foreign Minister Jean-Claude Gakosso, who summarized the thoughts of many, and appealed directly to Russia and Ukraine – in Russian!

“Because of the considerable risk of a nuclear disaster for the entire planet, not only those involved in this conflict but also those foreign powers who could influence events by calming them down, should all temper their zeal. They must stop fanning the flames and they must turn their backs on this type of vanity of the powerful which has so far closed the door to dialogue.

Under the auspices of the United Nations, we must all commit without delay to peace negotiations – just, sincere and equitable negotiations. After Waterloo, we know that since the Vienna Congress, all wars finish around the table of negotiation.

The world urgently needs these negotiations to prevent the current confrontations – which are already so devastating – to prevent them from going even further and pushing humanity into what could be an irredeemable cataclysm, a widespread nuclear war beyond the control of the great powers themselves – the war, about which Einstein, the great atomic theorist, said that it would be the last battle that humans would fight on Earth.

Nelson Mandela, a man of eternal forgiveness, said that peace is a long road, but it has no alternative, it has no price. In reality, the Russians and Ukrainians have no other choice but to take this path, the path of peace.

Moreover, we too should go with them, because we must throughout the world be legions working together in solidarity, and we must be able to impose the unconditional option of peace on the war lobbies.

(Next three paragraphs in Russian) Now I wish to be direct, and directly address my dear Russian and Ukrainian friends.

Too much blood has been spilled – the sacred blood of your sweet children. It’s time to stop this mass destruction. It’s time to stop this war. The entire world is watching you. It’s time to fight for life, the same way that you courageously and selflessly fought together against the Nazis during World War Two, in particular in Leningrad, Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin.

Think about the youth of your two countries. Think about the fate of your future generations. The time has come to fight for peace, to fight for them. Please give peace a real chance, today, before it is too late for us all. I humbly ask this of you.”

At the end of the debate on September 26, Csaba Korosi, the president of the General Assembly, acknowledged in his closing statement that ending the war in Ukraine was one of the main messages “reverberating through the Hall” at this year’s General Assembly.

You can read here Korosi’s closing statement and all the calls for peace he was referring to.

And if you want to learn more about the “legions working together in solidarity… to impose the unconditional option of peace on the war lobbies,” as Jean-Claude Gakosso said, you can find out more at https://www.peaceinukraine.org/.

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.

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.

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

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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.”