Category Archives: DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

Gabon: Project to support the civic and political participation of young people

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

An article by Jerry Bibang, special to CPNN

The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon section (PAYNCoP Gabon) organized last weekend in Oyem, “A consultative workshop on the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon”. The activity took place on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Democracy, celebrated on September 15 each year.

After Franceville in the province of Haut-Ogooué (East Gabon), Oyem in the province of Woleu-Ntem (North Gabon) was the second city to host these consultative workshops which are part of the initiative entitled “Project to support the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon.”

The activity was supported by the presence of the Provincial Governor, Mr. Jules NDJEKI, who officially launched the work, in the presence of about fifty participants, from civil society organizations and political parties, both majority and opposition.

(continued in right column)

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

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

(continued from left column)

The initiative, supported by the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in partnership with UNESCO, aims to encourage the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon, especially before, during and after the elections.

“Initially this workshop will make a diagnosis of the civic and political participation of young people in order to identify the challenges and obstacles relating to their participation. Then, it will be up to the participants to find possible solutions by making recommendations in order to improve the participation of young people in politics and also in civil society organizations. The objective is to place young people as ACTOR and not SPECTATOR in the life of their community and our country,” explained Jerry Bibang, project coordinator.

For Rachel Oyane, President of the Provincial Youth Council, “Holding this workshop coinciding with the celebration of the International Day of Democracy. It challenges us to see that democracy is not a completed process, but rather an evolving work. which involves all actors in society. In particular civil society organizations have an increasingly important role to play. It is in this sense that we welcome, once again, this project which gives voice to young people in order to reflect on the mechanisms and measures that can improve our civic and political participation”

After these consultation workshops, PAYNCoP is planning an advocacy campaign with public authorities as well as raising awareness on violence and hate speech during the election period. Training and capacity building are also planned for young people engaged in political life and in associations.

After this stage, Port-Gentil and Libreville are the next cities that will host these workshops.

Colombia: Peacebuilding in Viotá, a model that seeks to be replicated throughout the country

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from Newslocker (translation by CPNN)

Former guerrillas, victims and public forces have created dialogue tables and worked together on local projects that provide reparation for the damages caused by the war. They are working on restorative actions in advance, before the JEP imposes its own trials. (The JEP, Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, was established by the Peace Accords.)


Marker plaque completed in the cemetery of San Gabriel, Viotá. / Courtesy Dunna

The armed conflict in Viotá (Cundinamarca) left traces of terror that, over the years, have eaten away at the dreams of thousands of families. The 22nd and 42nd fronts of the extinct FARC settled there in the 1990s, making this municipality one of their most important strongholds in the Andean region around Bogotá. Entering the new millennium and for nearly four years, the Peasant Self-Defense Forces of Casanare also entered this area and tried to take control through extortion, murder and forced disappearance.

The result of the violence unleashed by these two armed groups was a balance of 12,903 victims registered by the Victims Unit. In the files of the Attorney General’s Office and the Justice and Peace courts themselves, the cases of more than 113 people considered missing were documented, of whom little or nothing was known over the years.

Even without knowing many truths about their loved ones and after a long time without being listened to by the State to seek justice, the people of Viotá have learned to forgive and see the construction of peace as the central element of their life in community. When the former FARC signed peace in 2016, the vast majority of ex-combatants who operated there stayed to complete their reincorporation process into civilian life, according to the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN).

“The case of Viotá is rare, because the normal thing in other territories where thousands of people laid down their arms was for the former guerrillas to go to other departments where no one knew them from the past, to start a life from scratch. However, in Viotá they decided to face their crimes, live with their usual neighbors to whom they did so much harm and chose to show them that in their own home they could successfully advance a model of collective reconciliation,” said Natalia Quiñones, co-founder of the Dunna Corporation, an organization that accompanies innovative alternatives for peace in various areas of the country.

Dunna has been very close to the processes of dialogue and reconstruction of the social fabric in Viotá. There, with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Bolívar Davivienda Foundation, the Mayor’s Office and the Cundinamarca Agency for Peace and Coexistence, they managed to establish dialogue among those appearing before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) of the ex-guerrilla with its victims, members of the public force and other inhabitants, in order to carry out restorative exercises and healing activities for the mind and body, in order to overcome the traumas and emotional discomfort left by the war.

“We have known each other forever. Now they are my neighbors and I sell them vegetables and pig feed. We do not forget what they did to us, but we accept their repentance,” said a resident of Viotá who has participated in the process.

“We have an interdisciplinary team of psychologists, yoga teachers, psychiatrists, political scientists, lawyers, sociologists and anthropologists who have been working on the development of the Viotá program to generate a reconciliation model that can be replicated at the national level. Our results there showed that 100% of those who received our attention had significant changes in trust, reciprocity, stigmatization and collective efficacy. The exercises of dialogue, restorative circle and mind-body strategies were able to reduce distrust and bring together the inhabitants of the community to address the present and the future that the community faces collectively.

In other projects with similar protocols, Dunna has obtained satisfactory results in terms of post-traumatic stress and mental health, showing that this type of model can help between 91 and 94% of the participants to successfully overcome mental health risks. derived from the trauma and to achieve emotional well-being”, added Quiñones.

In Viotá they learned to forgive with the formula of action without harm: nothing that is done on the ground or any gesture or word that is said in the spaces of dialogue and listening should re-victimize anyone. However, a feeling shared by the victims and perpetrators of the war in Viotá is that words alone are not enough to repair the many atrocities that were experienced.

(Article continued in the right column)

(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

(Article continued from left column)

In Viotá, the encouragement to compensate crimes against humanity and give dignity to the survivors has been a constant. It has been channeled into collective reconciliation through cooperative projects of infrastructure and memory.

The voices of peace prevail and one of them is that of José del Carmen Viracachá, a peace signer who lives in this area. Ten years ago he was convicted of war crimes and he now understands that a custodial sentence is not the best way to pay tribute to those who have suffered so much in the past. He said in an interview, “We want to make and export peace through example. Forgiveness is valuable, but it must be accompanied by concrete actions that serve people and so that they see our repentance and our commitment not to repeat anything bad. Confinement almost never fixes anything; that’s why I think that the harshness of the past must be addressed directly.

New paradigm of justice

Prison as the ultimate goal for those who committed crimes in the context of an armed conflict according to the Statutory Law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), enacted three years ago, on June 6, 2019.

An acronym appears in the document that will be talked about frequently in the coming months: the TOAR (Works, Works and Activities with Restorative content).
The Peace Agreement stipulated two types of TOARs to be developed at different stages of the post-conflict. On the one hand, there are the TOARs that are a consequence of the imposition of the JEP’s sanctions; these do not yet exist, because the court has not yet issued any ruling. They will be imposed in the cases of macro-cases 01 (taking of hostages and other serious deprivations of liberty) and 03 (extrajudicial executions). In these cases restorative activities will be required, as long as those appearing comply with the conditions of the Statutory Law; that is to say, tell complete truths, give guarantees of non-repetition and dignify their victims.

On the other hand, and returning to the case of Viotá, there are the anticipated TOARs, which consist of carrying out restoration activities (infrastructure works, construction of monuments, demining tasks or literacy tasks, among others) in advance of any imposed sanctions. These anticipated TOARs honor the rights of the victims and obtain discount benefits from a restrictive sentence of freedom when it is imposed. These restorative activities must have the endorsement of the Executive Secretariat of the JEP. During 2021, the JEP jurisdiction followed up on 64 of these projects in various departments.

During the dialogue sessions that Dunna led with the actors of the conflict in Viotá, several options were discussed for collective work to promote the historical memory of the town. What do we need to see on our streets to feel represented and respected after the conflict? How to advance a work or activity that is not forgotten by future generations? Those were some of the questions raised among the people of Viotá, who also had to take into account in order not to be frustrated that any project they thought of had to be in harmony with the development plan of the town and subject to the economic capacities of the municipality, which ultimately must pay for the expenses.

“The most difficult task was to first seek funding before putting the TOARs on everyone’s lips. The priority, of course, is to choose something that the community wants and sees in it a symbolic and restorative content; Luckily, a consensus was reached and the people were able to prioritize projects that their municipal administration could afford to pay. Viotá’s dignity is the goal and remembering those who no longer with us was the most beautiful”, explained Natalia Quiñones.

That was how all eyes were directed to the path of San Gabriel. The Viotá cemetery is located there, to which paradoxically they could not take their dead, due to the precarious access roads. The surrounding streets were destroyed, so the cemetery was not accessible. This was a headache, especially during the years of conflict and in the covid-19 pandemic.
To address this situation, peace signatories, victims, public forces and citizens built a 68-meter-long path, with which they managed to give a new face to an iconic area for this town and a sign of honor to the dead who the war took and that for so many years they could not visit as they wanted.

On March 17, 2022, the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia announced the completion and delivery of the work to open the path of San Gabriel. This marked the closure of a cycle in which Viotá does not want to repeat again, especially since it was a war that they never looked for and never understood, but that completely penetrated their homes.

“This project not only benefits the people of San Gabriel; it also serves for reconciliation. The cemetery has always had a special importance and thanks to this we know that those who previously made us suffer now help us feel good about ourselves and about what we can do together towards the future”, said a resident of Viotá who preferred not to be named.

Now that the Viotá process is completed, Dunna is working in Fusagasugá and Venecia to replicate this model in Cundinamarca. They hope to expand the TOARs to more regions of Colombia and demonstrate that any peace is possible if in the communities there is a robust sense of belonging and a genuine willingness to forgive and not repeat harm.

Chihuahua, Mexico: America García proposes initiative requiring all municipalities to issue regulations on the culture of peace

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from Juarez Noticias

The local deputy for Morena, América García Soto, presented an initiative to urge the 67 municipalities of the State of Chihuahua to issue regulations on the culture of peace. With this Chihuahua would become one of the pioneer states in promoting these new public policies, since there are no precedents in the Supreme Court of Justice of the nation in relation to this issue.

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

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

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

(continued from left column)

“It is evident that we all want to live in a better, more equitable society, without violence, promoting a culture of peace, both theoretical and practical, where women and men can be assertive. That means respecting our needs, expressing our convictions, defending our rights, taking into account the other, not needing or violating, or submitting to the will of other people, “said the congresswoman in the State Congress session held this Monday (August 15).

The initiative was approved unanimously by all of the Congress members and referred for legal action.

In this regard, she recalled that just last week Ciudad Juárez witnessed one of the largest massacres in recent years, where unfortunately 11 people lost their lives, in addition to multiple damages to convenience stores, and armed clashes by of different criminal organizations.

The deputy for Morena clarified that the regulations that she proposes to be issued are based on the concept of “Culture of Peace” as defined by the United Nations “Declaration and Action Program on a Culture of Peace”, which was created with the purpose of promoting and guaranteeing equality, international citizen security, economic development and education.

Garcia Soto explained that “At the national level, there is a history of similar public policies, initiated by an elected representative and committing the different spheres of government to incorporate action plans.”

UK: Mayor of Winchester hosts peace event to mark the A-bombing of Nagasaki

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from the Hampshire Chronicle

The Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Derek Green, hosted Winchester’s fourth Mayors for Peace event to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

More than 40 guests were present at Abbey House on August 9, representing Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council, the University of Winchester, community organisations and a number of faiths groups in the city.

Mayors for Peace is an international, non-political organisation with a membership of more than 8,500 cities and regions, including 85 in the UK. It aims to realise a world without nuclear weapons, support safe and resilient cities and promote a culture of peace. Winchester joined in 2020.

Cllr Green said: “I was delighted to host the Mayors for Peace event. I share the spirit of my fellow Mayor of Nagasaki in his message to the event, who stated, ‘I hereby declare to do the utmost to realise the abolition of nuclear weapons and everlasting world peace’.”

Presentations included an experience of living through the bombing, read by members of SGI-UK, who organised the event.

The University of Winchester showed the ginkgo saplings they are growing from seeds of trees that survived the atomic bombing, presented last year by the Mayor of Hiroshima to the Mayor of Winchester. These will be used in schools as part of a developing education programme.

(article continued in right column)

Question related to this article:
 
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

(article continued from left column)

PeaceJam spoke of their work to inspire young people for the future. Former PeaceJam director Sally Milne recalled working with Prof Sir Joseph Rotblat, a prominent nuclear physicist who renounced nuclear weapons and became a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Winchester’s City of Sanctuary movement highlighted how conflict is driving refugee flows all over the world – and raised the frightening prospect of nuclear weapons being used in the current conflict in Ukraine.

The event ended on a positive note with a song from a Ukrainian choir and a determination among everyone present to work more closely together to do everything in our powers to ensure that the second atomic bombing of Nagasaki, will be the last experienced by humanity.

John Brackstone, director of faculty operations for Education and the Arts at the University of Winchester, said: “It is a great honour that the University of Winchester can help to nurture these saplings and create a suite of materials that bring the themes around the ginkgo tree’s survival of Hiroshima, global peace and environmental awareness into a format that is accessible and appropriate for primary school children.”

Caroline Millman of PeaceJam UK, said: “PeaceJam UK was grateful and proud to be part of such an inspirational and thought-provoking occasion and have the opportunity to connect with like-minded people who also have a genuine respect for humanity.”

Chair of Winchester City of Sanctuary, Both Flint, said: “Winchester City of Sanctuary’s vision is for Winchester to be a welcoming place of sanctuary for all, a peaceful space where people can feel safe and protected. We cannot do this alone which is why it is so important to work together, with partners and our wider community to promote peace and sanctuary and a world free from conflict. We stand in solidarity with Mayors for Peace and partners like SGI-UK and Peace Jam and look forward to working with both more closely.”

Paul Williams of event organisers SGI-UK, said: “I’m pleased that our Buddhist organisation for culture, education and peace was able to be an effective catalyst to bring together such a wonderful group of partners, working together under the Mayors for Peace banner”.

‘Dictatorship Never Again’: Massive Pro-Democracy Protests Sweep Brazil

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ; .

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

Protests—some of them massive—in defense of democracy and education and against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s coup-mongering were held in cities across Brazil Thursday, less than two months before the first round of the South American nation’s presidential election.


A massive pro-democracy demonstration takes place at the University of São Paulo School of Law in São Paulo, Brazil, on August 11, 2022. (Photo: Miguel Schincariol/AFP via Getty Images)
Click on image to enlarge

Demonstrations took place in at least 23 of Brazil’s 26 state capitals, as well as in the national capital of Brasília. Many of the protests featured readings of a pair of pro-democracy manifestos, including the “Letter to Brazilians in Defense of Democracy and Rule of Law.”  The missive, which has been signed by nearly one million people, was inspired by a similar 1977 document that helped bring down a 21-year, U.S.-backed military dictatorship admired by Bolsonaro, who served in its army.

During the reading event at the University of São Paulo (USP) School of Law—where large banners read “dictatorship never again” and “state of rights, always”—presidential candidates spoke out in defense of Brazil’s electronic voting system, which has been the target of baseless allegations of fraud by Bolsonaro and his allies. The right-wing president, who is pushing for paper ballots, has threatened  to reject the results of October’s first-round presidential election if he loses under the current electronic voting system.

(article continued in right column)

Question related to this article:
 
How effective are mass protest marches?

(article continued from left column)

“Defending democracy is defending the right to quality food, a good job, fair wages, access to healthcare, and education,” said Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former leftist president who is running again representing the Workers’ Party and leads  Bolsonaro by double digits in aggregate polling.

“[This is] what the Brazilian people should have,” da Silva added. “Our country was sovereign and respected. We need to get it back together.”

Bolsonaro mocked the massive nationwide rebuke of his rule, tweeting  that “today, a very important act took place on behalf of Brazil and of great relevance to the Brazilian people: Petrobras once again reduced the price of diesel.”

A broad range of leftist activists spoke at and about the demonstrations across Brazil.

“Running over democracy is not as simple as the militiaman imagined,” tweeted Ivan Valente, leader of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress. “Bolsonaro is much closer to jail than to the coup… Brazilian society does not accept setbacks or coup bravado.”

Beatriz Lourenço do Nascimento of Black Coalition for Rights—one of the few Black faces in the room during the USP reading—recited  her group’s anti-racist manifesto during the event.

“Brazil is a country in debt to the Black population,” she asserted. “We call on the democratic sectors of Brazilian society, institutions, and people who today show emotion over the ills of racism and claim to be anti-racist: Be consistent. Practice what you speak. As long as there is racism, there will be no democracy.”

Economist and social activist João Pedro Stédile, a co-founder of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), said  members of the group took part in Thursday’s “historic event” in “defense of Brazilian society.”

“We are in the process of building this broad front, representing all Brazilians who defend democracy,” he continued. “Democracy involves changing the government and eliminating neo-fascism, but above all, ensuring that the working class, the people, have the rights guaranteed in the Constitution. Right to work, income, land, education, health.”

“Today’s act is just the start of a great journey of activities centered around 200 years of Brazilian independence,” Stédile added, referring to Brazil’s bicentennial on September 7. “We are organizing to continue with demonstrations and mobilizations, especially in the week of September 7th to 10th, when we take to the streets to defend democracy, sovereignty, and the Brazilian people.”

Brazil : Peoples Committees to hold workshop on Culture of Peace and Militant Self-protection

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An announcement from the website of the PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores (translation by CPNN)

The National Training School of the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores -Workers Party) the PT National Secretariat for Political Training and the Executive Secretariat of the Popular Struggle Committees will offer this Thursday (14 July) the workshop Culture of Peace and Militant Self-protection.

(Article continued in right column)

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

Question related to this article:

How can election violence be prevented?

(Article continued from left column)

Faced with the intensification of political violence in the country, the objective of the workshop is to analyze the current situation and the threats against the integrity of militancy and street demonstrations. The violence stimulated by the President of the Republic manifested itself in an extreme way last weekend with the assassination of comrade Marcelo Arruda, in Foz Iguaçu (Paraná,).

This scenario generates fears and anxiety than could leading to a possible state of paralysis. Understanding this logic of intimidation practiced by Bolsonarism is fundamental so that, in addition to establishing our practical and political response for the Culture of Peace and Solidarity, we can also advance in the preparation and organization of our Popular Committees of Struggles.

To be stronger and more united, with our heads held high for the important battles that lie ahead, we invite everyone to participate in the workshop.

🚩 Participate in the Workshop “Culture of Peace and Militant Self-protection”

🕐 Write it down on the agenda! Thursday, 14/7 19h in Brasilia time, by the Zoom App.

ATTENTION: Registration is open until 7/14, until 12:00 pm Brasília time

To register click here and fill in the form.

From the Editorial/Popular Struggle Committee

Medellin, Colombia: The Week for Disarmament 2022 involved more than 1,300 participants

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from the city government of Medellin (translation by CPNN)

From June 30 to July 7, the Medellín Mayor’s Office held the now traditional Week for Disarmament. This year the slogan was “Because life is worth it “, as a way to contribute to the prevention of all kinds of violent attitudes, homicides and fatal accidents and, through pedagogy, to discourage the carrying, possession and use of weapons.

In this edition, more than 1,300 young people participated in activities in different parts of the city. For example in the Héctor Abad Gómez Educational Institution, 450 people from the student community were involved.


Photo from Mayor of Medellin

Another development was the “Culture to the park” initiative, with the discussion “Weaving from the word and the experiences on the Medellin Future for the prevention of armed violence, and how art has been a mobilizer for the transformation of the city.”

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

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

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

(continued from left column)

“We have carried out all kinds of interventions in the territory. We develop strategies according to the premise “Because life is worth it”. In Villa Hermosa we held a discussion about the experiences of our Medellín Future and the prevention of violence, in which other Secretariats participated. To close this week we have the youth camp with the happiness strategy and the Football Culture component”, said the Undersecretary of Local Government and Coexistence, Carlos Gutiérrez Bustamante.

On July 7, a camp was held for coexistence in the Altavista corregimiento sports area, in the village of Manzanares. The staff of the Coexistence Unit of the Security Secretariat participated in this strategy leading a space for learning and reflection for the community.

The Non-Violence Secretariat also joined the agenda with armed violence prevention strategies that led by the “Partners” and Non-Violence Schools programs in which prevention actions are carried out with boys, girls, adolescents and young people at risk of being used or recruited by armed groups.

“From the Secretariat we want to strengthen the message and the commitment to consolidate a culture of peace and Non-Violence in the city of Medellín, for this reason, our territorial work with a preventive approach focuses on generating scenarios for dialogue and conversation through art. as part of a commitment from the construction of territorial peace to deconstruct violent imaginaries”, said the Undersecretary of Construction of Territorial Peace, Carolina Saldarriaga.

During 2021 and so far in 2022, nearly 1,500 young people and children have benefited from pedagogical spaces through training and work opportunities, as well as artistic and cultural methodologies for peace with the themes of respect for life, rejection of armed structures and the change of attitudes about the use of weapons.

Honduras: “Mesas de seguridad ciudadana” to be developed in 298 municipalities

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from La Prensa (reprinted according to a license CC – attribution) (translation by CPNN)

The government of Xiomara Castro launched yesterday in Santa Bárbara the “Mesas de seguridad ciudadana” within the framework of the Community Police, which will be in the 298 municipalities made up of members of the National Police, civil society, private companies, non-governmental organizations, judges and fiscal authorities.

(Editor’s note: A “mesa de seguridad ciudadana” is a governance network that brings together citizens with authorities from all levels of government in the construction of a common agenda on security and justice. Through dialogue and collaboration, it builds agreements and defines action measures of local scope. Citizens exercise co-responsibility by participating in the preparation of the agenda and following up on the agreements. The work model of the “Mesas de seguridad” prioritizes a horizontal organization, similar to that of restorative justice.)


President Xiomara Castro launched yesterday in Santa Bárbara the new security model for the country. The Minister and Deputy Minister of Security and the police leadership were present. Photos: Franklyn Munoz.

According to the authorities of the National Police, the Community Police model is not new, since it already existed, but now it seeks to create a stronger link with citizens and the habit of reporting, as well as creating and developing programs that collaborate in the prevention and deterrence of crime.

This new security strategy involves five pillars, according to the police leaders:

* respect for human rights,

*return to the community,

*decentralization and autonomy,

*prevention of conflict,

*and the creation of a new public security institution.

(Article continued in the right column)

(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Discussion questions

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

(Article continued from left column)

This security model of the Castro government includes the community police officers carrying out social surveillance in the intervened neighborhoods and the Military Police combating the maras and gangs through their crime deterrence techniques.

“Now we have to put it into action and put it into practice, we must attend to all the needs that arise within a social group and with the participation of all, and how the Government can collect all the data and translate it into benefits for society,” explained Ramón Sabillón, Minister of Security.

Prevention

The president of the republic, Xiomara Castro, pointed out in her speech that prevention policies “in our country are necessary, especially to reduce the levels of insecurity that we have inherited. In the past we have acted in the cases of homicides and delinquency, but now the most important action must be prevention in our communities and our peoples, which has not previously been addressed.

The president said that the actors will be the “patronatos”, the water collectives, the associations of peasants, farmers, ranchers and neighborhood collectives.

“I want to promote a culture of peace and citizen participation in our country with preventive actions, establishing bonds of trust and proximity between the Police and the community. The proximity of the police with the people is the main asset that the Community Police needs in orde to fulfill this new role that is assigned today,” Castro said.

The director of the National Police, Gustavo Sánchez, said that violence and criminality have generated 65,000 homicides in the last 12 years “due to their poor treatment and poor approach.

The launch of the Community Police with the strategy of “mesas de seguridad ciudadana” seeks the participation and co-responsibility of citizens”.

“There will be a more timely, effective and respectful service, including for the offender who will be referred to the courts or to the competent bodies,” said the director of the Community Police, Germán Sánchez.

Yucatan: State Government and 10 Municipalities join efforts to prevent violence and crime

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article by Yucatan State Government (translation by CPNN)

In order to reinforce joint actions in matters of security and social peace in Yucatan, the head of the General Secretariat of the Government (SGG), María Fritz Sierra, presided over the signing of two agreements between 10 municipalities and the Center for the Prevention of Crime and Citizen Participation (Cepredey).


This coordination between state and municipal authorities responds to the instruction of Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal, to add and multiply efforts to promote effective strategies, focused and concentrated to strengthen prevention, to reduce and to eradicate the factors that generate violence or illicit conduct.

Along with the Great Museum of the Mayan World, the mayors of Mérida, Umán, Progreso, Hunucmá, Kanasín, Motul, Tekax, Ticul, Tizimín and Valladolid promised to coordinate efforts to strengthen the culture of peace in this first stage, with other actions to follow.

The head of the SGG highlighted the willingness and interest of the councilors to strengthen collaboration with the Executive, with the idea that prevention is the best way to combat violence and crime, and that these issues are part of the priority agenda of public management in the territory.

Likewise, she stressed that these agreements are an example of a responsible public administration, which seeks to implement policies of real benefit to citizens including complementary efforts to achieve specific and measurable goals.

“Our commitment is to carry out coordinated work, regardless of political associations, since, without you and your participation, our best intentions and strategies could not materialize,” she said in her message to the municipal presidents.

Together with the Undersecretary for Prevention and Social Reintegration, Fernando Rosel Flores, and the Director of the Institute for Regional and Municipal Development (Inderm), David Valdez Jiménez, Secretary Fritz Sierra recalled that Yucatán is recognized for its levels of peace, up to the level of cities in the “first world.”

However, she pointed out, crimes occur as well in the most developed countries; in the same way in our state and some municipalities, especially those with the highest population density.

“The coordination of efforts between the various local government agencies and municipal administrations is essential to address the magnitude of the problem that violence represents in our society,” she said.

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

The culture of peace at a regional level, Does it have advantages compared to a city level?

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

(continued from left column)

Along with the director of the Mérida Municipal Police, Mario Arturo Romero Escalante, the head of the SGG called for the development of a work agenda to complement action strategies, giving priority to the particular situations of each community.

The document that was signed establishes, among other requirements, to implement training for social prevention of violence and crime for the personnel of the City Councils, in order to strengthen their institutional capacities.

Also, the official instructed the Cepredey staff and its director, Joana Briceño Ascencio, to put all their efforts so that the agreement can yield the expected results. The project is based on scientific social evidence, and it applies an intercultural and community approach.

The approach includes diagnoses, job training and economic support; peace networks with youth, children and women; reeducation and special attention to families with a history of violence, as well as leisure, sports, recreational and educational activities including courses, workshops and talks.

“Today, we take a step in favor of Yucatan; beyond positions, creeds or political interests, I am pleased with your commitment and solidarity, which all Yucatecans share, in favor of the peace and security that we desire,” Fritz said. Likewise, she urged the mayors to maintain the spirit of dialogue and cooperation in order to continue building a better future.

For his part, the secretary of the Municipality of Mérida, Alejandro Ruz Castro, expressed the approval of the Renán Barrera Concha administration with this agreement, since it allows optimization of prevention and the continuation of working together with the State, to strengthen security and provision of justice, that are “props for the development of a society”.

The mayor of Umán, Gaspar Ventura Cisneros Polanco, affirmed that this type of agreement allows us to continue supporting the transformation process promoted by Governor Mauricio, so that our territory continues to be the safest in the country.

What we need, he added, are not only public policies to avoid more risk factors that generate violence in our municipality, but also strategies that lead to the active participation of society, for which he applauded this teamwork, the only way to move towards the needed transformation.

Afterwards, Briceño Ascencio made available the experience and capacity of Cepredey, to accompany and guide the 10 participating municipalities, by strengthening their institutional capacities and achieving effective prevention. For this he requested those present for their commitment, support and, above all, , leadership.

“As the General Secretary of the Government, María Fritz, points out, time is running out for us and this is our moment to lay the foundations for all the best we can do, for our state and its municipalities,” she said.

Finally, she reiterated that “we have an allied State Government committed to the actions that required to achieve our mission, which is to continue making Yucatan the best state to live in.”

The event was also attended by the mayors of Progreso, Julián Zacarías Curi; Tekax, Diego Jose Avila Romero; Ticul, Rafael Gerardo Montalvo Mata; Kanasin, Edwin Jose Bojorquez Ramirez; Valladolid, Alfredo Fernandez Arceo; and Hunucmá, Edna Marisa Franco Ceballos. Representing the municipal president of Tizimín, Pedro Francisco Couoh Suaste, was his secretary, Abelomar Javier Portillo.

Mexico: The Jalisco Culture of Peace Program

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from Reporte Indigo (translation by CPNN)

The Government of Jalisco has begun work on its first “State Culture of Peace Program”, one of the main instruments derived from the state’s Culture of Peace Law, designed to reduce the various forms of violence that occur there.

The legislation was approved by the Jalisco Congress on April 22, 2021 with the objective of “respecting, protecting, promoting and guaranteeing peace as a human right of which all people, without distinction, are entitled”. Therefore, its provisions are mandatory for both state and municipal authorities.

The program of the legislation includes a comprehensive strategy that is not limited to the implementation of new security or police surveillance schemes. In fact, the Law establishes that the strategy must be prepared with at least the following items:

I. Education for peace (curriculum; teacher training; school administration; and community formation);

II. Research for peace (institutional linkage; training of researchers; dissemination; and application in the territory and in public policies);

III. Non-violent conflict transformation (community mediation; alternative justice; and non-violent conflict management);

IV. Development of citizen capacities for peace (training of citizens and organizations; and strengthening of networks).

V. Visibility and strengthening of territorial peace (territorial diagnoses with the communities; and peace projects in the territories);

VI. Development for peace (mainstreaming the culture of peace in the different sectors with emphasis on attention to structural, cultural and direct violence);

and VII. Citizen Security and Human Security (development of citizen, community and human security models, and violence prevention).

The challenge is enormous because Jalisco is considered the main center of operations of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) —one of the most violent criminal groups in the country—; and Jalisco has become the state with the most victims of disappearance in all of Mexico, with 15,034 missing and unaccounted for persons, according to the National Registry of Missing and Unaccounted for Persons.

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

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

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

(continued from left column)

State Culture of Peace Law

The Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro Ramírez, says that the legislation that mandates the issuance of the “State Program for the Culture of Peace” is the only one of its kind at the national level, as communicated by the State Government on March 18, 2022.

In Article 2 of the Law on the Culture of Peace of the State, it is detailed that the goal is to eradicate the different forms of violence, from intra-family, gender, to that which is producing organized crime.

It reads to “Satisfy the basic needs of all human beings, in order to eradicate the structural violence originated in the economic and social inequalities existing in the state; eliminate cultural violence that encompasses gender violence, domestic violence, in the educational, labor and neighborhood spheres; and in all areas of social relations; and guarantee effective respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people,”

Delay

The Jalisco Planning and Citizen Participation Secretariat has lagged behind with respect to its obligation to prepare the “State Program for the Culture of Peace”, since it should have concluded last April.

The third transitory article of the Law states that “from the approval of the law, a period of one year is established to generate the State Program for the Culture of Peace” and the approval was given on April 22, 2021. It has been announced that the “Citizen Participation Forums for the construction of the State Program for the Culture of Peace” has already begun (from June 28 to 30).

The intention of the legislators was that both the provisions of this Law and the respective program are also replicated at the municipal level, for this reason the legislation foresees that the municipalities form the Municipal Councils of Citizen Participation for Governance and Peace.

“City councils may form councils or dependencies that they deem appropriate to comply with the provisions of this law, issuing the corresponding regulations, in order to implement actions to promote the culture of peace. (…) may include budget items to meet these objectives (Article 11)”.

These instances, however, can also be of a building nature (Article 12): “City councils may create building commissions for a culture of peace in the municipal regulations that regulate their operation with the aim of collaborating with public actions, programs and policies of a culture of peace and promote the mainstreaming of the approach in other government actions.”

This March 18, 2022, the governor, Alfaro Ramírez, presented the “Spaces for Peace” strategy, also based on the Culture of Peace Law, to promote sports, culture and entertainment in public spaces: “From now on they will have means to combat violence in the social fabric,” he said.