Category Archives: South Asia

International Women’s Day : Images from Europe and Asia

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from the Los Angeles Times

Women across Europe and Asia shouted their demands for equality, respect and empowerment Thursday to mark International Women’s Day, with protesters in Spain launching a 24-hour strike and crowds of demonstrators filling the streets of Manila, Seoul and New Delhi.


An artist paints a message on a wall in Sana, Yemen, to mark International Women’s Day. (Yahya Arhab / EPA/Shutterstock; A.M. Ahad / Associated Press)


During a Women’s Day rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh, men hold placards highlighting violence against women. (Yahya Arhab / EPA/Shutterstock; A.M. Ahad / Associated Press)

Spain

Spanish women were staging dozens of protests across the country against the wage gap and gender violence. In Barcelona, protesters disrupting traffic into the city center were pushed back by riot police.

In Madrid, hundreds of women gathered in its central square to demand change. Teresa Sonsur, a 38-year-old social services agency worker, said she wanted to end workplace discrimination.


The 731 crosses at Forti de Vinaros beach in Castellon, Spain, represent women who died in gender-related violence since 2007. (Domenich Castello / EPA/Shutterstock)


A young woman in Barcelona attends a protest during a one-day strike for women’s rights. Right, riot police surround women on a Barcelona street during the general strike for International Women’s Day. (Lluis Gene / AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey


Women gather as they shout slogans and flash the V-sign for victory during a demonstration to mark International Women’s Day in Diyarbakir, (Turkey. Ilyas Akengin / AFP/Getty Images)

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Questions for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Asia

Across Asia, women came out to mark the day. In China, students at Tsinghua University used the day to make light of a proposed constitutional amendment to scrap term limits for the country’s president. One banner joked that a boyfriend’s term should also have no limits, while another said, “A country cannot exist without a constitution, as we cannot exist without you!”


Pakistani women rally in Karachi to mark International Women’s Day. (Shahzaib Akber / EPA/Shutterstock)


In Manila, Filipinas hold a march to mark the day and to protest President Rodrigo Duterte’s human rights abuses. (Jes Aznar/Getty Images


South Koreans supporting the #MeToo movement wear all black to rally in Seoul. (EPA/Shutterstock)

Russia

International Women’s Day is a public holiday in Russia, but opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak was one of only a few demonstrators in Moscow.


A member of the Russian feminist movement attends a rally dedicated to the struggle for women’s rights and against the patriarchate in St. Petersburg, Russia. Anatoly Maltsev / EPA/Shutterstock

(Editor’s note: For other photos from India, Turkey, Indonesia, Nepal, Japan, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Pakistan, Germany, Kosovo, Italy, Romania and France, see the report in Al Jazeera.)

India: Activist Disha Ravi, 22, Arrested Over Toolkit, Faces Conspiracy Charge

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from NDTV

A 22-year-old climate activist from Bengaluru, Disha Ravi, was the first person to be arrested by the Delhi Police in the case involving “Toolkit” tweeted earlier this month by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg to show support for protesting farmers. The police — which earlier said “Toolkit” was a Khalistani conspiracy — have accused her of being a key conspirator in the document’s formulation and dissemination and alleged that she is trying to revive a Khalistani group.

Video about Disha Ravi arrest

“I did not make Toolkit. We wanted to support the farmers. I edited two lines on February 3,” Disha Ravi told the Delhi court where she was produced earlier on Sunday. She wasn’t accompanied by any lawyer and spoke in the court for herself. The court has sent her to police custody for five days for further questioning. Several opposition parties and activists have condemned the arrest.

Here are the Top 10 points in this big story:

* “Disha Ravi is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc & key conspirator in document’s formulation & dissemination,” the Delhi Police tweeted, adding that she started a WhatsApp Group and collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. “In this process, they all collaborated with pro Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State,” the police tweeted.

* “She was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Greta Thunberg. Later, she asked Greta to remove the main Doc after its incriminating details accidentally got into public domain. This is many times more than the 2 lines editing that she claims,” another tweet by the Delhi Police read.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:
 
Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

* “Completely atrocious! This is unwarranted harassment and intimidation. I express my full solidarity with Disha Ravi,” tweeted Congress’s Jairam Ramesh.

* “Some serious charges applied against a 21 year old for sharing a ‘dangerous’ toolkit. As per BJP our nation is so weak that a written document about farmer agitation shared by an international celebrity will lead to its ‘breakup’ The nation is much stronger than this toolkit, BJP,” tweeted Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi.

* “Modi regime thinks by arresting a grand daughter of farmers, under Sedition, it can weaken the farmers’ struggles. In fact, it will awaken the youth of the country and strengthen the struggles for democracy, tweeted CPM’s Sitaram Yechury.

* “The question is when will those people be arrested who continue to issue a literal ‘toolkit’ to break the national and social unity of India morning and evening, giving rise to hatred and division among the masses,” Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav posted in Hindi.

* The 22-year-old is a graduate of Mount Carmel College, one of Bengaluru’s top women’s colleges. The Delhi Police, which arrested Disha Ravi on Saturday evening, claimed she is influenced by terrorists like Gurpatwant Singh Pannu and Khalistani groups like Poetic Justice. Thousands of others are involved in the conspiracy and further investigation into the matter is in progress, the police said.

* According to the Delhi police, incidents similar to what was stated in the toolkit took place on the Republic Day, The police also claims that the Toolkit was made by M O Dhaliwal of Poetic Justice Foundation, which is a Khalistani organization. The Delhi Police called the toolkit a part of conspiracy against the Government of India and filed a case of sedition against its creators.

* On February 3, Greta Thunberg had tweeted the “toolkit” to show support for the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s farm laws that has been in progress at the borders of Delhi since November 26.  She later deleted the tweet, posting an updated one.

* The Delhi Police had asked Google and some social media platforms for help with the investigation. The police had sought email ids, URLs and social media accounts related to the creators of “toolkit”. Later, the Centre asked Twitter to remove 1,178 accounts, which it said were spreading misinformation and provocative content on the farmers’ agitation.

Irate farmers storm Delhi on tractors as tear gas deployed and internet cut off in scramble to defend Indian capital

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Russian television

Tens of thousands of farmers descended on the Indian capital and stormed the city’s iconic Red Fort complex in protest at new agricultural reforms which could imperil the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of citizens (See CPNN December 12, 2020).


Protesters cheer after overturning a trailer during a tractor rally to protest against farm laws near New Delhi on Tuesday. © REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Farmers mounted on horseback or driving tractors waved flags and brandished tools and swords as they breached police barricades and made their way to the heart of New Delhi.

Media reports  indicate that internet services have been suspended in parts of the capital at the behest of the government and law enforcement, which is struggling to bring the situation under control. 

“As per government instructions, internet services have been stopped in your area till further notice,” a message from local internet service providers read.

Internet services have also been suspended by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) at the Singhu border near Delhi, where thousands of farmers have made their camp for the past two months. 

Several splinter groups of protesters commandeered cranes and used tractors and ropes to breach police barricades on India’s Republic Day, which marks the country’s adoption of its constitution in 1950.

Riot police fired tear gas but were greatly outnumbered and eventually had to fall back, such were the overwhelming numbers of irate farmers and agricultural workers who eventually stormed the country’s historic Red Fort complex. 

Question for this article:

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?


© REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Prime Minister Narendra Modi regularly addresses the nation from the walls of the Red Fort, highlighting its cultural significance. 

“Modi will hear us now, he will have to hear us now,” said Sukhdev Singh, 55, a farmer from the northern state of Punjab.

Tens of millions of smaller producers feel the new government regulations undermine their position in the market and afford more power to larger, private buyers, threatening to upend a vast swath of the country’s economy.

Nine rounds of talks with farmers’ unions failed to end the protests and, though the government offered to delay the new legislation for 18 months, the farmers demanded a full repeal. 

The official number of arrests and injuries has yet to be released but state TV showed images of multiple bloodied protesters.

Somewhere in the region of half of India’s 1.3 billion population are employed in the agricultural sector, underscoring what’s at stake and why the protests were so furious as they swept through the capital. 

Leaders of the march have denounced outlier groups that splintered off from the main protest.

India’s Supreme Court puts controversial agricultural laws on hold amid farmers’ protests

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from rt.com

The top court in India has decided to suspend implementation of new farm laws and form a panel to hold talks, as farmers demand that the legislation be repealed.

The court ordered the temporary stay on the controversial laws, which MPs passed in September, and is forming a committee to hear the farmers’ grievances and resolve the impasse, Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde said at a hearing on Tuesday. “We have the power to make a committee and the committee can give us the report,” he said. “We will protect farmers.”


Police officers detain an activist of the youth wing of India’s main opposition Congress party during a protest against new farm laws in New Delhi, India, January 12, 2021. © Reuters / Adnan Abidi

Question for this article:

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

Farmers have been clashing with police and braving increasingly cold weather to protest. They are demanding the laws be repealed, because they say the new legislation will erode a longstanding mechanism that maintains a minimum support price for crops. The government insists the laws will help modernize India’s antiquated farming system. [See CPNN December 12.]

The court’s ruling came after it heard several petitions challenging the laws, and those regarding citizens’ rights to free movement amid the protest. “These are matters of life and death. We are concerned with laws. We are concerned with lives and property of people affected by the agitation,” Bobde said. “We are trying to solve the problem in the best way. One of the powers we have is to suspend the legislation.”

An advocate for the protesters, ML Sharma, complained to the court that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not held any discussions with the farmers or their representatives, but Bobde explained: “We cannot ask the prime minister to go. He is not a party in the case.”

Farm unions reiterated their demand for the laws to be repealed and warned the protests could be intensified. They are to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the court’s decision.

India : ‘Delhi Chalo’ explainer: What the farmers’ protest is all about

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Mint

Thousands of farmers have reached the national capital [the Centre] on their tractor-trolleys and other vehicles, responding to the “Delhi Chalo” call against the agri-marketing laws enacted at the Centre in September.


Farmers having food at a Langar during ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest against farm laws, at Singhu Border in New Delhi. (ANI)

On Saturday morning, it wasn’t clear if they will agree to move to the Burari ground on the outskirts of the city, where police said they can continue with their protest. Many protesters were demanding a better venue in the centre of Delhi. Originally, the protest was meant to be on November 26 and 27.

A look at the protest so far: Day 1: On Thursday, thousands of farmers crossed from Punjab to Haryana. At border points, the Haryana Police tried to stop them, using water cannons and teargas. But later they were allowed through. There were skirmishes with police at other points as well on the highway to Delhi as it passed through BJP-run Haryana. A large group of protesters camped for the night near Panipat. Day 2: Protesters assembled at Delhi’s border at Tigri and Singhu. Police used teargas and water cannons to stop them from breaking through barricades, which included sand-laden trucks. In the evening, they offered to let them into the city and continue their protest at Burari ground. But many appeared reluctant. Day 3: The standoff continued on Saturday morning at Delhi’s border. More farmers were making their way from Punjab and Haryana.

What farmers fear: Farmer unions in Punjab and Haryana say the recent laws enacted at the Centre will dismantle the minimum support price (MSP) system. Over time big corporate houses will dictate terms and farmers will end up getting less for their crops, they argue. Farmers fear that with the virtual disbanding of the mandi system, they will not get an assured price for their crops and the “arthiyas” — commission agents who also pitch in with loans for them — will be out of business. Their demands: The key demand is the withdrawal of the three laws which deregulate the sale of their crops. The farmer unions could also settle for a legal assurance that the MSP system will continue, ideally through an amendment to the laws.

(The article is continued on the right side of this page)

Question for this article:

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

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They are also pressing for the withdrawal of the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, fearing it will lead to an end to subsidised electricity. Farmers say rules against stubble burning should also not apply to them. Key players: The `Delhi Chalo” call was given by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee. Several other organisations including Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) came out in support.

The march is being held under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha. The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasanghathan, Jai Kisan Andolan, All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Krantikari Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), BKU (Rajewal), BKU (Ekta-Urgahan,) BKU (Chaduni) are among the participants.

Most protesters are from Punjab, but there is a substanial number from Haryana as well. There have been scattered support for the “Delhi Chalo” protest from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Earlier protests: Before “Delhi Chalo” farmers in Punjab and Haryana held sit-ins and blocked roads in sporardic protests. Punjab farmer unions then announced a “rail roko” agitation, which lasted for abour two months, leading to a suspension of trains to the state and shortages in critical areas, including coal for thermal power stations.

At one point, the unions relaxed the agitation to let goods trains through, but the Railways insisted that they will either run both freight and passengers trains or none. The contentious laws The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The Congress-majority Punjab Assembly reacted to these central laws by passing Bills meant to “negate” their effect in the state. The Punjab Bills, however, are still awaiting assent of the state Governor.

What the Centre says The Narendra Modi government says the new laws will give more options to the farmers to sell their crops and get them better prices. It has assured that there is no move to end the MSP system, and the new Acts do not refer to it.

Before the Delhi Chalo agitation began, the Centre had invited representatives from over 30 farmer unions for a meeting with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on December 3. An earlier meeting on November 15 had remained inconclusive.

Asia and Pacific: International day of Peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

A survey by CPNN

We have found 33 events in 13 Asian and Pacific countries. They were listed in Google during the week of September 21-28 under the key words “International day of peace”, “Dia Internacional da Paz” and 国际和平日 (Chinese). Two come from the facebook page of International Cities of Peace and two came from the website of Campaign Nonviolence. No doubt there were many events listed on the Internet in languages other than those for which we searched.

In addition to these, there are about 125 events listed on the maps of One Day One Choir and Montessori schools singing for peace, but there is no indication which took place this year and which took place only in previous years.


Korea Peace Appeal

ANNA BAY, AUSTRALIA

Peace is Possible is commemorating the UN International Day of Peace 2020 and joining with Pace e Bene Campaign Nonviolence to provide access to the recorded online conference held on 8/8/20. A peace picnic will be held at Birubi Beach on Sunday 9/20/2020 from 4-6pm

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA :

Video of event at the United Nations Association of Australia

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA :

On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations Office in Canberra in partnership with the Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin organized an event at the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell, Nara Peace Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. The event commenced with the performance from the Chorus of Women, Canberra’s renowned Women’s Peace Chorus. The keynote speaker Tim Weeks spoke passionately about the importance of taking collective action to bring about peace and to support those fleeing conflict.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA :

Victoria University International Peace Day forum live online with thought leaders and special guests on 21 September from 4pm to 5.30pm to explore notions of peace, marking the UN . The panelists are Mr Craig Foster, Amnesty International, Ms Mazita Marzuki, Consul General of Malaysia, Mr Charles Allen APM, Institute of Economics for Peace, Ms Rohini Kattadath, Immigration Museum, and Tom Clark, Victoria University

MINDEERUP, AUSTRALIA :

The piazza at Mindeerup will be lit up for several nights from Monday in recognition of the United Nations International Day of Peace.

ROCKINGHAM, AUSTRALIA :

The City of Rockingham has planted a gingko biloba tree at City Park to recognise International Peace Day 2020 and to commemorate 75 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. This is part of the Mayors for Peace program, which is an international organisation of cities from around the world dedicated to the promotion of peace.

BANGLADESH :

Bangladeshi youth organizer  Sumon Rahman (Ruhit Sumon) received India’s International Day of Peace Award.. Ruhit Sumon, president of the Mayurpankhi and Mayurpankhi Family Social Welfare Organization for Children and Adolescents, received this international honor in recognition of his work in protecting world peace, health and human rights through social services at home and abroad. This prestigious award is given by the Mission Global Peace Association of India. Ruhit Sumon is conducting various activities in the epidemic corona situation through its established organization “Mayurpankhi”. Corona preventive and corrective training and workshops during the outbreak, coordination of volunteers, provision of masks, disinfectants, soap for the destitute, destitute and torn roots, distribution of awareness leaflets, distribution of food and iftar items, sewing machines for self-sufficiency and employment. In addition, food, financial assistance and protection materials were provided to flood victims.

RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN CAMBODIA :

On September 21, 2020, the Russian Embassy in Cambodia held a ceremonial assembly on the occasion of International Day of Peace. Head of the diplomatic mission, its personnel, as well as teachers and pupils of the Embassy School attended the event. Ambassador H.E. Mr. Anatoly Borovik delivered address, stressing the importance of peace in the world and need of joint efforts in its attainment and preservation.

BEIJING, CHINA :

To celebrate the International Day of Peace and to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the China World Peace Foundation, the Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and Beijing co-organized the seventh “Heyuan Peace Festival” in Beijing with the theme “Promoting Peaceful Dialogue, Civilized Health, and Youth Space”. The guests at the conference agreed that mankind is a community of shared destiny, sharing weal and woe. All countries should form a more inclusive global governance system, more effective multilateral mechanisms, and more active regional cooperation through peaceful public welfare, international exchanges, technological innovation, and cultural interaction.

NANJING, CHINA :

On September 21, UNESCO, the National Commission for UNESCO, the Information Office of the People’s Government of Jiangsu Province, and the People’s Government of Nanjing jointly hosted the “Youth in Action” 2020 International Peace Day event in Nanjing . . .  As one of the activities of the 2020 International Peace Day, the “Art for Peace Youth Sharing Session” used a cross-border performance of music, poetry and dance to express the concept of peace, promote dialogue and exchanges, and stage a peaceful confession. Subsequently, young people from all over the world recite poems on the spot, and express their watch for peace in the form of poetry sessions. At the same time, the live “TV Art Installation” shows through videos the peaceful memories of artists and young people around the world, discussing a wide range of topics such as peace and aesthetics, technology, politics, and economy, reflecting on war in a peaceful way, and paying tribute to peace in an artistic way. 

TUMSHUK AIRPORT CHINA :

On September 21st, Tumshuk Airport launched a publicity campaign on the theme of “International Day of Peace”.  During the event, the airport staff introduced the knowledge of the “International Day of Peace” to the passengers. The International Day of Peace is the Global Day of Ceasefire and Non-Violence, calling on all countries and people to cooperate with the United Nations to achieve a global ceasefire on this day, and use electronic LED Celebrate the International Day of Peace with education and publicity methods such as screens, TV broadcasts, and handbooks.

WENZHOU, CHINA:

On the International Day of Peace, Wenzhou Xiangyu Junior High School Teachers and Students Learn Sign Language Together. After introducing the emblem of the United Nations, Assistant President Liu Yuee introduced the Xiangyu Education Group logo to everyone. Under her initiative, students and teachers follow the voice guidance, learn the sign language “I love peace” together, express their love for peace, desire for peace, oppose hegemonism, and oppose war of aggression.

XINHUA CHINA:

Hefei Xinhua College “World View · Watching Youth” International Peace Day Interdisciplinary Works Exhibition. The students used Chinese characters and artistic visual elements to paint the repudiation of war and the beautiful imagination of peace. . . Today’s young people should understand that mutual respect and equality are the right way in the world, and peaceful development is the future of the world.

ZHUJI, CHINA

Today is the “International Day of Peace”. Students from Huandong Junior High School and Taozhu Street Central School in Zhuji City took up paintbrushes, applied colors and thoughtfully conceived, using vivid and lively paintings to express the blessings of peace and hope for good.

BHOPAL INDIA :

Intternational Day of Peace was observed by youngsters of the city. The day began with Plantation for Peace on a property in Neelbad, Bhopal. This land is being managed by the youth initiative ANANT Mandi for the Community Supported Agriculture experiment, it is an alternative socioeconomic model of agriculture and food distribution that allows the producer and the consumer to share the risks of agriculture. Before the plantation, everyone sang the song of Jai Jagat. With the goal of contributing to our country’s Green Drive, traversing global warming and thus reducing its impact on climate change, and ultimately presenting a better environment for the next generation, the team planted more than 20 trees.

HOSHIARPUR, INDIA

World Peace Day was celebrated on behalf of the students of St. Soldier Divine Public School Una Road. An online program was organized under the leadership of Director Urmil Sood. During this, the students gave the message of world peace by making different posters and writing slogans. In the message to the students, Director Sood said that the main objective of celebrating this day is to spread peace and peace around the world, leaving aside the policy of violence and war.

JAIPUR, INDIA :

Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. International Peace Day celebrated during the online sessions by primary students of Kids’ Pride School.

(Survey continued in right column)

Question for this article

What has happened this year (2020) for the International Day of Peace?

(Survey continued from left column)

LUDHIANA, INDIA :

The NSS unit of Gobindgarh Public College, Aloud, Khanna, observed International Peace Day. An online declamation contest was organised on the theme “Importance of peaceful living”. Programme officers Mandeep Singh and Professor B Rupinder Kaur highlighted the importance of the day. Principal Neena Seth Pajnii appreciated the NSS unit for organising such a programme. In the declamation contest, Nancy Gupta got first position. Jasmeet Kaur and Tanya got second and third positions, respectively.

MEGHALAYA, INDIA :

The Meghalaya Bharat Scouts and Guides celebrated the International Day of Peace on Monday. The programme included a Prayer for Peace by the Jt. State Secretary of the Meghalaya Bharat Scouts and Guides, W. Lyngdoh followed by a Special Message on Peace by the State Secretary, Meghalaya Bharat Scouts and Guides, A. Swer and flying of Pace Lanterns in the evening.  Online competitions on peace videos and peace slogans were also organised. Tree plantations were also held at the State Training Centre, Umtyngar on  September 10 (Pachmarhi Day) to mark the inauguration of the International Day of Peace 2020. 

RISHIKESH, INDIA :

Run/Ride for International Peace Day. Run for 5 km, 10 km . . . 100 km. Goldengate Awards. “Peace is the way to bring the world together”

KIRGHISTAN

In observance of the International Day of Peace celebrated this week, Silk Road International School has a pleasure to invite you for our “Hopes and Dreams” event held on: Friday, 25th September 2020, from 14:30 to 15:30. On this occasion, we will create SRIS Wish Tree decorated with cards, including our wishes and hopes. The school will also prepare additional art activities for children and their parents and refreshments.
We look forward to seeing you this Friday! Silk Road Primary Team

KOREA

International Peace Day: Civil society organizations call for end of Korean War. More than 350 South Korean and international civil society organizations, including the Korea office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, have launched a campaign calling for an end of the Korean War.
Although the conflicting parties signed an Armistice Agreement in 1953, there have been a number of political and military conflicts between two Koreas. The Korea Peace Appeal is an international petition set to run from 2020, the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, until 2023, the 70th anniversary of the armistice.  The Korea Peace Appeal emphasizes four demands: 1. End the Korean War and establish a peace agreement.  2. Create a Korean Peninsula, and a world, free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat.  3. Resolve the conflict with dialogue and cooperation instead of sanctions and pressure.  4. Break from the vicious cycle of the arms race and invest in human security and environmental sustainability. 
 
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA :

The Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA) celebrated the International Day of Peace here on Monday at a leading hotel with the theme “Shaping Peace Together”. PPSEAWA Vice President Datin Dr Jayanthi Krishnan said this year, it has been clearer than ever that the common enemy is a tireless coronavirus known Covid-19 which threatens Malaysian’s health, security and way of life.

NEPAL :

We the promoter of Global Cultural Peace Walk, Nepal (GCPW/N) is organizing the local peace walk event since 2017 at the eve of International Day of Peace awaking global harmony. The nurturing activity is continued in 2020, remodeling with social value, an educational tips to Covid-19 pandemic. This year celebration are limited to the location near by the members’ residence. A cultural ghee/oil lightening were perform with creative activity at Charumati Stupa, Sankhapark in UN Park, Swayambhu, Panauti and Namo Buddha managed by Palden Lama, Surya Rana, Deva Sainju, Rajaram Karmacharya and Subarna Shrestha at each places respectively in collaboration with Namo Buddha International Cities of Peace,

KATHMANDU, NEPAL :

Lotus Mindfulness and Relaxation Services (LMRS) in Kathmandu organized a peacemaking event through meditation on the occasion of the UN International Peace Day on Monday. The organizer hosted an online event inviting international peacemakers from different corners of the world to share their experiences and encourage people to make meditation ‘The New Normal’ during these turbulent times. A total of 70 participants, mainly youths, from different countries including the US, Germany, Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal participated in the virtual event.


MASTERPEACE, NEPAL
:

VIDEO: Hear the Unheard: Stories of Nepal is being organized jointly by Peace for People and MasterPeace Nepal on the occasion of World Peace Day on September 21, 2020.

KARACHI, PAKISTAN

The National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Karachi yesterday held a rally for Peace and a seminar dedicated to this year’s International Day of Peace. Various humanitarian groups, students, lawyers and religious congregations took an active part in the events . . . Participants in the peace seminar pledged to play a role in promoting peace and tolerance in society. A peace candle was lit, a dove was released, and trees were planted as gestures of peace and special prayers were offered for peace in the world.

HATTIYAAN BALA, PAKISTAN

People from different walks of life held a rally in Hattiyaan Bala town of Azad Jammu & Kashmir on Monday to mark the International Day for Peace under the aegis of Pasban-e-Hurriyat Jammu Kashmir and International Forum for Justice and Human Rights titled “Justice, Independence, Peace Rally”. Speakers on the occasion said that the world was celebrating World Peace Day while around 1 million Indian armed forces have illegally Occupied the internationally-acknowledged disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. They demanded United Nations and other peace building organisations to take notice of existence of immense armed forces in disputed territory. They also demanded that UN must fulfill its obligation on Kashmir issue as the resistance movement in IOK was legitimate according to UN resolutions.

PAKISTAN

Bacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation : Spreading the message of justice for minorities in Pakistan on Social Media.

JOVENES, PHILIPPINES

With the help of ZABIDA , a local partner of Manos Unidas in the Philippines, we want to get closer to the people of Mindanao on the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Peace 2020. . . This year we want to look at the young people of Mindanao who have been directly affected by the consequences of a conflict that, with greater or lesser intensity, is still being felt despite the undeniable progress in the peace process. The conflict that has lasted for more than four decades and which confronts the Philippine government with Islamist armed groups that demand the independence of the region, has its roots in economic and political factors and branches out into very different types of violence, from attacks and armed confrontations to episodes. of bulling in schools and tensions between neighbors due to the origin or personal and family history of each person.

LIPA CITY, PHILIPPINES

In celebration of National Peace Consciousness Month as well as the International Day of Peace, Lasallian students and Partners took part in numerous activities including the 2020 Institutional Peace Concert on September 21, 2020. The concert was live-streamed via De La Salle Lipa’s official YouTube channel and Facebook page. . . The Institutional Peace Concert was not the only way that members of the De La Salle Lipa community commemorated the Month of Peace. Other activities have also been lined up and participated by Lasallians all throughout the month. Grade school students participated in an activity focused on making paper planes. The meaning behind the paper plane must not be overlooked. It serves as a symbol of hope and optimism during a time when we need those things most. The efforts placed into crafting a paper plane will enable it to fly. The same goes for the ongoing struggle for peace as the efforts made, no matter how small, can make a difference and cause great causes to take flight. Also featured during the event were the Junior High School students joining together as they formed a virtual sign of peace. The meaningful gesture represents how even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, we can still remain united as we pursue the same goals. Senior High School (SHS) students, on the other hand, commemorated the International Day of Peace in their own unique way. Some students took to Instagram to get involved in a Story Chain. The students struck a pose while wearing their white tops and also tagged their friends to take part in the Story Chain.

SINGAPORE

International Day of Peace Celebrated at Dover Court. The children were able to articulate that peace may mean giving people the space to think and relax, or that it means not arguing with one another and respecting difference in viewpoints. Where right now it may seem the world is pulling people apart from one another, we as a community are seeking ways to build connection through shared discussion and collaborative projects. In the Library we acknowledged International Peace Day by thinking about children around the world who may not live in a peaceful country. We thought about how lucky we are to live in the safety of Singapore.  We came up with some ideas of how we could acknowledge world peace day in our everyday lives by being kind to our siblings, showing love to our family etc.  We then looked at books about children around the world and some of us coloured doves of peace and wrote poems about peace.

SAIGON, VIETNAM

Launched this week on world peace day, Vietnam based independent restaurant chain Pizza 4Ps has partnered with Ki Saigon to bring to life their mission to make the world smile for peace, one pizza at a time. The agency thought of bringing together ingredients of nations in conflict to create ‘Peace Pizzas’. By combining tastes of these countries in harmony to attempt to prove that if ingredients can be together on a pizza, so can we on the planet. Over many months, their chefs Mr. Shotaro Hirukawa & Ms. Natsumi Kobayashi worked with the Ki Saigon team to create three individual ‘Peace Pizzas’: India & Pakistan; China & USA; Israel & Palestine. To celebrate the unity of flavors the agency transformed the 4PS pizza boxes to a garden of peace. The pizza boxes were re-engineered to open to an intricate, handcrafted three dimensional flower. Each flower is made by combining the colors of the two flags: Israel + Palestine, China + USA & India + Pakistan. 27 unique handmade flowers blossom with each pizza to celebrate peace and tranquility. A total of 250 of these boxes were also displayed as an art piece titled ‘garden of peace’ at one of their marque venues, which is holding a one week event to celebrate ‘peace week’ where the pizzas will be sold. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the peace pizzas will go to the UN Peace Building Fund.

India: Nagaland’s Rebecca Changkija Sema conferred with ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Award’

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from The Sentinal of Assam

Filmmaker and social worker Rebecca Changkija Sema from Nagaland was conferred with the esteemed Mahatma Gandhi National Award during the 4th International Web Conference on Global Peace on July 25 by the Mahatma Gandhi Global Peace Forum.

Joining the ranks of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) who were previous awardees of the Mahatma Gandhi National Award, Rebecca Changkija Sema has broken the glass ceiling for female social workers in India.

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Sema is an Advisory Panel Member at the Censor Board Mumbai and the founder of “Northeast Unsung Heroes”. She describes it as a non-profit organization, emphasizing that there are people from all walks of life, who choose to do good for the society and their country who have not received enough recognition.

She reiterates that bringing recognition to these ‘heroes’ translates into them receiving better opportunities further ahead in life.

Sema promotes tourism as well and takes a keen interest in utilizing the talent that comes up from the Northeast region; primarily through social work and cinema. She reiterates that the award has “humbled” her.

“Words are not enough to describe how humbled am today to receive this prestigious award. this is extremely encouraging beyond any words. Thank you Human Rights Saviour to be considering me for @Nagaland #northeast_india #BlessedAndThankful #HumanRights”, she wrote on Twitter.

The Mahatma Gandhi Global Peace Forum is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that aims to promote the culture of peace around the world through the medium of arts, culture and education.

A total of 14 personalities from various parts of the country working in the field of Human Rights were conferred with the award.

“Listening as governance”, by Amartya Sen

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

An article by Amartya Sen in Sixteens

We have reason to take pride in the fact that India is the largest democracy in the world, and also the oldest in the developing world. Aside from giving everyone a voice, democracy provides many practical benefits for us. We can, however, ask whether we are making good use of it now when the country, facing a gigantic health crisis, needs it most.

[Editor’s note: Click here for Professor Sen’s recent recognition by the peace prize of the German Book Trade..


Tackling a social calamity is not like fighting a war which works best when a leader can use top-down power to order everyone to do what the leader wants — with no need for consultation. In contrast, what is needed for dealing with a social calamity is participatory governance and alert public discussion. Famine victims may be socially distant from the relatively more affluent public, and so can be other sufferers in different social calamities, but listening to public discussion makes the policy-makers understand what needs to be done. Napoleon may have been much better at commanding rather than listening, but this did not hamper his military success (except perhaps in his Russian campaign). However, for overcoming a social calamity, listening is an ever-present necessity.

This applies also to the calamity caused by a pandemic, in which some — the more affluent — may be concerned only about not getting the disease, while others have to worry also about earning an income (which may be threatened by the disease or by an anti-disease policy, such as a lockdown), and — for those away from home as migrant workers — about finding the means of getting back home. The different types of hazards from which different groups suffer have to be addressed, and this is much aided by a participatory democracy, in particular when the press is free, public discussion is unrestrained, and when governmental commands are informed by listening and consultation.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How can we work together to overcome this medical and economic crisis?

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In the sudden crisis in India arising from the spread of COVID-19, the government has obviously been right to be concerned with rapidly stopping the spread. Social distancing as a remedy is also important and has been rightly favoured in Indian policy-making. Problems, however, arise from the fact that a single-minded pursuit of slowing the spread of the disease does not discriminate between different paths that can be taken in that pursuit, some of which could bring disaster and havoc in the lives of many millions of poor people, while others could helpfully include policies in the package that prevent such suffering.
  
Employment and income are basic concerns of the poor, and taking special care for preserving them whenever they are threatened is an essential requirement of policy-making. It is worth noting in this context that even starvation and famines are causally connected with inadequacy of income and the inability of the impoverished to buy food (as extensive economic studies have brought out). If a sudden lockdown prevents millions of labourers from earning an income, starvation in some scale cannot be far off. Even the US, which is often taken to be a quintessential free enterprise economy (as in many ways it indeed is), has instituted income subsidies through massive federal spending for the unemployed and the poor. In the emergence and acceptance of such socially protective measures in America, a crucial part has been played by public discussion, including advocacy from the political opposition.

In India the institutional mechanism for keeping the poor away from deprivation and destitution will have to relate to its own economic conditions, but it is not hard to consider possible protective arrangements, such as devoting more public funds for helping the poor (which gets a comparatively small allocation in the central budget as things stand), including feeding arrangements in large national scale, and drawing on the 60 million tons of rice and wheat that remain unused in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India. The ways and means of getting displaced migrant labourers back to their homes, and making arrangements for their resettlement, paying attention to their disease status and health care, are also challenging issues that call for careful listening rather than inflexible decisions without proper consultation.

Listening is central in the government’s task of preventing social calamity — hearing what the problems are, where exactly they have hit, and how they affect the victims. Rather than muzzling the media and threatening dissenters with punitive measures (and remaining politically unchallenged), governance can be greatly helped by informed public discussion. Overcoming a pandemic may look like fighting a war, but the real need is far from that.

People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty: Nine Demands for Food and Rights

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty

The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (see below) has formulated the following nine demands for food and rights that represent the aspirations of rural food producers to feed the world and pave the way for a just, equitable, and sustainable food system that guarantees the peoples’ right to food. This is the popular version of our policy recommendations  to ensure people’s right to food amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

DEMAND 1: Guarantee the right to food amid lockdown

A global hunger crisis looms unless states guarantee people’s right to food.

The number of people suffering from extreme hunger worldwide is expected to double due to the pandemic.

Last year, 130 million were in acute hunger. This will spike to 265 million by the end of 2020 if people’s right to food remains to be neglected.

Prior pandemic, more than 820 million people – one in every nine in the world – are already hungry. On the other hand, over 2 billion people – one in every four – do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.

These numbers are also expected to rise due to movement restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus spread. The poor and the homeless are extremely vulnerable.

States therefore have a crucial role in ensuring that people have access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food at all times, as mandated by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. States “have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger even in times of natural or other disasters.”

DEMAND 2: Prioritize local food production

Promoting local food production is key in any nation’s food security.

A robust and farmer-led domestic food production is the best safeguard against market shocks and price volatility.

A total of 14 countries have imposed export bans on 20 variants of foodstuffs to prioritize local markets amid the global pandemic. Poor countries which rely on food imports are struggling to keep up with the building food shortage.

Rice, a major food-crop especially in Asia, have hit a seven-year high price as major rice exporters Vietnam and Cambodia decided to ban their export of the food staple to ensure local supply.

Staple food crops must be prioritized in local food production in order to shield the economy from fluctuations in the global market. Subsidies and investments for inputs (eg. seeds and fertilizers), irrigation, soil conservation, and other subsidies should be broadened and given directly to small food producers.

Imports of staple food crops that countries can grow domestically must be progressively reduced to shield both producers and consumers from global market shocks.

In order to sustainably meet the demand for food, states must utilize and further develop their pool of smallholder farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers, and other food producers who are within the communities vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. Staple food crops that can be grown domestically should be encouraged by the governments through subsidies to reduce the dependency on importation.

DEMAND 3: Recognize and extend support to farmers as essential workers

Farmers and rural peoples are at the frontlines of producing food for the world. They are essential workers and should be recognized and supported as such.

The food in our tables, in grocery aisles, in markets and restaurants, come from the hands of landless and smallholder farmers, farmworkers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers in plantations, rural women and youth, indigenous peoples, Dalits and pastoralists. Without them, food supply will be decimated.

Ironically, they are the most vulnerable in this pandemic. Prior the pandemic, the rural sectors already suffer from extreme poverty. 80% of 736 million people in extreme poverty – subsisting on less than USD 1.90 a day – live in rural areas, where social services including healthcare are also often inaccessible.

States must ensure that they are given adequate support in form of unconditional cash assistance, social protection, and production aid as essential workers. This will not only ensure domestic food supply but also cushion the impact of the pandemic to the already at-risk communities.

However, some state measures to contain the pandemic have resulted in their loss of income and livelihood. Movement restrictions to enforce social distancing have prevented rural peoples to access their production areas – be it farms or seas – while others are forced to throw away their harvest that cannot be transported and sold to urban areas. Policies that curtail their right to produce and displace them from their areas of production should be discontinued immediately.

The recognition, support, and protection of farmers and rural peoples as essential workers amid the pandemic is a necessary guarantee to domestic food security.

DEMAND 4: Set up and support local markets

The disconnect between food supply and demand has never been this huge.

While almost a billion people around the world sleep hungry at night, tons of food are wasted across fields caused by transportation and market bottlenecks. Every year, a third of the world’s food – amounting to as much as USD 1.2 trillion – is lost or goes to waste. With today’s pandemic, lockdowns and supply chain failures have put this problem into overdrive.

This has caused avoidable price fluctuations and increased unevenness in access to food despite record high global grain output.

Countries can address this by setting up and backing decentralized local markets led by food producers. Not only does it bridge the gap between domestic food producers and consumers, but it also avoids wastage of food that are not able to reach markets. Farmers are able to sell their produce and earn while consumers are assured supply of and access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food.

States should give utmost support to local markets led by food producers and create frictionless links with urban and peri-urban consumers.

DEMAND 5: Strengthen strategic national reserves

The right to food also means it should be affordable.

Countries should strengthen strategic national grain and food reserves to support stable prices.

With lockdowns in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, countries are scrambling to have a stable supply of and access to staple food for domestic consumption.

Since its inception, the WTO impositions discouraged the “costly” public food reserves to prioritize trade commitments. Subsequent programs from the IMF-WB and other IFIs have pushed to dismantle and/or privatize national food agencies to liberalize trade.

While the WB in 2009 admitted that this has proven detrimental to poor and developing countries, the damage has been done.

Today, net food importing countries are left vulnerable to the volatility of global food prices.

Disruptions in the global food supply chain also prompted food price hikes of 5% to 9% average since February. Staple food crops, especially in the Global South, are also no exception – rice, grains, wheat, and flour have a rising price trend since January.

To deal with this, states must establish and/or strengthen substantially their strategic national reserves to ensure price control, notwithstanding the WTO commitments to ensure that vulnerable countries have the range of policy measures against market shocks. Priority should be given at all times to locally produced food for buffer stocks. Privatized grain buffer stock must be nationalized to protect public interest in food security.

States can also establish and/or strengthen national food purchasing agencies to ensure fair farmgate prices while stabilizing consumer prices.

DEMAND 6: Review and revise national land use policies

After the toiling farmers and rural people, land is the most important asset for food security.

National land use policies must be reconsidered to reflect the increasing need for domestic food production.

For so long, local elites and corporations dispossess rural peoples of land through privatization of public and customary lands, deceptive lease-type schemes and financing programs.

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Question for this article:
 
What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

How can we work together to overcome this medical and economic crisis?

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World Bank’s market-assisted land reform programs have only accelerated this. The rapid expansion of large-scale industrial farming has despoiled the Global South as rural communities are robbed of their right to food with the push of the World Bank for industrial agriculture for what they deemed as food security.

Several governments in the Global South are quick in opening up millions of agricultural land as collateral for loans. Underdeveloped countries are seen as production hubs for the increasing demand for biofuel as well as monocultures of sugar, palm oil, cotton, and maize. Much of the arable land once dedicated to local food production have been converted to export crop production under the liberalized economy. This caused poverty among millions who relied on these lands as they are displaced, forced into cheap labor, and repressed.

In the past 20 years alone, land sold and leased to foreign and domestic investors has reached a total of 160.77 million hectares. Ironically, only 8% of these are for domestic food production.

Unsurprisingly, these countries that have become import-dependent and export-oriented with the guidance of the World Trade Organization and World Bank have also the highest number of poor and hungry.

In these times when the world is threatened by COVID-19, the role of foreign agribusiness and large-scale export crop production in undermining food security is exceptionally apparent. With supply chain bottlenecks and trade barriers going up, farmers in high-value for-export crops are experiencing loss in livelihood. Subsidy allotted to export production should be realigned to support food crop production for the domestic market while introducing a moratorium for biofuel production and other non-food crops.

DEMAND 7: Provide unconditional food and cash aid

An estimated 265 million people will be in extreme hunger this year amid the current crisis – double of that from last year. They represent the most vulnerable among the 2 billion people in the planet experiencing food insecurity.

Immediate food aid must be provided to countries most at-risk of food supply shortage, including access to institutional support from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and South-South Cooperation mechanisms without conditions.

Africa (73 million people) and Asia (43 million people) are home to world’s most hungry. In particular, West Asia and North Africa (WANA) experience worsening famine as conflicts and protracted crises aggravated over the years. Conflicts have disrupted food and livestock production as well as access to food across the region. The pandemic only exacerbates the fragility of the war-ravaged countries like Libya and Yemen as they lack resources to contain the virus while Iran and Turkey have the highest acceleration of cases with tens and thousands of affected.

Over the years, humanitarian funding has dropped significantly. In fact, in 2018, it fell by 77% in crisis-affected countries. In context, COVID-19 affects many more countries in comparison to the past Ebola crisis. Overseas military spending of OECD countries have increased while humanitarian food aid has declined.

In order to curb the effects of the pandemic in the most affected regions, funding for food and cash aid must be prioritized in the Official Development Assistance in the form of grants, especially using the undelivered ODA fund (estimated to be around US$2 trillion) by donor countries over the last decade.

Donor countries must not take advantage of the deplorable situation and further deteriorate economies through neoliberal policy reforms that has caused poverty in these countries in the first place.

Conditionalities must be decoupled from aid to truly remedy the impacts of the crisis while strengthening the food and health systems, and not further chain the Global South by undermining public resources to creditors.

Although domestic needs must be prioritized, food export restrictions for humanitarian purposes must be dismantled.

DEMAND 8: Lift sanctions and cease all military aggressions

International sanctions that include food and agriculture trade are war crimes. Moreover, blanket economic sanctions decimate nation’s livelihoods and developing countries’ international trade relations.

Countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran, Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are suffering from sanctions initiated and backed by US and its G20 allies – severely limiting their policy options in facing a pandemic like the coronavirus.

In Venezuela and Bolivia, the US tried to put into power political allies using sanctions that created shortages and economic restrictions that the population suffered through within the script of the Hybrid War.

The economic and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba has impeded export of goods and services, procurement of resources, and trade since 1958. In particular, food trade, access to medicine and medical supplies, and exchange of scientific knowledge were greatly restricted, impacting the Cuban peoples for many decades.

Lifting these sanctions, especially today, is a humanitarian imperative and can potentially save countless lives.

People in extreme hunger heavily concentrate in Africa and Asia, specifically in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and West Asia. Around 65% of them are in 10 countries – Yemen (15.9M), Democratic Republic of Congo (15.6M), Afghanistan (11.3M), Venezuela (9.3M), Ethiopia (8M), South Sudan (7M), Syria (6.6M), Sudan (5.9M), Northern Nigeria (5M), and Haiti (3.7M).

Most of these countries, including Palestine, are ravaged by a combination of wars of aggression, internal conflict, and sanctions-induced famines.

Yemen alone, is made a victim of man-made starvation as Red Sea ports have been subject to recurring blockades, searches, and restrictions by Saudi-led coalition forces, essentially cutting the lines for imported food supplies.

War and conflict refugees and internally displaced people in many regions hung on a knife’s edge as occupying forces continue to advance despite a global call for ceasefire. Some 160,000 Kurds found themselves as refugees as US abandoned the fight against ISIS, go-signalling Turkish troops to lay siege on war-afflicted Syria.

The US supplies Israel USD 142.3B in bilateral assistance and missile defense vying for the control of West Asia. Zionist Israel continues its attacks against Palestinians who also suffer from the 10-year blockade from Israel and Egypt.

Ending all military aggression and the immediate lifting of sanctions, especially on international trade in food and agriculture, should be part of the global humanitarian response to combat COVID-19.

DEMAND 9: Increase transparency and accountability

To truly address the serious public health crisis of rising food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a human rights-based approach that will empower the hungry to fulfill their right to food should be adopted. The approach takes the principles of transparency, accountability, non–discrimination, equality and equity, rule of law and good governance.

States and public officials must be put accountable in addressing the urgent needs of the people amid the COVID-19 crisis. States are responsible in engineering appropriate plans and national goals to ‘flatten the curve’ and recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Participation of vulnerable sectors especially the rural poor, rural women, and indigenous peoples in crafting emergency response, relief, and rehabilitation should be guaranteed. Non-deliverance on that responsibility demands recourse from the people due to infringement of the fundamental rights to food and health.

Transparency and anti-corruption measures must be put into place alongside fast-tracked aid and relief programs to ensure the disbursement of funds for those in urgent need. Contracts must be made public to mitigate risks of overpricing, monopoly, and collusion.

Stringent policies should be placed against commercial activities that lead to price-gouging, hoarding, or the impediment of people’s right to food. To protect consumers, antitrust and similar laws need to work to ensure no single entity can dictate prices and control stocks of essential goods such as PPEs and food. Other than scammers and hoarders, price increase of high-demand goods can also be caused by disrupted supply chains, scarcity, or the underdeveloped capacity to produce essential goods. States need to prioritize providing supplies and facilities for frontliners, essential establishments and agencies, and poor communities and low-income individuals.

Tighter corporate control and accountability should be enacted to ensure that they are in line with the broader goals of food security and social justice. Agriculture, for instance, needs to be reexamined and refocused on domestic food production in comparison to the industrial agribusinesses that has deteriorated the environment and impoverished rural communities for decades, leaving them hungry and highly susceptible to infection.

* * * * *

The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty is a growing network of various grassroots groups of small food producers particularly of peasant-farmer organizations and their support NGOs, working towards a People’s Convention on Food Sovereignty. It was established first as an Asian component of the global agri-trade network on People’s Food Sovereignty in 2001 then eventually resulted in the collaboration of those involved in the People’s Caravan 2004 process and those who participated in the Asia Pacific People’s Convention on Food Sovereignty in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2004. . . . During the People’s Convention in Dhaka, the name “People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty” was adopted due to the growing number of organisations beyond Asia who have been involved in the Food Sovereignty platform.

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations: Five Youth-Led Organizations Selected as Recipients of the Youth Solidarity Fund for 2019

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

Excerpts from the newsletter of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

UNAOC has announced the latest recipients of the Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF) [ announced in 2019]. More than 600 proposals were received from over 70 countries in response to the call for applications. Five organizations based in Africa and Asia were then selected to receive seed funding of up to USD 25,000 for the purpose of implementing projects with innovative and effective approaches to intercultural dialogue and interfaith harmony. These five recipients join a group of 63 other youth-led organizations that have been funded by UNAOC since 2008.

In addition to seed funding, YSF recipients will also receive technical support to strengthen the implementation of their projects. UNAOC has partnered with Search for Common Ground to facilitate a capacity-building programme called Youth 360, involving online workshops and ongoing support from mentors. YSF recipients will have access to this support until the end of their project implementation period in November 2020.

The current edition of YSF is implemented through financial contributions from the Governments of Finland, Malta and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Umoja Mashinani – Kenya

“Our project, Umoja Mashinani, can be loosely translated to mean Peace Ambassadors in the Grassroots. We aim to enhance the capacity of community radio journalists to promote messages on non-violence, religious respect and intercul- tural cohesion. With UNAOC, we hope to build a sustainable and impactful platform together, fostering a community of young people who work for peace.”

Bonface Ochieng Opany, 27 years old
Project Coordinator, Umoja Mashinani
Youth Solidarity Fund Recipient, Amani Centre (Kenya)

Theatre for Peace – Sri Lanka

“Our project will bring young people with diverse backgrounds together to connect, create and transform. Through theater, we will facilitate a process of introspection to explore and challenge our own identities, beliefs, biases and perspectives. With the resources and the solidarity shared through UNAOC we will be stronger to stand up and challenge the polarization and separation in our society.”
Sivatharsini Raveendran, 28 years old Project Coordinator, Theatre for Peace – Connect.Create. Transform

For Youth Solidarity Fund Recipient, Centre for Communication Training (Sri Lanka)

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

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We Play for Peace – Lebanon

“We are launching ‘We Play for Peace!’ which is a project funded by UNAOC to create a safe space for youth from different religions, nationalities and backgrounds. Through sports, young people from the North Bekaa region of Lebanon will get the opportunity to set their differences aside and play together in peace. Youth will erase the memory of conflict and be a source of positive change for the future.”

Mehdi Houssein Yehya, 31 years old
Project Coordinator, We Play for Peace! Youth Solidarity Fund Recipient, Peace of Art (Lebanon)

Dismantling Stereotypes – Kingdom of Eswatini

“We are curating interfaith and intercultural conversations amongst young people of different religious and cultural backgrounds. With the grant from UNAOC, we aim to inculcate a culture of mutual understanding, respect and tolerance for these young people. Our goal is to place youth in the center of pre- venting any religious and cultural differences from breaking out into violence or developing into mechanisms for excluding other people.”

Sicelo Christopher Gama, 29 years old Project Coordinator,
Dismantling Religious and Cultural Stereotypes for Social Cohesion and Sustainable Peac
Youth Solidarity Fund Recipient, Swaziland Intent Youth Organization (Kingdom of Eswatini)

Nurturing for Peace – Uganda

“We thank UNAOC for their support of our project that will engage youth from seven sects of Islam and Christianity to strengthen interfaith understanding and foster new friendships. The project aims to reduce support for religiously motivated recruitment and acts of violent extremism in Eastern Uganda. We are confident that our project will be a living symbol to the ideals of interfaith cooperation and friendship among faiths.”

Zulaika Nanfuka, 32 years old
Project Coordinator, Nurturing for Peace
Youth Solidarity Fund Recipient, Uganda Muslim Youth Development Forum (Uganda)