DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .
An article from Pressenza
After two intense days of work and discussion, the Final Declaration of International Civil Society has been circulated by the Promoters of the Vienna Peace Summit, and it will be sent to political leaders around the world, calling on them to act in support of a ceasefire and negotiations in Ukraine.
An important achievement – to which, among the summit organizers, the Italian entities of the “Europe for Peace” coalition contributed – that will enable the international peace movement to work jointly in the coming months on paths toward a just and possible Peace; a path to Peace that must be based on the principles of common security, international respect for human rights and self-determination of all communities. And with an upcoming date already defined: in fact, the Summit’s Final Declaration includes an invitation to civil society in all countries to join together in the implementation of “a week of global mobilization (from Saturday, September 30 to Sunday, October 8, 2023) for an immediate ceasefire and for Peace negotiations to end this war.”
The two days of debate [were used to] build a political alternative to a war that continues to upset the entire World with its evil and its capacity to destroy lives and the environment. Plenary speeches and working groups addressed from different perspectives what determines this war in terms of suffering, disasters, crises, and risks of nuclear accident or war. They also addressed, of course, how to be able to concretely solidarize with the Ukrainian people [who have been] under siege and bombardment for 16 months. Because saving lives is the priority, and war is certainly not the answer.
“We listened, moved, to the testimonies of Yuri, Olga, Oleg, Karina, and Nina who conveyed to us what it means to live under bombs or in exile, to have to decide in a matter of seconds where to go, whether to flee one’s own country or to hide so as not to end up in jail on terrorism charges. Those who participated in the Vienna Summit measure themselves against this reality, seeking paths of dialogue to rebuild mutual trust, to reaffirm solidarity. The path we call for must be taken by all civil society movements in order to make the alternative to war possible,” stresses Sergio Bassoli of the Peace Disarmament Network and one of the coordinators of “Europe For Peace.”
In the Final Declaration, the organizations of the broad coalition present highlight that they are “firmly united in their conviction that war is a crime against humanity and that there is no military solution to the current crisis,” expressing alarm over the ongoing war.
Condemnation for Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is explicitly reiterated, stressing that “the institutions created to ensure Peace and Security in Europe have failed, and the failure of diplomacy has led to war. Diplomacy is now urgently needed to end the armed conflict before it destroys Ukraine and endangers humanity.”
The work of all civil society organizations involved will converge on this shared demand: “negotiations that can strengthen the logic of Peace instead of the illogic of war.”
(Continued in right column)
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?
(Continued from left column)
Below is the text of the “Vienna Declaration for Peace” drafted by the organizations participating in the summit:
Peace by peaceful means. Ceasefire and negotiations now!
We, the organizers of the International Summit for Peace in Ukraine, call on the leaders of all countries to act in support of an immediate ceasefire and negotiations to end the war in Ukraine.
We are a broad and politically diverse coalition representing Peace movements civil society, including believers, in many countries. We are firmly united in our belief that war is a crime against humanity and that there is no military solution to the current crisis.
We are deeply alarmed and saddened by the war. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and injured, and millions are displaced and traumatized. Towns and villages throughout Ukraine, as well as the natural environment, have been destroyed.
Far greater death and suffering could still occur if the conflict escalates to the use of nuclear weapons, a risk that is higher today than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
We condemn Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The institutions created to ensure Peace and Security in Europe have failed, and the failure of diplomacy has led to war. Diplomacy is now urgently needed to end the armed conflict before it destroys Ukraine and endangers humanity.
The path to Peace must be based on the principles of common security, international respect for human rights, and self-determination of all communities.
We support all negotiations that can strengthen the logic of Peace instead of the illogic of war.
We affirm our support for Ukrainian civil society defending its rights. We pledge to strengthen dialogue with those in Russia and Belarus who put their lives at risk to oppose war and protect democracy.
We call on civil society in all countries to join us in a week of global mobilization (Saturday, September 30 to Sunday, October 8, 2023) for an immediate ceasefire and for Peace negotiations to end this war.
Vienna, June 11, 2023
(Editor’s note: Some participants, according to Medea Benjamin regretted that the final declaration failed to condemn NATO for provocations that led to the war and sabotage of early attempts at mediation.)