Brazil: Ministry of Education advances the debate on restorative justice


An article from the Ministry of Education in Brazil

On Tuesday, November 28th, the 2nd Restorative Justice Dialogue in Schools was organized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) through the Secretariat of Continuing Education, Youth and Adult Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion (Secadi). The initiative is in partnership with the National Council of Justice (CNJ) and aims to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in schools. The broadcast is available on the MEC YouTube Channel.

This second meeting featured the participation of judge Egberto de Almeida Penido and judge Roberto Portugal Bacellar. The debate was moderated by Yann Evanovick Furtado, general coordinator of Educational Policies for Youth, at Secadi.

According to  judge Roberto Portugal Bacellar, having a new look at the issue of authority makes it possible to work in a cooperative, integrative manner and with a systemic vision. “The idea of restorative justice is that we can analyze a conflict with a complex, systemic view, instead of seeing it as a fragmented episode. We analyze it not as a portrait, but as a film, where we can try to learn about each person’s story,” he explained. According to the judge, restorative justice is participatory and a conflict must be treated together by all who are involved, including students, teachers, principals and even the community.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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According to judge Egberto de Almeida Penido, restorative justice in schools is an initiative to deal not only with violence, but with the construction of an environment of fair coexistence. “When we talk about restorative justice, we are talking about the value of justice, which is a very expensive value, too precious to be in the hands of jurists alone. It concerns each and every one, the way we respond to what affects us”, he stated. According to him, schools that have adhered to restorative practices have seen a drop in the rate of violence.

Dialogues – The Restorative Justice in Schools cycle of dialogues is part of the Technical Cooperation Agreement for the implementation of the “Restorative Justice in Schools” project, signed by the MEC and the CNJ on November 14th. The debates are a preparation for the implementation of restorative practices in the school environment in 2024. The objective is to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in schools, using practices that involve dialogue, accountability and repairing the damage caused by conflicts.

Agreement – The Technical Cooperation Agreement for the implementation of the “Restorative Justice in Schools” project has the objective of contributing resources so that schools can create environments that facilitate the confrontation of internal violence. It is based on qualified listening and restoration and strengthening of relationships that permeate the school environment. These actions require the commitment of the entire school community (leaders, teachers, students, parents) and society, as well as through the training of professionals and students who have an interface with the education network.

The project also includes: partnership between the courts; the participation of magistrates and civil servants; institutional partners; and the education system and its schools. The dissemination of the basic notions about the various possibilities and functionalities of restorative justice is the responsibility of the CNJ’s Restorative Justice Steering Committee.

The Technical Cooperation Agreement requires the Ministry of Education and the National Council of Justice must promote articulation, management, awareness-raising and training actions in order to achieve restorative justice in the educational system.

Mexico: Multipliers of Peace impact more than 19 thousand young people from Guanajuato


An article from Canal 13

During 2023, 19,241 people in the state of Guanajuato have been impacted through the JuventudEsGTO Peace Multipliers program, which aims to train enthusiastic and committed young people to learn to drive. their socio-emotional behavior and can voluntarily carry out peace actions to benefit their environments.

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Questions for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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“We have determined as one of our most important strategies in JuventudEsGTO, which is the Peace Multipliers program, through which we seek to humanize youth, understanding that not only the development of young people involves economic, educational, but also a personal issue that allows us to self-manage, administer and know how to use our emotions” said Toño Navarro, general director of JuventudEsGTO.

This program, which uses the “Humanízate” methodology, consists of various activities that involve the participation of the youth community, such as discussions, training sessions, conferences, macro games and virtual meetings.

To this end, so far this year, this program has visited more than 40 educational institutions, from the different subsystems, as well as public spaces in all the municipalities of the state to reach a greater number of people.

In this strategy, young people between 17 and 30 years old can participate who intend to generate a positive change in their life and environment, building a culture of peace.

The JuventudEsGTO Peace Multipliers program is an opportunity for young people from Guanajuato to train as social leaders, learn to manage their emotions and contribute to generating a culture of peace in their communities.

Medellín, Colombia, with the most peaceful days in the last 40 years


An article from Cambio Colombia

Four years after its creation, the Medellín Non-Violence Secretariat makes spaces for reparation between victims, perpetrators and citizens. As a result, Medellin has achieved the calmest days in the city since the 1980s.

Photo: Mayor’s Office of Medellín.

The capital of Antioquia is experiencing the most peaceful days of the last 40 years. As an example, during the protests of the social outbreak in the country, Medellín was the only place that did not report deaths or missing people.

This was possible thanks to the creation of the Non-Violence Secretariat in 2020, which at that time worked hand in hand with marchers and public forces to preserve order and respect for human rights.

Likewise, the launch of the Secretariat by the District Administration has turned Medellín into a Latin American example for reparation and care for victims, ex-combatants and people deprived of their liberty. Furthermore, thanks to the work of this department with the public force, the city has recorded a reduction of more than 40% in homicides.

The contribution to total peace

Already at the beginning of its activities in September 2020, the Non-Violence Secretariat began to show results. In 2022, thanks to the entity, the Mayor’s Office of Medellín managed to make victims, peace signatories, boys, girls, adolescents and young people the main protagonists of peace building and creators of common spaces, which was previously thought unlikely.

This was achieved through attention to the victims of the armed conflict, and with opportunities and training for peace signatories; with prevention of the involvement of adolescents and young people in organized crime, with the Partners Program; and with training in a culture of peace for boys and girls; also with the implementation of actions with a sense of reparation between victims, community and those responsible.

“The Non-Violence Secretariat is delivering for society and the community organizations with which we interact every day. This work is reflected in the advances in the structuring of the Public Peace Policy for Medellín that has been done in a participatory manner. Also, there is an increase in coverage and in the participation of different populations in various processes,” according to the Secretary of Non-Violence, Cristian Aguirre.

In addition, the implementation strategy of the Peace Agreement was developed, based on the signing of the Agreement with the Special Justice for Peace (JEP) and the recognition of the peace agenda with a restorative approach built by the Collective Memories Process and Territorial Peace in Manrique.

Promotion of employment and entrepreneurship

An economic autonomy strategy was consolidated through employment training processes, composed of eleven courses that impacted approximately 220 people in developing skills and competencies for the populations that are part of the agency’s programs.

Also, support was provided for employability, which has allowed 963 people to get into the job market, 838 of them have been victims of the armed conflict, that is, about 87% of the beneficiaries are victims.

141 enterprises were impacted with the program to strengthen the productive units of victims, with $199 million. And, finally, there is the “Made in Peace” strategy that has been part of 12 city fairs and has generated sales of $228 million in events such as the Flower Fair, the Book Festival, the Month for Peace, the Days of Non-Violence, and Football for Life and Peace.

Accompaniment to victims of the conflict

Among the milestones achieved with the victims of the conflict is the resumption of the search for people reported missing in La Escombrera (commune 13), which could be carried out after seven years of having been suspended.

This work, coordinated with the Search Unit for Persons Reported Missing, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) and victims’ organizations, involved a budget of more than $468 million. Another milestone is the delivery of basic income to 7,777 victims of the armed conflict, settled in the city.

In relation to reincorporation and reintegration into social and economic life, the Non-Violence Secretariat has accompanied 610 ex-combatants to enable their access to the offer of employability and entrepreneurship.

In addition, during 2022, productive projects were strengthened and awareness workshops were held with the business sector to promote inclusion and non-stigmatization. In addition, the route of economic reintegration of the signatories of the Peace Agreement was supported and disseminated from the line of action “Community productive development” with professional and technical support for 34 productive units.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Question related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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To transform territories and enable peaceful forms of conflict resolution, 4,695 boys, girls, adolescents and young people were trained in peacebuilding by the Schools of Non-Violence, which worked from art, culture and territorial peace based on processes of memory, truth, restorative justice and humanization of conflicts.

“Within our strategies against organized crime and common crime, at the head of the Prosecutor’s Office, the crime of instrumentalization of minors is being charged to those leaders and members of all these criminal organizations who are using or using minors for their misdeeds. . Thus, all the ringleaders have charges in this crime,” said the Secretary of Security and Coexistence, José Gerardo Acevedo.

Through the Partners strategy, 1,443 adolescents and young people were reached with training processes in life skills, construction of territorial peace and strengthening of their life projects. With this, 135 young people were linked to educational, entrepreneurship and employability activities.

In addition, the District developed a tool to analyze the status of the children and adolescents, at the beginning and at the end of their participation in the project, which made it possible to know their impact and generate knowledge about the prevention of instrumentalization or recruitment by illegal armed actors in the city.

In the Youth Public Health and Youth Habitat programs, with more than 1,000 young beneficiaries, the agenda was aligned with key issues for the peace of the country, such as the solution to the drug problem, peace agreements and post-agreements, and the Agreement from Escazú, among others.

And through the Conscious Consumption strategy, a commitment was made to the decriminalization of substance users, and with the Seres del Agua and Medellín en la Cabeza projects, reflection was made on the protection of the environment and those who safeguard it.

Schools of Non-Violence

Another of the secretary’s strategies was the creation of the Schools of Non-Violence through which a process is developed that seeks to transform the lives of boys, girls, young people and adolescents by training them through art and culture to build peace in their territories, in addition to showing them forms of resistance and humanization of conflicts in the face of violence.

The main allies to be able to bring this offer to different communes and townships of Medellín are the social organizations that in each territory work to remember, seek the truth, and be symbols of resilience and resistance against violence with art and culture to transform realities. .

Ana María Hoyos, 24 years old, is a trainer of the Schools of Non-Violence and is part of the Robledo Venga Parchemos Corporation, an organization that has been developing processes for the construction of peace and memory through art for a long time. . Among the processes carried out in the corporation is the incubator of aerial acrobatics in fabrics, in which Ana is one of the promoters through theater and circus processes, and with which they are also linked to the Schools of Non-Violence , relating these artistic activities to the processing and humanization of conflicts for the construction of peace.

“In 2015 we were established as a corporation and this was born from the gathering in the territory of young artists who met in other spaces in the city and due to the very complex and violent dynamics of the territory they did not meet in the same neighborhood. They saw in the Robledo Venga Parchemos Corporation the possibility of being recognized and validated from other perspectives; and so they found a new way of inhabiting public space by filling it with art,” says Ana María.

In the Corporation they started with cultural spaces and from this two events emerged that are the most representative. The first most emblematic event of all was an Artistic and Cultural Lunada, which revolves around sitting in a park to share a chocolate, to make music, that is, to make a cultural take, which little by little evolved and became a cultural march through the neighborhood.

Ana María tells how her proposal has evolved. “Little by little ‘La Lunada’ was transformed until it reached the open-air theater in La Batea park, which is where it is currently performed. This was before a place of consumption and fights, and ‘La Lunada’ came to redefine this space to fill it.

The second event was the Circo al Puente, which was born from the intention of holding an artistic exhibition of the aerial acrobatics. ‘”This process began on the Bridge between Robledo Aures and Villa Sofía, which was previously an invisible border and we turned it into a space where we could practice aerial acrobatics. Thus we began to transform another space that had been violent, to fill it with art and redefine it,” said Ana María.

The Robledo Venga Parchemos Corporation projects itself and shares its knowledge in the territory with the boys, girls, adolescents and young people who are part of its group. It has transformed the neighborhood, giving new meaning to the territories and appropriating public space to fill it with culture.

This process has been strengthened by the Schools of Non-Violence, since they have not only been linked as a school, but they themselves are constantly in training to continue acquiring various knowledge and taking it to their training. Diploma courses and collaborators are some of these spaces to remember, share knowledge and experiences.

The Non-Violence policy of the District Mayor’s Office continues to work hand in hand with the social organizations that have committed to the processes of peace construction, resignification of the territories, building memory and searching for the truth, to continue impacting and transforming processes through art and culture and in this way be closer and closer to that peaceful future of Medellín.

Update on UN response to Israeli destruction of Palestine


Synopsis of data as of November 29 from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency

Situation in Gaza

As of 29 November, nearly 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) were sheltering in 156 UNRWA installations across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip, including in the North and Gaza City.  The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters is 9,500, more than four times their capacity. Around 1.8 million people (or over 80 per cent of the population) have been displaced across the Gaza Strip since 7 October.

(Editor’s note: The definition contained in Article II of the UN Convention describes genocide as a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part.)

Palestinians moving within the Gaza Strip during the humanitarian pause, 27 November 2023. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

In the Gaza Strip, on 27 and 28 November, 160 bodies were recovered from the rubble, according to the Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza. The office reported that, since the start of hostilities, more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including about 6,150 children and 4,000 women.

As of 29 November, 111 UNRWA colleagues have been killed since the beginning of the war

As of 29 November, UNRWA was able to verify that 104 incidents have occurred at 82 UNRWA premises since the beginning of the war. Thirty installations were hit directly and 52 sustained collateral damage. In addition, UNRWA received reports of the military use of its facilities on at least five occasions

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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Since the beginning of the conflict, at least 218 internally displaced people sheltering in UNRWA schools have reportedly been killed and at least 894 have been injured.

Situation in West Bank

In the West Bank, According to OCHA, since 7 October, 238 Palestinians, including 63 children, have been killed by the Israeli Forces in the West Bank. In addition, eight people, including one child, have been killed by Israeli settlers. 

Medical and psychological emergency in Gaza

On 29 November, nine (out of 22) UNRWA health centres were still operational in the Middle and Southern areas, recording 10,312 patients visits, including Palestine Refugees and non-refugees.

UNRWA teams, including 196 social workers in the shelters, provided psychosocial first aid and other specialized protection services to IDPs. Since 7 October, 81,102 people (over 60 per cent of whom are females) have been reached. UNRWA school counsellors in collaboration with other organizations reached around 375,000 children with recreational activities.

Lack of food, drinking water and sanitation in Gaza

UNRWA distribution of flour outside of shelters continued on 29 November in the southern governorates. A total of 30,222 families have been reached so far.

UNRWA continues to operate eight water wells pumping about 9,000 cubic metres to provide potable and domestic water supply. Potable water trucking operations to the shelters in Rafah and Khan Younis areas continue.

Provision of potable water through tankers of Coast Municipalities Water Utility started to have the shelters provided with potable water in Rafah.

Solid waste collection from the camps, emergency shelters and transfer to landfills continues in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas. About 45 loadings were transferred to temporary dumping sites on 29 November.  There is an urgent need for additional sanitation trucks and vehicles.

Colombia: Cinema, historical memory and culture of peace


An article from Seminario Voz

From November 24 to December 8, the Peace Cinema Festival will take place, with the screening of more than 30 cinematographic pieces, including feature films and short films, that give an account of the New Colombia that has arisen after the signing of the Peace Agreement, an event that just turned seven years old

Organizing team of the Peace Cinema Festival. Photo courtesy

The festival gathers audiovisual works, documentaries, fictions, animations, including short films and films that contain the voice and image of the fight for peace and the construction of historical memory from various latitudes of the country and the world.

Through alternative, community and popular cinema, in its first version, the Peace Film Festival brings together social, cultural organizations, creators, directors, cultural and social leaders, producers of the audiovisual and popular communities of the world and the country, who shoot films for peace. Through cinema and audiovisuals, with their faces and hands, farmers, workers, rural communities and organizations from sidewalks and neighborhoods, tell their stories of memory, peace, resistance and transformation.

Stories about people

The festival brings together a selection of more than 30 cinematographic works that give an account of the new Colombia that has arisen after the signing of the Peace Agreement with the FARC-EP, as well as the cultural context for a new narrative of the conflict and peace. It presents the roots and seeds from popular and alternative cinema for the construction of memory, the search for reconciliation and non-repetition, as well as presenting the historical causes and demands that have given way to the construction of peace.

In this first installment of the Peace Film Festival, between November 24 and December 8, cinema raises its voice for historical memory and the culture of peace, through spaces of training, dissemination and circulation that seek to strengthen the storytelling of communities of their own stories. Its epicenter is in Bogotá, in different iconic cultural and social spaces, born from historical social struggles and demands for peace and social justice.

Jessica Santacruz, organizer of the Peace Cinema Festival, describes how this project was born from the need for a space that brings together cinematographic pieces that tell about peace from the territories and from their own worldviews: “We want to make films to imagine a better country. “It is necessary to recognize the struggles of the people and to promote the structural transformations that the country requires.”

Tell the other side of the coin

The programming of the festival includes public training spaces, forums, workshops, dialogues and projections around memory and peace. Cinema shows the hope and transformations that peace allows, as well as its challenges. It is a trench in the struggle for peace in Colombia.

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

Question for this article:

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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Jennifer Castañeda and Natalia Monroy are co-directors of “16 de Mayo,” a short documentary film that narrates the events that occurred in 1984 at the National University of Colombia. It is based on the testimony of Elizabeth Díaz and Luis Higuera, who talk about the eviction by State agencies of the resident students, an event that fractured the Colombian student movement and the country’s education system. This film is projected within the framework of the audiovisual creation laboratory with which the festival began.

The directors highlighted that “these spaces for meeting and dissemination are vital for the audiovisual production of historical memory of the conflict. They enable us to work on projects that transcend social networks. Every time we project our films in scenarios like these, we receive different perspectives of the public that make us reflect on different moments in history.”

“Being filmmakers is not an easy job, but we look for a way for history to come to light. In our case, by working collectively, we recognize each person’s expertise, respecting artistic freedom and channel it into fruitful work,” say the directors.

For their part, William Ospina, director of “La Promesa,” and its producer Sara Chacón, speak about the stigmatization produced by a sector of the country that wants to perpetuate the war and which makes it difficult to tell the other side of the story.

Another star film in the selection is “Colombia In My Arms” (2020) by Finnish directors Jenni Kivistö & Jussi Rastas, which has won an international award and will be released in theaters in the country for the first time. This and other films of 24 frames per second, tell stories of emotions, joys and dramas, the magic that only cinema has to take us to the past, wake us up in the present and ground us in the future.


A film debate “Women, Cinema and Palestinian Resistance” was held, also within the framework of the Peace Film Festival and the 25th International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The debate included Isabel Rikkers, a member of the collective, along with Tadamun Antimili, who spoke about the importance of creating more spaces for pedagogy and activism to make the genocide against the people of Palestine visible. “There is a denial of the conflict, like what has happened in Colombia. We cannot allow half the people to hate the other half,” said Rikkers.

In this way the festival tells a story that can only be done by popular hands, hands of communities that tell their own history, owners of their own memory and transformers for the new Colombia and another possible world.

Five, four, three, two, one, action! For the culture of peace and historical memory! Action for another possible country that is filmed with a camera in hand, day by day, with images that smell and taste of dignity, neighborhoods, countryside and revolution for peace.

The Peace Cinema Festival is projected as one of the most representative cultural stages of the Seventh Art for Peace. Through popular alternative cinema it strengthens the collective cause of festivals throughout the Colombian territory that are committed to life, to the defense of human rights and social justice.

This project is also possible, thanks to the support of the Cultural Transformations for Peace process, the Casa Cultural Alternativa, the Partido Comunes and the Centro de Memoria, Paz y Reconciliación.

Female resilience in traditional African oral literature (Sociotexte journal)


An article from Fabula

Studies assembled and coordinated by Béatrice Kakou Assi, Department of Modern Letters, UFHB, Abidjan-Côte d’Ivoire.

Contrary to popular belief, the genres of traditional African oral literature are not fossils of our current literature and human sciences. Nor are their themes intended to be relegated to the residue stage of outmoded civilizations. On the contrary, traditional oral genres are anthropological universals and indicators of social mutations. They thus help to problematize the progress of man, in the sense that Seneca understood it, in the form of processual stations. They also help to understand and perfect human societies.

This is why Amadou Hampathé Bâ recommends that man “constantly return to the story during significant events in his life”[1]. Therefore, tales, legends, proverbs, myths, and other corpora relating to oral traditions – here, particularly African – should be read as authoritative sources for current issues: sustainable development, ecology, climate and the environment, human rights, the culture of peace and conflict management, the protection of biodiversity, women’s struggles, etc.

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(Click here for the original in French.)

Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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This last theme about feminine and feminist discourses in an oral and traditional African context validates the relevance of this thematic call from the journal Sociotexte. It will be a question of reflecting on the resilience of female and/or feminist figures in our oral texts, whether they are illustrious by their fame or anonymous by their invisibility. Contributions should therefore include:
– The struggle of women in tales, myths, legends and epics

– Figures of women, resistant or revolutionary

– Maxims and proverbs to the advantage of a shining image of women

– (Ancient) stories of the power of women (the myth of the mother goddess for example)

– Model figures for current feminist movements

– Stories of protection, celebration or deification of the “woman-mother”.

– Rebellions and revolts of women against the conventional places and roles assigned to women (warrior women or Amazons, etc.)- The female-male

– The mother or single woman (single, widowed or divorced)

Proposals are received at the following address:

The deadline is set for February 16, 2024.

— [1] Amadou Hampaté Bâ, Petit Bodiel, NEI/EDICEF, 1987, p.86.

English bulletin December 1, 2023


In the month following our last bulletin which documented solidarity actions with the Palestinians of Gaza in the face of Israeli genocide, the Israelis intensified their destruction of Gaza, destroying many of its hospitals. These and other actions constitute war crimes according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the countries of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) and Israelis Against Apartheid.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk declared Wednesday, November 8, that “the collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts… to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.” Türk’s comments came after he visited the Rafah border crossing that connects Egypt to Gaza, which he described as “the gates to a living nightmare—a nightmare where people have been suffocating, under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for electricity and fuel.” Long before October 7, when a Hamas-led attack killed over 1,400 Israelis and triggered Israel’s retaliation, Gaza was “described as the world’s biggest open-air prison… under a 56-year occupation and a 16-year blockade by Israel,” he highlighted.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres —who has also been pushing for a cease-fire—called out Israel’s aerial and ground operations for their impact on civilians during a Reuters conference on Wednesday, November 8. “We have in a few days in Gaza thousands and thousands of children killed, which means there is also something clearly wrong in the way military operations are being done.” He said Gaza was becoming “a graveyard for children.” According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, the Israeli war against Hamas has already killed over 4,300 children.

Amnesty International, on October 20, wrote that Israeli attacks on Gaza caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes. ““In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure, while new restrictions mean Gaza is fast running out of water, medicine, fuel and electricity. Testimonies from eyewitness and survivors highlighted, again and again, how Israeli attacks decimated Palestinian families, causing such destruction that surviving relatives have little but rubble to remember their loved ones by.”

Human Rights Watch, on November 14, wrote that “The Israeli military’s repeated, apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel, and transport are further destroying Gaza’s healthcare system and should be investigated as war crimes.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that at least 521 people, including 16 medical workers, have been killed in 137 “attacks on health care” in Gaza as of November 12. These attacks, alongside Israel’s decisions to cut off electricity and water and block humanitarian aid to Gaza, have severely impeded health care access. The United Nations found as of November 10 that two-thirds of primary care facilities and half of all hospitals in Gaza are not functioning at a time when medical personnel are dealing with unprecedented numbers of severely injured patients. Hospitals have run out of medicine and basic equipment, and doctors told Human Rights Watch that they were forced to operate without anesthesia and to use vinegar as an antiseptic.

Following an extraordinary BRICS summit  on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, convened by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and held via videoconference. November 21, 2023, Ramaphosa said “Israel’s actions clearly violate international law, including the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Convention. The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the illegal use of force by Israel is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food and water to Gaza residents amounts to genocide.” His demand for a ceasefire was echoed in statements from the presidents of Russia, Brazil and China.

Israelis Against Apartheid, a group representing more than 1,500 citizens, this week  urged  the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor “to take accelerated action against the escalating Israeli war crimes and genocide of the Palestinian people” in Gaza. “Israeli military personnel and journalists are now openly calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide,” their letter adds. “It is evident that Israel is disregarding the lives of civilians in Gaza, ordering them to evacuate vast areas even as there is no safe place in Gaza to which people can flee.”

How can these war crimes be stopped? This question is considered in a related blog this month.


UN Rights Chief Says Israel’s Collective Punishment in Gaza Is a War Crime


Mercosur without Racism: Brazil will propose a campaign at a meeting of ministers from the bloc


The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”


UNESCO: How can young people become actors of peace?



Secretary-General Tells Security Council Open Debate ‘Standing with Women Is Good for the World’, Stresses Patriarchy ‘a Massive Obstacle’ to Culture of Peace


Mexico: XIX World Congress and XXIII National Mediation Congress 2023


1,500+ Israelis Urge ICC Action on ‘War Crimes and Genocide’ in Gaza


Feasibility Proposal for the Creation of a Ministry of Peace for Colombia

Israel-Palestine: The Role of International Justice


An article from the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe

In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, international justice is being summoned, with several complaints lodged at the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the 7 October attack by Hamas in Israel and the response by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza.

Public hearings have also been set for February 2024 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the “legal consequences arising from Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” within the framework of a request for an advisory opinion prior to the current conflict, emanating from the United Nations General Assembly.

Complaints filed so far include:

° Reporters Without Borders (RSF) submitted a complaint on 31 October to the ICC for “war crimes committed against journalists in Israel and Palestine,” citing the death of nine journalists, an Israeli killed during the attack on his kibbutz on 7 October, and eight Palestinians. The document mentions the destruction of 50 premises belonging to press organizations in Gaza. This is the third complaint since 2018 filed by RSF with the ICC following the death of journalists in Gaza. The most recent complaint, in 2022, was filed in conjunction with one by the Qatari channel Al Jazeera regarding the shooting death of its Palestinian journalist Shirin Abu Akleh in the West Bank.

° Nine Israeli families impacted by the Hamas attack on 7 October filed a complaint on 2 November at the ICC for “war crime, crimes against humanity, and genocide,” with their lawyer requesting the ICC consider issuing international arrest warrants against Hamas leaders.

° A third complaint for “genocide” in Gaza was filed on 8 November by a collective composed of a hundred jurists from several countries, including members of the bar in Algeria, private individuals, and representatives of associations, represented by the French lawyer Gilles Devers.

° Three Palestinian human rights organizations (Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights) filed a complaint on 8 November with the ICC for “war crimes,” “apartheid,” “genocide,” and “incitement to genocide,” requesting the issuance of arrest warrants against three Israeli leaders. The complaint cites “bombings on a densely populated area, the siege of Gaza, the forced displacement of the population of Gaza, the use of toxic gas, and the deprivation of necessities such as food, water, gasoline, and electricity.”

The ICC to investigate possible war crimes

The ICC has announced its intention to investigate possible war crimes committed in both Israel and Gaza, through its prosecutor, the British Karim Kahn.

During his visit to the Rafah crossing point on 29 October, located between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Karim Kahn stated  in his declaration that “hostage-taking is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions,” and called for the release of the 239 individuals held by Hamas.

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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He also reminded Israel of its “obligation to comply with the laws of armed conflict,” stating that “impeding relief supplies may constitute a crime“. Referring to the presence of military advocate generals within the Israeli army, he declared: “They will need to demonstrate that any attack, any attack that impacts innocent civilians or protected objects, must be conducted in accordance with the laws and customs of war, in accordance with the laws of armed conflict.

And I want to be quite clear so there’s no misunderstanding: In relation to every dwelling house, in relation to any school, any hospital, any church, any mosque – those places are protected, unless the protective status has been lost. And I want to be equally clear that the burden of proving that the protective status is lost rests with those who fire the gun, the missile, or the rocket in question.”

In 2021 the ICC had already opened an investigation  into crimes committed within what it calls the “situation in Palestine,” starting from 13 June, 2014 (Gaza War, operation “Protective Edge”).

However, Israel is not among the 139 States that have signed the Rome Statute and disputes the ICC’s competence. On its part, the State of Palestine ratified the Rome Statute in 2015  and seized the ICC. It ruled in 2021 that its “territorial jurisdiction extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.”

An advisory opinion on “Israel’s policies and practices” requested from the ICJ

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), competent to deal with disputes between states, released a statement  on 23 October regarding a request for an advisory opinion submitted on 30 December 2022 by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly prior to the outbreak of the current conflict.

This resolution, adopted by 87 states, with 53 abstentions and 26 votes against, concerns the “legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

The ICJ has scheduled public hearings for 19 February 2024 in The Hague, following the receipt of written reports  from numerous states. The two specific questions  posed by the UN General Assembly to the ICJ are as follows:

“What are the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures?”

“How do the policies and practices of Israel affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status?”

Israel disputes the ICJ’s jurisdiction over this matter. The request for an advisory opinion stems from a report published in October 2022 by a commission of inquiry mandated by the UN Human Rights Council  and led by South African judge Navanethem Pillay. The report concluded that “There are reasonable grounds to conclude that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now unlawful under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de-facto annexation policies”. The document was described as “partial and biased, disqualified by its hatred for the State of Israel” by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ICJ, based in The Hague, serves as the principal judicial organ of the UN, with jurisdiction to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions. Also located in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent judicial body competent to try individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It is governed by the Rome Statute, one of the United Nations treaties, which came into force in 2002. The UN Security Council may refer certain situations to the ICC’s prosecutor, and the relationship between the ICC and the UN is governed by a specific agreement.

Feasibility Proposal for the Creation of a Ministry of Peace for Colombia


An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education

By the Latin American and the Caribbean Chapter of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace

Fulfilling its objective of supporting the development of Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace in the world, the Latin American and the Caribbean Chapter of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (GAMIP LAC) delivered the Proposal for the feasibility of the creation of a Ministry of Peace in Colombia. Presented at the Congress of the Republic in a Public Hearing on Thursday, November 9th in the Luis Guillermo Velez Hall with the presence of all political parties, House of Representatives and Senators – as well as members of the Executive Branch of the Nation and delegations from civil society, the document is now published (At this moment, the publication is only available in Spanish). It is the first time in the international history of the construction of Ministries of Peace that a Non-Governmental Organization has taken this initiative.

Read the Feasibility Proposal (in Spanish)

Executive Summary of the Feasibility Proposal for the Creation of a Ministry of Peace in Colombia

This analysis for a Ministry of Peace proposal in the Republic of Colombia is authored by a Colombian and international team of experts in the field of peacebuilding. The group respectfully presents to Congress the key lessons learned from a legislative study on the feasibility of establishing a Ministry of Peace (MPC) in Colombia, based on similar experiences in other countries. The aim is to support the vision of the Republic of Colombia in striving to build, consolidate, and maintain sustainable peace for future generations.

The methodology involved studying, analyzing, and outlining lessons learned potentially beneficial for the creation of a MINISTRY OF PEACE in Colombia, as stated in the FINAL REPORT OF THE TRUTH COMMISSION – CEV during its public presentation to the elected President of the Republic, Gustavo Petro, and the country on June 28, 2022. The team included a select group of Colombian and international advisory consultants, academics, and leaders from International Organizations with extensive knowledge, experience, and training in peacebuilding theory and conflict resolution implementation. They hail from Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Canada. Their areas of expertise include Education for Peace, Citizenship and Democracy; Political Science; Economics; Human Rights Practice; Defense; International Cooperation; Communications; Sociology; Constitutional Law; and Professionalism for Peace.

The resulting document is based on international research and focuses on Colombia’s declared needs to establish a Ministry of Peace, as well as the Recommendation cited from the Final Report of the Truth Commission – CEV. This proposal considered as fundamental elements of analysis and background:

The history of Ministries of Peace (MOPs) in the international community and supporting UN resolutions of which Colombia is a signatory (especially UN resolution 53/243 on the Action Program for a Culture of Peace).

The recommendations of the Truth Commission (June 2022), including the Colombian government’s political will to build Peace (particularly the enunciation of the concept of “Total Peace” by the current government); Colombia’s existing long-standing efforts towards peacebuilding and existing practices in this field that have demonstrated efficiency in their development and application in some territories.

The current research in the country on the sufficient and urgent conditions to achieve peace and advance an MPC, such as: the readiness and willingness of the majority of the parties involved in the armed conflict and widespread violence to seek peace as a priority; collective awareness of the need for healing, reconciliation, and addressing traumas and other social issues; the political will to invoke change and solutions with a reasonable chance of success for peaceful coexistence; and the intention for all involved parties to work together, with perspectives of progressing towards peace, reconciliation, and human security in all its aspects.

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(Click here for the announcment in Spanish.)

Question related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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Key Lessons Learned to Consider in the Planning and Implementation of the Following Proposal


° Capacities and authorities with sufficient funding for leadership and sustainability to address national peace issues and act as an effective catalyst to amplify ministerial, departmental, municipal, and civil society initiatives;

° Sustainable capacities for future generations at national, state, and municipal levels;

° Capacities to drive and coordinate the consolidation of peace as an organizing principle of society;

° Coherent outcomes with the creation of a positive peace culture that fosters well-being and harmony, and capacities to constructively address conflicts or violence;

° Capacities to build and strengthen a national architecture of peace, peace education, and peace practices.

Pay due attention to:

° The sustainability of this proposal with sensitivity to UN resolutions and building a culture of peace;

° Avoiding the trap of a single-focus approach – Ministries of Peace (MdP) that have focused on specific conflict outcomes risk being marginalized or dissolved once the single-focus mandate is deemed achieved or primary goals reach manageable levels (e.g., the case of Nepal). Instead, a broad peace consolidation mandate should be built on sustainable foundations to address issues affecting peace, such as peace education, gender, racism, violence, crime, human rights, poverty, environmental concerns, and biases;

° Encouraging broad participation, inclusion, ownership, and accountability by strengthening and accommodating existing peace-related functions already assigned to other Colombian ministries and institutions, including at the departmental and municipal levels, as well as in civil society;

° Considering existing peace services, such as ministerial peace managers and Total Peace initiatives to establish peace promoters;

° Prioritizing and integrating peace education at all levels of Colombian educational curricula;

° Building an inclusive Colombian peace architecture involving citizen peace practices, community-level capacities, and peace professionals, as well as qualified peace professionals at all levels;

° Instituting strong monitoring, research, and advisory functions on peace at the highest levels of government;

° Prioritizing and addressing national needs for peace consolidation, considering existing Peace Agreements, the Havana Peace Agreement (November 2016), and the Truth Commission Report (June 2022), maintaining good governance, and addressing social needs such as human rights, violence prevention, gender equality, land-related issues, and environmental considerations;

° Building strong relationships with state security providers, police, and army. Developing with them principles, methods, and strategies of peace education, peace skills and practices, and a culture that prioritizes “peaceful means” of professional intervention.

Leveraging Existing Strategic Ministerial Tools, such as:

A National Peace Development Plan within the National Development Plan, to reinforce the commitment and responsibility of peace officers and peace committees at ministerial, departmental, and city levels, as well as peace development plans, peace tables or committees at ministerial, departmental, and city levels, and by civil society;

A National Peace Program, which includes (1) service provision and operations to address priorities in peace education, ethics, gender equality, reconciliation, health, environment, justice, racism, extremism, and human rights; (2) a framework for effective, inclusive, and participatory communication, support, and reporting: (a) to the President, Congress, and Ministries for advisory, oversight, research, and peace operations functions, as well as for education, outreach, and international and UN coordination; (b) to all Ministries through established peace officers, peace committees, and Ministerial Peace Development Plans to reinforce their individual contributions within the national strategic context; (c) to departments, communities, cities, NGOs, and citizens to support, establish, catalyze, and formalize peace networks in society, federal commissions, NGOs, peace groups, and universities.

Path Forward

We believe that the timing and conditions are extremely favorable for establishing a Ministry of Peace that can make a real difference for all Colombians. The political will of Congress and the President is commendable and sets an example for the international community that Colombia can be proud of.

We understand that the journey through Congress, up to the approval of a Ministry of Peace, its mandate, and eventual implementation, will be complex, a legislative and political learning experience with which we are willing to collaborate, support, and strengthen if considered necessary and useful for the process.

We request your review, opinions, and contributions to improve this report and proposal.

If you have any comments or proposals, please refer to

Mexico: XIX World Congress and XXIII National Mediation Congress 2023


An article from Noticias de Queretaro

The Nineteenth World Congress and the Twenty-Third National Mediation Congress 2023 closed with great success. It took place from November 6 to 10 in the Municipality of Querétaro with participants from more than 10 countries, and with activities, analysis, study and dissemination of mediation issues, as well as the culture of peace for the benefit of the people of Queretaro.

Under the motto “A Life for Peace and Concord”, 83 academic activities were carried out, including 31 presentations, 18 conferences, eight book presentations, 11 successful projects, eight dialectical analysis forums and philosophical dialogues, and 27 workshops.

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Questions for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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Specialists from different parts of Mexico and other countries including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Portugal, and Spain combined efforts to carry out the project for the implementation and dissemination of mediation and the culture of peace.

This international event sparked the interest of participants from 20 states in the Mexico, including Jalisco, Yucatán, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Baja California, Chiapas, Mexico City, State of Mexico, Sonora, Sinaloa, Nuevo León, Puebla, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes and Quintana Roo. They met at the Educational and Cultural Center of the State of Querétaro, “Manuel Gómez Morín”, the Arts Center of the State of Querétaro.

It is worth highlighting the great participation and interest in all activities, both by specialists and by attendees. Attendees included students and schools at the high school and professional level of Mexico and more than 1,300 congressmen during the five days of the event which closed with important conclusions that will be translated into actions and public policies that will promote the peace and harmony that citizens need.

(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)