Statement of Moscow Helsinki Group

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An article from Moscow Helsinki Group (google translation)

On the International Day of Peace, Russia took another step towards the escalation of the armed conflict in the center of Europe

An attempt, under any pretext, to unilaterally redraw internationally recognized borders and annex the territories of another state is a gross violation of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Accords and leads to increased isolation and worsening attitudes towards Russia and its citizens around the world.


If before February 24, decision makers could still have some illusions about the attitude of Ukrainian citizens to the policies and actions of the Russian authorities or about the legitimacy of the Ukrainian authorities, now it is clear that the vast majority of Ukrainians support their government and ready to make sacrifices for the sake of preserving the independence and territorial integrity of their country. This means that the continuation, and even more so the escalation of hostilities will lead to more and more casualties on all sides and to new war crimes. We must stop before it’s too late!

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

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We are convinced that the minimum necessary actions of Russia in the current situation should be an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops to positions as of February 23 with guarantees of asylum and citizenship for supporters of Russian policy wishing to enter Russia, the immediate exchange of all available prisoners and the bodies of the dead. We are confident that all controversial issues can be resolved at the negotiating table with much greater efficiency than involving even more people on both sides in an armed confrontation – in order to save lives and protect human rights, regardless of citizenship and views. 

We also remind you that, despite the tightening of Russian legislation, it still protects the right of citizens to refuse to participate in hostilities with weapons in their hands for reasons of conscience and belief, including through the institution of alternative civilian service. Those people whose beliefs are contrary to the performance of service in the current conditions should loudly and unequivocally declare this, saving their lives and dignity and other people and bringing peace closer. Human rights organizations are ready to assist in this, defending the freedom of conscience and the right to refuse to participate in the war. 

Board of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World

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Statement of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, adopted at the meeting on International Day of Peace 21 September 2022 and published by World Beyond War
Video of statement

Condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine, the UN General Assembly called for an immediate peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and emphasized that parties to the conflict must respect human rights and international humanitarian law. We share this position.

Current policies of war until absolute victory and contempt for criticism of human rights defenders is unacceptable and must be changed. What is needed is a ceasefire, peace talks and serious work to correct the tragic mistakes made on both sides of the conflict. Prolongation of the war has catastrophic, deadly consequences, and continues to destroy the welfare of society and environment not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world. Sooner or later, parties will sit at the negotiating table, if not after their reasonable decision, then under the pressure of unbearable suffering and weakening, the last better to be avoided by choosing the diplomatic path.

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

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It is wrong to take the side of any of the warring armies, it is necessary to stand on the side of peace and justice. Self-defense can and should be carried out by non-violent and unarmed methods. Any brutal government is illegitimate, and nothing justifies the oppression of people and bloodshed for the illusory goals of total control or conquest of territories.

No one can evade responsibility for his own misdoings by claiming to be a victim of misdoings of others. Wrong and even criminal behavior of any party cannot justify creation of a myth about an enemy with whom it is allegedly impossible to negotiate and who must be destroyed at any cost, including self-destruction. A desire for peace is a natural need of every person, and its expression cannot justify a false association with a mythical enemy.

Human right to conscientious objection to military service in Ukraine was not guaranteed according to international standards even in peacetime, not to mention the current conditions of martial law. The state shamefully avoided for decades and now continues to avoid any serious response to the relevant suggestions of the UN Human Rights Committee and public protests. Although the state cannot derogate this right even in time of war or other public emergency, as says the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the army in Ukraine refuses to respect the universally recognized right to conscientious objection to military service, denying even to replace coercive military service by mobilization with an alternative non-military service according to the direct prescription of the Constitution of Ukraine. Such scandalous disrespect to human rights should have no place under the rule of law.

The state and society must put an end to the despotism and legal nihilism of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, manifested in policies of harassment and criminal punishment for refusal to be engaged in war effort and the forced turn of civilians into soldiers, due to which civilians cannot move freely within the country nor go abroad, even if they have vital needs to rescue from danger, to obtain an education, to find means for living, professional and creative self-realization, etc.

Governments and civil societies of the world appeared to be helpless before the scourge of war, drawn into the funnel of conflict between Ukraine and Russia and wider enmity between NATO countries, Russia and China. Even the threat of destruction of all life on the planet by nuclear weapons had not put an end to the mad arms race, and the budget of the UN, the main institution of peace on Earth, is only 3 billion dollars, while global military expenditures are hundreds of times larger and have exceeded a wild amount of 2 trillion dollars. Due to their inclination to organize mass bloodshed and coerce people to kill, nation states have proven to be incapable of non-violent democratic governance and the performance of their basic functions of protecting life and freedom of people.

In our view, the escalation of armed conflicts in Ukraine and the world are caused by the fact that the existing economic, political and legal systems, education, culture, civil society, mass media, public figures, leaders, scientists, experts, professionals, parents, teachers, medics, thinkers, creative and religious actors are not fully perform their duties of strengthening the norms and values of a non-violent way of life, as envisages the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, adopted by the UN General Assembly. Evidences of the neglected peace-building duties are the archaic and dangerous practices which must be ended: military patriotic upbringing, compulsory military service, lack of systematic public peace education, propaganda of war in the mass media, support of war by NGOs, reluctance of some human rights defenders to advocate consistently for the full realization of human rights to peace and to conscientious objection to military service. We remind stakeholders of their peace-building duties and will steadfastly insist on compliance with these duties.

We see as goals of our peace movement and all peace movements of the world to uphold human right to refuse to kill, to stop the war in Ukraine and all wars in the world, and to ensure sustainable peace and development for all the people of the planet. To achieve these goals, we will tell the truth about the evil and deception of war, learn and teach practical knowledge about peaceful life without violence or with its minimization, and we will help to the needy, especially those affected by wars and unjust coercion to support army or participation in war.

War is a crime against humanity, therefore, we are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.

Several Hundred Detained as Russians Protest Mobilization

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An article from Moscow Times

Several hundred people have been detained across Russia on Wednesday as rallies against a military mobilization declared by President Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine took place in areas from the Far East to the capital Moscow.


Wednesday’s protest against mobilization in Ulan-Ude (t.me/Baikal_People)

According to the independent OVD-Info police monitor, at least 1,386 protesters have been detained  nationwide so far with at least half of the count recorded in the capital Moscow.

It added that a majority of those detained were women.

Police in Moscow reportedly handed some detainees summons to the military enlistment office regardless of their experience.

The Vesna opposition movement as well as supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny called on Russians nationwide to take to the streets on Wednesday evening to oppose the Kremlin’s decision to bolster its forces in Ukraine with a “partial” mobilization. 

The first protests took place across cities in Siberia and the Far East, where dozens were arrested, often just minutes after the rallies began, according to local reports.

Small groups of protesters gathered in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the republic of Buryatia; Yakutsk, the capital of the republic of Sakha; and the Far East cities of Khabarovsk and Irkutsk.

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

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Protesters in Ulan-Ude were seen carrying handwritten signs reading “No war! No mobilization!” and “Our husbands, fathers and brothers don’t want to kill other husbands and fathers.”

In the Siberian city of Tomsk, a female protester carrying a sign reading “Hug me if you are also scared” was among the 15 people detained shortly after the start of the protest, according  to local Telegram news channel Ulitsa Barkhatnaya.

In Novosibirsk, Russia’s third-largest city, video published  to social media showed a protester shouting “I don’t want to die for Putin or for you!”

Protests then took place across the cities in Russia’s Volga-Ural region. At least 45 people were detained in the region’s largest city Yekaterinburg, while dozens others were arrested in Perm, Chelyabinsk and Ufa, the capital of the republic of Bashkortostan, according  to OVD-Info. 

In the capital Moscow, several hundred people gathered on the central Stary Arbat street amid heavy police presence. Protesters could be seen chanting “No war!” “Send Putin to the trenches!” and “Let our children live!” in videos published to social media. 

In St. Petersburg, protesters who gathered near the central St. Isaac’s Square were quickly encircled by police, according to videos  from the scene. But others continued  to march through the city center. 

Rallies also took place in the city of Arkhangelsk in the Far North, the southern city of Krasnodar, the Baltic exclave Kaliningrad and others.

In Kazan, the capital of the republic of Tatarstan, a small group of female protesters marched through central streets chanting “Peace to the world. No to mobilization!” after the initial rally was dispersed.

A total of 300,000 Russian reservists are expected to be called up for military service during the campaign, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. 

But the mobilization efforts could be more far-reaching given the vague wording of the mobilization decree, according  to human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov, who has been helping Russian soldiers opposed to the war.

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

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

An article by Jerry Bibang, special to CPNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russia: Pop Diva Alla Pugacheva Comes Out Against the War

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An article from Moscow Times

Alla Pugacheva, Russia’s most beloved pop singer, posted on Sunday on her Instagram account an appeal to the Russian Ministry of Justice asking to be named a “foreign agent” in solidarity with her husband, comedian Maxim Galkin.


TV host Maxim Galkin and singer Alla Pugacheva on Sept. 8, 2021

“Please include me in the ranks of foreign agents of my beloved country,” her text read, “since I am in solidarity with my husband — an honest, decent and sincere man, a true and incorruptible patriot of Russia who wants his Homeland to flourish in peace, with freedom of speech, and wants an end to our boys dying for illusory goals, which has turned our country into a pariah state and made life a burden for our citizens.”

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pugacheva, Galkin and their children left for Israel. Galkin spent the summer touring in Israel and Europe with stand-up comedy shows that were highly critical of the war and Russian leaders. He performed sold-out shows in Jurmala, Latvia, where the family traditionally spend their summers.

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

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In August, Pugacheva returned to Russia and was quoted in the Russian state press saying that she’d come back “to put things in order, in my head and in your head.” State media also wrote that she planned to send her children to school on Sept. 1.

Galkin was declared a foreign agent on Sept. 16.

Pugacheva joins a now long list of Russian rock and pop musicians speaking out against the war, including DDT frontman Yuri Shevchuk; Andrei Makarevich (Mashina vremeni), Boris Grebenshchikov (Aquarium); Oxxxymiron (Miron Fedorov); Svetlana Loboda; and Noize MC (Ivan Alexeev). (See articles in CPNN on March 22 and March 12.)

The Kremlin on Monday declined to comment on Pugacheva’s statement.

(Editor’s note: The importance of Alla Pugacheva is explained by Sergey Aleksashenko in his blog Behind the Iron Curtain.)

“Pugacheva is an iconic figure for the 50+ generation—i.e., the main base of support for Putin, his policies, and the war in Ukraine. On the other hand, the singer has almost 3.5 million followers on Instagram, which speaks to her popularity and authority with a younger audience.

“I think the Kremlin made a grave mistake when it attacked Pugacheva by declaring her husband, Maxim Galkin, a foreign agent. It is no secret that until then, Pugacheva had openly taken an anti-war stance but at the same time did not make such outspoken statements. If Pugacheva decides to continue the public discussion about the senselessness of the war, the Kremlin should prepare for an uphill battle.”

Kazakhstan: Congress of World and Traditional Religious Leaders to Address Social Status of Women

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from Astana Times

The seventh Congress of World and Traditional Religious Leaders, scheduled for Sept. 14 – 15, will hold a special session devoted to the social status of women for the first time in the congress’s 20-year history, reported the congress’s press service on Sept. 8.  (The Congress will take place in Kazakhstan’s capitol Nur-Sultan, which was renamed in 2019 from its traditional name of Astana).

The session will focus on women’s contributions to the sustainable development of modern society. It will also address the role of religious communities in advancing women’s social position.

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Questions for this article

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

How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

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The speakers of this meeting include several prominent religious and public figures such as Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States for Social Affairs Haifa Abu Ghazal, Bishop of Los Angeles and Metropolitan of Southern California and Hawaii of the Coptic Orthodox Church Serapion, Head of the Center for the Study of Islamic History Mahmud Erol Kilic, Art and Culture at the OIC (IRCICA), General Director of the Office of the UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence Afra Mohammed al-Sabri, Chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Uzbekistan Grand Mufti Nuriddin Kholiknazarov, President of the UniãoPlanetária Isis Maria Borges de Resende, and President of Christian Solidarity Worldwide Jonathan Aitken. 

The congress, which will focus on the role of leaders of the world and traditional religions in mankind’s spiritual and social development in the post-pandemic period, is expected to gather more than 100 delegations from 50 countries. Among them are representatives of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and other religions, including the Head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, and Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. 

As part of his visit, Pope Francis will conduct an open-air holy mass  for Roman Catholics and representatives of other religions and confessions on Sept. 14 at the EXPO square. 

Sign the World Peace Treaty

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Introduction from facebook page of Pathways to Peace

With so many conflicts today being waged between political militias, criminal, and international terrorist groups, feelings of uncertainty and conflict are top of mind around our world. In response, a coalition of peacebuilding organizations launched a project for people around the world to sign on to a World Peace Treaty.


Called Sign the World Peace Treaty, the initiative intends to give both organizations and individuals around the world a vehicle to express their desire for a more peaceful world, and then encourages them to take concrete steps that activate that desire. The initiative culminates on September 21, the International Day of Peace (Peace Day.)

We invite you to join Pathways To Peace, Police2Peace, the Rotary EClub of World Peace, and our partner organizations, and Sign the World Peace Treaty Now!

Sign here.

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Question related to this article:

How can the peace movement become stronger and more effective?

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Text from website of Sign the World Peace Treaty

Each year on September 21st, the world celebrates the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) as established by unanimous resolution by the United Nations in 1981.

We witness our world yearning for peace, and there is a step we can all take toward greater unity. This month of September is dedicated to peace.  Let us recommit to peace by removing the perception of separation, perceived borders, differences, and limitations.  Let’s work together and engage in shaping and building peace. It is how peace can be realized for us all.

Signers of the World Peace Treaty:

° Commit to moving beyond the myth of separation to recognize our common humanity and support unity through diversity.

° Model integrity, high ethical standards, and peace that is grounded in love.

° Act to end violence and to embody the peace our humanity cries out for and deserves.

° Promote earnestly the ideals of peace and articulate positive evidence of peace in all viable ways, in particular by advancing the Culture of Peace in the best interest of humanity.

° Recognize The International Day of Peace (Peace Day) as a day to commemorate, strengthen, and celebrate the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.

° Can be organizations or individuals

Vietnam shares importance of promoting culture of peace at UN forum

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An article from the Vietnam News Agency

(Editor’s note: As of this writing on September 9, there is no general article available on the United Nations High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace that took place on September 6. Instead, here is the press release of the Vietnam News Agency followed by links to all of the available published statements by the General Assembly President and various UN member states, all from Asia and the Middle East.)

Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), stressed the importance of the culture of peace and non-violence in the world while attending the UN General Assembly’s high-level forum on culture of peace on September 6.


General Assembly President Abdullah Shahid

As a country that went through wars to protect its independence and sovereignty, Vietnam specially cherishes the value of peace and stability, Giang stated, adding in that context, generations of Vietnamese people have made efforts to build the foundation for peace, through promoting friendship, harmony and mutual understanding among nations.

Vietnam always promotes the settlement of conflicts and disputes by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force, and by complying and implementing international law.

The diplomat emphasised the need for the international community to support efforts to build and maintain peace, while respecting the responsibility, independence and mastery of countries in accordance with the UN Chapter and international law.

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Question(s) related to this article:

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

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President of the UNGA Abdullah Shahid said that the COVID-19 pandemic and long-lasting conflicts in many areas of the world have worsened discrimination and intolerance, and complicated instability and poverty.

Abdullah Shahid and speakers at the forum emphasised the importance of efforts to promote the building and maintenance of lasting peace, address the root causes of conflicts, and promote the building of harmonious and inclusive societies, in which no one is left behind.

Many of them recognised the role and contributions of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, calling for increased assurance of resources for efforts to build and maintain peace.

A culture of peace is given a very comprehensive definition in the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which was adopted by the General Assembly, in September 1999. It is defined as “a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations”./.

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Statement by the President of the UN General Assembly

Statement by Malaysia

Statement by Bangladesh

Statement by Armenia

Statement by India

Statement by Qatar

Statement by Oman

Statement by United Arab Emirates

The “Fihavanana” of Madagascar: corruption or culture of peace?

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

Translated and edited for CPNN from a post of July 30, 2022 on Blogger.com.

We will not stop repeating it, we must fight against corruption before corruption fights against us. Because not to act is to approve and to approve it amounts to showing non-assistance to a country in danger. And as corruption becomes a way of life on the Big Island, more and more people are pointing the finger at Fihavanana.

In its traditional use Fihavanana is a Malagasy cultural concept based on mutual aid that maintains a culture of peace and harmony by avoiding or resolving family disagreements, in the neighborhood or across the country.


Photo from the article The Fihavanana: Myths and Realities of a Value that Guarantees Social Peace

(click here for the original french version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Opposing tax havens and corruption: part of the culture of peace?

It’s a big problem that this collective way of thinking is now in the service of corruption. It threatens to lobotomize the Malagasy at the cost of a common value.

Mutual aid is being diverted towards bribes; officials in charge receive compensation to make procedures more flexible or to make requests favorable. The bribes are justified by the desire to maintain the “Fihavanana”. It is no longer even a question of avoiding disagreements, they will rather use it to make favoritism, priority to acquaintances in the neighborhood. Who care about skill and effort! Positions and places will go first to family members. It is nepotistic “Fihavanana”.

Some go so far as to falsify data to favor their relatives, risk their work for corruption. But ironically, is it really better to lose money than to lose family as the Malagasy proverb says?

The blame should not be on the “Fihavanana” but in the use that one makes of it. A culture of peace cannot be harmful. But a fight against corruption is necessary so that the “Fihavanana” regains its traditional meaning instead of corrupting a national value, a culture that characterizes Madagascar. And even if the country has made some progress by going from 149th in 2020 to 147th in 2021 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the fight is even becoming cultural.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)

Madagascar: The Massive Awakening of the Youth of Toamasina

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article by Violette Ralalatiana (with two additions in italic by the CPNN editor for clarity)

The young people of Toamasina have taken their responsibility in the face of the unrest that threatens security.

Toamasina is one of the cities with the most insecurity, including burglaries and armed attacks. Many neighborhoods have suffered from these troubles, including Ambalakisoa, Verrerie, Tanambao V, etc. The inhabitants of the city of Tamatave thus live day and night in anxiety.


Young people of Ambalakisoa gathered during the curfew

The governor with the chief of the police and the gendarmerie then appealed to the chiefs of the Fonkontany (basic administrative subdivision in Madagascar) to confer on the establishment of a curfew or “andrimaso-pokonolona” in each district in order to ensure the peace. After that, the presidents of Fokontany brought together residents under their jurisdiction to discuss the feasibility of this curfew. It is really important to establish peace for the well-being of all and to have the assurance of sustainable development. There is a famous saying that says “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development”.

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(Click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

Is there a renewed movement of solidarity by the new generation?

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Young people are the most active participants in the curfews. It is clear that they are aware of the seriousness of the situations. This motivates them to get involved in restoring humanitarian security. This is a good thing for the nation, because the Malagasy population is overwhelmingly young, 62%. They are the lever of development of our country. As these young people have done let us now stop complaining and take action. Let us take our share of responsibility for our future so that the development of our country is truly sustainable and that effective peace finally reigns.

Young people in the face of election-related unrest

For a very long time, young people have often been used by politicians or other people who want to sow conflict (such as the general strike after the 2002 elections). As young people, instead of being tools of conflict, let us try to be vectors of peace. Youth participation in peacebuilding brings us conservation, peacebuilding and national security.

There are many things that can happen before, during and after the election. And young people are in high demand. According to the testimonies collected, there are more and more young people aware of the conflicts that can arise during these periods. So they avoid arguments although they support different political parties. For them, it is the ideas that must fight and not the people.

Other young people decide not to support any political party but prefer to join an organization that works for the election like the KMF/CNOE. They integrate into this organization so that they can make their contributions to the election by raising awareness among Malagasy citizens to vote, because it is a right and an obligation too. And they take part as observers to see if fraud has been committed and to ensure that the election is going as it should.

All of this is really important, because it would be unfortunate if an electoral conflict like the general strike of January 2002 should happened again. Despite our diversity, let us always keep the peace.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)