On the 8th April 2021, the Myanmar military seized Daw Thin Thin Aung and took her for interrogation. Daw Thin Thin Aung, is a women’s human rights defender and a co-founder of Mizzima Media, a news organization closed on 8 March by the military dictatorship in Myanmar.
The IPB family is in mourning after the recent death of Maj-Britt Theorin, MEP, who was President of IPB from 1992 to 2000. Those post-Cold War years were a time of some optimism, though clouded by the wars in the Balkans and the genocide in Rwanda. However many activists shared the hope that in the new international context a breakthrough on disarmament might be possible.
Marc Batac is an activist, peacebuilder and organizer based in the Philippines. He focuses on the practice and study of contentious politics, asymmetric conflict, violence and peace processes, authoritarianism and militarism, and non-violent direct action and social movements in Southeast Asia.
He is currently the Programmes Manager of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a regional peace building and advocacy institution promoting human security, democratization and self-determination in Southeast Asia. IID was a key and active mover in the solidarity movement for Timor Leste from 1994 until its independence, and in the solidarity movement for Myanmar/Burma’s democratization from 1995 to this day. In the past years, IID has accompanied its partners in the minoritized and indigenous peoples communities in engaging with the Bangsamoro peace process in Southern Philippines, and the peace process between the Philippine government and the communist armed movement.
Concurrently he is the Regional Liaison officer of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) – Southeast Asia, anchoring its members’ joint advocacy and campaigns on inclusive peace processes and conflict transformation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in focus areas like Myanmar/Burma, Southern Thailand and West Papua.
A believer in the transformative power of people-to-people solidarity and locally-led peacebuilding, he has involved himself in founding, steering or advising several networks and organisations between South-South and South-North peoples. He is part of the Generation Peace Youth Network, Network of Young Democratic Asians (NOYDA), the Security Policy Alternatives Network (SPAN), and Peace Direct’s Global Advisory Council, among others.
Dr. Lisa Linda Natividad is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Guam. She is also the primary convener of the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice and a founding member of I Hagan Famalao’an Guahan. She is an indigenous CHamoru who has championed the exposure of the human rights violations against her people and homeland Guahan, which is a military colony of the United States. She has spoken globally on the topics of demilitarization, decolonization, and the critical role women play in the creation of safe and thriving communities. Dr. Natividad has presented interventions on the halting of the massive military build-up on Guahan before the United Nations Fourth Committee, Decolonization Committee, and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is a former member of the Guam Decolonization Commission and has spoken on these issues in Japan, the Philippines, the Untied States, Norway, Ecuador, Fiji, and other countries. Dr. Natividad joined the IPB Council in March 2021.
Image: Reiner Braun (second from the left) and Sharan Burrow (third from the right) at the Seán MacBride Peace Prize Ceremony for Jeremy Corbyn.
Sharan Burrow is the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). During her time at the head of ITUC, she has helped to foster relations between trade unions and the peace movement – bringing together themes of peace, justice, conversion, and the need for a peace dividend. IPB Executive Director Reiner Braun sat down for an interview with Sharan to discuss the interconnections between the trade union and peace movements.
NAWAL EL SADAAWI – in memory.
The world has sadly lost a feminist pillar, a free spirit and a huge inspiration. The Egyptian writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist, Nawal El Sadaawi has passed away at the age of 89. The loss will not only be felt in the Middle East, where she lived most of her life, but worldwide. Her intellectual and creative capacities, her courage, stamina and energy seemed endless, and indeed have marked generations and will, for generations to come. Her books will be read, her feminist and socialist work against patriarchy and capitalism is historic and she will continue to be a revolutionary role model for the oppressed and for women fighting for their rights, for equality, justice and a more peaceful world.
IPB CONDEMNS UK DECISION TO INCREASE WARHEADS BY 40%
17 March 2021
IPB shares the widespread international denunciation of the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Britain will increase the cap on the number of its nuclear warheads to 260. Previously. Britain had been committed to reducing its stockpile to no more than 180 Trident warheads by the mid-2020s. However, the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy published yesterday included this 40% increase in the stockpile.
On March, 17th 2021, the Séan MacBride Peace Prize has formally been awarded to Terumi Tanaka, Convenor of the Promotion Committee of the 2020 award-recipient ‘International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha’. During this first online award ceremony featuring a warm welcome from IPB Co-President Lisa Clark and Rieko Asato from the IPB Board/Gensuikyo, moderation by IPB Ex. Director Reiner Braun and an expressive and extremely timely Laudation by IPB CO-President Philip Jennings, Terumi Tanaka and the Signature Campaign’s Leader Mitsuhiro Hayashi vividly illustrated the central importance the struggle against nuclear weapons still occupies in our world today – for the Hibakusha, for the Japanese people and for every world citizen.
Find out more about the Ceremony here.
The International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the
Hibakusha was launched in April 2016 in the name of prominent Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since its launch, the signature campaign has been supported by a broad range of prominent individuals and organizations, enjoying great support from people across the world. The collected signatures, total 11,843,549 (as of March 31, 2020,) making it one of the largest signature campaigns ever carried out in the world and a powerful popular force manifesting global demands for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The signatures have been submitted and
acknowledged by the U.N. and NPT PrepCom Chairs.
In addition to worldwide efforts, across Japan signature promotion committees have been established in each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, leading to the endorsement of the Appeal by 1263 mayors and governors. On the August 6-9 the 75th anniversary commemorations for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the “Peace Wave” of international joint actions by grassroots organizations will circle the globe with activities to press for the elimination of nuclear weapons with the Hibakusha Appeal signature campaign serving as the Peace Wave’s common action.
On March, 17th 2021, the Séan MacBride Peace Prize has formally been awarded to Terumi Tanaka, Convenor of the Promotion Committee of the Int. Hibakusha Appeal Signature Campaign. During this first online award ceremony featuring a warm welcome from IPB Co-President Lisa Clark and Rieko Asato from the IPB Board/Gensuikyo, moderation by IPB Ex. Director Reiner Braun and an expressive and extremely timely Laudation by IPB CO-President Philip Jennings, Terumi Tanaka and the Signature Campaign’s Leader Mitsuhiro Hayashi vividly illustrated the central importance the struggle against nuclear weapons still occupies in our world today – for the Hibakusha, for the Japanese people, for every world citizen.
They left the guests with the powerful message of pride for their achievements, determination on the steps ahead, but most of all: Hope for the future, a nuke-free future, to come.
Akira Okuma performing ‘Imagine’ in Japanese and as English singalong made this event a truly unique experience, uniting us if not in space but in spirit.
Our deepest thanks to all organizers, speakers, interpreters, technical support and guests from all over the world who made this ceremony special against all contemporary odds.
Have a look at the programme and some images of the Ceremony below, or watch the event on YouTube!
Article by IPB Executive Director Reiner Braun and Prof. Peter Brandt for the German Newsletter „abrüsten statt aufrüsten“
More and more people have the feeling that we are living in a time of intensified confrontations and even the possibility of a major war again. Uncertainty is increasingly shaping our daily lives as well. The statement of the scientific Nobel Prize winners: the clock is at 100 seconds to 12, is the concise expression of these dangers threatening us all, above all – in the longer term – the climate disaster, and directly the 14,000 nuclear weapons present on earth.
Is there an alternative to this that is socially and politically – nationally and internationally – capable of winning a majority, that helps to ensure survival and a better life? A strategy that combines historical experience with answers to current challenges? In the nuclear age, the sentence literally applies, as formulated by Willy Brandt, among others: “Peace is not everything, but everything without peace everything is nothing”!
This political concept is the policy of “common security” – it is conservative and revolutionary at the same time.
Conservative because it does not aim at changing the social systems and political orders of individual countries; it accepts socialism and capitalism, or however those in power characterize their system. It is recognized as existing and legitimately changeable only from within the different variants of authoritarian, liberal and welfare-state regulated capitalism as well as a democratic or authoritarian constitution of non-capitalist states. In this way, it creates the prerequisite for a peaceful competition between these systems in the first place.
It is revolutionary because it excludes war as the continuation of politics by other means, because it thus no longer permits this murderous method of conflict resolution, which has cost hundreds of millions of lives over millennia and has called into question the very existence of humanity for over 60 years, or, in other words, raises humanity and the planet to a new level of coexistence that would have elementary humanism as its basis.
The policy of common security can bring us closer to one of the great spaces of humanity: a world without war! How many generations have fought and suffered for it again and again courageously, often in vain and with great sacrifices.
Almost 40 years ago, common security was formulated as a concept by an international group of experts in the Olaf Palme Report “Common Security Blueprint for Survivals”; next year it will be updated with the participation of IPB and ITUC (World Trade Union Confederation).
What are the basic principles of this still current concept?
In the nuclear age, security cannot be created alone or against each other, but only together and in partnership.
War is no longer a means of politics in the nuclear age; all conflicts and controversies must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue and negotiation. Violent changes of borders, appropriation of territories are excluded; state sovereignty and supranational unions remain untouched.
Cooperation is the basis for peaceful coexistence; this must develop in steps and involve the development of trust. Cooperation encompasses all levels: Economy, ecology, science, culture and sport. Consultations at all levels and also joint crisis responses are part of it.
Human rights are respected, and their realization is also repeatedly called for in dialogical discussions – from all sides and in relation to all aspects of human rights. Civil and social. However, human rights are not an instrument for struggle in interstate disputes in order to label the other party as the “bad guy”.
Arms limitation and disarmament are indispensable. This always includes small initial steps of demilitarization, disarmament of troops and other confidence-building measures such as contacts between militaries. Openness and verifiability of measures are indispensable. Exclusive military alliances such as NATO must in the longer term either be demilitarized into existing inclusive networks and completely redesigned (as the OSCE was in Europe) or dissolved.
While the policy of common security was originally a Euro-Atlantic concept, it is now a global one and for this very reason must be increasingly regionalized. What is needed are very specific concepts for common security strategies for different regions of the world, not only for Europe but also, for example, for the Korean peninsula, for the Pacific and for the South China Sea.
The policy of détente of the 21st century is inconceivable – this is also a further development compared to approaches from the 1970s and 1980s – without the peace movement as one of the large, cross-border social movements and without an international civil society. They are the motor for a new policy of détente, driving these developments forward and safeguarding them against crises through comprehensive diplomacy from below.
The basic idea of the Olaf Palme Report is quite simple: My security is only guaranteed if the security of my counterpart is also guaranteed. There is security only in the “double pack”.
Disarmament – another lesson from the 1970s and 1980s – is the indispensable “materialization” of the policy of détente. That is why disarmament is absolutely central. It could be decisively advanced by unilateral calculated steps, especially by those in the stronger position. In the northern hemisphere, this would be NATO.
Reiner Braun and Peter Brandt