IPB Call to Action – On the First Anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Let’s Show That There Are Peaceful Alternatives to War

The International Peace Bureau calls on our members worldwide to take action during 24-26 February 2023 in support of peace in Ukraine. The war, which will mark its first anniversary on 24.02.2023, has already cost more than two hundred thousand lives[1] – by conservative estimates – forced millions to flee their homes[2], caused widespread destruction of Ukrainian cities, and strained already fragile supply chains that have made life more difficult for people the world over.

We know that this war is unsustainable – and, worse still, risks escalation that threatens the life and livelihood of people around the world. The nuclear rhetoric of Russia in particular is irresponsible and demonstrates the fragility of this moment. Moreover, the war’s direct and indirect impact on the climate impedes the urgent need for a green transition[3].

There is no easy solution to the war in Ukraine, but the current track we are on is unsustainable. Through global demonstrations for peace, we seek to pressure the two sides to establish a ceasefire and to take steps toward negotiations for long-term peace.

Our calls for peace are not limited to Ukraine – for all conflicts in the world, we implore governments to refuse the logic of confrontation and war, to oppose the nuclear peril, and to commit themselves to disarmament by signing the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. We demand that governments and states act in favor of diplomacy, negotiation, conflict prevention, and the establishment of common security systems[4].

We call for your support and your voices for peace. Please consider joining an existing event during this weekend of action, or planning your own. Together we are stronger, and can show the world that there are alternatives to war and militarization. 

Further resources:


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/10/us-estimates-200000-military-casualties-all-sides-ukraine-war

[2] https://cream-migration.org/ukraine-detail.htm?article=3573#:~:text=The%20UNHCR%20records%207%2C977%2C980%20refugees,for%20temporary%20protection%20in%20Europe

[3] https://www.sgr.org.uk/publications/estimating-military-s-global-greenhouse-gas-emissions

[4] https://commonsecurity.org/


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Militarized Japan and the Biden-Kishida Summit Signal Moment in the New Cold War

Article by Joseph Gerson – 11/01/2023

➡️ Read the original article in commondreams.org

Across the Indo-Pacific, as well as in the escalating Ukraine War, humanity stands an accident or miscalculation away from the calamity of nuclear war.

Japan in December adopted a set of three security and defense strategy documents that break from its exclusively self-defense-only stance. Under the new strategies, Japan vows to build up its counterstrike capability with long-range cruise missiles that can reach potential targets in China, double its defense budget within five years, and bolster development of advanced weapons.” —Asahi Shimbun

“U.S. officials have welcomed Japan’s willingness to take on more offensive role, while experts say it could also help widen cooperation with Australia, their main regional defense partner.” —Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida comes to Washington on Friday, January 13. Unlike Japan, his summit with President Joe Biden will not garner much press attention here in the United States, but it marks a signal moment in Japan’s rise in military power and in the implementation of the Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy. The Strategy, which prioritizes Chinese and Russian challenges to the so-called “rules-based order”, a euphemism for U.S. primacy which is rife with contradictions, prioritizes the centrality of alliances to U.S. global power, stating that “our alliances and partnerships around the world are our most important strategic asset.”

The revitalized 70-year-old U.S.-Japan alliance has renewed importance in enforcing U.S. defense of Taiwan and resisting the expansion of Chinese influence across the South China/West Philippine Sea. This Sea is the geopolitically critical expanse of ocean across which 40% of world trade—including Middle East oil which fuels East Asian economies—flows. Similarly, further integration of the Japanese and U.S. economies and technological resources are encompassed by the alliance and seen as essential to the power and wealth of both nations.

Prime Minister Kishida has stated that the summit will be a “very important” opportunity to “demonstrate at home and abroad the further strengthening of the Japan-U.S. alliance.” The alliance is not a new development. In 1952 the Mutual Security Treaty (AMPO in Japanese) was secretly imposed on Japan as a condition for ending the postwar military occupation. Since then, contrary to Japan’s “peace constitution,” the island nation has served as the center of the United States’ hub and spokes Asia-Pacific alliance structure. It reinforced the Cold War containment doctrine in Asia, and in the 21st century it plays a critical role in containing and managing China’s rise and its challenge to U.S. regional hegemony.

➡️ Read the original article in commondreams.org


Continue reading “Militarized Japan and the Biden-Kishida Summit Signal Moment in the New Cold War”

The Dismal State of Nuclear Disarmament

Viewpoint by Jacqueline Cabasso

The writer is the Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation.

OAKLAND, California (IDN) — The year 2022 has been a nightmare for nuclear disarmament. The year started out with a mildly reassuring Joint Statement by the five original nuclear-armed states, issued on January 3, 2022, declaring:

“The People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities. We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

But less than two months later Russia launched a brutal war of aggression on Ukraine, accompanied by a series of veiled and no-so-veiled nuclear threats, raising concerns about the dangers of nuclear war to their highest level since the darkest days of the Cold War. And prospects for progress on nuclear disarmament went down from there.

The January 3 Joint Statement also avowed: “We remain committed to our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including our Article VI obligation ‘to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament…’.”

However, more than 50 years after the NPT entered into force, their behavior points in the opposite direction. All of the nuclear-armed states, including the four outside the NPT (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) are engaged in costly programs to qualitatively upgrade and in some cases quantitatively increase their nuclear arsenals.

The 10th NPT Review Conference, which took place in August, was an abject failure, not because it couldn’t agree on a final outcome document, but because the nuclear-armed states haven’t made good on their fundamental nuclear disarmament obligation under Article VI of the Treaty, nor on the promises and commitments to action items that would lead to nuclear disarmament they agreed to in connection with the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995 and in the 2000 and 2010 final documents.

Despite the reassuring-sounding words in the Joint Statement, “We intend to continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, increase mutual understanding and confidence, and prevent an arms race that would benefit none and endanger all,” the reality is that a new nuclear arms race is already underway—compounded by offensive cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, developing hypersonic capacities, a return to intermediate-range delivery systems, and the production of delivery systems capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear payloads.

In September and October, while our attention was focused on the U.S. midterm election results and Russia’s continuing nuclear threats in Ukraine, alarming developments were taking place on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea conducted a flurry of missile tests.

According to North Korea’s state news agency, these tests simulated showering South Korea with tactical nuclear weapons, as a warning in response to large-scale navy drills by South Korean and U.S. forces.

As the year wore on, negotiations on reviving the Iran nuclear deal stalled. And as Iran increased its uranium enrichment, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia declared, “If Iran gets an operational nuclear weapon, all bets are off.”

Against this volatile backdrop, ten months into the Russian war in Ukraine, the Biden administration released the unclassified version of its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which doubles down on the centrality of nuclear deterrence—the threatened use of nuclear weapons—in U.S. national security policy.

The NPR could be read as pouring gas on the fire, naming Russia and China as strategic competitors and potential adversaries, and identifying North Korea and Iran as lesser potential threats. While giving lip service to “a renewed emphasis on arms control”, it declares, “For the foreseeable future, nuclear weapons will continue to provide unique deterrence effects that no other element of U.S. military power can replace. …” To this end, “The United States is committed to modernizing its nuclear forces, nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) system, and production and support infrastructure. …”

This commitment is fully funded in the obscene $858 Billion National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate on December 15, which includes $50 Billion for nuclear weapons – more than was requested in the NPR.

The current state of nuclear disarmament affairs might be exemplified by the public unveiling of the B-21 Raider on December 3, with great fanfare, at contractor Northrup Grumman’s California headquarters. The B-21, a “sixth generation” aircraft, is the first new strategic bomber in more than three decades, designed to deliver both nuclear and conventional munitions.

It deploys the latest stealth technology and has global reach. Earlier plans included an unmanned option. The B-21 will replace the B-1B and B-2A bombers, and the number of strategic bomber bases in the U.S. that can store nuclear weapons will be increased from two at present to five by the mid-2030s. And so, it goes.

The Doomsday clock is ticking. By doubling down on the concept of national security through military might, at any cost, the governments of the nuclear-armed states and their allies are putting humanity on the road to Armageddon.

People everywhere, together, need to rise up non-violently and demand the implementation of a different concept of security, one based on cooperation among governments to make meeting human needs and protecting the environment their highest priority.

[IDN-InDepthNews – 25 December 2022]


This article was reproduced from IDN-InDepthNews with their authorization: https://www.indepthnews.net/

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

This article was produced as a part of the joint media project between The Non-profit International Press Syndicate Group and Soka Gakkai International in Consultative Status with ECOSOC on 25 December 2022.

We believe in the free flow of information. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, except for articles that are republished with permission.

Conference Review: ‘From Conflict to Beloved Communities: A Series of International Gatherings on Peace, Justice and Nonviolence’ in Juba, South Sudan

Tyson in Juba, South Sudan

From 03-21 November, the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in conjunction with the Organization for Nonviolence and Development hosted the conference “From Conflict to Beloved Communities: A Series of International Gatherings on Peace, Justice and Nonviolence.”

IPB council member and Executive Director of 4kids International, Tyson Smith Berry Jr., hosted IPB Day at the conference on 08 November. The program, titled “Climate Change & Common Security: challenges and solutions in Africa and the world at large,” included various seminars and workshops.

Read Tyson’s report here:

Click here to learn more about IPB Day in Juba!

Matt Meyer, Secretary-General of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), also shared afterthoughts from the events in Juba:

Open Letter Launch on military spending and climate finance

In a collaboration between the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) , World BEYOND War (WBW), and the International Peace Bureau (IPB), we come to present you two Open Letters written especifically for the occasion of the COP27 happening in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egipt from the 6th to the 18th of November.

The first letter is addressed as an Appeal to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chang (UNFCCC) to Study Climate Impacts of Military Emissions and Military Spending for Climate Financing. The second one, as a Global Appeal to Reduce Military Spending and Re-Allocate to Climate Financing, is addressed to Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund.

“It is inconceivable that while millions of people are waiting for vaccines, medicines or food to save their lives, the richest countries continue to prioritize their resources in armaments at the expense of people’s well-being, climate, health and equitable recovery.”

We appeal to the UNFCCC and the IPCC to do a special report and assessment of the climate impacts of war and the military. Global military spending has risen to over $2.1 trillion USD. We urge the UNFCCC to call on member states to cut military spending for climate financing.

In 2021, global military spending rose to $2.1 trillion (USD), the highest ever in history. This is 20 times more than the $100 billion pledged for climate finance, a target that Western countries failed to meet. 

The military is the largest consumer of fossil fuels and biggest carbon emitter in the governments of state parties. Countries must demilitarize to decarbonize.

Military emissions and expenditures are derailing progress on the Paris Agreement. Peace, disarmament and demilitarisation are vital to mitigation, transformational adaptation, and climate justice. We also appeal to the Green Climate Fund to study the reduction and re-allocation of military spending for climate financing facilities.

Geneva Peace Week 2022

Join us in celebration of Geneva Peace Week with a video made by Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in partnership with IPB and the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), titled “Yes, peace is possible: Perspectives on global & local applications of Common Security & Human Security.”

Link to video here.

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“Yes, peace is possible: Perspectives on global & local applications of Common Security & Human Security”

This project is the product of a collaboration between the International Peace Bureau (IPB), the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU), and the World Academy of Arts and Science (WAAS). This video gathers various observations of the current state of affairs on the international scene, the shortcomings of peace processes and the flaws of the overall peace-building system. The world is at a point where the traditional and military understandings of security are coming to an impasse and the status quo must be challenged for its shortcomings. We interviewed experts, activists, members of international organizations, and parliamentarians and gathered their insights to paint a picture of the concrete solutions that are at the disposal of decision- makers around the world.

What we offer here are insights in the concepts and applications of Human Security and Common Security, in the hope that decision-makers around the world will see them as two useful lenses to recent decisions around the needs of the people and anchor the resolution of conflicts in dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. For us to move beyond securitization, we must learn from the mistakes of the past and move ahead with practices grounded in an absolute compassion for the human condition and a renewed commitment to addressing global issues multilaterally.

The IPU, WAAS, and IPB will continue working with these concepts and further promote human security and common security as universally applicable tools at every level of governance. Tomorrow’s peace depends on today’s change of perspective – Human Security and Common Security are what make peace possible.

Text by IPU for Geneva Peace Week in partnership with IPB and WAAS. View full text here

Image from Geneva Peace Week Website.

60 Years of the Cuban Missile Crisis – A message by Noam Chomsky

Sixty years ago, the world experienced a direct and dangerous confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, when the two superpowers came closest to a nuclear conflict in the midst of the Cold War. The leaders from both countries engaged in a tense, 13-day political and military standoff in October 1962 over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, just 90 miles from U.S. shores.

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Sixty years later, the world finds itself living a confrontation that flirts and mentions the threats of nuclear armament. These past months we came close to seeing how mistakes from the past still reverberate, and that on present days we need more than ever a look back to understand the seriousness of even considering the use of such weapons.

In this message, Noam Chomsky enlightens us with his experience tracing a parallel between present struggles and the Cuban Missile Crisis, highlighting different and common characteristics, and pointing out aspects that can guide us through the resolution of such conflicts in current times.

More info:

www.ipb.org

www.cpdcs.org

Chile: Who won? Those same as always

– by Pablo Ruiz (19/09/2022)

With 61.86% of the votes cast, the triumphal rejection to the proposal for a New Constitution in Chile, on the September 4th plebiscite, should invite us to a profound reflection on the exercise of democracy and its contradictions, such as the strong impact of the hegemonic media dominated by conservative sectors in Chile.

A truthful democratic country would never have a constitution whose origins and birth arise in a military dictatorship. Unfortunately, in the case of Chile, we have been governed for more than 32 years by the 1980s Constitution imposed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and tolerated, by the political elite, in this long transition to a true democracy.

The Constitution of 1980 has been the fundamental pillar through which the model of neoliberal and individualistic society has been maintained, in which economic, social, and cultural rights, among others, are not guaranteed to the majority of the population. According to a 2020 study by the World Inequality Database, with available information of 175 countries, Chile is the 8th country in the world with the highest concentration of wealth, where the 10% with the highest income gets 60.2 % of the country’s total income.

The Proposal for the New Constitution, which was rejected, stated that workers must have equitable, fair, and sufficient salaries. That all people have the right to health, education, housing, to care and to be cared for, to not suffer violence or torture, to fair trials. It recognized domestic work, the rights of our elders and children, of diversity, nature, native peoples, of the disabled. There are so many and, in a few words, it enshrined human rights so that people could live with full dignity.

It also stated that our nation “is committed to maintaining the region as a zone of peace” and that the Armed Forces and the police must “act with respect for international law and the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.” However, these proposals were rejected by a large majority of the Chilean population, incredible as it may seem.

The power of big media

The proposal for a New Constitution for Chile, which has been rejected, represented a major danger to the economic interests of the Chilean elite and the large corporations that control and concentrate the wealth generated in Chile. We can then understand why the US newspaper Financial Times was right when it noted in an editorial that “Chile’s decision to forcefully reject a utopian constitution” is “a remarkable example of civic maturity.”

Some say that it has been a punishment for the management of the new president Gabriel Boric, who is facing, as in many countries in the world, high economic inflation and that, logically, it affects broad social sectors. However, Gabriel Boric won the presidential elections with 55.87% of the votes in his favor – particularly, he obtained 4,620,890 votes. In his elections, voting was voluntary and 55% of the electorate with the right to vote chose to do it.

The option “I approve of the New Constitution Proposal” obtained 4,860,093 votes, even more votes than President Gabriel Boric when he won. However, in this plebiscite the vote was mandatory and the rejection option prevailed with 7,886,434 votes. Many factors can explain the Rejection of the New Constitution proposal. Some of them could be:

1 – During the last elections close to 50% of Chileans who have the right to vote did not vote and it is surely the first time they exercised this right. Why didn’t they vote voluntarily earlier? This sector of the population is very disinterested in the entire political system and in Chilean democracy, which is why they have not participated.

2 – The neoliberal system has strengthened the culture of individualism as a way of solving one’s own needs. A large portion of the population is not fully aware that human rights are an obligation of States.

3 – Perhaps the most important factor is that the Chilean elite, with the media support of the large Chilean and foreign Press Media, controlled by the large corporations, campaigned against deep and substantial changes in Chile from the beginning.

According to the newspaper La Tercera, the Rejection campaign had 200 times more funding than the Approval campaign. The big media and propaganda played a very important role in the results that we know based on a campaign of fear based on lies and distortion of the real content that was proposed in the New Constitution.

Although the Rejection option prevailed, the path is not entirely closed for Chile to have a new Constitution that governs its destiny in the future. In the coming weeks, Congress must determine a law for the creation of a new Constitutional Convention. The members who are elected must prepare a new Constitution proposal which will very possibly go to a plebiscite in 2023. The social movements must continue working to achieve true democracy and for the consecration of human rights in a new Constitution for Chile.

– Pablo Ruiz is part of the Observatory for the Closure of the School of the Americas in Chile, and a close contact of the International Peace Bureau in Latin America.

Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World

Statement of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, adopted at the meeting of Ukrainian Pacifists on the 21st September 2022, International Day of Peace (video).

“We the Ukrainian pacifists demand and will strive to end the war by peaceful means and to protect human right to conscientious objection to military service.

Peace, not war, is the norm of human life. War is an organized mass murder. Our sacred duty is that we shall not kill. Today, when the moral compass is being lost everywhere and self-destructive support for war and the military is on the rise, it is especially important for us to maintain common sense, stay true to our non-violent way of life, build peace and support peace-loving people.

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.

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.”

Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration ceremony – Berlin

Last Saturday, August 6, 2022 – 77 years after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima by the U.S. – Sean Conner, Deputy Executive Director of IPB, spoke at a Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration ceremony in Berlin. The ceremony was organized by the german association ‘Friedensglockengesellschaft’ and took place in Volkspark Friedrichshain at the world peace bell.

In remembrance of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he reminded the audience that the world has not become safer with nuclear weapons to date and the legal frameworks of disarmament, the NPT and the TPNW, are the only way to prevent further nuclear disasters. But it is not only the danger of a nuclear war which needs immediate action, but also the climate emergency which the world is facing. A faster push towards renewable energies and a significant cut in military spending are the necessary and long overdue actions the world has to take. In order to find long-term solutions to  these challenges, security has to be rethought. The concept of Common Security, originally developed in the 1980s and revived this year, does that. It means that no state can achieve security at the expense of another state, which is what has led to the arms race in the first place.

Please find the full speech in German and English language here: https://www.ipb.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Speech_Friedensglocke_Sean_Conner.pdf