Australia – From July 28th to the 4th August 2023, a delegation of Pacific Peace activists participated in a one-day conference in Brisbane then went on to speak at events in Sydney Canberra and Darwin. The peace delegation visit coincided with the largest ever US led Talisman Sabre exercise in Australia with over 30 thousand troops participating. The so-called exercise is held in the Central Queensland Shoalwater Bay designated military training precinct.
This is not the first time that activists from around the Pacific have campaigned against Talisman Sabre. In 2007, for example, a Peace Convergence that actually travelled to the Shoalwater Bay area was convened when people from a range of Pacific States gathered to witness US and Australian troops training for war. As with the 2023 Speaking Tour, participants were able also to share their own experiences of war and the presence of US bases in their countries. Some of the issues tackled are as follows:
the loss of sovereignty, autonomy and self-determination;
the appropriation and destruction of indigenous ancestral land;
the siphoning of resources away from urgent local needs, including to improve local welfare, to address climate change and to respond to increasingly severe and numerous typhoons and other corollaries of climate change.
the aggravation of climate change through the military’s use of fossil fuels; and
other direct impacts of the large military presence.
The utilization of drones for warfare, both by state and nonstate entities, has engendered the unlawful killing, physical harm, and displacement of millions worldwide, primarily in the Global South. Moreover, the looming specter of autonomous drones being equipped with depleted uranium and directed towards nuclear power plants and critical installations poses catastrophic prospects. To halt this imminent threat, the United Nations must render this alarming tool of fatality and devastation illegal.
The following statement sets forth the demand by organizations in many countries, including international organizations and organizations of faith and conscience, for the United Nations to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Weaponized Drones.
Regrettably, a concerning situation is unfolding in Lithuania, involving the rights of Belarusian refugees escaping the Lukashenko regime and compulsory military service.
In collaboration with Our House, we aim to provide you with their observational findings and recommendations for addressing the circumstances in Lithuania related to Belarusian political refugees and conscientious objectors from Belarus.
For instance, Belarusian female human rights activists in Lithuania are victimized in two ways: firstly, they are targeted by Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti (KGB) or Committee for State Security (CSS) espionage, and secondly, they face attacks from male Lithuanian human rights defenders. This double victimization places them in a distressing and even more vulnerable position, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced protection and support.
As one voice with Our House, the IPB respectfully calls for global attention to the escalating situation, which is becoming increasingly critical. More than 1700 Belarusians have been classified as posing a threat to Lithuania’s national security, resulting in a five-year ban from entering the European Union. Among this group, 910 individuals are currently at risk of deportation to Belarus.
Conscientious Objection in Belarus Raises Alarming Human Rights Concerns, Particularly for Lithuanian Refugees. Despite recognized rights, Belarusian objectors face grave situations, including death penalty for desertion and strict military deferment laws. Perceptions of threat to Lithuania’s security are subjective, lacking legal clarity, relying on flexible interpretation.Refuge-seeking Belarusians opt for Russia, not endorsing policies but due to practical reasons like border ease. Female rights activists in Lithuania face dual victimization: KGB espionage and local attacks. Urgent protection needed.
Our House presents the 2nd report on challenges faced by Belarusian migrants in Lithuania. Highlights include activist struggles, discrimination against conscientious objectors, “National Security Panic,” and hate speech instances. Urgent global attention needed as the situation intensifies. 1700+ Belarusians labeled threats, 910 facing deportation.
Authored by: International Centre for civil initiatives “Our House” (Nash Dom), Belarus & Lithuania
From July 31 to August 3, 2023, the IPB had the pleasure of hosting three hybrid side events during the 2023 NPT Preparatory Committee at the United Nations in Vienna, Austria. These events aimed to foster the understanding of the challenges posed by nuclear weapons in the current political climate and the role of civil society in achieving nuclear disarmament. All three events received in person and online participation and were led by engaging Q&A discussions.
“Nuke Free Europe: Nuclear Sharing and Other Threats”took place on July 31st with speakers Alain Rouy (Mouvement de la Paix, France & IPB vice-President), Ludo de Brabander (Vrede, Belgium), Tom Unterrainer (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, UK), and Marion Küpker (Association of Reconciliation, Germany), moderated by Emily Molinari (IPB, Germany).
The event was attended by 25 participants in person, as well as 10 who joined on Zoom. Ludo de Brabander opened the session with an introduction to NATO policy and nuclear arms, including perspectives from the Netherlands and Belgium. Alain Rouy followed with a discussion on the dangers of France’s strategic orientation towards military capability strengthening and the disregard demonstrated in President Macron’s announcements regarding nuclear disarmament. Marion Küpker then gave an overview of nuclear sharing in Germany and presented the current campaigns to remove US nuclear weapons from the country. Tom Unterrainer concluded by reflecting on the role of the UK and its relationship with the US, in particular he referred to the stationing of US nuclear weapons and nuclear waste at the Lakenheath airbase, and the risks that nuclear development poses on a national, international and regional level.
This event highlighted the panorama of nuclear sharing within Europe, its ramifications on a global scale, and the imperativeness of nuclear abolition.
On August 2nd, the event “The Role of Nuclear Weapons in a Shifting Geopolitical Landscape” had 10 in person participants and 11 online attendees. The event was moderated by Alessandra Fontanella (IPB, Germany) and commenced with opening remarks by Sérgio Duarte (Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs) on the current geopolitical changes, including the war in Ukraine, China-US competition and the rise of the BRICS.
Kate Hudson (General Secretary of CND, UK) followed with a discussion on the potential positive and negative consequences of these changes on nuclear weapons and the action civil society can take to abolish them. Vanessa Lanteigne (Program Officer for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament) then explored the current projects and campaigns in nuclear arms control and the negative impact of the growing military & nuclear spending on climate change. Stephanie Verlaan (Intern at the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs) brought the event to a close by focusing on youth’s pivotal contribution to nuclear disarmament, entwined with its wider implications within the evolving geopolitical landscape.
This event underscored the imperative of understanding the interplay between global shifts and nuclear weaponry by exploring the multifaceted repercussions of contemporary geopolitical changes, fostering a deeper comprehension of the crucial role civil society, ongoing initiatives, and the youth play in shaping the path towards nuclear disarmament within our evolving world order.
Our final event on August 3rd “Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and Nuclear Weapons” sought to draw attention to how newly developed and developing technologies can or already are being used in military strategy and warfare and the dangers they pose to nuclear security.
The event was attended by 15 participants, including representatives from the U.S Department of State and UNODA, and 19 online participants. It was moderated by Alain Rouy (Mouvement de la Paix, France & IPB vice-President). Dr. Michael Klare (Professor Emeritus at Five Colleges and Author) opened with a comprehensive overview on technology, AI and Nuclear weapons. He discussed how the weaponization of AI and other emerging technologies is increasing the risk of nuclear escalation and highlighted the danger of using automated command and control decision making systems with nuclear weapons. Our second speaker Jürgen Altmann (Physicist and Peace researcher at TU Dortmund University, Germany) explored military-technological Revolutions, military research and development, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and potential military applications. Dr. Altmann concluded by emphasizing the need for a reinvigoration of nuclear arms control.
Given the novelty and significance of this discourse, it is crucial to consider the nexus between AI, technology, and nuclear weapons, especially in light of their pivotal relevance in today’s climate.
Embracing the significance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we had the privilege to partake in the thoughtfully organized film screening hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, featuring Sama Dilaut Documentary Film. This documentary delved into the lives of the Sama Dilaut, also known as the Sama-Badjau, shining a light on the harsh realities faced by these indigenous communities in Tawi-Tawi, Philippines. Their forced transition from a sea-bound existence, compelled by armed conflicts, environmental degradation, and the expansion of commercial fishing, resonates profoundly.
The craftsmanship and heartfelt dedication poured into this film deserve the highest commendation. It is a poignant, thought-provoking masterpiece that opens our eyes to the intricate issues at hand. As Michael Venning, Executive Director of Indigenous Communities Learning Centres/Borneo Child Aid, poignantly expressed, the impact of climate change on indigenous communities is undeniably heart-wrenching, yet it ignites a call to action.
Director Christine Ramos shared her insights, emphasizing the film’s overarching goal: to create spaces and dialogues among community members, leaders, and institutions. These conversations hold the potential to foster constructive exchanges, ultimately catalyzing profound and positive transformations for the Sama Dilaut and other indigenous communities globally. Indeed, as Liza Florida, the film correspondent and creator of Eight Billion podcast, aptly stated, we are all part of a shared humanity.
A heartfelt appreciation goes out to Rhadem Musawah for extending the invitation to this enlightening film screening.
Congratulations to the Philippine Embassy in Germany for orchestrating this successful event.
To the dedicated team behind Sama Dilaut, we extend our best wishes for continued success. May your voices resonate louder and reach farther, ensuring that the messages of indigenous communities are heard with unwavering clarity.
Message by Sean Conner, Executive Director, International Peace Bureau (IPB)
2023 World Conference against A and H Bombs
International Meeting – Session III
August 5, 2023
It is fundamentally impossible to have a peaceful and just world without the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The use or threat of use of nuclear arms is a crime against humanity and contrary to international law – the victims of nuclear weapons and testing are the strongest testimony to this fact. We must listen to them and spread their messages the world over – despite their tireless efforts, there are still far too many people who have not heard their firsthand accounts of the horror and destruction of these weapons. Moreover, the mere existence of nuclear weapons hinders efforts to build trust and accountability between nations and prevents true equality on the international stage. Nuclear armed states today can act with impunity and threaten the destruction of our planet to meet their interests at a cost to the rest of the world. Plain and simple, this is terrorism. All while risking war between nuclear-armed states – we know that nuclear deterrence is nothing but a myth – the most dangerous myth.
We must build and expand our coalition to create a wider base and strengthen our actions to pressure global leaders to eliminate these weapons. This is not an issue just for peace activists, but for all activists concerned with the future of our planet and humankind. Furthermore, non-nuclear armed states have a vital role to play in exerting pressure on nuclear-armed states. Activists across the entire world can increase this pressure and encourage our leaders to move away from nuclear destruction and toward a nuclear-free future.
The International Peace Bureau(IPB) Has Announced its Intention to Nominate Three Remarkable Organizations with a Focus on the Right to Conscientious Objection for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize
Berlin, Germany – The International Peace Bureau (IPB) has announced our intention to nominate three exceptional organizations for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize: the Russian Movement of Conscientious Objectors, the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, and the Belarusian organization “Our House”. The decision to nominate these three organizations is a testament to their unwavering dedication in advocating for the right to conscientious objection to military service and promoting human rights and peace in their respective countries.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the world’s most esteemed awards, recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the pursuit of peace and harmony. The nomination period for the 2024 prize will open on 1 September 2023 and the nominations will be promptly submitted for consideration.
TheRussian Movement of Conscientious Objectors (https://stoparmy.org/), the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement (http://pacifism.org.ua/), and the Belarusian Our House (https://news.house/) have demonstrated unparalleled excellence and dedication in their efforts as defenders of peace, conscientious objection, and human rights, especially after the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine began on 24 February 2022 and despite the considerable stigmatization each organization has faced since.
The fundamental right to conscientious objection to military service is an inherent human right, protected under the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion as safeguarded by Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This right remains inalienable, even during periods of public emergency, as explicitly stated in Article 4(2) of the ICCPR. Embracing conscientious objection is a concrete means of contributing to peace. Hence, it becomes imperative to emphasize and safeguard this fundamental human right, especially during times of war.
Even in the face of escalating threats, the three movements persist in their dedication to aiding individuals who resist war and military mobilization. Their focus is particularly on supporting those who endure persecution, torture, and imprisonment. This commitment encompasses all instances of forced and violent recruitment into participating armies, as well as the persecution of conscientious objectors, deserters, and non-violent anti-war demonstrators.
“We are humbled and honored to nominate these three remarkable movements for the Nobel Peace Prize. Their courage in championing the right to conscientious objection and their tireless efforts to promote peace and human rights serve as an inspiration to us all,” said Philip Jennings, Co-President of IPB.
By nominating these three movements, we seek to raise awareness about the importance of the right to conscientious objection, fostering peace and human rights. Furthermore, we hope that the announcement of this intended nomination will remind and pressure governments and nations across the globe to respect the right to conscientious objection in their own countries and provide alternatives to military service for those that object. This includes the right to asylum for conscientious objectors forced to flee their own countries in order to avoid military service.
We call other organizations and particularly Nobel Peace Laureates from across the globe to support this nomination. Together our voices in support for conscientious objection can protect those who are selflessly putting their lives on the line to defend their beliefs and their compatriots who reject war and violence.
The selection process for Nobel Peace Prize laureates is highly competitive and is conducted by esteemed committees dedicated to recognizing peace efforts worldwide. We firmly believe that these three movements stand among the most deserving candidates for this prestigious recognition.
We are honored to share that IPB Executive Director Sean Conner joined the 2023 Nationwide Peace March in Japan, standing in solidarity with the Hibakusha. This march is an integral part of the 2023 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. From August 1 to August 4, together, we march for peace and nuclear disarmament, cherishing the memories of those affected by the tragic consequences of these weapons. Let’s continue striving for a world without nuclear threats.
On July 8-9, 2023, the International Peace Bureauand World BEYOND Warorganized the second edition of the 24-hour Peace Wave, a global event conducted via Zoom. This unique initiative involved live peace actions taking place in various streets and squares worldwide, synchronized with the movement of the sun.
The timing of the Peace Wave coincided with the annual NATO meeting, providing an opportunity for participants to express their opposition to all military alliances. Emphasizing the essence of our mission, the slogan
No to militarization, yes to Cooperation!
captured our commitment to promoting peaceful collaboration.
Throughout the 24-hour period, the Peace Wave traversed numerous locations across the globe, facilitating a diverse range of activities. These included rallies, concerts, artwork creation, blood drives, the installation of peace poles, dances, speeches, and various public demonstrations. The breadth of events underscored the multiple interpretations of the meaning of “Peace” in different regions worldwide.
The Peace Wave served as an extraordinary source of inspiration, reminding individuals of the collective efforts aimed at fostering a safer, improved, and more peaceful world. It brought together like-minded individuals dedicated to this cause, fostering unity and cooperation on a global scale.
A big thank you to all the Regional Coordinatoros, Participants and Supporters who have helped us organizing this incredible Peace Wave!
The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection published its Annual Report on Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2022/23, covering the region of Council of Europe (CoE) as well as Russia (former CoE member state) and Belarus (candidate CoE member state).
Overall, the human right to conscientious objection to military service was higher in the European agenda in 2022, as a result of the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the courageous conscientious objectors and pacifists.
The continuation of the war itself constitutes a tragic failure of diplomacy and politicians, as well as a bloody victory of militarism and war profiteers. The military mobilisation and the prosecution of those who object the war constitutes a blatant violation of their fundamental human rights, as well as the indiscriminate European sanctions against all Russians, instead of granting Visas (type C and D) at least to those who object the war. (EBCO’s President Alexia Tsouni)