An Appeal for Peace in Armenia

We Demand Peace!

We, a group of people who stand for peace, from the post-Soviet space
and its neighborhood exhausted by never-ending wars and growing
imperialist rivalry on our territories, are full of rage as we have
observed Azerbaijan’s recent large-scale attack on Armenia. This,
coupled with Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine and the renewed
military clashes in border areas between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan,
raises heavy concerns regarding possible future escalations not only
in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict but all other conflicts in the
post-Soviet space.

The recent attack on Armenia has costed hundreds of lives within two
days from both sides of the conflict, caused serious destruction to
civil infrastructure in Armenia, displaced thousands, and further
widened the gap between the countries and their people. We raise our
persistent voices against the continuing warfare.

The second Karabakh war two years ago was a devastating experience,
from which the Armenian and Azerbaijani societies have not yet
recovered and remain deeply antagonized. Officials need to finally
understand that military means cannot solve the conflict but they only
deepen the divide between the two countries and cause more violence
and human suffering. We welcome the truce that halted the violence on
September 15 and demand for permanent return to the negotiation table
without any further escalations or violence.

The Azerbaijani side should realize that the “corridors” cannot be
opened, and a peace treaty cannot be achieved through military
aggression. Such prospects are unacceptable for people whose daily
lives would presumably be crossed over by these “corridors,” as they
will not let borderland populations on both sides cooperate with each
other. No one can be forced into peace. Officials in Armenia, in turn,
should recognize the damage their rigid negotiation position had done
for over 30 years, including the displacement of hundreds of thousands
of Azerbaijanis, and their refusal to compromise and settle the
conflict in a timely manner.

Negotiations “mediated” behind closed doors, that do not take into
consideration the livelihood and human needs of people affected, are
doomed to fail. The best mediators for interstate negotiations are
non-state peace-oriented/peacebuilding communities of both countries
who have a great experience of overcoming their own disputes and
facilitating dialogues between other people from their countries with
antagonistic positions.

We see the clear connection of the developments in
Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and peace processes with the dynamics of
the war in Ukraine. The deadly war in Ukraine has caused great
turbulence and instabilities in the wider region, exposing the simple
truth that violence creates more violence. There is no military
solution to any conflict and human life is of absolute value. The only
priority should be nonmilitary diplomatic solutions that are always
possible regardless of whatever statesmen try to convince us. The
inability or unwillingness of states to solve the problems through
non-violent means and ensure human security can no longer be
tolerated.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, we’ve lived through decades
of violence. We continue to suffer through regularly recurring warfare
on the territory of Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan,
and Kyrgyzstan. We are deeply concerned about overt attempts to reopen
the Moldovan/Transdniestrian, Georgian/Abkhaz and Georgian/Ossetian
conflicts. The confrontation between NATO and the Russian Federation
on the territory of Ukraine is playing out primarily at the expense of
lives of people in Ukraine and, increasingly, residents of Russian
regions adjacent to Ukraine. Moreover, hundreds of military men from
Ukraine and Russia are killed daily.

If we stay on the current trajectory, it is only a matter of time
until the ongoing and recurring warfare in different regions of
Eurasia will synergize with one another and with wars in other parts
of this world, turning into a bigger regional or global war and
sacrificing more and more people from numerous countries.

We cannot afford this! We do not call for peace – we demand peace! We
demand that governments commit to non-use of force, to engage in
genuine search for diplomatic solutions that prioritize human
security, and to stop interfering with, and better yet, support
people-to-people contacts and peacebuilding.

We demand that international actors involved in the official
negotiations ensure that the voices of people affected by conflict are
heard and that people-to-people negotiations and human security
considerations are at least on an equal footing with the official
negotiation process.

For more information: https://postsovietpeace.mailchimpsites.com/

To join the statement, send us your full name, country and profession
at postsovietpeace@gmail.com.




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.”

Gustavo Petro’s “total peace” plan and how it could shape the notion of security in Colombia.

– Article by Angelo Cardona

In his inaugural speech, Petro said, “peace is the meaning of my life, and it is the hope of Colombia” his words resonated in the ears and hearts of an entire nation striving to overcome the grief of war.       

The killing of social leaders, exacerbation of inequality due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and increasing distrust in governmental institutions led the Colombian people to set their faith in former guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro as the first leftist President of Colombia. Now, he joined a group of rising progressive leaders in Latin America.

Petro’s government will face an enormous challenge in rebuilding trust in the state institutions, which will require a paradigm change in how the Colombian people understand security. 

To this end, he seeks to achieve “total peace” in Colombia to prepare the ground to overcome the country’s six decades of armed conflict. The ambitious plan involves the significant advancement in the implementation of the peace agreementwith the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), resuming peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), establishing dialogues with Colombia’s drug-trafficking militia “Clan del Golfo,” criminal groups, and the FARC dissidents. 

The peace plan comes with substantial challenges that will require the cooperation of a broad range of actors that historically have opposed previous peace agreements, particularly conservative movements. In the face of this, the government is committed to building a “national accord” to find consensus. Despite Petro’s ambitious agenda’s challenges, he is stubbornly committed to it.      

This ambitious peace plan will require a shift in the notion of security that has permeated the country for decades of confrontation. Petro aims to hear those who have not been heard before so that no insurgent group would have to retake weapons to have a say in a country that has suffered the scourge of war for so long due to political, social, and economic exclusion.      

As a former member of Colombia’s extinct M-19 guerrilla group, Petro was in prison in 1985 for illegally possessing weapons. However, his ideology changed when he was released, and he realized that a military revolution wouldn’t lead to a meaningful structural change. After Petro was freed, the M-19 signed a peace treaty with the government in 1990. His experience in the militia, time in prison, and a subsequent peace agreement with the M-19 shaped his current notion of security. 

Before he was sworn into office, he prepared the ground for his “total peace” policy. Petro’s first step was appointing peace facilitator Alvaro Leyva as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Next, Leyva diligently engaged in conversations with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria to reestablish diplomatic ties with Venezuela. After that, a delegation of Colombian government representatives — composed of Chancellor Leyva, Senator Ivan Cepeda, and Colombia’s Commissioner for peace, Danilo Rueda — flew to Havana to meet with National Liberation Army (ELN) representatives to restore peace talks with the rebel group. 

Petro also named Ivan Velasquez as Defense Minister. Lawyer and jurist Velasquez has played a prominent role against corruption in Colombia and Guatemala. He won notability for his investigations as a prosecutor against Pablo Escobar and uncovered the ties between politicians and paramilitary groups in the 90s. In 2007, he went to work for the Supreme Court of Justice and obtained the imprisonment of more than 50 members of congress for their ties with paramilitary groups.  

In 2013, Velasquez was appointed Commissioner of the United Nations International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). His investigations as head of the CICIG led to the resignation and imprisonment of the then-president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, for corruption charges.

Colombia’s security forces have a long history of corruption scandals and human rights abuses. The appointment of Velasquez aimed to rebuild the trust the Colombian people lost in the military establishment, and Petro sent a solid message with the designation — Colombia’s army wouldn’t engage in corruption and human rights abuses during his term.  

Petro’s approach to the military and security will be based on the notion of human security — which seeks to increase freedom from fear and human dignity — instead of getting body counts; success will be measured in reducing deaths and massacres. Petro pledged during his presidential campaign that soldiers and members of the police accused of human rights abuses would stand trial in regular courts rather than military ones.

He has already replaced his military and police commanders. The criteria for selecting them were based on “zero corruption, and zero violation of fundamental rights,” and their priorities will be “the reduction of violence, criminality, and the substantial increase in respect for human rights and civil liberties.” Petro said during a press conference.    

He has also promised to eliminate the riot police, remove compulsory military service, and invest in education for peace and reconciliation across many institutions. However, these significant reforms will require systemic changes that undoubtedly will be challenged by the opposition — represented predominantly by the right-wing Democratic Center Party of Colombia — whose political leaders have questioned Petro’s approach to national security. 

Numerous challenges plague Petro’s “total peace” agenda. Implementing such an ambitious plan will require a lot of practical actions and the commitment not only of his government but also one of his successors, as he’s promised not to seek reelection after his four-year-mandate.

However, his plan has begun to bear some fruit. Colombia’s drug-trafficking militia “Clan del Golfo” already announced a unilateral ceasefire in hopes of engaging in peace negotiations with Petro’s government, which could lead other criminal groups to follow.  

During Petro’s tenure, Colombia will see a different approach to national security. Respect for human rights and dignity will be the measuring criterion, and dialogue could be the primary weapon to deal with guerilla groups. A country that has been fueled with hate and violence for decades will now strive to build a different narrative — one that endures human security.

SCRAP Weapons present: Activating a UN special session on Disarmament

The threat of global war looms, yet there is no practical strategy for weapons control. It is unrealistic to believe that the world can spend $2,000,000,000,000 each year on the military without weapons controls and not end in a world at war. The UN has agreed to hold a Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament, but it has not been held yet. Now is the time to do so. The United Nations’ 2022 meetings should consider convening this Session in the near future.

SCRAP Weapons invites collaborations to support these processes, and is organising a hybrid conference on 6 September 2022 to consider how best to move forward.

In the light of recent geo-political developments, we consider the convening of the long-planned UN Fourth Special Session to be overdue. This is an urgent and necessary step to give the world a realistic chance for peace. The UN Fourth Special Session on Disarmament must become a more effective weapons equivalent of the UN Framework on Climate Change process to address climate chaos.

➡️ Registration via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/activating-a-un-special-session-on-disarmament-tickets-361820564047

➡️ Registration via Zoom: https://soas-ac-uk.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_V2cmiI0ATKK0nvoXa2a0HA

Reiner Braun, Executive Director of IPB, will speak specifically at the session dedicated to International Disarmament Organisations, starting at 15:00 CEST (14:00 UK summer time).

To learn more about the event, check the PDF file below or visit their website: https://www.scrapweapons.com/

Colors of Peace – Istgah Orchestra & IPB

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Have you ever had a fight or conflict with anyone? Did you reconcile after the fight? What do you think is the color or war? What do you think is the color of peace? Eight children from different international backgrounds give their answers to these simple but profound questions.

In collaboration with the International Peace Bureau, the Istgah Musical Orchestra presents us with this beautiful piece of art, sending to all the world an important and necessary message of peace. May the perspective of children guide our take on conflicts and on how to bring more color to our society.

Istgah Orchestra Manager: Mahdi Norouzi Executive Director: Kimia Bakhtiarian International Affairs: Nazanin Adhami Coordinator: Mahdis Yaghoubnezhad Costume & Set Design: Yasamin Hariri Photographer: Melika Naeiji Question Developer: Golfam Goudarzi (Child Psychologist) Director & Editor: Soroush Q mar C Videographer: Amin Nakhi

More info: https://istgahmusical.com/en/

IPB Statement on Walden’s arrest

The International Peace Bureau condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of Walden Bello. It came to us as a shock when we received the news about Walden’s arrest on Monday. Walden, an outstanding scholar and public intellectual has been a close colleague of IPB for years. Bello recently ran against the daughter of former President Duterte for Vice Presidency of the Philippines. On Tuesday, he posted his arrest on twitter, saying “Arrested late afternoon Monday on silly charge of cyberlibel posted by the camp of Sarah Duterte. These people are mistaken if they think they can silence me and suppress my exercise of free speech”

As a prolific scholar of extraordinary vision and integrity, a democracy advocate who was forced into exile by the previous Marcos dictatorship, a leader of the Philippines peace and independence movement, and the founder of the Focus on Global South NGO,  Walden’s contribution have been enormous. Joseph Gerson, Vice President of IPB and close friend of Walden described his arrest as a clear “case of a state-sponsored persecution and repression of the right to free expression. That a highly respected and world-renowned scholar-intellectual and activist like Dr. Bello has been victimized by this highhanded police operation speaks volumes about the lack of democracy and freedom in the Philippines. The arrest of this Vice-Presidential candidate appears to be an act of retribution by Vice-President Duterte against her opponent in the recent election. It also appears to be designed to serve a chilling warning to democracy and human rights advocates at the time when the son of former dictator Marcos assumes power in the Philippines”.

While he is being released on bail, it still does not guarantee his freedom, as his trial awaits him.

Bello’s organization, Focus on the Global South, has listed the following ways to support Bello in this difficult time

1.  Focus on the Global South has prepared a statement for international sign on by individuals and organizations. You can find it here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14UPuX3QoRtaZVyVmret2myr-tpn6XJA8fjo9Lk5mL0/edit?usp=sharing 

2.  Readers not familiar with the case can read and share the prepared fact sheet:  Fact Sheet/Case Brief

3.  There is also a press release highlighting the breadth of responses to Walden’s persecution, and to generate more international attention and responses:  Press Release 

4.  Focus on the Global South will continue to post statements in support of Walden at this micro-site on the Focus website: https://focusweb.org/defending-rights/   Please share with us the different statements you  come across, or that your organizations release.

5. Contributions to Walden’s legal defense are urgently needed.  All contributions to Walden’s legal defense fund should go through the Laban ng Masa account that they have publicized in their twitter and social media.  Below is the information.

Please use the following bank account details for your transfers (this time with the email and postal address of the recipient):

Acct Name:  Antonia B. Garcia

Acct No: 6714 0205 85

Bank: BPI Family Savings Bank

Bank Branch: Isidora Hills, Diliman

Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

Email: tonetskibg.jones@gmail.com

Postal address: 70 Encarnacion St BF Homes Barangay Holy Spirit Quezon City 1127 Philippines 

6. Loud, aggressive and strong international attention must be generated that condemns the case against Walden, his arrest, and the increasing attacks on the rights to free speech and human rights defenders. 

IPB Office

Elayne Whyte receives the Sean MacBride Award: United Nations, New York.

On 4 August 2022, The International Peace Bureau awarded the 2019 Sean MacBride Peace Prize to Elayne Whyte Gomez at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Despite winning the award in 2019, the current global health emergency – Covid-19 made it very challenging to award Elayne this deserving Prize at the time. The time however, is always right to do the right thing. Three years later, we are still happy to honor Elayne Whyte for her distinctive achievement and contribution to a nuclear free world.

Elayne was elected President of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination On 16 February 2017 . Her leadership at the UN conferences negotiating the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons from March to July 2017 was a background of the success of the Treaty. The negotiations were brought to a successful conclusion in July 2017 and opened for signatures in September 2017 at the United Nations Headquaters in New York. The treaty currently has 86 signatories and 66 state parties.

During her acceptance speech, Elayne described her experience at the TPNW conference as “a transformational experience” which taught her about “human resolve and conviction… just as much as the difficult legal procedural matters in negotiations and intercultural affairs”. She then concluded by challenging everyone to ask themselves what would become of the world in the year 2045 (the 100 anniversary of the start of nuclear era). “What would that day look like?” She asked. “Would we have survived as humanity? Would we continue being lucky that no new nuclear explosion has happened? Would we have used our human agency to control the technology we create and not to perish by it? Alexander Kmentt, Director of Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation also highlighted the state parties’ determination to fight “until the last warhead has been dismantled and destroyed”

The Keynote speakers were Reiner Braun – Executive Director of International Peace Bureau, Thomas Markram – Director and Deputy to the High Representative, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Alicia Zakre-Sanders – Policy and Research Coordinator, ICAN, Kunihiko Sakuma – Chair of Hiroshima Hidankyo, Alexander Kmentt – Director of Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation, Austrian Foreign Ministry and Joseph Gerson – President of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, and Vice President of International Peace Bureau.

Watch the award ceremony here:

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Report “NATO, Building Global Insecurity” – English Version

(UPDATE): This report, which has been published last month, now has a official english version:

On the 25th of June, at the occasion for the Peace Summit Madrid 2022, the Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau, in collaboration with the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS), issued its 53th report under the name “NATO, Building Global Insecurity” (La OTAN, Construyendo Inseguridad Global” in the original) with the coordination of Gabriela Serra and contribution of many authors.

This report on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) presents an updated and detailed reading of military alliances, taking into account the global context of simultaneous crises and the increase of the tensions caused by the invasion of Ukraine at the beginning of 2022.

NATO’s modus operandi is reflected in its Strategic Concepts, and from the last two approved we can draw some conclusions that help us understand the Alliance’s objectives: on the one hand, it attempts to promote a broad conception of defense, which it makes it possible to greatly expand its scope of action to deal with “new threats”, many of them non-military; There is also an attempt to make submission to the Charter of the United Nations more flexible, situating itself in what has been described as “legal deregulation of war”; Similarly, NATO expands its geographical scope of action beyond what is established by the North Atlantic Treaty, as happened in the case of Afghanistan; Lastly, the democratic deficit with which this strategy is decided, which breaks the most basic rules of parliamentarism, is notable. In June 2021, a new Strategic Concept will be approved in Madrid which, predictably, will focus on reinforcing deterrence and defense, which is equivalent to increasing all military capabilities, whether nuclear, conventional or cyber. It will also include an express reference to the relationship with China, which it considers a “systemic challenge.” In addition, it will state that it will not only respond to armed attacks, but that NATO could intervene militarily against any threat to its security (…)

Therefore, this publication defends the “No to war, no to NATO”, as an amendment to the whole, to a predatory militarism of lives and human resources, of habitats, of economies. peace is not only a hackneyed slogan, but a relationship policy that must be deployed at all levels, from the interpersonal to the interstate, now more than ever”

At the adjunct (annex), from pages 47 to 49, you can find the contribution of Reiner Braun – Executive Director of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) – addressing the Olof Palme Report “Common Security 2022: For our Shared Future”, focusing on how Common Security serves to avoid disasters regarding nuclear armament and militarization. The Common Security report aims to encourage that “in times of acute crisis, there must be those who look forward and give a vision of a better future”, complementing in many ways the words of Centre Delàs’ report.

Click in this link to have access to the full report in Spanish as well, or visit Centre Delàs’ website.­­

After the States Conference on the TPNW and before the NPT Conference – from Vienna to New York

Rarely has a world conference been prepared with so little hope and empathy as this year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference, which will begin in New York on August 1, 2022 for a period of four weeks.

Hopes for an outcome even remotely resembling an evaluation and implementation of the NPT are nil. Even an initiative for a ban on first use will not be successful, and there is no need to talk about arms control or even disarmament.

The conference will take place in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine, which is contrary to international law, the recurring threat of a possible use of nuclear weapons, the comprehensive modernization of all nuclear weapons in all nuclear-weapon countries, the technological development of nuclear weapons into battlefield weapons (mini nukes) and, more generally, the aggressive geostrategic global confrontations.

Is it conceivable in the face of military and economic wars (both of which go far beyond the Ukraine conflict) that there will be serious negotiations on arms control, nuclear-weapon-free zones, and disarmament? Realistically, this is not the case. 

The actors, especially from the Global South, who could push in the direction of negotiations, arms control and disarmament are unfortunately too politically weak, not coordinated enough, and also still without many of their own initiatives. First approaches, like participation within the context of the TPNW, are not yet a global, independently political role comparable to the role of the non-aligned states in the 60/70s. Only with this will for independence from the power centers and in connection with a world-wide civil society active for disarmament would a peace-oriented political alternative paragraph be at all conceivable.

Instead, we are confronted with the fact that the danger of nuclear war has never been so high and so threatening as it is now. The doomsday clock stands on 100 seconds to midnight and is only one pointed expression of the daily atomic madness – 100 seconds was before the Ukraine war!

The success of the nuclear weapons prohibition conference in Vienna in June, against the will of the nuclear weapon states and the nuclear sharing countries, shows only the beginnings for an alternative nuclear weapons disarmament policy. Yes, it is encouraging that the number of ratifying states is increasing, that the commitment of governments, parliaments and civil societies to the treaty is growing. The concretization of the treaty’s formulations and the emphasis on common ground for future action against the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are certainly also worthy of mention. The political integration of the TPNW into the struggle for a policy of common security is certainly particularly gratifying. 

All this, however, does not yet constitute a geopolitical course towards peace.

This strategic development of humanitarian engagement into an alternative political concept makes it clear that security today can only be achieved together. In this context, nuclear disarmament is a chain link for cooperative action. Only if the political confrontation between NATO and Russia or the U.S. and China is overcome will steps toward nuclear disarmament be possible again. Therefore, measures of dialogue and confidence building are also central to a policy whose long-term outcome is to be a world without nuclear weapons. This is even the officially declared goal of the NATO states. Cooperation is not only central to overcoming the dramatic threat of nuclear war, but is also an indispensable component if the climate catastrophe is still to be averted. At present we are heading with tremendous drama towards the double catastrophe – both nuclear and climatic.

To clarify these connections and to discuss the alternative of common security as a geostrategic alternative, peace groups like the international Peace and Planet network and the International Peace Bureau (IPB), in cooperation with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s New York Office, are organizing the international conference on July 30th in New York on the theme of “geostrategic disorder”. 

IPB is also represented at the NPT conference with two side events – one on nuclear weapons in Europe and the other on the technological challenges of a new arms race – to underline that the defense against the danger of nuclear war is a central challenge for the worldwide peace movement. This must be about more education and more action to stop the media and political course towards insane further high armament and war. A worldwide social and ecological as well as economic tsunami is the consequence if this policy – specifically, the nuclear armament policy of the P5 and other nuclear powers, including that of the NATO states – is not stopped. 

The NPT conference can therefore perhaps help to put the much-needed global “coalition of reason” on the agenda.  

– Reiner Braun, Executive Director of the IPB

Article written for Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung – New York Office

Berlin, Germany – July, 2022