Thousands of people took to the streets in Madrid on Sunday, June 26, against the NATO summit which began in Madrid on June 28. Protesters called NATO a threat to global peace and demanded its dissolution. The organizers also held a two-day peace summit in Madrid on June 24-25, at the conclusion of which, a joint declaration was issued asserting that “NATO is a serious threat to world peace, having left a trail of destruction from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan”.
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.
The Stockholm +50 Coalition invites all for the “Peoples Forum for Environment and Global Justice” happening from May 31st to June 01st.
The purpose of this event is to connect the issues and movements in different ways, covering some gaps in the overall system change that is necessary. Both looking at past experience and towards the future, the event aims for the connection between simultanous struggles from local to global levels including both resistance and building alternatives locally and at multilateral level.
Speakers are a mix of people from larger international democratic movements and those specialized on specific issues. Represented are the working class, indigenous, peace, environmental, climate and global justice movements as organizations with ITUC members – among their core members, Via Campesina, International Peace Bureau and WILPF, Friends of the Earth, COP26 Coalition, global justice movements as anti debt networks, social networks as Habitat International and cooperation among very many movements and NGOs as CoNGO as well as a broad range of more specialized organizations. There is also a generational, gender and geographic range.
This common program has six parts, the inauguration, four sessions parallell to other self organized actvities and the closing session. The four common sessions starts with discussions concerning what to learn from 50 years of struggle for system change, continues with the issue of disarmament for a just social and ecological transition against racism in the present concuncture, followed by the need for a just world order ending with the issue concerning what to do now towards the coming 50 years of struggle.
Since its founding in 2000, the Assistant Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has been a major advocate for the proper treatment and release of all political prisoners in Burma including researching and monitoring all ongoing trials, advocacy to international human rights mechanisms, and transitional justice research and training. Since 2013, it has also been providing reintegration and support programmes including counselling services to released prisoners and their families.
On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar people once again found themselves in the throes of another military coup, ending the country’s 10 year experiment with democracy. Beginning with arresting key figures of the democratically elected civilian government and stationing soldiers at major government buildings in Yangon and the capital, Nay Pyi Daw, the military leaders settled themselves in for what they hoped would be a smooth takeover. The Myanmar people on the other hand had no intention of quietly accepting this change and voiced their opposition to the dismantlement of their elected government with peaceful protests around the country. The military’s response to the protesters was not peaceful in kind with violent crackdowns erupting shortly after the protests began and which have continued at an alarming rate ever since.
With this massive turn in events, the AAPP immediately established a monitoring mechanism whereby it collects and documents information for each and every citizen killed as a result of coup related violence at the hands of the junta or has been arrested for exercising their right to protest against dictatorship. Indeed, Daw Thin Thin Aung, a Burmese activist and founder of Mizzima News Agency and Women League of Burma who appeared as a guest speaker at the IPB event “Military Coup in Myanmar/Burma and Ways Forward for Finding Peace and Democracy” held shortly after the coup, is among those arrested and imprisoned for peacefully speaking out against the junta. The courage with which AAPP has conducted itself in the face of threats and imminent danger as well as its diligence in ensuring that every life taken by military during the country’s struggle to return the power to the right hands is properly documented, is truly remarkable and showcases an unwavering dedication to peace and the Myanmar people. The International Peace Bureau is honoring AAPP’s work and commitment to human dignity by presenting them with the Seán MacBride Peace Prize for 2021.
Chair: Lisa Clark, IPB co-President
Welcome and history of MacBride Prize by Philip Jennings, IPB co-President
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Olof Palme’s Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues. The Commission presented its report in 1982, at the height of the Cold War, and the Commission developed the concept of Common Security – the idea that nations and populations can only feel safe when their counterparts feel safe.
The new Common Security 2022 report comes at a time when the international order faces severe challenges. The world stands at a crossroads. It is faced with a choice between an existence based on confrontation and aggression or one to be rooted in a transformative peace agenda an common security. In 2022, humanity faces the existential threats of nuclear war, climate change and pandemics. This is compounded by a toxic mix of inequality, extremism, nationalism, gender violence, and shrinking democratic space. How humanity responds to these threats will decide our very survival.
The Common Security Report 2022 is published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Olof Palme International Center. More information on https://commonsecurity.org/.
On March 14, the IPB African working group hosted its first event of 2022, ‘Russia invades Ukraine. War in Europe and what this could mean for Africa’. Featuring three panel members of Joseph Gerson, Reiner Braun and Baroness Dayon Ako-Adounvo, the discussion took a deep dive into where the situation stands and what this will mean for African nations economies, trade relations, and food security situations in the coming weeks and months. Baroness Dayon Ako-Adounvo was able to expertly speak to these scenarios. Her full speech can be viewed below and the full event recording can also be viewed at the bottom of this page.
Contribution of Baroness Dayon Ako-Adounvo.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Donbass region, which transformed into a war on February 24 2022. This has resulted in global economic and security concerns with severe consequences on the African continent. In this regard, there are economic opportunities for some oil-exporting countries in the region, especially in terms of natural gas and raw material exports with the sanctions implemented by the United States and European countries against Russia. On the other hand, countries whose industries and agriculture are heavily dependent on oil exports have the potential to enter an economic bottleneck because of the increase in oil and natural gas prices. The same is true for grain trade. The fact that Russia and Ukraine provide 25% of the world’s grain supply may indirectly lead the African continent, as one of its largest customers, into food insecurity.
Russia and Ukraine have major ties with Africa in:
▪ Defence & Security
Experts warned sternly as Russian missiles hit Ukraine that the impact of the war will reverberate across the continent of Africa. Over the past weeks, fuel prices in Ghana and other African countries have drastically increased. As of March 7th 2022, the price of gasoline in Ghana was 8.62 Ghanaian cedis (GHS) per liter, a 25 percent increase since January 3rd. Economists have cautioned that the war in Ukraine could further push oil prices up and increase inflation in Africa. Professor Abdul-Ganiyu Garba of the department of Economics – Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria said “the last time we had a windfall from oil prices related to war was in 1991, during the Gulf War. There is no doubt that this crisis will directly impact the price of crude oil. Africa, like most continents, will need to prepare for higher inflation as the increase in crude oil prices will increase inflation globally and lead to expensive imports. Most African countries have not recovered from the economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the rise of commodity prices due to the disrupted global supply chain. It has been extremely difficult and unbearable for most people living in Africa and in the world at large.
With the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, the U.S. and European countries imposed various sanctions against Russia, a country that supplies 40% of the European Union’s natural gas. Countries in the Middle East and Africa are emerging as strong alternatives for Europe as it attempts to diversify its natural gas supply and cut its dependency on Russia. At this point, among African countries, Algeria is a suitable alternative in terms of both its geopolitical position and its large reserves. Additionally, countries like Senegal (where 40 trillion cubic feet of Natural Gas was discovered between 2014 – 2017 with production expected to start later this year), Nigeria (an existing supplier Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to several European countries) and Tanzania seem to be at an advantage with their natural gas capacity. In this sense, Nigeria, Niger and Algeria, which are on the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline route, cooperated in order to increase their natural gas exports to European markets and signed an agreement on Feb. 16. The deal includes a cost of $13 billion to renew the pipelines. Apart from this line, a total of 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Algerian natural gas is transported to Europe via the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline and Trans-Mediterranean Natural Gas Pipeline.
However, the increase in natural gas and oil prices may result in additional cost for oil-importing African countries that depend on oil and natural gas in agricultural and industrial production.
The Russia-Ukraine War may negatively affect Africa in terms of agricultural production and food security, as both countries are important grain exporters to Africa. African countries imported about $4billion agricultural products from Russia, of which wheat accounted for 90% of these imports. Ukraine exported $2.9 billion worth of agricultural products to Africa in 2020, with wheat representing 48% of the products, and corn at 31%. Furthermore, these two countries have a total share of 26% (Russia 18%, Ukraine 8%) in world wheat exports. While Egypt ranks first in wheat imports, countries such as Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Algeria, Kenya and South Africa also import wheat from Russia and Ukraine to a large extent. Currently, with the Russian intervention in Ukraine, corn prices have increased by 21%, wheat by 35% and soybeans by 20%, respectively. Nonetheless, in the Sahel region and West Africa alone, 26 million people do not have access to enough food. Therefore, the prolongation of the war and the disruption of agricultural trade can cause prices to rise significantly. The increase in bread prices, especially in Kenya and Sudan, has led to anti-government protests. Undoubtedly, this situation brings food security concerns to the forefront for Africa, which has experienced many food crises in the past.
Defense & Security
The Russian mercenary Wagner Group operates in the Central African Republic, Libya, Mozambique and Mali. Apart from this, Russia has strong trade relations with African economies such as South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan. In this context, Russia’s military and economic connections have limited member countries of the African Union from acting in unison against the Russia-Ukraine war. The union’s own legislation emphasizes the inviolability of borders and territorial integrity.
Over 16000 African students studying in Ukraine and Russia were stranded as a result of the war. African countries have evacuated some of these students, many of them remain trapped with limited food, water, and no safe shelter. This has been heartbreaking for families.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which broke out after Russia’s one-sided intervention, is geographically far from the region but still closely concerns the African continent. Many different issues such as food security, agricultural production and the inclusion of countries with natural gas reserves into the geopolitical equation due to the sanctions on Russia, are directly related to Africa. In this context, prolonging the war and continuing to sanction Russia will increase the prices of agricultural products and raw materials, which could expose the African continent into a food security crisis.
The event opened with a dance performance by OLA GIRLS cultural troupe depicting the consequences of gun violence on communities.
Opening statement by Juliet
She touched on a host of reasons why it became imperative for such an event to be held at such an opportune time. Among the many things she highlighted include the ever increasing rate of,
Ethnic and Tribal Clashes
Armed Robbery and the general State of insecurity in the country etc.
She ended with a clarion call on all and sundry to join in the fight against the illicit arms trade.
Introduction of IPB its work and growth in Africa by Reiner Braun
He described the role of IPB in advocacy efforts against small arms trade and gun violence around the world. IPB’s role in connecting the different national and sectorial African peace movements together as well as with other regional networks from around the globe has grown and is reflected by the collaborative effort that brought about the current event.
Under this title, a hybrid online/offline conference was recently held at the Gewerkschaftshaus Frankfurt/M. Invitations were extended by Frieden- und Zukunftswerkstatt e.V., the International Peace Bureau (IPB), Netzwerk Cuba, Österreichisch – Kubanische Gesellschaft (ÖKG), Vereinigung Schweiz-Cuba (VSC) as well as other supporters, donors and media partners.
The World Peace Congress organised by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) ended this Sunday in Barcelona after three days of conferences, workshops, and cultural events.
Under the title “(Re)imagine the world. Action for peace and justice”, more than 2,500 people took part in this hybrid congress, with activities in Barcelona. The events took place in the Centre of Contemporary Culture (CCCB) and the Blanquerna – Universitat Ramon Llull, and broadcast on the Internet.
1,000 people attended to the congress in person, while 1,500 attended online. Participants came from 126 countries. In Barcelona, activists from 75 countries including South Korea, the United States, Afghanistan, India and Mongolia, were also able to listen to the speeches covering issues such as nuclear disarmament, climate justice, racism and the rights of indigenous peoples.
As IPB Executive Director, Reiner Braun, explains, this is the biggest international peace event of this year. “The congress was a great success. We got a great support from the city of Barcelona and the president of the government of Catalonia. From my point of view, it was the right congress in this difficult political time and in the right place because we got a big support from the city. The IPB will definitely continue working on the way of more engagement for peace after the congress”.
Jordi Calvo, IPB Vice-President and member of the local committee, affirms: “At the congress we have seen that the peace movement is not alone. The large participation of feminist, anti-racist and global justice movements in the conferences and seminars shows that pacifism is more alive than ever, but that it needs to adapt to new narratives and generations. After this congress, the Catalan, Spanish, European and global peace movement is stronger”
The congress started on Friday 15 October with an event attended by the President of the Generalitat Pere Aragonés and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau. The opening session was attended by prominent names such as British politician Jeremy Corbyn and ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn. The open plenary can be accessed here.
Sean MacBride Award
Each year, IPB gives the Sean MacBride Peace Prize to an individual or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. This year the award was awarded to Black Lives Matter for the movement’s dedication and work to create a world where the lives of black people can thrive.
On the second day of the World Peace Congress in Barcelona, Rev Karlene Griffiths Sekou, community minister, academic and activist, and director of Healing Justice and International Organizing received the award on behalf of the social movement.
“Our movement is not a moment in time, it is a constant reminder to eradicate white supremacy, change racist policies and overthrow oppressive systems”.
“We thank the International Peace Bureau for their recognition and thank the community leaders, local activists and ancestors, who fuel the relentless will of our movement and inspire us to re-imagine a world for our children and for future black generations,” she added.
Photos from the congress:
You can access the photos of the congress via this link.
Press Release and final declarations:
You can find all the press releases and the final declarations here.