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8,300,403 Signatures!

Hibakusha Appeal presents 8,300,403 Signatures

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With Hidankyo Japan, PEAC helped presented 8,300,403 signatures to Ambassador Ion Jinga, President of the First Committee, at the United Nations today on behalf of the Hibakusha Appeal for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. Yes, you read that right over 8 Million! The story was picked up by many international news outlets. Check out the Japan Times article here!

Sadly no US-based news picked up this story, not surprising, but it's one thing we are working on changing. We believe nuclear issues affect us all and is a topic of much-needed discussion.

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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

On Wednesday, September 27th, the UN convened a high-level meeting to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. At the start of the event, the Secretary General delivered his remarks in which he drew upon his experience in Nagasaki and Securing our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, his new disarmament agenda, the Secretary General emphasized the importance of nonproliferation and denuclearization, noting that nuclearization “is the greatest existential challenge of our time.” He further specified that “we must take urgent steps” toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons as well. A clear and purposeful way to start the day’s discussion.

Ms. Epinosa, President of the UN General Assembly, called upon the international community, especially the nuclear-armed States. to engage in 'innovative discussions on practical measures' and to advance 'fresh ideas and political will to make a difference.' She further emphasized the importance for the international community to support the Secretary-General’s disarmament agenda.

The Non-Aligned Movement

On behalf of the NAM, Venezuela emphasized the need for the international community to support a high-level conference, which would review progress on nuclear disarmament. It further explained that “so long as nuclear weapons exist, the risk of their use will persist.” Moreover, he contended that nuclear weapons violate the UN Charter and nuclear weapons constitute a crime against humanity.  Finally, the NAM reiterated that the use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences, he added.

Europe

Amongst the European States, Austria and Liechtenstein were present. Austria is a leader in the TPNW and has made disarmament one of its top national policy priorities.  Consequently, it urged other states to ratify the TPNW. Austria further asserted that due to the ongoing modernization of nuclear weapons and advancements of national arsenals, nuclear weapons are currently more dangerous than ever before.

Similarly, Lichtenstein expressed deep concern in the slowing pace of decisive progress towards disarmament and contended that the TPNW is the only source of optimism at the moment. They urged the international community to break the recent trends in nuclear modernization and to instead pursue a disarmament agenda.

Arab and Middle East

On behalf of the Arab Group, Oman expressed their belief in the necessity of reviving multilateral efforts to secure a “nuclear-weapon-free” future. In addition, it urged the international community to strive for the creation of a WMDFZ within the Middle East as stipulated in the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and reaffirmed in final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference  Furthermore, it explained that Israel has become an obstacle to attaining these goals within the Middle East, due to its lack of willingness to cooperate with Arab states and refusal to accede to the NPT.

Egypt endorsed the Arab Group’s statement. It conveyed strong opposition to the increasing reliance of nuclear weapons in the foreign and military policies of nuclear states, claiming that “security of nuclear states” is no excuse for militarization as this threatens the security of non-nuclear states. Egypt also stated that a slow and gradual step-by-step process is not going to yield definitive results and instead called upon all states to revive their efforts and take full, irreversible, and verifiable steps towards denuclearization.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Jordan echoed similar sentiment within their respective statements.  For instance, Saudi Arabia supplemented these points with their opposition to even peaceful uses of nuclear energy, especially by Iran, claiming that they must be held accountable to safety regulations that affect the entirety of the region.

Iran, understandably, presented a boisterous argument against the United States for actions regarding its unwillingness to stand by the points laid out within the JCPOA as well as within the UNSC resolution 2231, a security council resolution that legally endorsed the JCPOA. Iran countered that the United States, by engaging in sanctions which present noncompliance toward the JCPOA and the UNSC Resolution 2231, the ties, which bind all parties have started to fray and will eventually break; thus causing fragile, if not disruptive international relations between the United States and everyone party to the the JCPOA.

Iran also reaffirmed its allegiance to the NPT and vehemently urges other nations to sign and ratify the NPT as well. Iran also criticized Israel for being the only state in the region, which has not acceded to the NPT. It further conveyed its concerns about both Israel’s opacity policy and its perceived nuclear deterrence policy.

African Group


Similarly, on behalf of the African Group, Madagascar. welcomed the TPNW. The group further called upon all states to take into consideration the severe effect the weapons have on human health as well as for all states to “seize this opportunity” and ratify the TPNW. Additionally, the African Group mentioned whether "we could for a brief moment ponder, about the world we will leave for our children?”

Latin American and Caribbean states

Amongst this regional group, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Brasil, Cuba, Guatemala, Venezuela, Guyana, Peru, and Uruguay underscored the importance of nuclear disarmament. In particular, Costa Rica, which chaired the 2017 negotiations on the TPNW, underscored the necessity for states to support the TPNW. It also resolutely stated that “ We will not rest until we free the world of this terrible nuclear nightmare because we hold dear a world free of nuclear weapons.  

Building upon Costa Rica’s statement, Mexico explained that the threat and use of nuclear weapons are illegal under international humanitarian law.  It further recalled its commitments to nuclear weapons free zones (nwfzs).

Cuba also expressed historical points within the story of its own nation’s development relating to their battle for denuclearization. Moreover, Venezuela underscored its strong commitments to nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. It further expressed dismay about the slow pace of nuclear weapons. It further mentioned that nuclear weapons must be immediately eliminated in order to remove the Damocles’ nuclear sword that hangs over humanity. Finally,Venezuela emphasized its strong support to NWFZs; consequently, in this context, it called for the creation of a WMDFZ in the Middle East.

Central Asia

Concerning Central Asian states, Kazakhstan proclaimed that it actively contributes to nuclear free zones, wants to focus efforts also on cyber crimes which seem to have a connection to Weapons of Mass Destruction and are planning on ratifying the TPNW treaty. Kyrgyzstan . Kyrgyzstan reaffirmed the importance of multilateral nuclear disarmament measures. In this regards, it acknowledged the work of civil society and the UN in helping both the region and the world to move closer towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Considering Kyrgyzstan’s positive views, it is imperative for it to sign the TPNW as soon as possible.   Kyrgyzstan has yet to sign the TPNW treaty.

Northeast Asia

Regarding Northeast Asia, Japan expressed support for a step-by-step approach towards nuclear disarmament. In essence, it underscored its long-standing policy on nuclear disarmament and emphasized a need for both the nuclear states and non-nuclear weapons to collaborate together..

Unfortunately, despite the strong positions held amongst the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Hibakusha on the TPNW, Japan refused to support the TPNW. It is simply regrettable that Japan deliberately chose not to mention the TPNW.

Pacific Islands

In terms of the Pacific States, both Palau and Samoa touched upon the legacy of nuclear testing in the region, which motivated them to sign and ratify the TPNW. Both states are members of the Rontagona Treaty, which established the NWFZ in the South Pacific.

Unfortunately, the Marshall Islands, a state where the US tested its nuclear weapons, explicitly mentioned that it will not sign the TPNW. It will continue to “study” the treaty. It further expressed grave concerns about the TPNW’s provisions on victims assistance. The RMI erroneously believes that the provision about victims assistance places undue burden onto them and other affected states. This is simply not true as highlighted by ICAN and the Harvard Human Rights Law Clinic.  The RMI is relying on this argument because it is still worried that the TPNW violates its COMPACT agreement with the US. However, in a recent study by both ICAN and the Harvard Human Rights Law Clinic, it is possible for RMI to sign the agreement and remain in compliance with its obligations under the COMPACT agreement with the US

Nuclear Armed States

China reiterated its No-First-Use Policy and underscored a “pragmatic step-by-step approach towards establishing a world free of nuclear weapons.” This incremental process could take several long decades.

India supports negotiations in the CD and desires to engage in a global framework that is nondiscriminatory. - India mentioned the FMCT in the CD, a bs response i might add.They also gave importance to the United Nations resolution 1299.

Pakistan mentioned its alliance with the non-aligned movement and in 1978 affirmed that complete abolishment of nuclear weapons is the solution.

Observers

The Holy See underscored the importance of  the TPNW and declared that (noted is too weak) it as an “important step towards a nuclear free world.” The Holy See signed it and ratified it “on the very day it was opened for signature on the 20th of September 2017.” The Holy See further  urged all states “to make the “Nuclear Test Ban Treaty a reality by ensuring its entry into force.”

The ICRC stated that that even a minimal amount of nuclear damage would have catastrophic effects on human health, the environment, the climate, food production, and socioeconomic development. It further explained  the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a a “historical achievement signaling the determination of a large majority of states.” Finally, it called on all states to sign and ratify on the TPNW. .

At the end of the event, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, delivered a strong statement in which it reiterated that a vast majority of states adopted the TPNW. Since the historic adoption of the treaty, there has been tremendous progress towards its entry into force.

In addition to mentioning the importance of the TPNW, ICAN reminded states that strategically deployed nuclear weapons pose a grave danger to everyone. ICAN further mentioned that nuclear weapons undermine the sustainable development goals; and therefore, nuclear weapons must be banned once and for all.  





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Nobel Peace Prize: Past, Present, and Future

Nobel Peace Prize: Past, Present, and Future

By Alei Rizvi and Andrew Sokulski

On September 17th, International Peace Institute (heretofore abbreviated as IPI) convened “Nobel Peace Prize: Past, Present, and Future” was held by the International Peace Institute. The speaker, Asle Toje, a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, spoke about the prize, its history, its significance, and its reverberations. Terje Rød-Larsen, the President of the International Peace Institute, moderated the event.

Per the standard flow of history, he explained the origins of the Nobel Prize. Upheld as a prize for the elite, intellectual, and difficult to enter circles of societies in the popular conscious, the speaker explained how Alfred Nobel was not part of the richest percent of his society. As he explained, Alfred Nobel was born into the lower echelons of the Swedish aristocracy. He had always been an inventor and dreamer. In contrast to the belief that Alfred Nobel ought to have been a pacifist, he was actually not one at all. Nobel was involved in the oil and armament trade and moved from Stockholm to St. Petersburg to pursue it. Nobel is believed to have said that “Where I work is my home, and my home is anywhere.” Such is evident within his life as he had also moved to Italy as well.

Progressing to explaining the present moment, Toje mentioned how the nobel prize seeks to build fraternity amongst nations and give recognition to those who create the preconditions for such harmony to exist. In this sense, the award positively exemplifies Emmual Kant’s political philosophy on how states should behave with one another.

Toje also stated the policies regarding the handing out of the Nobel Peace Prize during this time, such as the fact that the committee is not necessarily obliged to award it every year. He mentioned that if the committee were to come to a situation in which it could not find an eligible candidate, or any suggested candidate, then the committee would not pick someone to award it to. However, given the present nature of how each year has turned out, the committee have has countless nominations and have found eligible recipients. With this mission in mind, the committee continus to search for eligible candidates and hopes to foster good-will amongst states.

After concluding his presentation on the Nobel Peace Prize’s history, significance and implications, Toje engaged in a enlightening question and answer session with the audience members. The session opened with an intriguing question from the moderator, Terje Rod-Larsen asked Mr. Toje to provide insights on the gender imbalance and overrepresentation of the Northern Hemisphere in the history of the award. Mr. Toje explained that the award was primarily considered for individuals in the fields of arbitration and diplomacy, specifically for international organizations like the League of Nations or the UN, fields that have historically been dominated by men. Mr. Toje asserted that this is an unfortunate truth but must be acknowledged in order to allow more opportunity for underrepresented groups in the future.

Additionally, many attendees asked if the committee considers the implications of awarding prizes to specific individuals, specifically if they considered the effects the prize would have on constituents of world leaders rather than on the leaders themselves. Mr. Toje assured the audience that the prize could not guarantee peace, but often encourages leaders to move towards a peace that would benefit everyone. He used the example of former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, claiming that awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 encouraged him to resolve the conflict between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) with a renewed spirit.

Mr. Toje was often confronted with the controversial subject of potentially revoking an awarded prize in response to actions that threaten peace, particularly in regards to the unpopular award to Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar. Toje implied that the Committee was very unlikely to revoke an award, due to the dangerous precedent it would set, as there are many unpopular recipients of the award. He further claimed that the awards are given for actions that recipients have done in the past to promote peace and to encourage them to continue promoting peace in the future, but cannot hold them accountable or ensure that they will continue.

Although confronted with many challenging and contentious questions, Mr. Toje often chose to respond vaguely or not at all, as he was obligated not to discuss certain subjects, as there is a confidentiality agreement on discussions of the past fifty years. Thus, his discussion was limited to only publicly disclosed information.

Despite this restriction, the presentation and engagement with the audience were undoubtedly very illuminating and offered immense insight into the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

 

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The Culture of Sustaining Peace

International Peace Institute's Policy Forum: The Culture of Sustaining Peace

By Hailey Payea

On September 5th, I attended the annual International Peace Institute’s (IPI) Policy Forum. This year, it co-hosted the forum with the Al-Babtain Foundation in order to discuss “The Culture of Sustaining Peace”. The culture of sustaining peace is especially important with today’s aggressive political rhetoric.

With the convening of the seventy-third session of the General Assembly on September 18th, the idea of political weaponry and the question of how to move forward in the world has come to the forefront of our minds.

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is steadily approaching and leads us to answer the question of how to analyze peace culture today. It is difficult to imagine a world that can live without the weaponry that is used as a secure threat. However, the panelists mentioned methods they believe to be useful in developing a world that solves conflicts rather than instigating them.

The forum began with Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain, the founder of the Al-Babtain Foundation. Mr. Al-Babtain discussed war and the principle of how to avoid it. He explained that he wishes to propose the Culture of Sustainable Peace Plan in order to cooperate with actors and to define the concept of the culture of peace. He encouraged the participants to ponder about the concept of peace as linked to necessary actions, resources, and ourselves as well.

After his closing remarks, Al-Babtain pointed out that he had brought his entire family and explained how we should all bring something to the table when it comes to finding mutuality in a world of conflict. Mr. Al-Babtain left the podium and opened the floor to Mr. Kevin Rudd.

Mr. Rudd introduced the panel: H.E. Ambassador Tareq Md. Ariful Islam, Deputy Representative of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the UN; H.E. Ambassador Karen Pierce, Permanent Representative to the United Kingdom to the UN; Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination and UN Executive Office of the Secretary General; and Mr. Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair to IPI

Kevin Rudd opened the panel, discussing the psychology of politics. He began the discussion by opening with a question: is there anyway that, as humans, we could live in a purely peaceful society. He essentially asked the question that brought us all to the International Peace Institute: “What is peace culture and how can we achieve it?”

Following Mr. Rudd’s discussions, Mr. Islam explained that there is a traditional approach to peace, by meaningful engagement of peace building from national ownership. He left his speech open to action and called for the return of displaced peoples to their homes and families.

After Mr. Ariful Islam, H.E. Ambassador Pierce explained, “We live in an environment, where peace is fundamental and we forget cultures that do not have the same experience.” Her perspective focused on three elements. The first was inclusivity and strategizing to be more inclusive to minorities and adversaries. The second was calling for accountable institutions to create equal access in order to ease political tension. The last point emphasized human, economic and social rights. H.E. Ambassador further Pierce noted that this was especially important on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Once Ms. Pierce finished, Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild delivered the last speech in which he underscored that “peace is a collective state of mind.” He clarified his point by stating that in order to achieve real peace, we must humanize the enemy.

Mr. Hochschild reflected on an event where sixty victims of conflict from all sides in Havana were brought together to negotiate peace and share their experiences. These victims did not see each other as family members, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers. They saw one another as symbols of oppressive states and therefore dehumanized the other side. This event looked beyond the simplifications and dehumanization that characterizes the propaganda that comes with warfare, and in many cases, too often succeeds it.

Each speaker brought a fantastic perspective to the theory of peace. We are allowed to question methods and ideas that bring peace to the forefront of our minds. There are ways to implement peace in our day-to-day lives. By living kindly and understanding, we are able to address peace daily. In Mr. Hochschild’s words, this humanization of peace allows us to bring peace into our own hands. Too often we have to make the decision of basic human instinct: the fight or flight mentality. When it comes to interstate relations, no longer should states see one another as adversaries. By surrounding new generations in a world of peace, we can normalize peace into our culture.

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UNSC Meeting on Maintaining International Peace and Security

UN Security Council Meeting on Maintaining International Peace and Security

 

UNSC 8/29

 

Maintaining International Peace and Security

 

By: Laura Agosto

 

On August 29th, the UNSC received briefings from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Peace Activist Mossarat Qadeem. After receiving briefings on pressing issues regarding maintaining international peace and security, Member states discussed methods to involve women and youth in peace operations.

 

  • Opening Statements
  1. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations noted that as wars become more complex, mediation techniques must also improve. He noted how creativity and cooperation are essential characteristics for successful mediation, noting the success of mediation when UN Special Envoys engaged with local civil society groups. The Secretary-General observed important developments in the growing roles women and youth are playing in mediating otherwise impossible conflicts. Secretary-General Guterres called upon the UNSC to show a united front, as to signal to warring parties that they must settled their disputes peacefully.
  2. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Member of High Level Advisory Board on Mediation emphasized the importance of reconciliation networks as a means to creating long-lasting peace. He emphasized the importance of grassroots organizations in partaking in peace negotiations, because they play the most consequential role in maintaining peace.
  3. Mossarat Qadeem, Peace Activist and Co-Founder of PAIMAN Alumni Trust highlighted women’s effective use of soft power and how women can use their personal connections to their households and communities to successfully mediate conflicts.
  • Statements from Permanent UNSC Members

 

  • United States

 

The United States recognized the effectiveness of mediation, but noted that even the most skilled mediators cannot compel actors to reach peaceful solutions. The United States called on Member States to be willing to use strong tools to push warring parties to the negotiating table.

 

  • United Kingdom

 

The United Kingdom noted the progress the United Nations has made in professionalizing mediation. More broadly, the United Kingdom stated that mediation must be properly resourced, and that women should and must have an equal role as local and national leaders and decision-makers.

 

  • France

 

France emphasized mediation as an essential tool of conflict resolution as provided by Chapter 6 of the UN Charter. France noted the recent success of mediation in states like Gambia, implying this success can be reproduced in other conflict-ridden states.

 

  • Russian Federation

 

Taking an economics viewpoint, the Russian Federation cites benefits mediation has over peacekeeping or sanctions that hinder development. The Russian Federation urges the UN to divide mediation tasks evenly, cautioning against monopolizing mediation efforts to achieve political goals.

 

  • China

 

China cites the UN Charter as a framework to engage in peaceful dispute settlement through political and diplomatic means.

  • Statements from Other UNSC Members

 

  • Europe

 

Poland called for enhanced mediation capacity of the UN, and noted the crucial involvement of civil society to design, implement, and monitor peace solutions.

 

The Netherlands described prevention as the core of United Nations work. Because of complex conflicts facing the international community, the Netherlands stated the UN is uniquely placed to provide coordination among multiple peace actors to reach peaceful settlements.

 

Sweden cited women’s participation in mediation as not a women’s issue, but an issue of peace and security. Sweden urged the Council to stand united in support UN mediation efforts and to involve women, religious, and youth groups in these processes.  

 

 

  • Latin American and Caribbean Group

 

Bolivia has always and will continue to support the use of peaceful dispute settlement. Bolivia praised the work of the High Level Advisory Board on Mediation organized by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

 

Peru welcomed the creation of the High Level Advisory Board, but stressed that the international community must actively support the development and strengthening of mediation capacities.  

 

 

  • Central Asian Group

 

Recalling ts inclusion of women, religious, and youth groups in brokering Syria peace talks and the Iran nuclear, Kazakhstan called for an inclusion approach to mediation from all UNSC Member States.

 

  • Middle East

 

Kuwait expressed dissatisfaction with high UNSC spending on peacekeeping operations, arguing that those resources should be redirected to mediation efforts instead.

 

  • African States

 

Equatorial Guinea spoke on behalf of itself, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ethiopia, and called for UNSC member-states to act more proactively to fund mediation appropriately. Citing complex challenges to international security, Equatorial Guinea noted the scope of mediation is too large for the UN to tackle on its own. Equatorial Guinea called for additional support to local mediation partners to assure successful, long-term peaceful solutions.

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UN Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East

UN Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East

UNSC 7/27

The Situation in the Middle East

By Laura Agosto

On July 27th, the UNSC gathered receiving briefings from Mr. Mark Lowock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Ms. Virginia Gamba, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. After receiving these briefings on the ongoing conflicts in Syria, member-states discussed the situation in Syria.

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UNSC Meeting on Palestine and Israel

UNSC: Meeting on the Situation in Palestine

7/25/2018

By Lizzie McGowan

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

Nickolay E. Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East process, regretted that the security dynamics in Israel and Syria have continued to deteriorate. To make matters worse, the tensions in the Gaza strip have reached a boiling point.  The demolition of Palestinian holy sites and structures have increased tensions because Israel has used it as a way to work around the temporary halt of establishing illegal Jewish settlements.

 

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Situation in Cyprus

UNSC 7/26

The Situation in Cyprus

UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

By: Patrick Liu

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The Situation in Colombia and UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

UNSC 7/26

The Situation in Colombia

UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

By: Patrick Liu

 

More information: https://www.whatsinblue.org/2018/07/colombia-briefing-and-consultations-ahead-of-the-change-of-government.php

 

 

  • Important Briefings

 

    1. Jean Arnault - SRSG and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia

SRSG Arnault commended the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, for his excellent leadership in the Colombian peace process during his term. Arnault additionally recognized all the parties involved in the ongoing process, and noted that the Colombian peace process “may finally be close to the right balance”. Arnault hoped that the successful Colombian initiative would be an inspiration for future UN missions.

2. Óscar Naranjo - Vice-President of Colombia

Vice President Naranjo sincerely thanked the UNSC and all member-states involved in the Colombian peace process for their ongoing and encouraging support. As his last briefing to the UNSC under his term as vice president, Naranjo stressed the absolute importance of the work being done at the UN as it had been essential to stabilizing Colombia and building peace. Vice-president Naranjo concluded by underscoring the need to care for peace in Colombia and across the world in an ethical conviction to end violence.

 

  • Statements from Important Regional Members

 

    1. Peru

Peru acknowledged the efforts that have led to success in Colombia, but highlighted many ongoing security threats from organized crime and drug trafficking. Peru advised a focus on root causes to promote alternative sustainable development. In reintegration, Peru noted the need for a “new social fabric” in order to promote boost Colombian private sector. Despite the challenges ahead, Peru again recognized the dedicated efforts of the Colombian peace process, and urged ongoing engagement in Colombia.

              2. Bolivia

Bolivia adamantly condemned acts of violence that have resulted in the deaths of social and human rights leaders. Bolivia called for increased state presence and investigations on these issues. On economic reintegration, Bolivia urged for greater private sector progress in addition to public works engagement. Citing this phase as “the most important peace process in the history of Colombia”, Bolivia hoped for a continuation of strong leadership and political will to ensure the completion of the Colombian process.

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UNSC Meeting on Women, Peace and Security in the Sahel Region

UN Security Council

Meeting 8306 - Peace and Security in Africa

Women, Peace and Security in the Sahel Region

7/10

By: Patrick Liu

 

Background information: https://www.whatsinblue.org/2018/07/women-peace-and-security-in-the-sahel-region-briefing.php

 

 

  • Opening Briefings:

 

    1. Amina Mohammed - UN Deputy Secretary General

Amina Mohammed opened the UNSC meeting by briefing the Council on the recent trip to South Sudan, Chad, and Niger. Noting the rising levels of violence in these areas, the DSG urged the greater participation of women in decision making of the political peace process. The DSG further cited the role of women in preventing violent extremism and strengthening national economies. DSG Mohammed addressed the connection between security and development, noting that “security comes at the expense of development”. Therefore, the DSG advocated for increased transformative investment for development.

            2. Bineta Diop - AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security

Bineta Diop gave a powerful testament to the UNSC advocating for the transformation of Africa led by women. Diop testified that there is “no peace, no security, and no development without the effective participation of women”. Diop advised for greater women participation in national action plans as well as in responses to other national challenges. Furthermore, Diop cited the need for greater investment in education to strengthen the capacity for women and young people. In closing, Diop remarked that the UNSC to take action by stating : “the battle for security is won by responding to the needs of the people!”

            3. Margot Wallström - Swedish Foreign Minister

In her capacity as the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström noted the vast disparity between “hope and despair” during her visit to South Sudan, Chad, and Niger. Specifically Wallström regretted the disproportionate burden that women face to threats to security. In fighting this fundamentally peace and security issue, Wallström advocated for joint-integrated responses from the international community to strengthen national capacities to fight impunity, create sustainable livelihoods, fight violent extremism, and promote equality. Wallström reminded the UNSC of their responsibility in helping to fight for peace and security, noting that “their destiny is our destiny”.



 

  • Statements from Permanent Members

 

    1. United States

The United States encouraged the role of women to use the power of their voices. In a comprehensive solution to the Sahel Region issues, the US urged for the consideration of the empowerment of women. The US also cited the linkage between women’s fundamental rights and the advancement of international peace and security.

            2. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom expressed its interest in promoting the level of women’s participation in decision making, economic life, and overall regional peace and security. In response, the UK reiterated its commitment of its resources to women’s development.

            3. France (and Germany)

France and Germany maintained that only integrated action of security, political, and human rights developments will foster lasting Sahel development. In this aspect, France stressed the need to support UNISS and women participation in the Sahel region. In closing, France and Germany called for the systematic and long-term promotion of the capacity of women to engage in the political and peace processes.

           4. Russia

The Russian Federation lamented the fact that 17 years since resolution 1325 that strengthened the protection of women in armed conflict, women today are still subjected to violence. Russia hoped for joint forces and action to fight against these crimes to women. Russia further noted the positive role of women in armed conflict, prevention, and post-conflict rebuilding situations. Lastly, Russia reiterated that the main actors of such efforts should be states with civil societies and regional organizations as supporters

           5. China

China named many of the challenges faced by the Sahel region including cross-border crimes, underdevelopment, poverty, and the humanitarian situation that have grave effects on peace and development. In addressing these issues, China hoped political solutions draw from the domestic population and from women specifically. The international community should therefore support leadership in Africa and assist where needed to ensure the full implementation of the 2030 agenda and sustainable peace and development.

 

  • Statements from Other Members

 

    1. European States

The Netherlands addressed the disproportionate effects on women from climate change, and the need for gender sensitive responses in the Sahel. In addition to a UN system to support a strategy, the Netherlands advocated for greater women’s participation in decision making and for women’s empowerment on issues of peace and security.

Poland urged for the implementation of the UN strategy plan for Sahel in order to respond to the needs of the women. Furthermore Poland promoted the positive role of women as agents of change in the long term sustainable development of the Sahel region.

             2. Latin America

Peru insisted the focus of such peace and security issues on their root causes: the empowerment of Women, gender equality, and access to justice. In response, Peru promoted greater participation, education, and employment opportunities for women. Peru therefore urged the UNSC to promote regional mechanisms like the G5 Sahel, ECOWAS, and the AU to mainstream gender perspectives, and accomplish these goals.

Bolivia re-emphasized the need for cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organizations

    1. Central Asia

Kazakhstan recognized the growing relationship between the AU and UN in promoting the women, peace and security agenda and in advancing gender empowerment. However, Kazakhstan mentioned the need to bridge the gap between spoken commitment and actual action.

In this context, Kazakhstan urged a focus on structural drivers and root causes of instability to understand the link between security and development, and create a comprehensive approach to build resilience. Lastly, Kazakhstan acknowledged the continued issue of financing for women, peace and security initiatives and hoped for “better coordinated strategies and better collaboration with partners” to ensure their survival.

            2. Middle East

Kuwait welcomed the advancement of the role of women in achieving peace and security in the Sahel region as part of the SG’s approach to gender equality in various UN bodies.

            3. African States

Equatorial Guinea denounced the terrorist activity in the Sahel region that left thousands of IDPs dependent on humanitarian aid and assistance. These violent outbreaks particularly affect women and girls. Equatorial Guinea therefore called on the international community to support the government in waging war against terrorism in order to protect against gender based violence. Equatorial Guinea lauded the work by UNOWAS and AU counter-terrorism initiatives.

Ethiopia similarly acknowledged the impact from conflicts on women and girls. In addition to lauding AU and UN joint regional approach, Ethiopia emphasized the need to build partnerships with various stakeholders. Cote D’Ivoire recognized the complex, multidimensional crises that affects women and urged for greater focus to address the issues and root causes.

 

  • Statements from Other Parties

 

    1. Chad

Chad lauded the tripart delegation trip to Chad, Sudan, and Niger and thanked the diplomats for their work on women, peace, and security. Chad noted the precariousness of living conditions for women because of violent conflicts and climate change. Chad also stressed the need to assist resulting IDPs and refugees, most who are women and children.

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