Australia – From July 28th to the 4th August 2023, a delegation of Pacific Peace activists participated in a one-day conference in Brisbane then went on to speak at events in Sydney Canberra and Darwin. The peace delegation visit coincided with the largest ever US led Talisman Sabre exercise in Australia with over 30 thousand troops participating. The so-called exercise is held in the Central Queensland Shoalwater Bay designated military training precinct.
This is not the first time that activists from around the Pacific have campaigned against Talisman Sabre. In 2007, for example, a Peace Convergence that actually travelled to the Shoalwater Bay area was convened when people from a range of Pacific States gathered to witness US and Australian troops training for war. As with the 2023 Speaking Tour, participants were able also to share their own experiences of war and the presence of US bases in their countries. Some of the issues tackled are as follows:
the loss of sovereignty, autonomy and self-determination;
the appropriation and destruction of indigenous ancestral land;
the siphoning of resources away from urgent local needs, including to improve local welfare, to address climate change and to respond to increasingly severe and numerous typhoons and other corollaries of climate change.
the aggravation of climate change through the military’s use of fossil fuels; and
other direct impacts of the large military presence.
PROTECTION AND ASYLUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER OLGA KARATCH
German, French and Italian below
August 23nd 2023
Following the denial of political asylum by the Lithuanian authorities for the Belarusian peace builder and human rights defender Olga Karatch (Volha Karach), the international campaign #protection4olga has just been launched to demand protection and asylum for the director of the organisation ‘Our House‘. She has been fighting for human rights in Belarus for years, including the right to conscientious objection to military service, and is therefore persecuted and faces capital punishment in her country of origin, where she has been labelled a ‘terrorist’ by the regime.
On 18 August 2023, Lithuania denied her political asylum, calling Olga Karatch a ‘person who represents a threat to the national security of the Republic of Lithuania’. She was however granted a one-year temporary residence in the country, probably due to international letters of concerns that some politicians and heads of foundations had written to the authorities and to Lithuanian Ambassadors in different countries. But this status does not give her any safety regarding her status – authorities could at any time renege this decision and decide to deport her.
For that reason, we have started an International Campaign for the immediate protection of the human rights defender and peacebuilder Olga Karatch.
The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted in 1998 acknowledges ‘the valuable work of individuals, groups and associations in contributing to the effective elimination of all violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of peoples and individuals’.
States have an obligation to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens, and, especially for human rights defenders who ‘frequently face threats and harassment and suffer insecurity’ ‘to take all measures necessary to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, at both the local and the national levels, including in times of armed conflict and peacebuilding’, as stated in UN General Assembly resolution 66/164.
We express our deep concern that ‘in some instances, national security and counter-terrorism legislation and other measures, such as laws regulating civil society organizations, have been misused to target human rights defenders or have hindered their work and endangered their safety in a manner contrary to international law’, as stated in UN Human Rights Council Resolution 22/6 of 2013 on the protection of human rights defenders, which commits all states to protect and not criminalise those who work to defend human rights.
Therefore, we appeal to the highest Lithuanian authorities, the President of the Republic of Lithuania, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to respect international standards and provide protection and asylum for the Belarussian human rights defender Olga Karatch, who has taken refuge in Lithuania.
Lithuania is also a member of the European Union. We therefore also appeal to the European institutions, EU Missions (Embassies and Consulates of EU Member States and European Commission Delegations) which, as stated in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, should support and protect human rights defenders.
We also call on our national governments to take action to ensure that the protection of human rights defenders is guaranteed always and everywhere.
We call upon all civil society, from individual citizens to journalists and institutional representatives across Europe to take action in defence of human rights and those who defend them.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE #PROTECTION4OLGA CAMPAIGN
There are numerous ways we can support Olga:
You can begin by simply sharing our posts!
Spread the word with #protection4olga and #ObjectWarCampaign across all your social media platforms!
Send a letter to the Lithuanian authorities urging asylum for Olga Karatch. We have prepared a sample letter, which you can find and download here. We kindly request that you include Our House in the CC field (firstname.lastname@example.org) when sending an email. Translations are available below, but we recommend sending the English version of the letter. Thank you!
The utilization of drones for warfare, both by state and nonstate entities, has engendered the unlawful killing, physical harm, and displacement of millions worldwide, primarily in the Global South. Moreover, the looming specter of autonomous drones being equipped with depleted uranium and directed towards nuclear power plants and critical installations poses catastrophic prospects. To halt this imminent threat, the United Nations must render this alarming tool of fatality and devastation illegal.
The following statement sets forth the demand by organizations in many countries, including international organizations and organizations of faith and conscience, for the United Nations to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Weaponized Drones.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Consular ans Diplomatic Affairs from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (Philippines), a Master’s Degree in Political Science with major in Global Politics from the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines), and a Master’s Degree in Peace education from the University for Peace – UPEACE (Philippines and Costa Rica).
Emily Molinari, from Italy, holds a Bachelor’s double degree in International Studies from the Università degli Studi di Trento (Italy) and the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany). She is currently completing a binational Master’s degree in Conflict, Memory and Peace from the KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá (Colombia).
We are honored to share that IPB Executive Director Sean Conner joined the 2023 Nationwide Peace March in Japan, standing in solidarity with the Hibakusha. This march is an integral part of the 2023 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. From August 1 to August 4, together, we march for peace and nuclear disarmament, cherishing the memories of those affected by the tragic consequences of these weapons. Let’s continue striving for a world without nuclear threats.
IPB strongly protests against the arrest of Boris Kagarlitsky in Russia, a worldwide renown sociologist and peace activist. We see the charge against him of “justifying terrorism,” as undermining common efforts for world peace. We call on the Russian authorities to drop their charges and release Boris Kagarlitsky! A call “Free Boris Kagarlitsky!” has been made which we endorse. You find the petition here: https://chng.it/BWHFLtLZWV
Among the initiators were Reiner Braun, former Executive Director of IPB, Ingeborg Breines former chair of IPB and Tord Björk, member of the council of IPB. Others who have signed this appeal are Erkki Tuomija, former minister of Foreign Affairs in Finland; Rosa Elva Zúñiga from CEEAL and the World Social Forum movement in Mexico; Sergio Bassoli from the Italian trade union CGIL; Patrick Bond, climate justice activist from South Africa; Leo Gabriel, Member of the International Council of the World Social Forum; Joseph Gerson; President, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security; Ulla Klötzer; Women for Peace, Finland; Laura Lodenius; Director, Peace Union of Finland; Francine Mestrum, Global Social Justice, Belgium; Mirek Prokeš, Alliance for Labour and Solidarity, Czechia, Prague Spring 2 – European network against right-wing extremism and populism; Håkan Svenneling, Member of Parliament and Foreign Policy spokesperson for the Left Party, Sweden; and Hilary Wainwright, Co- editor Red Pepper magazine.
On July 8-9, 2023, the International Peace Bureauand World BEYOND Warorganized the second edition of the 24-hour Peace Wave, a global event conducted via Zoom. This unique initiative involved live peace actions taking place in various streets and squares worldwide, synchronized with the movement of the sun.
The timing of the Peace Wave coincided with the annual NATO meeting, providing an opportunity for participants to express their opposition to all military alliances. Emphasizing the essence of our mission, the slogan
No to militarization, yes to Cooperation!
captured our commitment to promoting peaceful collaboration.
Throughout the 24-hour period, the Peace Wave traversed numerous locations across the globe, facilitating a diverse range of activities. These included rallies, concerts, artwork creation, blood drives, the installation of peace poles, dances, speeches, and various public demonstrations. The breadth of events underscored the multiple interpretations of the meaning of “Peace” in different regions worldwide.
The Peace Wave served as an extraordinary source of inspiration, reminding individuals of the collective efforts aimed at fostering a safer, improved, and more peaceful world. It brought together like-minded individuals dedicated to this cause, fostering unity and cooperation on a global scale.
A big thank you to all the Regional Coordinatoros, Participants and Supporters who have helped us organizing this incredible Peace Wave!
Major economies gathered for the G7 Summit Meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, from May 19 to May 21, 2023. The G7 leaders reaffirmed their support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and their commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives. But what’s the real deal?
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Kate Hudson, and the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo), Yasui Masakazu, issued their perspectives on the G7’s meeting and the current state of nuclear disarmament that we are in now. Their insights will give us the other side of the coin and a closer look at the nuclear issue that we are all facing.
Together, we call for a nuclear-free world—the genuine one.
1. Gensuikyo: Statement on the G7 Hiroshima Summit
We Protest against G7 Leaders for Turning their Backs on the Call of the Hibakusha and the PeopleSeeking the Prohibition and Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
By: Yasui Masakazu, Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo) on May 21, 2023
Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the loved ones of Jayantha Dhanapala, former IPB Sean MacBride Prize Awardee 2007. In this challenging moment, we wish peace, comfort, bravery, and lots of love. Dhanapala is a former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and has served as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Office in Geneva. He also served as IPB Honorary President from 2001 to 2005.
He was widely praised for his presidency of the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, a historic occasion in the field of disarmament, because he developed a package of decisions that balanced the twin objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament and the concerns of the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states, which were adopted without a vote. IPB will always remember his remarkable indigenous and acceptable solution when this conference felt deadlocked.
Thank you, Mr. Dhanapala, for your dedication to the cause of disarmament and your initiatives towards creating the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. We will continue to serve your legacy.
More about Jayantha Dhanapala’s works are available at: https://www.betterworld.info/peace/peace-prizes/sean-macbride-peace-prize/2007-jayantha-dhanapala-sri-lanka