IPB Statement: The Urgent Need for Deescalation to Prevent Nuclear Disaster 

 – 27 February 2023 

Russia’s suspension of the New START Treaty marks the latest in the dangerous and irresponsible escalation of nuclear threats since the invasion of Ukraine one year ago. The rapid deterioration of diplomatic relations between Russia and the West, alongside the intensification of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s previous nuclear threats, must serve as a wake-up call to the world: we are closer than we have ever been to nuclear annihilation. 

Just prior to the Russian invasion, in January 2022, the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states reiterated what we all know to be true: a nuclear war must not be fought and cannot be won. Instead of taking this message to heart, Russia and the West continue to rely on nuclear deterrence as a fundamental strategy for their foreign policies, including as a shield for their imperialist ventures. Both sides are guilty of eroding the nuclear arms control regime established during the Cold War – visits to US nuclear sites under New START were likewise restricted by sanctions against Russia. The threat of the use of nuclear weapons is now higher than at any point in history since the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

The International Peace Bureau calls again for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and for all involved parties to engage in negotiations to bring the violence and bloodshed to an end. We demand that negotiations include the security concerns of Ukrainians, Russians, and Western governments to rely on common security and to immediately resume the New START treaty, as well as to work for the re-establishment of further nuclear arms control and trust-building treaties, in line with the principles of common security. 

Furthermore, IPB calls for an end to the expensive modernization of nuclear weapons – a multi-billion dollar project that does nothing to ensure security – and for all nations to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons for a safer, nuclear-free future. 

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You can download the PDF version of this Statement in English here:

You can download the PDF version of this Statement in Russian here:

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New article by Michael von der Schulenburg

Michael von der Schulenburg, a former UN/OSCE diplomat, who has lately been working on the Vatican peace plan has published a new article on the Ukraine war, the importance of the UN-Charta and the obligation to seek peace.

[…] The Preamble of the UN Charter states that “We the peoples of the United Nations (are) determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…” Unfortunately, this appeal of the UN Charter seems forgotten today. Especially, the original founding members, and hence supposed protectors, of the UN Charter, the US, UK, France and now also Russia, have repeatedly eroded its principles for their own political aims or, indeed, ignored it altogether. As permanent members of the UN Security Council with a veto power they were in a position to do this. In the Ukraine war, these four veto powers have now become direct adversaries, making a mockery of the UN Charter meant to prevent such wars. They thus bear primary responsibility for this war and its consequences vis-à-vis humanity.[…]” (20.02.2023, Michael von der Schulenburg in “The war in Ukraine and our obligation to seek peace – A call to find peaceful solutions”)

If you’re interested in reading the full article, please click here.

Appeal for Peace – 5,000 signatures reached

The German-Austrian appeal for peace in Ukraine, which calls for ceasefire and peace negotiations between the warring parties involved, has now exceeded the 5000 signatures mark!

Almost all German and Austrian peace organizations and peace activists have signed the appeal. It calls on the German and Austrian governments, among others, to support a UN peace initiative. The idea of a diplomatic initiative, which is now widespread in various countries, calls on governments to advocate the formation of a high-level and highly legitimized UN commission headed by the UN Secretary-General. This commission, which would be legitimized by the UN General Assembly and would have to, among others, consist of foreign ministers from influential states, has the task to bring the governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation to the negotiating table. The goals are to achieve a ceasefire and to negotiate a binding peace order between the opposing states as a prerequisite for a European security architecture involving Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Read and support the appeal in German and English.

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.”

STOP THE WARS, STOP THE WAR IN UKRAINE, STOP THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS! – Le Mouvement de la Paix

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine shows how the existence of nuclear weapons promotes wars instead of preventing them, as the ideologies linked to the so-called nuclear deterrence claim. On the other hand, the present situation and Russia’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons show how nuclear weapons allow the nuclear powers to disregard respect for international law and oppose the construction of a world of common security and peace.

In this framework, and in the context of its participation in the next World Conference against A and H bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki between August 4 and 10, 2022, the Peace Movement joins the appeal launched by the organizing committee of this conference, a committee animated in particular by the associations of survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Hibakushas) and the victims of nuclear tests.

Le mouvement de la Paix is a non-governmental organization created in 1948 and approved as a “National Association for Youth and Popular Education”. A non-profit association under the 1901 law, the Mouvement de la Paix acts for disarmament, in particular nuclear, but also against the production and transfer of armaments, for the reduction of military budgets.

Even though the originally written in French, most of their last statements are available in English. You can find the the above excert in as a whole in the following link, together with other statements:

Click on the button to load the content from www.mvtpaix.org.

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Joint appeal for ceasefire and negotiations – 8/9 May 2022

The biggest global peace network, the IPB, and the 200-million strong ITUC have written personally to Presidents Putin and Zelensky urging them to mark Europe’s “day of liberation” – 8-9 May – by declaring a cease fire as a precursor to negotiations.

The ITUC and IPB urge Presidents Putin and Zelensky to meet immediately for peace negotiations in a neutral venue, such as Vienna or Geneva, with the involvement of the UN and its Secretary General to serve as the foundation for a new peace architecture in Europe in which Russia’s and Ukraine’s security interests are safeguarded and secured.

Reiner Braun, IPB Executive Director, said: “The only way out of the crises and to avoid a nuclear catastrophe is negotiations and to start a dialogue – even when it is very difficult.

The Day of Liberation marks the end of World War II in Europe, and the liberation of Europe from fascism. The end of the war was on 8 May in western Europe, but 9 May in the then Soviet Union because of time zones.

The joint appeal to the Presidents of Ukraine and the Russian Federation is available here: https://ipb.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/ipb_ituc_appeal.pdf

Russia invades Ukraine. War in Europe and what this could mean for Africa

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:

▪ Energy

▪ Agriculture

▪ Defence & Security

▪ Education

Energy

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.

Agriculture

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.

Education

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.

Conclusion

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.

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IPB Statement of Solidarity with Demonstrators in Russia and the People of Ukraine & Russian Petition

The International Peace Bureau stands in solidarity with those who are actively speaking out against the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine and the victims of the aggression. We welcome the peace protests in Moscow and many other cities of Russia.

Continue reading “IPB Statement of Solidarity with Demonstrators in Russia and the People of Ukraine & Russian Petition”

IPB Statement on Ukraine, 24 February 2022

The IPB condemns Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
The bombardments must be stopped immediately. What is needed is a comprehensive ceasefire, the withdrawal of all troops and a return to the negotiating table.

There is no military solution, only a political solution based on the principles of common security.