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Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Universal Peace Federation’s Two Slogans

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 19, 2014

Universal Peace FedeartionThe two slogans of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) are ‘Living for the Sake of Others’ and humanity is ‘One Family Under God’.

The first slogan, ‘Living for the sake of others’ is used by UPF to resolve conflicts and encourage personal growth. This conference has considered national branding deeply. The ultimate branding should be respected and trusted as someone who has integrity, a company that is law abiding and is a valuable stakeholder in the community or nation or a nation that is respected for its contribution to solving the problems of other less fortunate nations or to resolving world problems. In the UK prior to the last election in 2010 I was very happy that all three political parties had committed themselves to achieving 07 of 1% of Gross National Income to dedicate to Overseas Development Aid. It was something that we and many other NGOs had campaigned for before the election and since there has been a constant battle to maintain that total and the altruistic sincerity of the purposes for which it was and is being used. Read the rest of this entry »

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World is getting less peaceful. It is official!

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 21, 2014

World is getting less peaceful. It is official! The Global Peace Index research into costs and benefits of peace is very thorough. The eight pillars of peace for stable and resilient nations are very important to maintain. #peaceday #jcipeace14 Camilla Schippa http://bit.ly/1ubOgvo

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African Peace and Inclusive Development – Africa Day 2014 – 5-00 pm 43 lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 12, 2014

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK

African Peace and Inclusive Development

Africa Day  Sunday 25th May at 5pm

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA, UK.

Draft Programme

 

You are welcome to attend the Africa Day celebration next Sunday from 5.00 pm. We will be having a mix of traditional dress (Please wear your traditional national dress if you are part of the African diaspora.), music, poetry and the highlighting of serious issues that require our support and action.

To commemorate the creation of the Africa Union (previously the Organisation of African Unity). UPF International often holds events in partnership with the African Union in New York to commemorate this day. For example Africa Day 2013 Manhattan with Dr Ban, Ki-moon.

Speakers include:

Pauline Long

Pauline Long is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion designer, motivational speaker, music video director with over 25 awards. Founder of Europe’s biggest award for black and ethnic personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts- BEFFTA. Named African woman of the year in UK and listed in Black Women in Europe Power List. She’s a TV presenter on The Pauline Long Show SKY 182. (More)

Ahmed Shebani (TBC) Founder of The Democratic Party of Libya

He is a civil engineer, politician and human rights activist. He is a respected Libyan dissident from the city of Misurata and a Libyan affairs specialist. He is the founder of the Libyan Freedom & Democracy Campaign. This political campaign has been a catalyst in igniting the 17th of February Libyan revolution on the virtual world. However, the Libyan Freedom & Democracy Campaign as a civil society movement has given birth on the 14Th of July 2011 to the first political party in Libya following the outbreak of the Libyan revolution. It is called the Democratic Party. It is the only secular political party. It is actively calling for the establishment of a secular democracy in Libya with the direct political help of the UN.

 

Charlotte Simon – Bongumba, Founder of Mothers of Congo

Charlotte Simion Bongumba is a Trustee of the Tatiana Giraud Foundation whose aim is to actively contribute to the restoration of women, girls, communities & families that have been victims of sexual violence in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Foundation works closely with grassroots organisations, treating and counselling victims while raising awareness of their plight in local communities. It aims also to financially support hospitals in the more remote or less developed areas of the Kivu region in the DRC to provide various treatments including healthcare, psychological treatment, temporary housing, as well as job training programmes for victims. Charlotte founded Mothers of Congo to promote awareness of the plight of the mothers of DRC and in particular those in eastern DRC who have suffered greatly while trying to raise their families. (www.mothersofcongo.org)

Robin Marsh: International Efforts to Curb Conflict Minerals. (Presentation)

Concluding with a film about Child Soldiers and Conflict Minerals.

RSVP if you would like to attend to pa@uk.upf.org

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Robin Marsh

Secretary General

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK

Mobile: 07956210768

Office: 02072620985

www.uk.upf.org

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the

Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Latest Newsletter     Upcoming UPF Events

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Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter May 14

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 26, 2014

Living In Service Of Others                              May 2014
International Women’s Day 2014 – Inspiring Change
By Ollie Davis In the House of Lords in London, Rt. Hon. Baroness Verma opened the evening to a room where every possible place to sit or stand was filled. ‘What a tragedy it is that, instead of these conversations, in the UK alone, 1 in 4 women have been or are still the victims of some sort of abuse in the home because of their gender.’ Read more…
The Role of Women At This Time: A Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Perspective
By Margaret Ali At the Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) International Women’s Day 2014 event in the UK’s House of Lords, Margaret Keverian Ali, a Director of UPF UK, spoke of the role of women from a UPF perspective. Co-founded by Father and Mother Moon in 2005, UPF is currently guided by Mother Moon* after the ascension (passing) of Father Moon almost 2 years ago. Read more…
A YouthUPF Evening With Humphrey Hawksley
By Lauren TurnerHumphrey Hawksley is the author of numerous books, a leading international correspondent for the BBC, and has been in the Royal Navy. As such many were curious to hear what he had to say with regards to his career and the path that he took to get to where he is today at our ‘An Evening With’, a YouthUPF event. Read more…

Holocaust Memorial and Genocide Awareness
By Alan RainerA meeting held at the House of Commons on Tuesday 4th February, 2014 for the Holocaust Commemoration and Genocide Awareness. The meeting was hosted by Mr. Virendra Sharma MP and chaired by Robin Marsh. Speakers included Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, Ruth Barnett, Desmond Fernandes, Paramjit Singh Kohli and Edwin Shuker. UN covenants signed in 1948 between nations obliged all nations to try to prevent genocides such as the Holocaust re-occurring and to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice.  Read more…
Concert for a North Korean Medical Project Held on 12th April
By Robin MarshUPF – UK, YouthUPF and International Relief Friendship Foundation (IRFF) – UK concert to raise money for a North Korean Medical Aid Project was held on April 12th in UPF’s UK HQ. The audience was also able to enjoy spicy Korean food as well as learn about the jointly supported North Korean Medical Project and other IRFF humanitarian efforts. (Photo Link) Read more…
The European Dream
By Walter SchwimmerWalter Schwimmer is the Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee of the World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizations. He gave this speech in Japan during a series of Universal Peace Federation events.  Read more…
AFP Justina Mutale featured in Avant Garde Magazine 
Buy the Magazine here.
Forum for Religious Freedom –
Europe names Aaron Rhodes President
Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe names Aaron Rhodes PresidentVienna, 4.Apil, 20014 (FOREF): Dr. Aaron Rhodes will succeed Professor Christian Bruenner as President of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF).  The board of directors will formalize the selection at their General Assembly meeting on 5 April 2014.Read more…
Democratic Republic of Congo – From Genocide to Recovery
Universal Peace Federation – UK’s Headquarters in London, together with Mothers of Congo, hosted an event to update and harness the passion to improve the human rights position of people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A number of the Congolese diaspora were present to share their experiences and to encourage everyone to work for a better future in DRC Read more… Be Ambassadors of Human Love by Pauline Long (Speaking Above)

Charlotte Simon called for Strong African Women and Justina Mutale spoke on the ‘Genocide in the DRC: Blood Rubber To Blood Metals’.

Conflict Minerals: The International Response by Robin Marsh

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Conflict Minerals: The International Response

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 5, 2014

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The Human Rights of Immigrants and Refugees by Lauren Turner

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 25, 2013

Immigrants and Refugees Panel 450The morning session at the European Leadership Conference 2013 – 22nd of November started with an introduction by Margret, followed by the first speaker, Ahmed Shebani. Ahmed Shebani is the Founder of a Libyan freedom and democracy campaign and spoke about illegal immigration and migration from North Africa. He began by explaining how Libya was the gateway to Africa, and because of this many refugees and economic migrants make their way towards Libya. By revealing that he knows that forces have in the past destroyed ships with immigrants still on them, he revealed the horrible truth of illegal immigration and people’s reaction to it, regardless of the reasons behind their migration. “Migrant’s are a force for good, not a force of negative connotation” he argued as he called for a new approach towards them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Youth Human Rights and Education

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 25, 2013

Youth Panel - Human Rights and Education 450The final conference session of the ‘Human Rights: Are Democratic Nations Upholding a Better Standard?’ was organised by Youth UPF and entitled ‘Youth Human Rights and Education’. It was held in the House of Lords Committee Room 4A and hosted by Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh on Friday November 22nd. This conference was partner of Parliament Week and was one of many events held during the week. Read the rest of this entry »

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Justina Mutale to Address The European Leadership Conference

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 24, 2013

Justina Mutale speaking 700London UK – Justina Mutale, African Woman of the Year and Founder/CEO of POSITIVE RUNWAY: Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread is scheduled to address the European Leadership Conference at the Houses of Parliament and the House of Lords in London, on Thursday and Friday 21-22 November 2013.

The Conference is part of the activities of “PARLIAMENT WEEK” and part of a series of major events in National Parliaments including the United Nations in Geneva and Vienna, as well as the European Parliament in Brussels focused on issues of Human Rights, Human Development, the European Relationship with Africa and the Future of Multiculturalism.

– See more at: http://ukzambians.co.uk/home/2013/11/21/justina-mutale-to-address-the-european-leadership-conference/#sthash.d4YiV9rU.dpuf

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WOMEN’S INCREASED/EQUAL PARTICIPATION IN THE POLITICAL DECISION-MAKING PROCESS ESSENTIAL TO SUSTAINABLE GROWTH : AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 21, 2013

WOMEN’S INCREASED/EQUAL PARTICIPATION IN THE POLITICAL DECISION-MAKING PROCESS ESSENTIAL TO SUSTAINABLE GROWTH: AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE

By Justina Mutale, African Woman of the Year 2012

European Leadership Conference, 21-22 November 2013, London

African women and their potential contributions to economic advances, social progress and environmental protection have over the years been marginalized. In failing to utilise the potential and talents of their female populations, African countries are under investing in the human capital needed to assure sustainable development. Utilising women’s potential could increase economic growth, reduce poverty, enhance societal well being, and help ensure sustainable development in Africa. As stated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, “Women represent half of the world’s population … and should have their fair share in making decisions.” This view was reiterated by former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton who said “…no government can succeed if it excludes half of its people from important decisions.” During the recently held 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, UN Women called for the inclusion of and investment in women’s rights and gender equality in order to bring transformative change to women’s lives and enable real progress in the context of a future global agenda.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Responsible Sourcing of Conflict Minerals

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 29, 2013

The ‘conflict minerals’ issue, one of the factors fueling the violence of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has received attention in the US, the OECD and now the European Union. Robin Marsh commented on the ‘responsible sourcing of conflict minerals’ legislation that will be proposed by the European Union Trade Commission by the end of the year. It is an issue that was highlighted in a European Parliament event organised by UPF on June 26th. UPF will hold another event on November 21st in Parliament to discuss ‘conflict mineral’ developments in the US legislation, proposed legislation in the EU and OECD guidelines for conflict minerals.
Some companies and mineral federations are making efforts to create protected supply lines that improve the income for miners and the level of state governance. Research results reported by several groups have highlighted problems and the scale of the current illicit trade.
These reports include the Enough Project, Striking Gold: How the M23 and its allies are infiltrating the Gold Trade, the Testimony to a U.S. House of Representatives Sub Committee Hearing on ‘The Unintended Consequences of Dodd-Frank’s Conflict Minerals Provision’ of Sophia Pickles of Global Witness, the South Africa Resource Watch’s Conflict Gold to Criminal Gold and the report for German Industry prepared by Oeko-Institute ‘Conflict minerals – An evaluation of the Dodd Frank Act and other resource related measures’ have illustrated many of the issues involved. Whatever proposals Mr Karel De Gucht, the EU Trade Commissioner, announces they will not be made without sufficient study and research of the issue being available. The possibility of a better partnership of the European Union with the people of the DRC that enhances Congolese security and prosperity while Europeans benefit from their resources could be brought much closer through this EU initiative.

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Music for Peace in the Middle East on International Peace Day

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 21, 2013

Music for Peace in the Middle East

Israeli singer songwriter Tally Koren heads a cast of Israeli and Palestinian musicians in a recital, ‘An Evening of Music for Peace in the Middle East’ taking place on the International Day of Peace, Saturday, September 21 at St. Peters Church on Kensington Park Road W11. The event organized by the Universal Peace Federation UK is a fundraising occasion for the Parents Circle Families Forum, which helps bereaved Palestinians and Israelis to reconcile their differences as an alternative to conflict.

http://musicforpeaceinthemiddleeast.eventbrite.co.uk

Fundraising Event for  The Parents Circle Families Forum

Bereaved Palestinians and Israelis who promote reconciliation as an alternative to conflict

Doors open 7.45 pm Show starts 8.15 pm

St Peter’s Church, Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2PN

Tally Koren, is a BBC Radio 2 playlist artist and the Fringe Award Winner For Best Singer-Songwriter. Her music was played by Chris Evans, Graham Norton, Janice Long and Steve Wright ,the Aled Jones’ Good Morning Sunday Show and was featured on the Virgin Media TV playlist and 100 other UK radio stations. She is passionate about this concert saying, “ I believe strongly that through culture we can bridge the gap for a better future “

Nizar Al-Issa is a singer with extraordinary range and control as well as a virtuoso on the oud (a cousin of the lute). He draws on traditional middle eastern music but is not afraid to upset the purists by mixing things up a little – a habit he puts down to his refugee background. Nizar explained, “ I am part of this concert for peace and humanity” His roots are in Ramallah but in his influences and attitudes he crosses borders. “Iraqis ask me if I’m from Iraq, while the Egyptians are convinced I am from Cairo, and in Spain they’re sure that I’ve spent time learning gypsy Flamenco… but the heart and soul of my music is the knowledge that we all share far more in common as human beings than we acknowledge, wherever we come from.”

Udi Glaser is a composer (film composer, composer for theatre, etc.), an accomplished guitarist, educated musician, producer, experienced guitar teacher and music theory tutor. Udi has dedicated his life to music.

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Universal Peace Federation – UK News August 2013 – 2

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 16, 2013

Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter August 2013

Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter August 2013 Page 2

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Youth Universal Peace Federation-UK Solidarity Visit to Regents Park Mosque

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 17, 2013

Visit to Regents Park Central Mosque by Youth UPF‘Walk Hand in Hand and Shoulder to Shoulder to Heal our Communities’

Youth Universal Peace Federation (UPF) members visited Regents Park Mosque yesterday to ‘Walk Hand in Hand and Shoulder to Shoulder to Heal our Communities’. Supported by Sheikh Dr Hojjat Ramzy, the Muslim Council of Britain Education Committee Chairman, the group of young and old UPF activists from several different faiths, were introduced to Sheikh Imam Khalifa, the Imam of the Regents Park Mosque. He reflected on the current situation of the Muslim community. He shared that humanity all have the same heart and spirit given to them by the creator but we developed differently due to Allah’s wisdom. We should not harm another community because of those differences. (Photo Link)

Sheikh Imam Khalifa was grateful for the visit saying that this time of challenges will soon pass. He added that the Muslim community has a good situation generally in UK. Another worshipper after reading the banner and understanding the nature of the UPF visit, extended his blessing to all who had come to visit at this testing time. Robin Marsh expressed that UPF believes ‘humanity is one family under a loving God’ and that is why we had visited today. Sheikh Ramzy shared that the Mosque was a place that was open to all who wanted to pray to God. He added that he was proud to be an Ambassador for Peace of the Universal Peace Federation which is a great organisation working for peace in the world.

Attending the late afternoon prayers and meeting some of the worshippers, the group was later given a tour of the Mosque which, being built in 1974, is the third oldest in the UK.

The UPF -UK, with support from its leading Ambassadors for Peace, released a statement from the day after the murder in Woolwich.

‘The murder of a soldier in Woolwich was a tragic event. Our prayers are with his family who must be really suffering. It is also sad to see a backlash from small extremist groups against the Muslim Community. Now is the time for all communities in UK to appreciate the genuine Islamic contribution to UK. The Muslim community should be supported and valued as a vital part of the UK. It is through the democratic process, that the role of the UK soldiers who represent us all, is decided. Our strength and harmony is through the inclusion of all communities in the social and political fabric of the nation. That is a daily responsibility for all of us that now has added importance. The Universal Peace Federation, along with many other groups, promotes interfaith activity to facilitate mutual understanding and enhance this fabric.’

Robin Marsh

Secretary General

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK

pa@uk.upf.org  www.uk.upf.org

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

UPF-UK Latest Newsletter

UPF World Summit 2013 ‘Peace, Security and Human Development’

Upcoming UPF Events

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Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter June 2013

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 15, 2013

To view or download the newsletter please see:  Universal Peace Federation – UK June, 2013 Newsletter

UPF – UK Website:  http://www.uk.upf.org

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Youth Universal Peace Federation positive activities are bringing inspiration to their peers

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 9, 2013

IMG_0044 Youth Panel Group Photo 450

Dear Friends,

We hope that this letter finds you well and that this new-year has been filled with success in your activities and work.

As you may be well aware, Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in the UK launched a Youth Committee in September 2011 in order to focus on issues directly affecting young people. Since then, the youth team has accomplished a lot and has grown to be filled with enthusiasm and confidence in the work they are doing. On top of supporting UPF events such as the European Leadership Conferences, the youth team has also started projects of their own. Currently, theyare running two projects:

· The first project is a Youth Interfaith Council which aims to bring together young people of all faith backgrounds to foster peace and understanding. The council was initiated in November 2012 with much enthusiasm from a variety of religious people. It is crucial that this project gains momentum as the voice of young people in interfaith work is currently rarely heard. Our young people have a lot openness and passion in working with people of other faiths. This provides a strong basis upon which they can bridge gaps between faith communities and provide solidarity in representing a combined religious voice.

· The second project is called the ‘Doing Well and Doing Good’ project. It aims to connect young people to inspirational role models who have attained success in their careers and are currently working for the betterment of society. This project was initiated in March 2012 and has huge potential to continue uplifting young people by giving them insights into the personal motivations of such socially conscientious individuals. We run ‘Evening With’ style interviews which give young people the opportunity to interact personally with the role model and to become empowered to do good as a result. ‘Evenings With’ have included interviews with Sheridan Mungal (business mentor), Rioch Edwards Brown and Ian Brown (Founders of ‘So You Wanna Be In TV?’), Professor Akiko Yamanaka (Photo on Right – Deputy Foreign Minister of Japan 2005-6) and Keith Best (CEO Freedom from Torture). The next will be with former Attorney General the Rt. Hon. Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC on February 26th.

‘MicroSoft Spark-peace’ working with the organisation ‘Give for Youth’recently accepted Youth UPF’s projects to be have online funding platforms. In order to receive funding for the projects, we are looking for support from members of the public to make a contribution of any size to either or both of the projects. If you follow the links below, you will find more information on the projects which are currently aiming to raise funds for the development of the projects. It would be an incredible support to the team if you could donate any amount to eitherproject. Even a small amount such as £5 would be much appreciated, butplease remember that it is a one off donation you would be making. The deadline to receive funding is on the 4th March 2013, so time is running short!

http://www.giveforyouth.org/microprojects/an-evening-with/

Below are the links to both projects where you can find further information and donate:

http://www.giveforyouth.org/microprojects/support-youth-interfaith-council/

http://www.giveforyouth.org/microprojects/an-evening-with/

On behalf of the Youth Committee, we would like to thank you for taking the time to read this email and would be extremely grateful for any support you can give.

Kindest regards,

Neil O’Neill
Youth Coordinator – UPF UK

Christa Kamga
Youth Coordinator – UPF UK

For any enquiries surrounding the projects, please contact us by emailing youthupfuk@gmail.com

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Tragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 7, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Mothers of Congo

18:30 Friday 1st March,

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

“As a gesture of thanks to the Universal Peace Federation – UK for all the support given to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the “Mothers of Congo” would like to extend an invitation all members, other NGO’s and friends to a Congolese evening on 1st of March 2013 (from 18.30 until 21:00 pm) at 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA. During the evening you will be able to experience Congolese culture, sample its food and enjoy the best of Congolese music.

We would like to take this opportunity to inform our guests who are not aware of the tragic situation in the DRC. Eastern DRC, especially, was one of the most beautiful places in the world but is now recognised as one of the most dangerous places on earth. We will see a brief video followed by a talk. We will also hear from experts about the situation vis-a-vis conflict minerals in Congo. We would also like to give time for Q-A and discussion as to how we can support each others campaigns, humanitarian efforts and activities.

RSVP to  pa@uk.upf.org  or 02072620985 by 20th February 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Charlotte Simon.

Mothers of Congo

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An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 6, 2013

Keith Best Being Interviewed 250As a part of the ‘Doing Well and Doing Good’ project, Youth Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK hosted ‘An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture‘ on Tuesday 29th January 2013. The event was attended by approximately 30 young people in a House of Commons committee room and was chaired by Baroness Howells. Through the event, we explored Keith Best’s motivation behind his work at Freedom from Torture, before going through practical tips he had for young people to positively contribute to society.(Event Photo Link)Mr Best firstly shared his experiences traveling through Asia after he finished his degree at the University of Oxford. He explained how these were very formative experiences in his life as he found himself living frugally and traveling by railway across continents. Through traveling, he explains how he became a world citizen through a greater awareness of humanity’s ‘shared aspirations’. We went on to pose the question of which role models have inspired him in his life, to which he answered: individuals who challenged the status-quo of their time to bring positive social change such as William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr.

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Review of 2012 for Universal Peace Federation – UK

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 1, 2013

2012 A Review

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK 

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

2012 has been a busy year in which UPF-UK has supported a series of conferences around Europe that have provided a wider forum for many of the issues we have featured in the UK in past events. The European Leadership Conference series convened in:

There have been UPF national and local events supporting United Nations Days and initiatives such as Holocaust Day, Global Interfaith Week, International Women’s Day, International Family Day, UN Africa Day, International Peace Day in Oslo’s Stortinget (Parliament) and Human Rights Day. There has been a continuation of the Forgiveness series of conferences that have been chaired by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke for the last five years including Marina Cantacuzino’s Forgiveness Project in both events this year.

Youth UPF, has made inspiring progress during 2012 developing its own programme of events with the ‘Evening With’ series interviewing inspirational figures, (Keith Best CEO of Freedom from Torture next up on January 30th) conflict resolution and human rights training courses, human rights campaigns and the Youth Interfaith Council. Many of those active in Youth UPF have received the Youth Achievement Award that are presented in an event held annually in July.

Robin Marsh                                                                             Margaret Ali and Joyce Suda

Secretary General                                                                     Directors

Universal Peace Federation – UK

www.uk.upf.org     pa@uk.upf.org     Office Tel: 02072620985

Universal Peace Federation is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United N­­­ations

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Holocaust Memorial and Genocide Prevention

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 15, 2011

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Hosted by Lord King, the Universal Peace Federation-UK held the annual ‘Holocaust Memorial and Genocide Prevention’ in a heart moving event in the House of Lords on February 15th, 2011. This featured Daniel Finkelstein sharing his family’s tragic Holocaust experience, Alex Ntung and Prudencienne Seward spoke of their horrific experiences in the Rwandan and Great Lakes region and Ruth Barnett spoke about Genocide in general and the Armenian Genocide in particular as a forerunner of the Holocaust. Jonathan Fryer emphasised the role of the individual to take on the Responsibility to Protect.

Daniel Finkelstein’s family suffered greatly during the Holocaust. Most of his family were in Holland in the same community as Anne Frank. On the day they received visas to go to the UK Holland was invaded and they were trapped. With three young children it was impossible to go into hiding like Anne Frank. His Grandfather, who was in London at the time, is famous for founding the Wiener Library in London for the collection of evidence and artefacts of Fascism. The collection was used during the Nuremberg Trials. The Wiener Library is the world’s oldest institution devoted to the study of the Holocaust, its causes and legacies. Founded in 1933 as an information bureau that informed Jewish communities and governments worldwide about the persecution of the Jews under the Nazis.

Finkelstein’s family experience of the Holocaust has coloured his political views. Big ideas are threatening because it was the big ideas that killed many of his family as well as many other tragedies. The small ideas are less threatening.  The passionate desire for the truth pursued by his grandfather has also influenced his political and journalistic career.

His mother and her sisters lived due to an ‘outrageous stroke of luck’ because there was a prisoner swap which only happened one time. He described the torment of ‘survivor’s guilt’ suffered by his Aunts adding that his Mother dealt with this through her strong mind and keen reasoning. (For a full account please see here)

Two testimonies about the Rwandan genocide were very powerful. Alex Ntung shared that he had been saved because of his nose! His nose does not look like a typical Tutsi nose. He sadly has been in three genocides: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Somehow he survived all three. Another time he escaped because the killers at a checkpoint had killed so much they were tired and hungry and he was able to pass through without being attacked. He suffered the survival guilt that was experienced by Holocaust survivors.

Prudentienne Seward, a Rwandan Tutsi, testified to her work with the healing process after so much tragic loss in her family during the  Genocide in 1994. She has been involved in ‘Highly Inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue’. She is the Chair of PAX that is seeking to promote justice, forgiveness and reconciliation among Rwandans ad people of the Great Lakes Region by involving them in reconciliation activities. They hold regular conferences to attempt to deal with the repeated human rights violations of the Great Lakes region in a way that heals and brings closure for as many as possible. In the view of the activists there has been little progress since the Edenbridge declaration in 2001 to bring reconciliation in the Great Lakes region.

Ruth Barnett, a Holocaust Educator and Kinder transport child, shared that the pursuit of truth that was so important for Daniel Finkelstein’s Grandfather was also important for her and for the resolution of genocide. Denial of genocide is the final stage in the Gregory Stanton’s ‘the 8 Stages of Genocide’ (For More Info: Genocide Watch). The first six stages do not include murder. There are many opportunities to prevent genocide before it gets to violence. The 7th stage is extermination of the victimised group and the 8th stage is denial of the genocide. That is why she said she is so hot on challenging  genocide denial.

Barnett emphasised that the Armenian genocide was the model for the Holocaust in that the Turkish leaders were allowed to evade responsibility for 96 years. There are archives in the Houses of Parliament that demonstrate the truth of the Armenian genocide. There is no closure without acknowledgement. After the World War One there was a conspiracy to cover up the truth of the genocide that included the UK Government. This was not a healthy development and encouraged other genocides because conspiirators believed they could commit mass murder with impunity.

Prudentienne Seward testified to her work with the healing process after so much tragic loss in her family. She has been involved in ‘Highly Inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue’. She is the Chair of PAX that is seeking to promote justice, forgiveness and reconciliation among Rwandans ad people of the Great Lakes Region by involving them in reconciliation activities. They hold regular conferences to attempt to deal with the repeated human rights violations of the Great Lakes region in a way that heals and brings closure for as many as possible. In the view of the activists there has been little progress since the Edenbridge declaration in 2001 to bring reconciliation in the Great Lakes region.

Her family suffered many deaths and her husband was also killed in the massacres. It has been so traumatic but she felt the only way to go forward was to seek to promote reconciliation, justice and forgiveness through PAX. This justice should deal with the massacres of 1994 but should also deal with the other bouts of killing that preceded this.

Marilyn Brummer, President of the League of Jewish Women, asked if the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ initiative could be effective when dealing with sovereign nations that were engaging in persecution of a minority community?

Jonathan Fryer emphasised that nations are composed of people who need to take responsibility to stand up for what they believe. In the Holocaust there were a number of individuals who took incredible risks to save Jews even though they were not Jewish themselves. The responsibility to protect can of course promoted and implemented by nations and armies but they are often part of the problem. Individuals must stand up to take their own responsibility to protect by being courageous. Once the people stand up the Government cannot hold them back for long.

Robin Marsh explained that the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) perceives humanity as being one family under God. This means that all human life has sacred value. Thus the human value and rights of all people are equal. This also means that our moral concern should be to protect all members of the human family and support the poorest and most disadvantaged. Tim Miller, the Vice President of European UPF, added that the Inter-Religious Council proposal for the United Nations composing the spiritual and religious wisdom of all faith communities in conjunction with political leadership could promote the dialogue that has the possiblity to prevent these tragedies.

Photo Link

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U.N. Day for Africa – Birmingham

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 23, 2010

Birmingham UN Africa Day meeting June 2010We held a local WFWP/UPF event in Birmingham to recognize the United Nations Day for Africa. Over 100 people came together, with representatives from 12 different African countries present.

Our first speaker was Rev Charles Ilunga, currently training for the Methodist ministry. He graphically described the horrors which he witnessed and experienced in Congo, and from which he and his family had to flee at barely a moments’ notice. They were split apart, his wife and daughter spending more than 4 dangerous months in the African jungle, surviving on any edible roots and leaves they could find, before being reunited and finding refuge in a UN refugee camp in Zambia. He expressed his gratitude to God, and the many friends in the UK who have helped him to continue in ministry.

Phillip Crombie, Governor of Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH), then gave an inspiring report about a twinning

Philip Crombie Vice Chair Board of Governors of Birmingham Children's Hospital

Philip Crombie - Birmingham Children's Hospital

project which has linked the hospital to a similar hospital in Malawi’s second city, Blantyre. For the past 6 years, there has been an exchange of personnel and donations of equipment and supplies, with nurses, doctors and consultants travelling out to Malawi for varying periods of time up to 1 year. Although the latter have given of their time and expertise voluntarily, Phillip was at pains to point out how much the staff from Birmingham have gained personally through the experience, and that it is not just a one-way aid type of project. He then spoke about a similar project which, it is hoped, will link BCH with Caritas Baby Hospital in the West Bank in Bethlehem.

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Forgiveness by Karen Szulakowska

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 6, 2010

Forgiveness

Where does it come from? And where does it go?

How do we manage it and how do we know?

What helps people from the edge of despair?

And how do they begin to rebuild, love and care?

There are some who have much to forgive,

They have lost loved ones – and often too, their reason to live…

They have been tortured until there is nothing more to give.

Yet, still they are able to forgive…

Some of us are fortunate to have less to forgive

Yet however severe our suffering, we all need to learn and remember to forgive.

Forgive those who have held us back,

Forgive those with the will to attack

The parents and friends who didn’t know Read the rest of this entry »

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International Family Day 2010 – Impact of Migration on Families

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 30, 2010

‘What does it feel like to be a migrant or growing up in a migrant family? The impact of migration on families was the theme for the United Nations International Day of Families 2010 that was commemorated around the world by many chapters of the Universal Peace Federation. In Bromley, near London, several people who either were migrants or who are from migrant families, spoke on fairly similar themes about their experiences.’

‘I hate to see wasted talent.’ Was the first comment of Sheridan Mangal. He went to explain that he mentors 6 young boys from disadvantaged backgrounds from ethnic minorities in the UK. His motivation for this came from his father and mother who came from the Caribbean to the UK in the early 1950’s. They came for the economic opportunity with the attitude that the UK as the motherland was doing them a favour. It was a difficult course for them as a couple and later us as a whole family because they were people with talent and willing to work hard. Soon they were faced with resentment and bitterness from the indigenous workers as they were given greater responsibilities.

His house was always crowded with family members who followed them to the UK. His parents helped many close relatives to establish themselves in the UK. This led to some tensions as some paid rent regularly but others did not. His parent’s attitude was to keep their heads down and work hard. They encouraged him to do the same and try to get a Government job. However, he grew up here mixing with British children who were encouraged to reach for the stars. He did not understand why he should keep his head down and did not feel that the UK was doing him a favour. He saw that his parents had made an immense contribution through taxes and later by employing others.

Rohema Miah was one of six children who grew up in the UK. Their father is from Bangladesh and their mother is Welsh. Their father did not return to Bangladesh for 42 years but sent money back to support the family. The main route for Bangladeshis in the UK is through restaurant ownership. This has contributed £1.2bn per year to the British economy.

She added that their parents never imposed a religion on them. They were allowed to make their own choice and despite making different choices they have remained close as brothers and sisters.

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Observing UN International Families Day 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 21, 2010

The Impact of Migration on Families Worldwide

By Sister Kate Holmstrom

Bonjour! Buenos dias! Dzen dobre! Al-salam al-lekum! Namaste! Jambo! Nee ha!

An event focussing on Families and Migration gathered about 35 people at the Quaker Centre, Milton Keynes, on 15 May, observing UN International Day of Families 2010, at the invitation of Christa Rennie of the WFWP (Women’s Federation for World Peace) and her husband David, of the Universal Peace Federation. Navrita Atwal from the MK Equality Council spoke on “Family Values from an Asian Perspective”, Ayser Ali on “The Journey of a Family from Iraq to the West”, I (Sr Kate) on my experience with refugee and immigrant families in London, Milton Keynes and Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre, and David on the “Vision of the Universal Peace Federation”.

Between us, we made the following points: Migrating can be a huge gift, promoting openness to other cultures and the enrichment of learning other languages. “Home is wherever the family is”. However, moving can also be de-stabilising, and come at a bad age such as adolescence, when friends are all-important. Despite lessons in their mother language and the support of their ethnic or religious community, it happens sometimes that youngsters grow up feeling neither totally integrated in the new country nor accepted in their country of origin if they return there. The importance of family meals was stressed: parents – particularly from cultures where eating together is taken for granted and seen as a significant family value encouraging respect and caring – have difficulty sometimes in gathering the children when there is competition from other activities. Keeping in touch physically can be problematic as the family members grow up and move away: “Why should I need to make the journey back to visit when we can speak on the phone and even see each other with the web-cam?” If the migrant parents cannot learn English as fast as their offspring certainly will do, there is the risk of a widening rift in understanding in the family.

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Refugee Child by Sister Kate Holmstrom

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 20, 2010

Refugee Child by Sister Kate Holmstrom


I feel Mum’s worry, sense her sadness.

Where’s my Dad? She’s never said,

Never told me of the madness,

Of the reason why we fled.

I remember that night, hiding

While the soldiers searched and swore,

Shouting that they’d surely find him,

Battering upon the door.

I could hear my mother screaming

As those soldiers laughed and jeered.

I heard: “Rape!” –  what is its meaning?

Was that what she’d so much feared?

Now we’re here. I speak your language,

But the nightmares haunt me still.

Life goes on … we have to manage.

This I’ve learnt: I’ll never kill.


Kate Holmstrom, Oxford


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How Much is Britain Really Helping Africa?

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 28, 2010

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‘Globalisation has impoverished resource-rich developing African nations’ was a recurring theme last night during an early Africa Day 2010 event to coincide with the UK election campaign. Alice Ukoko, founder of Women of Afrika, Ruth Tanner, Campaign and Policy Officer of War on Want and Ahmed Shebani, Al Jamar Government and Media Centre Official Spokesperson, based in Tripoli, Libya were the main speakers. ‘All the UK political parties may guarantee at least 0.007% (of gross national income) in overseas development aid by 2011 but five times that amount is lost to developing countries in Africa through the tax dodging  and capital flight of multi-national companies, including a number established in the City of London’ said Ruth Tanner.

Ahmed Shebani described Libyan charities that channeled  funds into projects throughout Africa, the Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAIP), the Wa Attassimou Foundation, promoted by HE Dr Ayesha Gaddafi, the daughter of Colonel Gadaffi and the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation run by HE Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, which includes several leading UPF Ambassadors for Peace among it’s Trustees. These ventures are supporting both humanitarian projects and economic development. He mentioned that Libyans are also encouraged to emigrate to other African nations in order to establish businesses. Those with a good business plan receive a line of credit easily.

Alice Ukoko emphaised that African women could be a force for peace and development. She passionately stated that, ‘Imperial, colonial powers have burdened Africa and prevented development.’  The international aid should be stopped and Africa will be able to stand on its own two feet.

Aliu Bello: ‘I worked in UNICEF for 25 years. I know what aid does and doesn’t do. Even from the aid given to some African countries 80% is coming back here. It is not helping anybody in Africa. We could solve this if 70  – 80% of any aid is distributed through civil society. They are better organised and prepared to distribute resources where they are needed. We don’t need hand outs. Otherwise aid that doesn’t have this (stipulation) should be rejected. It should not be sent through the very governments that are ruining their economies.’

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Children’s Relief Bethlehem

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 18, 2010

Bethlehem Baby Hospital, or Children’s Relief Bethlehem has long been a favourite place for the Universal Peace Federation’s Middle East Peace Initiative to visit. On Thursday April 15th there was an appeal made by Daniel Hurter of Children’s Relief Bethlehem UK during the Joint Faith’s Celebration.

A heartwarming 7 minute documentary of the work of Children’s Relief Bethlehem which finances and manages the Caritas Children’s Hospital. They provide medical care medical care for all children regardless of race, religion or ability to pay, together with health education and other projects to benefit families in this troubled region of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

For support and more information please visit http://www.childrens-relief-bethlehem.org.uk
Contact: daniel.hurter@crb-mail.org.uk

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World Minorities Alliance Launched in UK

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 11, 2010

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK Secretary General, Robin Marsh, was invited to address the UK launch of the World Minorities Alliance. It is a laudable initiative of  Mr Julius Salik in Pakistan and supported by UPF Pakistan branch. The initiative shares much in common with UPF’s vison of humankind being ‘one family under God’ in which all people have equal value irrespective of where they are born. Marsh emphasised the founding purpose of UPF to create an Inter-religious Council in the United Nations that would enhance inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding and peaceful relations. He also congratulated Pakistan for its wisdom in co-sponsoring the UN Resolution with the Philippines to establish a unit within the UN Secretariat to promote Interfaith Dialogue. As explained by the Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, the event featured the very last speech of Mohammed Sarwar as an MP after a long distinguished service in the House of Commons as the first UK Muslim MP. Mr Sarwar had been presented with an Ambassador for Peace award in the House of Commons on March 23rd.

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Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 3, 2010

Ruth Barnett  Parallels of Holocaust and Armenian Genocide

Dr Hojjatt Ramzy, Marie-lyse Numuhoza, Ruth Barnett, Cllr. Margaret Ali

‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’

House of Lords

1st February, 2010  More Photos Link

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This programme was aimed to promote awareness of the ‘Path to Genocide‘ and to focus attention on the recently passed UN Resolution, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ soon after the internationally recognised Holocaust Memorial Day. It was held in the House of Lords, Committee Room 4A organised by the Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) Community Cohesion Working Group who identify with the UPF vision of humankind as ‘One Family Under God’.

Robin Marsh explained that, Genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, by killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’ He quoted Gregory H. Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, who describes eight stages of the ‘Path to Genocide’ as Classification, Symbolization, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Preparation, Extermination and Denial. At each stage Stanton  has suggested appropriate actions that can be taken by the international community. Marsh concluded that an Inter-religious Council, especially at the United Nations, as conceived by the founding purpose of the UPF, could be a useful forum for dialogue to respond to these tragedies at an early stage.

Lawrence Joffe - Holocaust

Lawrence Joffe, an author and historian, spoke of the horror of the Holocaust, expressing his fortune at being born of a family whose grandmother was able to escape on one of the last ships from Germany to South Africa before the war. He referred to two types of people who feel guilty: the perpetrator and the survivor.  The Germans are very remorseful for the actions of their predecessors. The surviving Jews also feel very guilty for surviving when so many did not. For Ruth Barnett, one of the 10,000 kindertransport children who were saved, the guilt of survival has led her to being a Holocaust Educator.

Lawrence, quoting Raul Hildberg, said that there are only three types of people in these extreme situations. ‘The perpetrator, the victim and the bystander.’  He added that there should also be two other categories: the collaborator and the survivor. He explained the lack of support to receive Jewish refugees in 1935 when only the Dominican republic offered to receive Jewish refugees from many nations of the world was an example of the bystander. He added that it was ironic that the Ashkenazi Jewish people thought that Germany was the most advance nation in the world at that time and had felt very comfortable and accepted in German society. However Hitler in 1920 had said, ‘It is our duty to whip up the instinctive revulsion of the Jews.’ From 9 million Jews in Europe in 1939 approximately 6 million were killed. For example 90% of Jews in Poland were killed. (Useful links suggested by Lawrence Joffe to poetry of the Holocaust and inscriptions by Chagall)

Ruth Barnett since beginning her campaign for greater awareness of the Holocaust has also been active in campaigns for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other human rights issues.

David Wardrop Chair Westminster UNA - Responsibility to Protect

David Wardrop: Chair Westminster United Nations Association

David Wardrop spoke of the UN Resolution in October 2009 that established the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ as well as the International Criminal Court current situation. He added that both were weak but that at least they were on the agenda and could be strengthened. He explained that ‘We the people’ must challenge Governments to champion the role of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ provisions. He concluded that civil society and media have an important role to play in developing the capacity of the international community to act in the case of an ongoing genocide.

Lord King of West Bromwich in his opening remarks emphasised that UPF believes that humankind is ‘One Family Under God’. He explained that Father Moon had suffered greatly to find the heart to love all people. He added that loving families would be at the core of peace in the future. Such families would form peaceful nations and a peaceful world.

Dr Pilikian Khatchatur Armenian Genocide

Dr Pilikian Khatchatur

Dr Pilikian Khatchatur described the parallels between the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust in which he said one million Armenians are estimated to have died. He quoted Hitler’s comment on the treatment of Armenians, ‘Ataturk has two great students in this world, Mussolini and I.’

Dr Hojjat Ramzy explained the circumstances of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia especially with the genocide of Bosniac Muslims in Srebrenica and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Marie-lyse Numuhoza described her experience of conflict in Rwanda that led to the genocidal killings of Tutsi people. Rachel Francis-Ingham (full speech here) described the suffering of the Gypsy or Roma people of whom 350,000 were estimated to have died in the Holocaust. There are serious health issues in a refugee camp of Roma people in Kosovo currently she said. Mr Paramjit Singh described the ‘premeditated killing of 500,000 Sikhs’ and ‘mass rapes of Sikh women’ in June and October 1984 mainly in the Punjab, India as a Sikh genocide.

By Gregory H. Stanton, President, Genocide Watch

Classification Symbolization Dehumanization Organization Polarization Preparation Extermination Denial

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Bosnian Genocide by Dr Hojjat Ramzy

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010

Bosnian Genocide by Dr Hojjat Ramzy

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends,

Dr Hojjat Ramzi

I greet you all with the Islamic greetings of the peace and mercy of Almighty God,  Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah.

The Holocaust Memorial Day which took place on January 27th marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Aushwitz concentration camp.

We all sympathise deeply with the victims and are horrified at the scale of brutality that took place during the Second World War. However, History has a terrible way of repeating itself.

Today I would like to remind you of another horror story, the Bosnian genocide: Another manifestation of the complete disregard for the sanctity of human life. I hope that we can learn lessons from this tragedy;  in the same way we have done from the Holocaust, in order to prevent such terrible events from ever happening again. God willing.

After the First World War Bosnia was united with other Slaav territories to form Yugoslavia. It was ruled and run by Serbs. Following the death of Tito the communist ruler of Yugoslavia and the national Yugoslavian elections in 1990, both Serbia and Bosnia declared their independence. Bosnia’s independence was recognised by the USA and the European Union. However,   the Serbian Leader Milosevich and the Serbs saw this as an affront to their claims to Milosevich’s ‘Greater Serbia’.

Tensions grew between the two sides and the Yugoslav army turned against the Bosnian community. The European Union’s attempts at intervention failed and the UN, who provided a number of troops for humanitarian aid, refused to intervene. Slowly the Bosnian Muslim areas fell to the Serbs and the ethnic cleansing began. The atrocities that were to take place in the town of Srebrenitsa illustrate one of the most horrifying episodes of this war where brutality and military efficiency turned into genocide.

In 1992, the UN declared this city a safe area, under the care of the French and Dutch governments. In July 1995 Serb troops led by Ratko Mladic descended on Srebrenitsa and began to destroy it. They had already killed many Muslim soldiers in the countryside villages. Now they were besieging Srebrenitsa’s thousands of Muslim civilians. Food supplies and water began to decline, buildings were destroyed, and people were murdered. Soon Serb troops were able to take up positions close to the town. In Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, a radio message from an amateur operator in Srebrenitsa was heard: ‘Please do something. Whatever you can. In the name of God, do something.’ No one did anything.

The only action taken was the Dutch commander warned Serb officials that there would be air strikes at 6.00 a.m. on the morning of July 11 unless Serbian troops moved away from the town’s borders. But, there were no air strikes, instead, the Serbs’ bombardment intensified. Thousands of Muslims fled to the Dutch compound. Throughout the day a stream of refugees was slowly admitted inside: up to 6,000 by nightfall and around 20,000 more were left waiting outside. There was no food, no water, only fear of mass murder.

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Rachel Francis-Ingham: UK Association of Gypsy Women

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010

Kosovo’s Poisoned Generation

Rachel Francis-Ingham: UK Association of Gypsy Women

‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’ UPF Meeting

February 1st, 2010


In WW2 our people were murdered in their tens of thousands in Hitler’s death camps:

Like the Jews, Gypsies were singled out by the Nazis for racial persecution and annihilation. The first to go were the German Sinte Gypsies; 30,000 were deported East in three waves in 1939, 1941 and 1943. Those married to Germans were exempted but were sterilized, as were their children after the age of twelve.

They were ‘nonpersons,’ of `foreign blood,’ `labour-shy,’ and as such were termed asocials. To a degree, they shared the fate of the Jews in their ghettos, in the extermination camps, before firing squads, as medical guinea pigs, and being injected with lethal substances in Auschwitz, Dachau, Mauthausen, Ravensbruck and other camps.

At Sachsenhausen they were subjected to special experiments that were to prove scientifically that their blood was different from that of the Germans.

A contemporary Nazi theorist believed that `the Gypsy cannot, by reason of his inner and outer makeup, be a useful member of the human community. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 aimed at the Jews were soon amended to include the Gypsies. In 1937, they were classified as asocials, second-class citizens, subject to concentration camp imprisonment.

Ethnic Cleansing did not end for my people in 1945.

During the Balkans war in 1999, again our people were murdered, many remain missing, and many others driven from their homes and businesses and became ‘displaced people’

Over a decade later the Roma people remain on contaminated camps in Kosovo.

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Holocaust and Genocide – useful links:

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010

Lawrence Joffe suggested:

Online poems by the late Abraham Sutzkever

An amazing resource from scholarship, most of his poems on the war years, illustrated (some by Chagall)

A Day in the Hands of the Stormtroopers (excerpt)

Don’t hit. My limbs do not hurt anymore.
These limbs are not mine, like an hour that’s passed.
An unseen hand pulls me out to a world
Where there is no death,
None.

I take off my body like a cover of dust.
Like a road wound up on a wheel, I spin in time.

A. Sutzkever   ‘Selected Poetry and Prose’ Translated from the Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS  © 1991 The Regents of the University of California

Another of his collections: The Fiddle Rose

Hava Alberstein

sings Mayn Shvester Khaye, My Sister Haya, a song she set to a touching poem by Binim Heller about his sister, who died in Treblinka

http://www.youtube.com/user/sovietkitch2007#p/u/3/GLnxE9JVaJU

Another lovely version by a Russian male and female singer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImFxA6y9VM8

Lyrics

http://www.pinteleyid.com/yiddish/culture/songs/Mayn%20Shvester%20Khaye.doc

Alberstein also sings the Partisan Song, Zog Nit Kaynmol – never say it is the end

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wgYnYSg3Zs&feature=related

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Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 24, 2010

Repentance and Remembrance - Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Grounds: UPF's Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) May 2006 - European and American Delegation

Universal Peace Federation (UPF)

Email: pa@uk.upf.org Web: www.uk.upf.org

‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’

Repentance and Remembrance at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum: German Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) Participant Preparing to Lay Flower in Remembrance of the Holocaust

Repentance and Remembrance Ceremonies at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem during the Middle East Peace Initiative visits by the Universal Peace Federation.  (Link for MEPI Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Ceremony Photos.)

Repentance and Remembrance - Laying Flowers and Greeting Jewish Representatives - Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Near Jerusalem

Universal Peace Federation – UK

Tel : 020 7262 0985, 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA.   www.uk.upf.org

www.mepi-eu.org Middle East Peace Initiative

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

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‘Genocide’

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 23, 2010

https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2485&action=edit

Cllr. Faizullah Khan:             Genocide

(Paper prepared for February 1st presentation at  ‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’ Conference)

If a question is asked, “What is common between Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Sudan, DR Congo.”  Only perhaps human right activist or some UN official will be able to answer this question. The answer should not surprise you, it is “Genocide”

The term “genocide” did not exist before 1944. It is a very specific term, referring to violent crimes committed against

Cllr. Faizullah Khan laying flowers Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

groups with the intent to destroy the existence of a certain group.

This only became possible by the efforts of a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin(1900-1959). He sought to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder, including the destruction of the European Jews. He formed the word “genocide” by combining geno-, from the Greek word for race or tribe, with –cide, from the Latin word for killing. In proposing this new term, Lemkin had in mind “a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” The next year, the International Military Tribunal held at Nuremberg, Germany, charged top Nazis with “crimes against humanity.” The word “genocide” was included in the indictment, but as a descriptive, not legal, term.

On December 9, 1948, in the shadow of the Holocaust and in no small part due to the tireless efforts of Lemkin himself, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This convention establishes “genocide” as an international crime, which signatory nations “undertake to prevent and punish.” It defines genocide as:

While many cases of group-targeted violence have occurred throughout history and even since the Convention came into effect, the legal and international development of the term  is concentrated into two distinct historical periods: the time from the coining of the term until its acceptance as international law (1944-1948) and the time of its activation with the establishment of international criminal tribunals to prosecute the crime of genocide (1991-1998). Preventing genocide, the other major obligation of the convention, remains a challenge that nations and individuals continue to face.

Resolution 96 (I) 11 December 1946

United Nations considered in its resolution 96 (I) 11 December 1946 that genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world,

Recognizing that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required,

Hereby agree as hereinafter provided:

Article 1

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

•       (a) Killing members of the group;

•       (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

•       (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

•       (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

•       (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

International Criminal Court logo

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

On 9 December 1948 United nations  General Assembly approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession resolution 260 A (III) which entered into force on 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII. Genocide was a crime now in international law.

The Convention entered into force on January 12, 1951, after more than 20 countries from around the world ratified it.

An International Promise to Prevent and Punish Genocide is Made

Despite facing strong opposition by those who believed it would diminish U.S. sovereignty, President Ronald Reagan signed the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide on November 5, 1988. Among the Convention’s most vocal advocates was Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, who delivered more than 3,000 speeches before Congress arguing for its passage.

This timeline traces the development

1944

The Crime is Named

Before 1944, no word existed to describe a coordinated assault on civilian populations.

1993

The World Acts to Punish but Not to Halt Atrocities in the Former Yugoslavia

Targeted civilian groups suffered brutal atrocities throughout the conflicts in the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia (1991-95) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-95). Though the international community showed little will to stop the crimes as they were taking place, the UN Security Council did establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. It was the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg and the first mandated to prosecute the crime of genocide.

Nonetheless, the single worst atrocity to occur in Europe since the Holocaust came two years later. In July 1995, the Bosnian Serb army overran the United Nations declared “safe haven” of Srebrenica. In the following days, they killed some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys. This incident would later be judged to constitute “genocide” by the ICTY. In total, 100,000 people died during the Bosnian conflict; some 80% of the civilians killed were Bosniaks.

1994

Genocide memorial in Nyamata church, Rwanda

After the Genocide Ends, the World Creates a Tribunal for Rwanda

From April through mid-July, at least 500,000 civilians, mostly of the Tutsi minority, were murdered with devastating brutality and speed while the international community looked on. In October, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to include a separate but linked tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, located in Arusha, Tanzania.

1998

The First Conviction for Genocide is Won

On September 2, 1998, The International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda issued the firt conviction for Genocide after a trial, declaring Jean-Paul Akayesu guilty for the acts he engaged in and oversaw as Mayor of Rwandan town of Taba.

The skulls of hundreds of victims rest at Ntarama memorial, one of dozens of churches where Tutsis gathered to seek protection during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. November, 2007. USHMM

1998

A Permanent Court to Prosecute Atrocities against Civilians is Established

Through an international treaty ratified on July 17, 1998, the International Criminal Court was permanently established to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The treaty reconfirmed the definition of genocide found in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It also expanded the definition of crimes against humanity and prohibits these crimes during times of war or peace.

A brief about recent genocide.

DR Congo. Throughout its colonial period and into the present, Congo’s rulers have exploited the country’s vast natural resources for their own profit. Long-serving President Mobutu Sese Seko pitted ethnic groups against each other in an effort to sustain power and violently oppressed opposition.

Sudan. Since independence, Sudan has been dominated by a ruling elite in the capital Khartoum, which has overseen almost constant war in the nation’s peripheral regions. Both the war in the south and the ongoing conflict in Darfur have been characterized by crimes against humanity, with the conflict in Darfur amounting to genocide.

Chechnya In 1944 the entire Chechen population was deported. When the Soviet Union broke apart in the 1990s, a Chechen nationalist independence movement gained momentum. The Russians responded with force.

Bosnia-Herzegovina A history of regional violence was resurrected by new leaders to support nationalist goals. In summer 1995, Bosnian Serb plans to create an ethnically cleansed state culminated in preparations to take the last UN safe havens in eastern Bosnia.

Rwanda, Amid increasing economic and political tensions, and an armed threat from a Tutsi-led rebel group, Hutu extremists prepared to assault the entire Tutsi minority population.

Genocide does not occur spontaneously. While warning signs can vary from case to case, there are common indicators that suggest a growing potential for genocide. Some of these signs can be found within a society’s history. The potential for genocide, however, increases when leaders decide to heighten tensions between groups and make specific plans to use violence.


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Universal Peace Federation – UK 2009 Activities

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 4, 2010

Posted in British Academy for World Peace, Community Cohesion, Cultural Programme, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith, Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Universal Peace Federation: Peace Council Dec 5th, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on December 6, 2009

Universal Peace Federation Peace Council

Universal Peace Federation – UK: Peace Council

5th December 2009

Photo Link

The bi-annual Peace Council is an opportunity to understand the development of Universal Peace Federation in the UK and around the world and to strategise about activities for the coming year.

UPF – UK Activities in 2009 Powerpoint UPF UK Report Dec 5th 2009

Lord King of West Bromwich, a Patron of UPF, welcomed everyone saying  ‘Good to see so many Ambassadors for Peace and activists who have worked tirelessly to make this world a better place to live in.’ Lord King explained that the Peace Council enabled a review of UPF’s impact on world peace and to promote good practices that have been successful.

Lord King UPF

Lord King

Jonathan Fryer - international perspective - 'one family under God'

Jonathan Fryer

Seja Majeed - Volunteering

Jack Corley - Character Education

Jack Corley

Robert Williamson, the Director of UPF in the Balkan region, described the position of UPF in Albania. People in Albanian Government see the UPF as an attractive NGO as a lobby providing moral direction.

The UPF has about 1000 members and branches in eight cities where they do local projects. They have a presiding council to which 20 members are elected every two years. The Presiding Council members are responsible for the committees of the UPF in Albania. Robert shared one example in which the experience of a student who was expected to bribe a teacher before being allowed to graduate and therefore was being held back even though she had passed her exams, was brought to the highest level and dealt with through UPF’s access.

The UPF has a neutral position and therefore can speak for the nation. National media covers the elections and meetings of the national presiding council. There is a track record established that has built up over many years.

There are eight branches in Albania’s major cities. These do local level projects and service activity. These are complemented by continuous education programmes in the vision of the UPF. This work is supported by a former President of Albania and former and current Parliamentarians.

Jack Corley, the UPF Director for Ireland and the UK, presented an inspiring framework for the development of strong marriages and families. He explained that the Unification Movement Founder had been so involved in big marriage blessings in order to build a network of inter-racial, international marriage that draw together nations in conflict.

Dr David Earle is the Vice President of UPF and his wife is Vice President of Women’s Federation for World Peace so they cooperate closely in their activities. He explained the depth and range of the work in Birmingham. The Earle’s held joint meetings in the Birmingham Council chamber to discuss community cohesion in Birmingham in February and a series of meetings in their house where they have extended their living room and garage to be able to hold meetings for up to 100 people.

Seja Majeed spoke of her commitment to volunteering particularly when she was finding it difficult to find a job. She said by going out and doing volunteer activities she was able to meet the people and learning the skills that were assisting her to develop her career. She advised young people to believe in themselves and to be determined. ”The determined person is never powerless!’ she emphasised. She volunteered to work for a counter-terrorism group that then led to an internship with the three faiths forum and then to making a documentary in Iraq. The documentary then has opened doors that enabled her to meet Jon Snow and to a part time work with Amnesty International. Her advice was not just to dream about peace and the ideal but to be involved in making it a reality. (You Tube Video of Seja’s speech). She was later presented with an Ambassador for Peace award (see below).

The author and journalist, Jonathan Fryer, posed the question, ‘How can people in a diverse and crowded world live together constructively and harmoniously?’  He emphasised that we need to face each issue from a moral perspective. He considered that Britain was not a broken society but a nation that has lost its aims and goals. He added that he faces severe differences of wealth and poverty where he lives in Tower Hamlets. He concluded that while the British political scene is confrontational the solution of these issues required dialogue and cooperation drawing on our common desire for peace, prosperity and love. (You tube link)

Dr Salwant Singh Multani expressed his desire to establish a UPF Branch in Sterling. He is the Chair of Central Scotland Interfaith and has been acknowledged as the most prominent Sikh in Scotland this year. He has also been awarded the Hind Rattan award by the Indian Government.  He has a passion to establish an Interfaith Youth Hostel in the highlands of Scotland.

Interfaith Youth Hostel

Robert Williamson - Albania UPF

Posted in British Academy for World Peace, Community Cohesion, Cultural Programme, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith, Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Praise works!

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 10, 2009

I attended a Star Foundation Awards ceremony for young people today organised by a good friend Dr Joy Philippou. She is doing such great work despite her age. There were a number of very worthy recipients, music and celebrities. Dr David Hanna opened the programme with prayer and the words that ‘Joy has found that the simple things are the most successful. Praise and encouragement have great effect.’

Star Foundation Awards Group Photo - Youth Awards -

Star Foundation Awards Group Photo

For more photos please use this link.

The Star Foundation Awards were presented to young people nominated for doing good work in their community or for keeping the slate clean for several years if they were in trouble in the past. I nominated a young lady, Narraser Gordon, from Bristol who has led a campaign in Bristol to STOP (Solve This Ongoing Problem) gun and knife violence. She gave a talk at a recent Bristol Universal Peace Federation event I attended about the work of STOP. Narraser, blessed with a strong Christian faith, has a sincere passion to prevent the violence among her peers that has killed too many already. She takes each death, each injury, personally.

IMG_0042 Patti Boulaye with Narraser Gordon

Patti Boulaye with Narraser Gordon

Patti Boulaye, who has several charitable projects of her own, was very encouraging to all those receiving awards. She emphasised the need for good family traditions and boundaries that form the bedrock of a good society.

IMG_0022 cropped Joy and the Crown Prince rev

Dr Joy Philippou and the Crown Prince of Burma

Well done Joy!!

Robin Marsh

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Bristol Showcases UPF

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 24, 2009

IMG_0158  Group Photo Bristol UPF meeting reduced

UPF Bristol recently held a showcase event where we could welcome our European sub-regional chair Jack Corley and our UK secretary-general Robin Marsh. We also had presence of David and Patricia Earle from UK Birmingham region supporting us warmly.

Among many guests, five new Ambassadors for Peace were introduced. We had wonderful talks and lectures but also interfaith prayers, songs, African drumming and testimonies from our dear Ambassadors for Peace. Professor Iwugo from Bristol University who is an adviser for Bristol UPF said that ‘the UPF is a very inspiring organization where all the races and all the religions can work together for world peace’.

UPF Bristol 2009 Talks and Song from Steve_and_Tomoko on Vimeo.

This showcase made people much more aware and respectful of Father and Mother Moon’s work. After the official meeting finished, people were still talking with much excitement, feeling that they want to do something together with UPF.

IMG_0096 playing the drums brightened reducedIMG_0097 playing drums brightened reduced

IMG_0093 drums2 bightened

The audience enjoyed learning how to play African Drums by Omanye African Drums and Dance UK Performance.

UPF Showcase Bristol 2009 from Steve_and_Tomoko on Vimeo.

IMG_0088 Drums reduced brightened reduced

Omanye African Drums

IMG_0146 Tomoko and Danielle

Tomoko and Danielle

Danielle, 14 years old, sang beautifully during the programme.

IMG_0159 Narraser Rochelle Gordon  STOP reduced

Narraser Rochelle Gordon - STOP

There was a very serious talk by Narraser Rochelle Gordon who is involved in STOP – Solve This Ongoing Problem – of gun and knife crime. More can be found about this organisation on Facebook.

IMG_0101 cropped brightened reduced

African Drums

UPF Showcase 2009 from Steve_and_Tomoko on Vimeo.

Dr Krishna (on right playing the drum) gave a wonderful testimony of going to an international UPF conference in Korea.

For more photos of this event click here

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Upcoming Universal Peace Federation – UK Programmes Nov – Dec 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 20, 2009

UPF - logos 2-0 cm

Upcoming Universal Peace Federation – UK Programmes

Click on the links for further information.

November 18th – 5:00 pm Commemorating Dr LM Singhvi’s Interfaith Contribution and Joint Celebration of Religious Holy Days:
Hosted by Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh in Committee Room 4A, House of Lords. We have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate National Interfaith Week and to commemorate the late Dr L.M. Singhvi’s contribution to interfaith work. Dr Singhvi, as a distinguished seven year Indian High Commissioner to the UK, left a deep impression particularly in his encouragement of good interfaith relations. The UPF Interfaith Committee’s series of Joint Celebrations of Holy Days seeks to provide opportunities for younger and older faith representatives to express their faith and to both learn about and celebrate other religious traditions.

November 24th – 5:00 pm‘Immigrants Contribution to British Society’
Committee Room 12, House of Commons:  Lord Bikhu Parekh, Chair of ‘Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain’ Report in 2000, Ms Yasmin Alibhai- Brown – distinguished Journalist and Commentator, Mr Tom Brake MP – Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Home Affairs and Mr Keith Best – Chief Executive, Immigration Advisory Service.

November 26th – 6:30 pm: UPF-UK Environment Chapter: 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA “London Initiative ahead of Copenhagen 2009 – ‘Think globally – act locally’ “ Emma Burnell, Vice Chair of SERA and Lawrence Bloom, the chair of the UN Environment Programme, Green Economy Initiative.

November 28th – World Culture Association: 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

December 5th – 10:30 amUniversal Peace Council: 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

The UPF Bi-annual Peace Council Meeting is a gathering of Ambassadors for Peace and friends to review activities and strategise how to utilise the cooperative influence of UPF’s growing national and international network. The Universal Peace Federation and its slogans of ‘one family under God’ and ‘living for the sake of others’ has incredible significance in this time of unsettling changes. The UPF Peace Council will begin at 10:30a.m. On Saturday 5th of December, with sessions up to lunch of reports and keynote speakers who have been supporting UPF events during the year.

Recently Held Events:

Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke: Book launch, ‘Beacons of the Light‘  October 16th

Green Economy Initiative with speakers Lawrence Bloom and Murad Qureshi September 3rd. For the report please click here.

September 6th 6:30 pm –   Pilgrimage:  A discussion of the role of pilgrimages in different faiths. For photos click here.

Robin Marsh
Secretary General, UPF – UK

Mobile: 44 (0) 7956 210 768     Twitter: RTMarsh

Cllr. Margaret Ali

Director, UPF – UK

Mobile: 44 (0) 7723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK

Tel: 44 (0) 207 262 0985

Peace and Development Network:  https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

http://uk.youtube.com/PeaceDevelopmntNetwk

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Posted in Community Cohesion, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 27, 2009

Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

By Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia

Other Mindanao Peace Initiative Reports link

Sunday, September 27, 2009

“Indigenous Peoples Forging Partnerships for Unity and Peace of One Family of God”

Tribal Summit

Tribal Summit

Malaybalay, Philippines – In the first tribal summit in Mindanao, which brought together more than 40 tribal chieftains along with educators, politicians, representatives from international NGOs, and religious practitioners from Christian, Muslim, and indigenous peoples, there was a new focus. They did not discuss terrorism, politics, military strategies, or arms control. Instead, they directed their energies on children’s education. In a word: peace for the sake of others, for our precious children.

Dr. Estrella A. Babano, Chairwoman of the Mindanao Peace Initiative and Region 10 Director of Department of Education, declared before an audience of over 250 people, “We must focus on our children. They are the common concern we all share, and this must be the framework and platform for our peace initiative.”

Babano went on to outline eight peace programs that highlight this youth-centered approach:

•    The Peace Village is an out-of-classroom, residential program using a total immersion technique to have people experience different cultures and ways of life.
•    The Arabic Language & Islamic Values Education program teaches children, both Muslim and non-Muslim, that Islam is a religion of peace.
•    The Indigenous Peoples Education Center aims at functional literacy for underprivileged people to help uplift their self-esteem and enable them to advance socially.
•    School of Peace educates administrators and trains teachers about the inherent value of each of the various peace programs available; then, on this foundation, it organizes Peace Education Centers using school systems.
•    Harvest of Hope has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministries of Fisheries to train 240 Mindanaoans in aquaculture and fish processing.
•    Child of Peace is an adopt-a-school scholarship program working through the Department of Education.
•    Kids say “No” to Guns, billed as “turning arms into farms,” has children “surrender” their toy guns for saplings which they plant throughout the southern Philippine island.
•    Peace Parks makes learning fun as small groups of eight to ten students visualize and then construct themes related to peace.

In the Opening Session, Dr. Chung Sik Yong, the Regional Chair of the Universal Peace Federation–Asia and special representative of the Universal Peace Federation Founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, said that, “the Universal Peace Federation sees ‘leadership’ as one of the most critical issues facing our world today, both in developed and developing nations.” He emphasized this by saying that good leadership was essential to peace and social development precisely because a good leader must emulate the qualities of a good parent—absolute unselfishness.

Florencio T. Flores, Jr., the Mayor of Malaybalay and host of the two-day Summit, said he eagerly responded to the Mindanao Peace Initiative invitation because “without peace, there is no development.” The city of Malaybalay is in the heart of the island of Mindanao, and the mayor was very grateful there had not been any bombing in the city so far.

The highest ranking educator attending the summit, the Under Secretary of the Department of Education Program on Indigenous Peoples, Dr. Manaros B. Boransing, presented an overview of the national curriculum that was developed to preserve the culture of all indigenous peoples throughout the Philippines.

Commissioner Jeanette C. Serrano-Reisland, the Ethnographic Region of Central Mindanao at the National Commission on Indigenous People, gave current data on the various tribal groups in the Philippines. She also praised President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because although the ancestral domain legislation was passed 12 years ago, President Arroyo was the first to implement it by issuing land certifications. Dr. Norma Gonos, Senior Program Officer for Indigenous Peoples Education, described the components of the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao experience, which concentrates on improving education for indigenous peoples.

In the afternoon session on the first day, Mr. Massimo Trombin, the International Vice-President of Service for Peace, delighted the audience when he told them that the Global Peace Festival was conceived in and born in the Philippines in 2006. The chairman of the Global Peace Festival, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, was deeply touched by seeing the Filipino lifestyle that integrated Eastern and Western cultures.

Here the vibrant love for music, singing and dance is accompanied by the spirit of family where everyone is a Tito / Tita (uncle or aunt) or Kuya / Ate (older brother or sister). Filipinos immediately embrace so-called strangers as family, encapsulating the spirit of the Global Peace Festival with its motto of “One Family Under God.”

Finally, Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Education for UPF-Asia, pleased the multicolored crowd dressed in native costumes by saying that UPF had a very simple solution that would ensure peace in one generation — marry your enemy. It may take time for parents to love their in-laws, he said, but there is an instantaneous, irrepressible love between grandparents and grandchildren that bridges any historical resentment.

Two events highlighted the second day: a morning workshop where delegates drafted resolutions for the “Mindanao Tribal Summit,” followed by a Global Peace Festival (nearly 35 such festivals have been held throughout the Philippines this year). Over 200 participants performed skits, prayed, sang, and danced.

Concluding the two-day program at the Kaamulan Cultural Center, tribal chieftains signed the “Mindanao Resolution,” and 25 Ambassador for Peace certificates were distributed.

This Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival September 26 and 27 were sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, the Department of Education, the Province of Bukidnon, and the City of Malaybalay.

Photo Links

Further photo reports of other events:

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/45/Field_trip_in_Marawi.04102009

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/43/Garden_of_Peace_project

Original Report

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Working for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons: Vijay Mehta

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 19, 2009

Celebration of UN International Day of Peace lecture

Public Meeting
6.30pm

Monday 21st September 2009
Universal Peace Federation

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

Speaker:  Vijay Mehta



Working for a world Free of Nuclear Weapons – what can the

United Nations and civil society do?

Vijay Mehta
vijay@vmpeace.org
http://www.vmpeace.org
http://www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk

Contents

1)   Introduction

2)   Threats posed by nuclear weapons

3)   Five steps the United Nations can take for disarmament and a nuclear free world

4)   What can civil society do?

5)   Conclusion
Introduction
Thank you Robin Marsh, Margaret Ali and Universal Peace Federation for inviting me here today to speak on an important and timely topic on ‘working for a world free of nuclear weapons – what can the United Nations and civil society do?’

There are renewed hopes as new opportunities for Global Disarmament appear on the horizon for the first time in decades. There is a strong will towards nuclear disarmament and this opportunity must be seized.  These include a Security Council summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on the 24th of September chaired by President Obama, talks between the Russian Federation and the USA for joint initiative to reduce their arsenal under START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty. It is also timely as various initiatives worldwide are being launched to build a momentum for the successful conclusion of nuclear disarmament agenda at next year’s 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Hence today’s meeting is important. It is also important because we are celebrating the UN International Day of Peace. Meetings like ours are happening all over the world.

Thank you for all the good work being done by your organisation on an ongoing basis. It is a privilege to be among peace campaigners. You are thinkers and change makers, the driving force for social change in our world.

Threats posed by nuclear weapons

Today we will be exploring not only getting rid of Trident UK nuclear submarine system but also bigger nuclear proliferation problems which require new proposals and viable solutions. It needs a new mindset. As Albert Einstein said, “the significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

There are 30,000 nuclear warheads in the possession of the declared nuclear weapon states USA, Russia, France, UK and China (the P5 states) with their arsenals on hair-trigger alert. On top of that there is worldwide proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology which is being deployed by countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and Israel. When so much military hardware is available around the world terrorists can easily create mayhem by indiscriminate mass killing and destruction. Political violence, organised crime and inciting fear in the civilian population are becoming the hallmark of new terrorism. The war on terror has offered a whole set of justifications for countries to increase their arsenals and push the budget on military spending, which is currently running at $1.4 trillion.

The development of mini nukes and bunker buster bombs by US and its doctrine of pre-emption which has replaced arm control and collective security have made the world a far less secure and stable place.  It also gives wrong signals to other countries as they feel vulnerable to attack.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty has been completely ignored by the major nuclear powers because under its provisions the nuclear powers have pledged themselves to negotiate nuclear disarmament and never to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state – a pledge that has been ignored, with direct threats that they might be used if a nuclear state felt endangered.

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the terrifying hallmark of which was the nuclear arms race and the doctrine of mutual assured destruction continue to exist. Their existence poses the greatest threat to the human race and the planetary environment.

In this presentation, I will argue that nuclear weapons have no utility and that any security issues they are purported to solve would only be made worse by their use.
There is no serious problem on which military action may be needed which cannot be solved through the use of peaceful dialogue. Most disturbing is that possession of nuclear weapons is proliferating, which enlarges the possibility that they may be acquired by non-State groups.

However, especially in the P5 states, the view is common that nuclear weapons from the first wave of proliferation somehow are tolerable, while such weapons in the hands of additional states are viewed as dangerous.

So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain, there is a risk that they will one day be used, by design or accident. And any such use would be catastrophic. Nuclear accidents, effects of radiation and damage to the environment pose grave threats to our world

Nuclear, biological and chemical arms are the most inhumane of all weapons. They are rightly called weapons of mass destruction and weapons of terror. Designed to terrify as well as destroy, they can, in the hands of either states or non-state actors, cause destruction on a vastly greater scale than any conventional weapons, and their impact is far more indiscriminate and long-lasting.

As weapons of mass destruction and disarmament form one of the gravest challenges facing the world, a world free of nuclear weapons is a global public good of the highest order.  Despite a longstanding taboo against using nuclear weapons, disarmament remains only an aspiration. So, is a taboo alone on the use of such weapons sufficient?

States make the key decisions where nuclear weapons are concerned. But the UN has important roles to play. It provides a central forum in which states can agree on norms to serve their common interests. It analyses, educates, and advocates in the pursuit of agreed goals.

Most states have chosen to forgo nuclear weapons, and have complied with their commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Yet some states view such weapons as a status symbol, and some view them as offering the ultimate deterrent against nuclear attack, which largely accounts for the estimated 30,000 that still exist.

Unfortunately, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence is contagious, making non-proliferation more difficult and raising new risks that nuclear weapons will be used.

The world remains concerned about nuclear activities in North Korea and Iran, and there is widespread support for efforts to address these concerns by peaceful means.

There are also concerns that a “nuclear renaissance” is looming, with nuclear energy seen as a clean energy alternative at a time of intensifying efforts to combat climate change. The main worry is that this will lead to the production and use of more nuclear materials that may be used for making bombs, proliferation and terrorist threats.

The obstacles to disarmament are formidable including the daunting challenges of multiple crises: food, fuel, flu pandemic and financial crisis. But the costs and risks of its alternatives never get the attention they deserve. Consider the enormous opportunity cost of huge military budgets. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military expenditures last year exceeded $1.4 trillion. Ten years ago, the Brookings Institution published a study that estimated the total costs of nuclear weapons in the United States alone to be over $5.8 trillion, including future cleanup costs. By any definition, this is a huge investment that could have had many other productive uses, i.e. eradicating hunger, poverty, diseases and the adverse effects of climate change.

The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded. Military spending continues to rise everyday. It is now well above US trillion. More weapons are being produced. They are flooding markets around the world. They are destabilising societies. They feed the flames of civil wars and terror. Around the world, gun violence is the number one cause of civilian casualties.

Concerns over nuclear weapons’ costs and inherent dangers have led to a global outpouring of ideas to breathe new life into nuclear disarmament. We have seen the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) commission led by Hans Blix, the New Agenda Coalition, and Norway’s Seven Nation Initiative. Australia and Japan have launched the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Civil society groups and nuclear-weapon states have also made proposals, such as the Hoover Plan, spearheaded by Henry Kissinger. There is further ray of hope with the new American administration, under Barack Obama, who has pledged to show the world that America believes in its existing commitments under the NPT to work to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons.

Five steps the United Nations can take for disarmament and a nuclear free world

To push forward the agenda, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, put forward a five-point proposal.

  • Disarmament must enhance security

First, to urge all NPT parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon states, to fulfill their obligation under the treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament. They could agree on a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments. Or they could consider negotiating a nuclear-weapons convention, backed by a strong verification system, as has long been proposed at the UN. A draft has been circulated to all UN members of such a convention, which offers a good point of departure.

The nuclear powers should actively engage with other states on this issue at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. The world would also welcome a resumption of bilateral negotiations between the US and Russia aimed at deep and verifiable reductions of their arsenals.

The Security Council’s permanent members should begin discussions on security issues in the nuclear disarmament process. They could unambiguously assure non-nuclear-weapon states that they will not be subject to the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons. The council could also convene a summit on nuclear disarmament. Non-NPT states should freeze their own nuclear-weapon capabilities and make their own disarmament commitments.

  • Disarmament must be reliably verified

Secondly, governments should also invest more in verification research and development. The United Kingdom’s proposal to host a conference of nuclear-weapon states on verification is a concrete step in the right direction.

The NPT state parties should pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament, either through a new convention or through a series of mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a credible system of verification.

  • Disarmament must be rooted in legal obligations

Thirdly, Universal membership in multilateral treaties is a key, as are regional nuclear free zones and a new treaty on fissile materials.

Unilateral moratoria on nuclear tests and the production of fissile materials can go only so far. We need new efforts to bring the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty into force, and for the conference on disarmament to begin negotiations on a fissile material treaty immediately, without preconditions.

There should be efforts made to support the creation of the Central Asian and African nuclear-weapon-free zones which should also strongly support efforts to establish such a zone in the Middle East. And all NPT parties need to conclude their safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and voluntarily to adopt the strengthened safeguards under the Additional Protocol.

Furthermore, an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in 1996 stated that “there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

  • Disarmament must be visible to the public

Fourthly, countries with nuclear weapons should publish more information about what they are doing about what they are doing to fulfill their disarmament agenda.

The nuclear-weapon states often circulate descriptions of what they are doing to pursue these goals. But these accounts seldom reach the public. The nuclear-weapon states should send such material to the UN Secretariat, and to encourage its wider dissemination. The lack of an authoritative estimate of the total number of nuclear weapons attests to the need for greater transparency.

  • Disarmament must anticipate emerging dangers from other weapons

Finally, a number of complementary measures are needed. These include eliminating other types of WMD; new efforts against WMD terrorism; limits on the production and trade in conventional arms; and new weapons bans, including of missiles and space weapons.

If there is real, verified progress on disarmament, the ability to eliminate the nuclear threat will grow exponentially. As we progressively eliminate the world’s deadliest weapons and their components, we will make it harder to execute WMD terrorist attacks. WMD should not stand for weapons of Mass Destruction but for We Must Disarm.

These proposals offer a fresh start not only on disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful use of nuclear energy, the three pillars of NPT, but also on strengthening our system of international peace and security leading to nuclear free world.
These can be enhanced by following the Article VI of the NPT which obliges its signatories “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.

What can civil society do?

Follow 13 Practical Steps for Disarmament which is reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control. (see end of the speech)

Here is a list of action points – things that we can all do to oppose nuclear weapons and promote a nuclear weapons world:

  • Before anything – study the problem.
  • Write to your MP and to key decision makers and put pressure on government ministers. Urge  UK government to send a delegation at ministerial level to represent the UK at the next NPT conference.
  • Ask your MP to sign the parliamentary motions.
  • Write letters to world leaders and the editor of newspapers.
  • Educate the public and organise a forum.
  • Plan a demonstration.
  • Hold a meeting or run a workshop.
  • Call a radio talk show.
  • Contact your local interfaith group to discuss the issue.
  • Make paper cranes to send to decision makers (they have become a symbol of disarmament).
  • Join the nonviolent initiatives for disarmament.
  • Attend a “Dialogue with decision-makers” workshop.
  • Get involved in your local disarmament group.
  • Promote complete and general disarmament by distributing information about 13 Practical Steps taken from the final document of 2000 Review Conference of the (NPT) Nuclear-non Proliferation Treaty. (see appendices to lecture).
  • Pray. The nuclear weapons danger cannot be addressed through action alone. All activism must be accompanied by an inner journey that faces the existence of nuclear weapons, the possibility of annihilation, and the power of God in the face of these threats. Religious people can be a voice of hope for the future.
  • Speak truth to power. Our elected officials are the ones who are making the daily decisions to fund new nuclear weapons or to follow our treaty obligations by reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons. Build a relationship with your local and national elected officials by writing letters, making phone calls, and setting up in-state lobby visits.

Conclusion

For total and general disarmament, education should be made a priority for bringing a culture of peace, nonviolence and reconciliation. By eliminating root causes of war we can eliminate the need for small arms and nuclear weapons leading to lasting peace. The world today spends billions preparing for war.  Should we not spend a billion or two preparing for peace? The reduction of defense budgets and demilitarisation should be applied to fund the economic aid and conflict resolution.

One of the sustainable long term solutions for elimination of nuclear weapons will be the prohibition of weapon usable nuclear materials. By signing the FMCT (Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty) Treaty, we can prevent nuclear proliferation by limiting the available sources and hence increasing physical safety and security.

The United Kingdom and the other nuclear powers have to recognise that their own weapons and policies are part of the problem and hinder international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and reduce proliferation incentives. Now is the time to begin phasing out nuclear weapons, starting with a decision not to replace Trident. Contrary to myth, giving up nuclear weapons will not happen overnight or leave the United Kingdom naked and vulnerable. It is high time to recognise their irrelevance and start planning for a safely managed transition to a more relevant security approach, with a more appropriate allocation of defence resources.

Now whilst the worlds leading nations talk of reducing nuclear weapons they still want to develop new weapons for themselves. This strikes me as a strategy that will never free the world of nuclear weapons.

That is why you and all other who care must ensure that governments will go into the non-proliferation talks next year ready to act. This is a precious opportunity to move towards a nuclear free world and i call upon you and all supporters of a world free of a threat of complete annihilation to sieze that opportunity.
It should be noted that Gandhi, was not only a keen supporter of substituting nonviolent resistance for war, but a sharp critic of the Bomb. In 1946, he remarked: “I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women, and children as the most diabolical use of science.” When he first learned of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Gandhi recalled, he said to himself: “Unless now the world adopts non-violence, it will spell certain suicide.” In 1947, Gandhi argued that “he who invented the atom bomb has committed the gravest sin in the world of science,” concluding once more: “The only weapon that can save the world is non-violence.” The Bomb, he said, “will not be destroyed by counter-bombs.” Indeed, “hatred can be overcome only by love.”


I will close with a paragraph from Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, director of IAEA:


“Imagine what would happen if the nations of the world spent as much on development as on building the machines of war. Imagine a world where every human being would live in freedom and dignity. Imagine a world in which we would shed the same tears when a child dies in Darfur or Vancouver. Imagine a world where we would settle our differences through diplomacy and dialogue and not through bombs or bullets. Imagine if the only nuclear weapons remaining were the relics in our museums. Imagine the legacy we could leave to our children. Imagine that such a world is within our grasp.”

If we can follow his wisdom and all the outline initiatives we have discussed today, then we have a golden opportunity to achieve a world free of nuclear arms.
Thank you very much for listening.

Notes

The following publications were consulted and excerpts have been taken from them during the writing of this article:

1)    Ban Ki Moon, “Five steps to a nuclear-free world” (Guardian, UK) 23 November 2008

2)    Penn State Live, Ambassador to address U.S. foreign policy, nuclear disarmament, 6 February 2009. http://live.psu.edu/story/37444

3)    Vijay Mehta, “Should Britain be building new nuclear weapons? What are its implications and what is the peace movement’s strategy?” 1 June 2006

Biography: Vijay Mehta

Vijay Mehta is president of VM Centre for Peace www.vmpeace.org , Founding Trustee of Fortune Forum Charity www.fortuneforum.org ,  Chair of Action for UN Renewal www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk and co-Chair of World Disarmament Campaign. He is an author, a champion for truth and global activist for peace, development, human rights and environment. Some of his notable books are The Fortune Forum Summit: For a Sustainable Future, Arms No More, and The United Nations and Its Future in the 21st Century.

His latest book is on Global Warming and is called ‘Climate Change IQ,’ which is available to download free of charge in electronic form from the website www.climatechange365.co.uk

He along with his daughter Renu Mehta founder of Fortune Forum charity held three summits in London in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The summits raised over a million pounds for charity and attracted a worldwide audience of 1.3 billion people (one fifth of humanity) including print and media coverage. The keynote speakers for the first and second summit were Bill Clinton, former US President and Al Gore, former US vice-President, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007. The guest speakers in 2008 were Ted Turner, Founder of CNN, Amritya Sen and Sir James Mirrlees both Nobel Prize winning Economists.

Vijay Mehta has appeared in various TV programmes including BBC World, Press TV, Ajtak-24 hour Indian news channel, and Think Peace documentary, Canada, among others. The Sunday Times, Independent, Observer, Irish Times and Guardian newspapers, among other journals have written about him. His life is devoted to the service of peace, humanity and our planet.

13 Practical steps

EXCERPTED FROM THE FINAL DOCUMENT OF THE 2000 NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE

The Conference agrees on the following practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and paragraphs 3 and 4 (c) of the 1995

Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”:

1.    The importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

2.   A moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending entry into force of that Treaty.

3. The necessity of negotiations in the Conference on / Disarmament on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in accordance with the statement of the Special Coordinator in 1995 and the mandate contained therein, taking into consideration both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation objectives. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty with a view to their conclusion within five years.

4.   The necessity of establishing in the Conference on Disarmament an appropriate subsidiary body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate establishment of such a body.

5.   The principle of irreversibility to apply to nuclear disarmament, nuclear and other related arms control and reduction measures.

6.    An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI.

7.   The early entry into force and full implementation of START II and the conclusion of START III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons, in accordance with its provisions.

8.    The completion and implementation of the Trilateral Initiative between the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

9.   Steps by all the nuclear-weapon States leading to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all:

*     Further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally.
*     Increased transparency by the nuclear-weapon States with regard to the nuclear weapons capabilities and the implementation of agreements pursuant to Article VI and as a voluntary confidence-building measure to support further progress on nuclear disarmament.
*     The further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process.
*     Concrete agreed measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems.
*     A diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.
*     The engagement as soon as appropriate of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.

10. Arrangements by all nuclear-weapon States to place, as soon as practicable, fissile material designated by each of them as no longer required for military purposes under IAEA or other relevant international verification and arrangements for the disposition of such material for peaceful purposes, to ensure that such material remains permanently outside of military programmes.

11. Reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control.

12.  Regular reports, within the framework of the NPT strengthened review process, by all States parties on the implementation of Article VI and paragraph 4 (c) of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”, and recalling the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July 1996.

13.The further development of the verification capabilities that will be required to provide assurance of compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

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