Friends and Supporters of Article 9,
are pleased to send you some information about the Global Article 9
Campaign to Abolish War's recent activities and related developments.
DISARMAMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT: STATEMENT TO THE UN SUMMIT ON THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
On August 20, the Global Article
9 Campaign, along with other civil society representatives, issued a statement ahead
on the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be held in New
York on September 20-22, 2010. The statement calls on governments to review their official
spending, change their priorities and tap into their military budget to finance
Indeed, the UN General Assembly
has decided to convene a high level plenary meeting to review successes,
lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, in order to
accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs by 2015.
Governments will discuss 'innovative
financing for development' in order to fulfill the UN Secretary General's hopes
that the event will "lead to concrete strategies for action". Unfortunately discussions
make no reference to the vast pool of resources that military budgets
Yet, with 1.2 billion people around
the world living on less than a dollar a day, and almost 850 million remaining
hungry and increasing inequalities, a fraction of the annual total of global
military spending, which reached US$1,531 billion in 2009, could go a long way in fulfilling the MDGs,
The idea of disarmament for
development is not new. Article 26 of the UN Charter calls for the
establishment of an armaments regulation system with the least diversion of the
world's human and economic resources. Furthermore, for decades, the UN General Assembly
has every year passed 'Disarmament and Development' resolutions, calling for a shift
in the ways governments allocate resources so as to decrease military
expenditures and invest in financing sustainable development. Today, these
resolutions need to be strengthened and put into practice.
The Costa Rican government has
taken the lead in proposing a plan, known as the 'Costa Rica Consensus', that
aims to support countries that limit their armaments and reduce their
military spending. The Secretary-General himself has stated that "[t]he world
is over-armed and peace is under-funded."
The Global Article 9 Campaign emphasizes
the important role that peace constitutions can play in fostering an
environment conducive to sustainable development, and calls on governments to
shift priorities in their allocation of resources and decrease their military
expenditures to invest in financing sustainable development, human security and
Read the NGO Statement to the
MDGs Summit here.
Visit the official UN website for the MDGs Summit here.
HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI COMMEMORATE THE 65TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATOMIC BOMBING
Commemorative ceremonies were held this month to mark the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
For the first time ever, representatives of nuclear powers, notably the US ambassador as well as British and French officials, attended the ceremonies at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, as did the UN Secretary General.
Ban met with Hibakusha - or survivors of the atomic bomb. "As Secretary-General of the United Nations, as a global citizen, I see them as a powerful testament to the unity of all the world's peoples in the face of disaster - whether this one 65 years ago, or those we face today."
Ban delivered a message of hope, a message of peace, and called for action. "Now is the time: the time to build political momentum." He announced his intention to convene in September a "first-of-its-kind high-level meeting in New York in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament," and proposed to convene regular Security Council Summits to build on the success of last year's Security Council Summit and follow up on promises and commitments made.
Urging "all nations to support [his] five-point action plan for nuclear disarmament and to agree to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention at the earliest possible date," he also invited Japan to host a regional conference to advance his Action Plan, which includes recommendations on increasing security, transparency, verification, on establishing a legal framework for nuclear disarmament, and on conventional weapons.
Ban presented Mayor of Hiroshima Akiba Tadatoshi with 1000 blue and white paper cranes that had been folded by UN staff.
Echoing Ban's appeal, Mayor Akiba paid tribute to the Hibakusha. "Transcending the tortures of hell, trusting in the peace-loving peoples of the world," he said, "the Hibakusha offer a message that is the cornerstone of Japan's Peace Constitution and a beacon to the world."
He called on the Japanese government to "take decisive action.... [and] 'take the lead in the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons' by legislating into law the three non-nuclear principles" prohibiting the production, possession and introduction of nuclear weapons in Japan, and urge the government to "abandon the US nuclear umbrella..."
He reiterated his commitment to "work closely with like-minded nations, NGOs, and the UN itself to generate an ever-larger tidal wave of demand for a world free of nuclear weapons by 2020."
For his part, in his Nagasaki address on August 9, Japan's Prime Minister Kan Naoto said he believed Japan, as the only country to have experienced nuclear attacks, has a moral responsibility to lead the process towards the abolition of nuclear weapons and "pledge[d] that Japan will observe its Constitution and firmly maintain the three nonnuclear principles for the sake of the elimination of nuclear weapons and the realization of eternal world peace."
As part of the events for the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) launched the Million Pleas campaign to free the world from nuclear weapons.
The campaign targets the 9 countries still in possession of nuclear weapons and aims to collect video clips from one million people from all over the globe saying the word "please". The video was started by a group of school children from Hiroshima, Japan and will be edited with clips from all over the world into a long virtual chain letter, which will act as a petition to abolish nuclear weapons, worldwide.
Read the full text of the Hiroshima Peace Declaration 2010 here, as well as the Nagasaki Peace Declaration 2010 here.
Read Ban Ki-moon's address hereRead a translation of Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto's speech here. Add your plea to the Million Pleas campaign here.
CLUSTER MUNITIONS CONVENTION ENTERS INTO FORCE
On August 1st, 2010, a new global treaty came into force under international law. The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the production, use, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs and provides for assistance to victims and clearance of contaminated areas.
Cluster bombs are particularly controversial weapons. Dropped from the air or fired from the ground, these large weapons contain hundreds of smaller "bomblets" or sub-munitions designed to explode on impact, releasing sub-munitions that disperse to strike ground targets. However, many do not detonate, leaving unexploded duds that threaten civilians long after conflicts end. Because they disperse widely, cluster munitions do not distinguish between military targets and civilians, and thus kill indiscriminately, especially when used in populated areas.
Cluster bombs have been used in dozen of countries, including Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Chechnya. The use of cluster munitions by Israel in Lebanon in August 2006 spurred international outcry, and gave an impetus to the campaign to ban such weapons.
The process to ban them began in February 2007 in Oslo. Known as the Oslo process, the campaign made rapid progress. The convention was adopted in May 2008 in Dublin and was opened for signature in December 2008 in Oslo. Since then, 108 countries have signed the convention, and 38 have also ratified it. Major producers and possessors of cluster munitions such as the US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Israel are not parties to the treaty. But one can hope that the new convention will discourage them from using cluster munitions.
Peace Boat, a key member of the Global Article 9 Campaign, issued a statement commending Japan for signing and ratifying the convention, yet challenging Tokyo on the fact that the Japanese Self-Defence Force possesses cluster munitions. "This not only violates the spirit of Japan's Peace Constitution, but also contradicts the position of sole self-defence," reads the statement. It further calls on the Japanese government to protest against the US possession and testing of cluster munitions on its territory, on US bases off the coast of Okinawa.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the treaty's entry into force. "This new instrument is a major advance for the global disarmament and humanitarian agendas, and will help us to counter the widespread insecurity and suffering caused by these terrible weapons, particularly among civilians and children," he said. His enthusiasm was shared by Thomas Nash, co-ordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), for whom "[t]his is a triumph of humanitarian values over a cruel and unjust weapon."
Read the Convention and visit the official website of the Convention on Cluster Munitions here.
Read Peace Boat's statement in support of the Convention on Cluster Munitions here.
|ARMS DOWN! CAMPAIGN COLLECTS OVER 4.7 MILLION SIGNATURES
Religions for Peace's Global Youth Network has collected over 4.7 million signatures in support of its ARMS DOWN! Campaign.
The campaign, led by youth representing the world's religions, was launched in November 2009.
It calls for disarmament toward shared security, notably by abolishing nuclear weapons through strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty and developing a universal Nuclear Weapons Convention to achieve disarmament by 2020; stopping the proliferation and (mis)use of conventional weapons, by passing a global Arms Trade Treaty and implementing existing international law instruments; as well as redirecting 10% of military expenditure to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Like the Global Article 9 Campaign, the ARMS DOWN! Campaign urges governments to reduce their military spending and re-allocate these funds to support the realization of the MDGs.
In addition to calling for the implementation of existing UN resolutions adopted on the topic of disarmament for development, the ARMS DOWN! Campaign is proposing that the UN General Assembly adopt a new resolution that specifically asks member states to cut military spending by 10% and "convert the reduction on military spending into efforts designed to meet the Millennium Development Goals", and to put into place national mechanisms to monitor this conversion. The text also encourages member states to establish regional security arrangements, and calls on the UN Security Council to fulfill its responsibilities under Article 26 of the UN Charter.
Meant to last for a year, the campaign will hold a formal closing ceremony on October 4, 2010 in New York.
If you have not yet signed the petition, please do so on the ARMS DOWN! Campaign's website here.
Read the full text of the draft resolution proposed by the Global Youth Network of Religions for Peace here.
US MILITARY BUILDUP IN COSTA RICA VIOLATES ITS PEACE CONSTITUTION
On July 1, 2010, Costa Rica's legislative assembly granted permission to US warships and military personnel to enter the country in the name of the war on drugs in the region.
The permission is based on a
"Cooperation Agreement" between the two countries that expired in
October 2009 and authorized US maritime patrols in Costa Rican waters to stop
drugs from Panama and Colombia from going north - not the entry of US
warships and military personnel onto Costa Rican soil.
Critics have qualified the decision
as illegal, as Article 12 of the 1949 Costa Rican Constitution states that "military
forces may only be organized under a continental agreement or for the national
defense; in either case, they shall always be subordinate to the civil power:
they may not deliberate or make statements or representations individually or
Opposition deputies have
announced they will appeal the decision with the Constitutional Court. "The
fundamental values of the Costa Rican State are stake, the core values that
have distinguished this country- a country of peace, which rejects militarism,
where we have a declaration of perpetual neutrality regarding conflicts of war
in other countries and now we want to become complicit in a strategy of
militarization is taking place in Latin America," said parliamentary leader José
María Villalta. According to opposition deputy Luis Fishman, "we cannot support
an illegal act, we won't allow the Constitution to be broken."
Costa Rica abolished its army in
1949 and since then has had no national military forces. Recently, the Supreme
Court of Justice recognized a Right to Peace that imposes obligations on the
State, notably prohibiting any war-related activities, such as the entry of
goods and services intended to be used in war.
The move is part of a general US
military buildup in Latin America, essentially justified on the grounds of
combating drug trafficking. Though the agreement allows US military presence in
Costa Rica until December 2010, observers expect it will not end at the end of the
Read more about this issue on
the Institute for Policy Studies' website here.
Thank you for your interest in and support for the
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War.
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat