Dear Friends and Supporters of Article 9,
We are pleased to send you some information about the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War's recent activities and related developments.
|SITUATION IN JAPAN - SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT
In the wake of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear emergency in Japan, the Global Article 9 Campaign expresses support and solidarity to our members, friends and colleagues, and to the people of Japan.
We send our condolences for the loss of thousands of lives, our sorrow for the widespread devastation, our anxieties at the uncertainty of the nuclear situation and our admiration and encouragements to all those working in difficult conditions to rescue those missing and injured and to alleviate the suffering of the people of Japan.
Many supporters of the Global Article 9 Campaign have issued statement of sympathy and support, which underline the risks posed by nuclear energy and urge the world to rethink its nuclear dependence and explore safer and more sustainable alternatives for the future.
"The devastating situation in Japan should not have been necessary to wake people and governments up to the truth about radiation and the truths about the dangers inherent in nuclear energy," deplored the Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), while calling on "all governments to cease plans to construct new nuclear power reactors; to stop mining uranium; to phase-out nuclear power in their energy mixes; and ...[to] accelerate and enlarge their support for the development of renewable and non-carbon emitting sources of energy and for energy conservation."
The Nobel Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women's Initiative insisted on the fact that "[t]his disaster makes clear that there is only one way to prevent the repeat of nuclear disasters: investment in renewable, clean energy and complete nuclear disarmament."
Further the Nobel Women's Initiative's Wake Up Call cited a statement issued by Global Hibakusha (including the victims of the A-bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki recently "appointed "Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons" by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as all other victims of radiation at each link in the nuclear chain - uranium mining, nuclear reactors, nuclear accidents, nuclear weapons development and testing, and nuclear waste) issued in February 2011. The Global Hibakusha Statement urged: "To protect future generations and prevent future Hibakusha we must stop creating more radiation, and phase out all sources. We must invest in renewable clean energy for a sustainable future." In light of the tragic events unfolding in Japan, this statement is more relevant than ever.
In a letter to its friends in Japan, the Moruroa e Tatou Association (that protects and assists victims of the French nuclear testing in Tahiti) wrote: "For the second time in its history, your people is struck by nuclear threat, of which you have often reminded us here in Tahiti, that it was a similar threat, be it bombs that you first were the victims or be it civil nuclear industry hardly controlled, even by our best engineers."
"Today, your people will have to provide assistance to this new group of Hibakusha, victims of the nuclear accident of Fukushima. We know it well now, threats on health and future generations experimented by survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and by the victims of nuclear testing, will also be these that "nuclear refugees" will have to face, as well as those that victims of Tchernobyl have to face since 1986."
"The ongoing disaster at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant once again shed light to the tremendous danger of continued dependence on nuclear power especially in Japan, the most earthquake-prone country of the world," stated the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo), insisting it "has many times pointed out the enormous risks involved in Japan's nuclear policy" and urging "the immediate halt to the new construction of nuclear power plants, and called for an all-out examination of existing nuclear power plants."
Two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, the nuclear situation remains uncertain and tens of thousands of people are still missing and in dire need of assistance for water, food, shelter, warm clothes and everything else. Peace Boat, which serves as the Secretariat for the Global Article 9 Campaign has launched emergency relief efforts in some of the most affected regions and is now accepting donations to finance them. If you wish to contribute, donations can be made here.
Read WILPF's statement here.
Read the Nobel Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women's Initiative's Global Wake Up Call here.
Read the Moruroa e Tatou's statement (in French) here.
For more information on Peace Boat's Emergency Relief Efforts, visit Peace Boat's website here.
|HUMAN RIGHT TO PEACE: A JAPANESE PERSPECTIVE
On March 22, an event entitled "International Observatory of the Human Right to Peace: the Japanese contribution" was co-organized by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the Spanish Society for the International Human Rights Law (SSIHRL) and the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities (IAPMC) and held in parallel to the 16th session of the UN Human Right Council that took place from February 28 to March 25, 2011.
Among the panelists, Shiokawa Yorio from IADL and Sasamoto Jun from JALISA/Global Article 9 Campaign spoke of Japan's peace constitution as an important precedent to the Human Right to Peace.
Indeed, the Preamble of the Japanese Constitution "recognize[s] that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want", while Article 9 states that" the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other potential war, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the State will not recognised."
Mr. Sasamoto pointed at the interesting fact that the preamble grants a right to live in peace to "all peoples of the world". Though in 1947, when Japan's constitution was promulgated, little thought was given at clearly recognizing the right to live in peace as a legal right, which explains why it appeared in the preamble rather than in clauses. However, the right to live in peace emanates from Article 9 ; further, Japanese court decisions subsequently contributed to the establishment of the right to peace as a legal right.
The first time the right to live in peace was officially recognized by a Japanese court as a legal right was in 1973, when people living by a flood-prevention forest reserve filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Naganuma to challenge the planned revocation of the status granted to the forest reserve to allow the construction of a Self-Defence Force base. The case was based on the ground that it would violate Article 9 of the Constitution. The District Court decision recognized that the very right to live in peace written in the Preamble of the Constitution was a basic human right common to all peoples of the world.
This recognition was later confirmed by a decision of the Nagoya Appeals Court in 2008 in a case claiming that the deployment of Self-Defence Force to Iraq violated Article 9 of the Constitution, further recognizing the right to peace as a "legal constitutional right".
Similar court decisions establishing a legal right to peace as a human right have taken place in other countries, including in Costa Rica and South Korea, Mr. Sasamoto recalled, emphasizing the complementarity of campaigns such as the Global Article 9 Campaign and the World Campaign on the human right to peace.
As part of the latter, an International Congress on the Human Right to Peace was held in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) in 2010, during which important steps were taken towards the codification and international recognition of the human right to peace. Not only did human rights experts, lawyers and civil society representatives adopted a draft Universal Declaration on the Human Right to Peace (known as the Santiago Declaration), they also approved the statutes of the International Observatory of the Human Right to Peace to be established in order to promote and implement the Santiago Declaration and monitor the codification process of the human right to peace by the UN.
Once established, the Observatory is expected to assist governments and international organizations to ensure that the human right to peace is built in accordance with "the system of collective security which prohibits the threat or use of force, and promote the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law; the economic and social development of all peoples; and respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without discrimination," explained Representative of the the International Observatory on the Human Right to Peace David Fernández Puyana.
The Human Rights Council has been working since 2008 on the "Promotion of the right of peoples to peace". A dedicated Advisory Committee is currently preparing, in consultation with Member States, civil society, academia and all relevant stakeholders, a draft declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace to be submitted to the UN Human Right Council during its 17th session.
Read a full report of the event here.
More information on the International Campaign on the Human Right to Peace, including International Congress, the Santiago Declaration and the International Observatory on the SSIHRL website here.
|INITIATIVE FOR PEACE AND DISARMAMENT IN LATIN AMERICA - TRANSLATE WORDS INTO ACTION
President Alan Garcia Perez of Peru has long been advocating for a reduction in military spending in Latin America in order to channel funds on development and poverty reduction programs, as well as to avoid an arms race and achieve lasting peace in the region.
Since 2009, he has launched an Initiative for Peace and Disarmament in Latin America, calling on the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), to decrease part of their armaments expenditure and invest that money in development, education and healt. In his address to the UN General Assembly in September 2010, Garcia insisted "weapons restrict future development and maintain poverty and inequality, they feed instability therefore we have proposed all South American nations that the Peace, Security and Cooperation Protocol be adopted for lasting peace and for the reduction of expenditure on arms."
The initiative has received the support of the United Nations. "I commend your initiative to launch a proposal to stop this purchase and have transparency in terms of expenditure on armaments," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after a meeting with the Peruvian president in February 2011.
Yet, recently, UN High Representative for Disarmament Sergio Duarte pointed at "contradiction between intentions and actions."
Indeed, Inter Press Service reports that Peru disbursed the highest military budget under Garcia's administration than ever since the regime of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) with 807 million dollars since 2006 - "an average of 161.4 million dollars a year and 13.4 million dollars a month", IPS quotes.
Transparency remains a serious problem for the control of the global arms race, added Duarte. Since 1981, the UN has put in place what is known as the UN Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures (MilEx) through which the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs collects information on governments' military spending and makes it public. However, this information sharing process remains voluntary, living the decision to governments to take the initiative. And in the case of Peru, Garcia's administration has failed to submit information. Yet, it is known that Peru has upgraded its military equipments over the past few years.
UNASUR's Constitutive Treaty, adopted in 2008, promotes a culture of peace and some of its members have adopted peace constitutions, notably Bolivia and Ecuador.
Read Inter Press Service's article "Calling for Reduced Military Spending While Boosting Arms Purchases" for more information and analysis here.
|OKINAWA: US STATE OFFICIAL'S REMARKS SPARK OUTRAGE IN JAPAN
In December 2010, Director of Japanese affairs office at the US State Department and former US Consul General in Okinawa Kevin K. Maher addressed a group of 14 students from the American University in Washington D.C., ahead of their Alternative Break Trip to Okinawa to study "US Military Bases and Their Impacts in Okinawa, Japan".
As part of this lecture he considered being "off the record", he made several not only factually wrong but also highly offensive remarks on Japanese culture and on Okinawa in particular that stirred controversy in Japan.
In addition to describing the Japanese cultural inclination for maintaining social harmony by consensus to ''extortion'' and qualifying the Okinawan people as ''lazy,'' he portrayed the US-Japan security treaty as "asymmetric" claiming it "benefit[ed] the Japanese to the detriment of the US."
In complete disdain for Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that prohibits the maintenance of armed forces and other war potential, he stated "collective security is not a constitutional issue, but a policy issue."
However, he indicated he was opposed to any amendment of the peace clause, on the grounds that "it would be bad for the United States if the Japanese Constitution was changed because Japan would not need the United States' Military. If the Japanese Constitution was changed the United States would not be able to use Japanese land to advance US interests. The high host nation support the Japanese government currently pays is beneficial to the US. We've got a very good deal in Japan."
Maher also criticized Japanese Self-Defence Forces for "train[ing] without actually preparing for deployment" and dismissed "one third of people [who] believe the world would be more peaceful without a military", concluding it was "impossible to talk with such people."
Though it initially took time for the incident to be taken up by the Japanese media, Kyodo News, the Okinawan-based Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Taimusu, as well as other media finally reported it on March 7, 2011, sparking outrage and anger among the people of Okinawa and in Japan.
Among them, Hiyane Teruo, professor emeritus of the University of the Ryukyus and scholar on postwar Okinawan history, said Maher's remarks represent ''a blatant mentality of occupation", adding they were "racially discriminating against Okinawa." For his part, former head of Japan's Foreign Ministry's International Intelligence Office at the Foreign Ministry Mr. Magosaki said he thought "US officials in charge of recent US-Japan negotiations shared ideas like those of Mr. Maher."
In response to the public uproar over Maher's comments, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio held a phone conference with US Ambassador to Japan John Roos to tell him that Maher's remarks were" very inappropriate" and "hurt the feeling of not just Okinawans but also all Japanese." The US Embassy in Tokyo subsequently issued a statement of regret stating that Maher's views did not represent at all the US government's policy.
Following prefectural and city assemblies in Okinawa calling for Maher to step down, apologize and officially retract his comments, US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell was dispatched to Tokyo, while Kevin Maher was fired and replaced by former Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, Rust Deming.
Reports by the Okinawa prefectural assembly claim Maher repeatedly made derogatory remarks and acted discriminatorily during his time as US Consul General in Okinawa from 2006 to 2009.
Read the notes taken by American University Students here.
More information and media coverage can be found on the Peace Philosophy Center's website here.
|COUNTDOWN FOR THE GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING
Countdown has started: we are just a couple of weeks away from April 12, the first-ever Global Day of Action on Military Spending, during which civil society groups around the world will be holding events to tell the world's leaders and media that the colossal amounts of money spent on the military would be better used to finance peace, sustainable development, food shortages, access to health, education, climate change and address the many challenges faced today.
Indeed, in 2009, the world spent over $1.5 trillion on the military and military expenditure keeps on increasing every year. On 11 April, the day before the GDAMS, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) will release its figures on global military spending for 2010, which are already expected to be at least 1.6 trillion USD.
On April 12, actions will take place around the globe, from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada to the Philippines, New Zealand, and the US. New groups keep on signing up in Thailand, Cameroon, Norway, Nepal, Brazil and more.
More information of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending and a list of events can be found on the GDAMS' 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