Friends and Supporters of Article 9,
We are pleased to send you a report about the International Peace Constitutions Conference for Nuclear and Foreign Military Base Abolition that took place in Ecuador on November 6-7, as well as some information about the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War's activities and related developments.
REPORT FROM THE
PEACE CONSTITUTIONS CONFERENCE FOR NUCLEAR AND FOREIGN MILITARY BASE ABOLITION
on the momentum and achievements of the Global Article 9 Conference held in May
2008 in Japan, as well as on the Article 9 and Article 12 Conference - Peace Constitutions for Global Disarmament that took place in Puntarenas, Costa Rica
in July of 2009, the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War, Peace Boat, and
the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases (NO
Bases) co-organized an International
Peace Constitutions Conference for Nuclear and Foreign Military Base Abolition.
The event took place on November 5
and 6, 2009 in Manta and Montecristi, Ecuador, where the US had operated a
military base since 1999 and where the country's new peace constitution
was written and, subsequently, adopted in November of 2008.
The conference focused on the
concrete functions and outcomes of peace constitutions, especially in the areas
of nuclear weapons abolition and foreign military base abolition.
Like Article 9 of Japan's
Constitution, which renounces the maintenance of armed forces and war as a
method of settling international conflicts, Article 416 of Ecuador's
Constitution promotes the peaceful resolution of conflicts and rejects the use
or threat of use of force. It also promotes universal disarmament, and condemns
the use of weapons of mass destruction as well as the imposition of military
bases by States in the territory of other States.
Article 416 reads as follow:
Art. 416.- We
1. Proclaim the
independence and legal equality of States, the peaceful co-existence and the self-determination of peoples, as well as their cooperation, integration and solidarity.
2. Advocate the peaceful solution of controversies and international conflicts, and reject the threat or use of force to resolve them.
3. Condemn the interference of
States in the internal affairs of other States and any form of
intervention, aggression, occupation or economic or military blockade.
4.Promote peace and universal
disarmament and condemn the development of weapons of mass destruction and the
imposition by States of bases or installations that hold military purposes in
the territory of other [States]. (...)*
Furthermore, the Ecuadorian
Constitution establishes the country as a "territory of peace." In
its Second Chapter, under "Right to Good Life", it declares that
"No foreign military bases or
foreign installations for military purposes will be permitted. It is prohibited
to cede national military bases to foreign security or armed forces."
The conference included sessions on
peace constitutions, foreign military bases and nuclear weapons abolition as well as testimonies from some of
the ten Hibakusha - or survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki who are currently traveling with Peace Boat as part of its Global
Voyage for a Nuclear Free World - Peace Boat Hibakusha Project.
Among the speakers were Helga
Serrano (NO Bases), Verónica Macías (Youth in Movement), Nohira Shinshaku
(Peace Boat), Luis Savedra (NO Bases) and Odalys Lopez (Cuban Institute for
Friendship with the Peoples) who addressed the issue of the elimination of
foreign military bases; Kawasaki Akira (Peace Boat/Global Article 9 Campaign), Carlos Vargas (IALANA),
Lina Cahuasquí (NO Bases) and Carlos Crespo (World March for Peace and
Non-Violence) who spoke on nuclear abolition and peace constitutions.
Performances, cultural workshops
and a peace festival also took place.
In addition to the conference, a
delegation of Hibakusha met with key high level officials in the Ecuadorian
government in Quito and the mayors of Montecristi, Manta and Portoviejo joined
the nuclear disarmament initiative "Mayors for Peace" in a special
The conference culminated with the
Manta and Montecristi Declaration, which calls on world governments to take
concrete steps towards the abolition of nuclear weapons and the strengthening
of international mechanisms for arms control, non-proliferation, and the
disarmament of ALL weapons. The document also makes a plea for the
universal dismantling and removal of existing foreign military bases and
opposes the construction of new ones. Finally, it urges governments to adopt
pacifist clauses in their countries' constitutions, similar to those adopted by
countries such as Ecuador (Art. 5 and 416), Japan (Art. 9), and Costa Rica
(Art. 12), and encourages the adoption of a UN resolution that recognizes the
role that peace constitutions can have in the promotion of global security and
disarmament for development.
For more information about the
Conference, visit the Global Article 9 Campaign's website here.
For more information about
Peace Boat's Hibakusha Project, visit Peace Boat's website here.
Also see the site of the Worldwide
Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases (or NO Bases Network) here.
translation from Spanish by Peace Boat
|LATIN AMERICAN FOLLIES
In a column written in the context
of the Honduran crisis this year and published in the Washington Post last
July, Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Oscar Arias condemns
what he considers to be "skewed priorities" and singles out Latin
America's "reckless" military spending as one of the primary causes
for the coup d'état in Honduras.
More generally, he points out that
Central American governments will have spent nearly $50 billion on their armies
in just this year, while 200 million of their people continue to live on less
than $2 a day.
Indeed, Venezuela acquired 500
Russian combat helicopters worth about $500 million; Brazil is negotiating a
multi-billion deal for the purchase of French fighter jets, aircraft and
submarines; Chile is planning on purchasing US cannons, radars and combat
aircrafts; Bolivia, though one of the continent's poorest countries, has
allocated a $100 million budget for buying arms from Russia; and Colombia is
about to allow US forces to use seven military bases on its territory.
The coup in Honduras is thus an
example of "what happens when (...) governments divert to their
militaries resources that could be used to strengthen their democratic
institutions, to build a culture of respect for human rights and to increase
their levels of human development", writes Arias.
Despite the sharp increase in
military spending, several significant steps have taken place in the region,
notably the adoption of UNASUR's Constitutive Treaty that promotes a culture of
peace and a world free of nuclear weapons, as well as Ecuador and Bolivia's new
constitutions that reject the use of force, prohibit the existence of foreign
military bases, and promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts. These
positive developments will hopefully foster trust and dialogue among Latin
American countries, thus balancing the arms race that threatens the region.
Oscar Arias received the 1987 Nobel
Peace Prize for his peace-making efforts towards ending the various armed
conflicts that ravaged Central America in the 1980s. Since then, he has
remained a strong peace advocate and has promoted a higher level of regional
integration and the demilitarization of Central America to become the first
demilitarized region where an "army of doctors and teachers, of engineers
and scientists" would replace militaries.
In 2006, he presented the so-called
"Costa Rica Consensus" that would "create mechanisms to forgive
debts and provide international aid to developing countries that spend more on
education, health care, housing and environmental conservation, and less on
weapons and war."
In November 2008, his government
initiated a debate in the UN Security Council on collective security and
armament regulation, as part of an effort to re-invigorate and re-energize work
to implement Article 26 of the UN Charter which calls for the establishment of
a system for the regulation of armaments with the least diversion of the
world's human and economic resources for armaments in order to promote the
establishment and maintenance of international peace and security.
Costa Rica abolished its armed
forces in 1948 and has subsequently redirected budget to social spending,
including on education, making it rank at the top of human development,
democracy and peace indexes in Latin America.
In 2009, the Global Article 9
Campaign to Abolish War co-organized two important events in Latin America. In
July, it held an international conference in Costa Rica on the value and
regional and global significance of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and
of Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution, as well as their links to
Article 26 of the United Nations Charter. This was followed by the forum in
Ecuador in November - see above for a more in-depth report.
Read Oscar Arias' column in the
Washington Post here.
Learn more about the Costa Rica
Find out more about the Article 9
and Article 12 Conference - Peace Constitutions for Global Disarmament and
about the International Peace Constitutions Conference for Nuclear and Foreign
Military Base Abolition on the Global Article 9 Campaign website here.
|JAPAN'S BUDGET REVIEW - AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DISARMAMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT
As part of ongoing budget review
efforts, a Japanese government task force has recommended that the country end
development of a rocket missile project because of uncertainty on the
feasibility of the project, its cost and the need to end wasteful spending
The Global Article 9 Campaign
welcomes this recommendation to shift high, wasteful spending on state
armaments and hopes that Japan commits these and more resources for development
as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently urged.
The mid-sized GX rocket project was
originally designed for commercial purposes, especially to launch satellites
for meteorological observations and communication. It has been
promoted as a security project for surveillance and defensive security of
space after members of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan added this
provision to the project last year. The security aspects of the project have
been disputed because it could go beyond the "principle of peaceful use of
space" that was established by a Diet resolution in 1969 and has been the
foundation of Japan's space policy.
Although the recommendation to end
the program is mainly based on cost-efficiency considerations rather than on
peace and security ones, the task force's decision reflects a change in the new
government's priorities in the way it allocates resources.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
recently spoke out against the high global military spending and the need for
states to invest more in world peace and development. Speaking in Costa Rica at
the conference of Religions for Peace: Global Youth Campaign on Disarmament for
Shared Security, Mr. Ban said, "People everywhere are recognizing as never
before the tremendous burdens and risks of continuing to invest vast sums and
energies in nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction, small arms, land
mines, cluster munitions and other deadly weapons."
Mr. Ban urged leaders to use the
recent political momentum and will to reduce weapons stockpiles and redirect
expenditures towards more peaceful goals. The Secretary General said that
there can be "no development without peace and no peace without development.
Disarmament can provide the means for both."
The Global Article 9 Campaign
supports UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's appeal to world leaders to trade
disarmament for peace and encourages other countries to review and cut their
military budget to invest instead in peace and development.
Read the message given by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
at the Conference of Religions for Peace: Global Youth Campaign on Disarmament for Shared
Read more about the Global Youth Campaign on
Disarmament for Shared Security here.
|ICNND'S FOURTH AND FINAL MEETING IN HIROSHIMA
The Australian and Japanese-led International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) held its fourth and last meeting in Hiroshima on October 17 to 20, 2009.
The Commission's Co-chairs presented an overall summary of its content, which will likely be released by the end of 2009.
With a three-phase action agenda, the report will spell out actions to be taken during the three phases until 2012, between 2012 and 2025, and after 2025.
The first period will be dedicated to calling on nuclear states to adopt a doctrine stating that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is deterrence of others' nuclear use, and urging all nations to bring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force. During the second phase, nuclear states shall adopt and declare a no-first-use policy and drastically reduce their nuclear arsenal. It is only after 2025 that nuclear states will be urged to move toward nuclear weapons abolition.
Yet, the action plan falls short of setting target figures for the level of disarmament or a deadline for the complete abolition. Other issues of concern include the Commission's lack of direct and explicit engagement on a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) in the short-term and the postponement of the adoption of the "no first use" policy.
While former Japanese and Australian Foreign Ministers and Co-Chairs of the Commission Kawaguchi Yoriko and Gareth Evans insist the action plan needs to be "realistic," civil society is critical of the fact that the ICNND is much less ambitious than other efforts towards nuclear weapons abolition.
Indeed, the targets are far from sufficient in light of recent developments such as US President Barack Obama's speech in Prague in April calling for a nuclear-free world, the announcement by Washington and Moscow in July that they will reduce their strategic nuclear arms and missiles or the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution last September to pursue conditions for a nuclear-free world.
For many among civil society, such as Tashiro Akira from the Hiroshima Peace Media Center, "the actual conditions surrounding nuclear arms may be a step closer to a nuclear-free world than the ICNND recommendations suggest."
Coinciding with the official ICNND meeting, NGOs organized an International Civil Society Symposium. Entitled "Towards a World Without Nuclear Weapons - Now is the Time to Act!", the event brought together about 300 participants who adopted a declaration that appealed to the ICNND to "strengthen the current momentum for a world without nuclear weapons" and urged the Commission to make recommendations that are "ahead of the game, not lagging behind moves that are already in train."
Following the press statement by the Commission's Co-Chairs at the end of the ICNND meeting, representatives from Japanese and international civil society organizations expressed their disappointment over the outcomes of the meeting. A statement was issued, conveying their fear "that the Commission's report (...) could in fact act as a brake on the current momentum towards a world without nuclear weapons" rather than advance the cause, by settling for the "lowest common denominator".
The final report of the Commission will likely be issued by the end of 2009 in advance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May 2010 and is meant to help build an international consensus towards the summit. Yet, bolder steps than what it will recommend need to be taken to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
Read the resolution adopted by the Civil Society Symposium Coinciding with the ICNND Hiroshima Meeting (October 18, 2009) here.
Read the NGO statement concerning the Hiroshima meeting of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (November 6, 2009) here.
Find more information about the ICNND meeting in Hiroshima and NGO reactions on the blog of the ICNND NGO Network here.
Picture's credit: ICNND NGO Network
|OKINAWAN CITIZENS TELL OBAMA THEY WANT TO GET RID OF US BASES
November 8, nearly 21,000 Okinawan citizens, heads of municipalities and assembly
members rallied together to protest and demand the closure of the US Marines
Corps Futenma Air station in downtown Ginowan, Okinawa. The demonstration was held
ahead of US President Obama's visit to Japan and in response to Japan Prime
Minister Hatoyama Yukio's pledge to review the previously agreed relocation of
the US air base within Okinawa.
2006 bilateral agreement between the US and Japan plans to move Futenma base to
Camp Schwab, a less densely populated area in northern Nago, Okinawa, by 2014.
Prime Minister Hatoyama would like to review the 2006 agreement with the US and
is consulting with an US-Japan high level working group set up to examine this
issue. While Okinawans would like to see the relocation of the base off the
Okinawa island entirely, Japanese Foreign Minister Okada
Katsuya has expressed the intention to merge Futenma air base with nearby US Kadena air base.
rally was held in Kadena on November 8 to oppose this idea. Demonstrators in Futenma adopted
a resolution stating, "The small island of Okinawa doesn't need a base any
more. We oppose the construction of a new facility in the Henoko (district of
Nago) and (Futenma's) relocation within Okinawa." The demonstrators
also pressed the Japanese government "not to cave in to US pressure and
convey Okinawan people's voices without hesitation to the United States in bilateral
negotiations from 'equal' position."
Similar to the residents of Manta, Ecuador who prompted their country to
constitutionally prohibit the presence of foreign military bases on
its soil, Okinawan residents are raising their
voices against the undue burden of hosting bases. The Marine Corps base,
which is located in a residential area of downtown Ginowan, has continued to
elicit concerns from local citizens because of training flights that cause
noise, air and other environmental pollution, as well as public safety issues. In 2004, a US helicopter crashed
into Okinawa International University, although no injuries or deaths were
reported. Local residents are also concerned with crime by military personnel,
especially after a 1996 incident in which three servicemen were convicted of
raping a 12-year old girl and the recent connection of a US serviceman with the
death of a 66-year old man.
Minister Hatoyama met with President Obama on his visit to Japan in November to
talk about the air base. Hatoyama has expressed that he and the government
recognize the extreme suffering by Okinawans due to base hosting and would like
to resolve the issue of relocating Futenma air base by the end of the year,
although he has not expressed how he hopes to resolve the issue.
Photo credit: KYODO PHOTO
Thank you for your interest in and support for the
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War.
| Newsletter Editor:
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Jay Gilliam, Intern
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat