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November 2009
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Newsletter #22
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Dear 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.



Ecuador conference - session IBuilding 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.
Indeed, Article 416 reads as follow:

Art. 416.- We hereby:
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." (Article 5)*
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.
Keynote Address by Kawasaki Akira of Peace Boat/Global Article 9 CampaignAmong 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.

Hibakusha Delegation at the Presidential Palace in QuitoIn 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 ceremony.
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.
note* Unofficial translation from Spanish by Peace Boat

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 Consensus here.

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.


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 projects.
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 Security, here.
Read more about the Global Youth Campaign on Disarmament for Shared Security here.


NGO side-event to the ICNND Hiroshima meeting (October 2009)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

On 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.
A 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.
Protest against the Futenma Base relocation plan  KYODO PHOTOA 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.
Prime 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.


The Article 9 Team

Newsletter Editor:
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Jay Gilliam, Intern
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat
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