Executive Summary: Working Group on Peace and Disarmament
Colin Archer (International Peace Bureau)
Jan Philip Roos (Mandat International)
The peace movement is alive and well, despite rumours of its demise. This was
the conclusion of a week-long programme of deliberations at the World Civil
Society Forum. Against the backdrop of the September 11 attacks and their
consequences, participants discussed a huge range of issues, and demonstrated
that civil society’s creativity and commitment is undiminished. But the
challenges of our violent world remain enormous and reaching out to new publics,
creating a new wave of activism, is essential and urgent.
The Peace and Disarmament workshops proved to be a rather successful
programme. There was good attendance at most sessions and a wide variety of
expert speakers. Topics covered included: disarmament challenges in areas
ranging from nuclear weapons to landmines and small arms; the dilemmas of
self-determination struggles; protection of civilians; contributions of NGOs to
conflict prevention; the situation in South Asia in the wake of the Afghan war;
peace education; women’s contributions to peace making; and the new security
environment. Country presentations featured Kenya, Lithuania, Kurdistan,
Colombia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Israel-Palestine.
It was suggested that Turkey may relax its ban on the Kurds if they agree to
renounce their campaign for total independence.
The PKK has abandoned the armed struggle.
Vladimir Petrovsky (former UNOG Director-General) described the UN Charter as
a ‘sleeping beauty’ that needs to be better implemented.
According to a speaker from Afghanistan, only 2% of the budget is spent on
Alyn Ware (NZ Peace Foundation/IALANA) showed that many initiatives were
continuing with the goal of banning nuclear weapons, despite the current
negative diplomatic atmosphere.
Elisabeth Reusse-Decrey (Geneva Call) talked about persuading rebel groups
(non-state actors) to agree to the landmine ban. Nava Sonnenschein (Neve
Shalom-Wahat al Salaam) described her work with Jews and Palestinians in
tackling the attitudes of one group to the other.
Bineta Diop (Femmes Africa Solidarité) recounted how women in the
Manu River region demanded that the male leaders cease their warlike
Claire Galez (Center for S. Asian Studies) suggested that the only viable
way forward in the Kashmir dispute is to formalise the Line of Control into the
- To support the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG)’s call for a
conference on nuclear dangers.
- To publicise the Peace March from Pakistan to India, that is being conducted
by a group of Buddhist monks.
- To learn about the Olympic Truce movement.
- To endorse the Global Campaign for Peace Education.
- To get involved with the campaign to implement SC Resolution 1325 which
opens a space for women to participate in peacekeeping and peace
- To help construct the new Non-violent Peace Force.
- To build the campaign against military attacks on Iraq.
Individual sessions in this working group
- The challenges of disarmament
- How to engage with
as a means of conflict resolution
- Protection of civilians
against violence: the humanitarian challenges
- Conflict transformation:
how civil society can make a difference
- Terrorism and beyond
- Education for peace
- The role of civil society in
supporting peace processes and disarmament negotiations
- Galtung Johan, Searching for Peace: The Road to TRANSCEND, Pluto
Press, London, 2000 (conflict resolution)
- Reardon, B. A., Cabayudo, A., Learning to Abolish War: Teaching toward a
Culture of Peace, Hague Appeal for Peace, Report of the International
Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, NY, 2002 (a teacher’s manual
on peace education)
- Disarmament Forum n. 1, 2002, NGOs as Partners: Assessing the Impact,
Recognizing the Potential (UNIDIR)
- Disarmament Forum n. 3, 2002, Education for Disarmament (UNIDIR)
9 chairs and 22 speakers