INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE FOR DEPARTMENTS OF PEACE
Why a Department of Peace/Ministry for Peace Within Governments?
• To create peace as a primary organizational principle in society both domestically and globally;
• To direct government policy towards non-violent resolution of conflict and to seek peace by peaceful means in all conflict areas;
• To promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights and the security of persons and their communities, consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other related UN treaties, conventions and the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace(1999);
• To promote disarmament and strengthen non-military means of peacemaking and peacebuilding;
• To develop new approaches to non-violent intervention, and utilize constructive dialogue, mediation and the peaceful resolution of conflict at home and abroad;
• To address matters of concern both domestic and international in scope
• To encourage the development of peace initiatives from local communities, faith groups, NGOs and the formation of civilian nonviolent peace forces;
• To facilitate the development of peace and reconciliation summits to promote non-violent communication and mutually-beneficial solutions;
• To act as a resource for the creation and the gathering of best practices documents, lessons learned, and peace impact assessments;
• To provide for the training of all military and civilian personnel who administer post-war reconstruction and demobilization in war-torn societies; and
• To fund the development of curriculum materials for use at all educational levels and to support university-level peace studies.
The International People's Initiative for Departments of Peace was launched at the First People's Summit for Departments of Peace, held in London October 18-19, 2005, with the intention of supporting national-level campaigns to establish departments of peace/ministries for peace in governments throughout the world. This document package provides background information on the International People's Initiative for Departments of Peace.
REPORT FROM LONDON:
THE FIRST PEOPLE’S SUMMIT FOR DEPARTMENTS OF PEACE
October 18-19, 2005
The first international People’s Summit for Departments of Peace took place in London, UK, preceded by a two-day training in the latest developments on the expanding frontier of knowledge and practice in peacebuilding and conflict transformation around the world.
Forty people from twelve countries took time from their busy lives and invested their energy and resources to attend. The countries represented included Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Netherlands, Palestine, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States of America. In addition, written support was received from political leaders in Australia, Nepal, Nigeria, Japan, and Uganda, including:
• Senator Lyn Allison, Leader of the Australian Democrats
• Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the Australian Democrats
• Hon. Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MP, MLC State Leader of the Australian Democrats
• Hon. Oryem Henry Okello, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs/International Affairs of Uganda
• Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor, City of Hiroshima, Japan
• Homrajdahal, former MP and President, Center for Conflict Resolution, Peace, and Development, Nepal
• Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
Presently, five of these countries have working groups conducting campaigns for ministries or departments of peace: Australia, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States.
On the final day of the Summit, the participants launched an on-going partnership for global action, called the international People’s Initiative for Departments of Peace. The London Summit then concluded with a public meeting in the Grand Committee Room in the Houses of Parliament, hosted by John McDonnell MP and emceed by Diana Basterfield, co-founder of UK ministry for peace. The event opened with video greetings from U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (author of the current legislation in Congress) and Marianne Williamson, and Dot Maver, executive director of The Peace Alliance, spoke on behalf of the U.S. campaign. Canada's representative, Saul Arbess, shared the Canadian working group's perspective. John McDonnell MP then articulated clearly the urgent need for departments and ministries of peace in order to provide a governmental infrastructure -- an institutional space -- for dialogue on peaceful resolution of conflict to take place.
Dot Maver answered some highly pointed questions from the audience about various aspects of U.S. policy by acknowledging the pain expressed and offering hope by saying that many people in the United States and around the world share that pain and sense of urgency, and reframing the situation in relation to the need to create infrastructures for London Summit Participants
peace based on the peacebuilding and conflict transformation efforts and resources already underway and available around the world.
Summit participants representing each country stood in the front of the room, and Zoughbi Zoughbi from Palestine and Shiri Barr from Israel stood side by side and spoke on behalf of the international initiative, both asking us to not give up hope and expressing their gratitude and joy to be standing together calling for peace. Dot read aloud the Summit’s Declaration (see below) launching the People’s Initiative for Departments of Peace and presented it to John McDonnell MP, who then said he would read it into the official record of the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity.
Declaration of the
FIRST PEOPLE’S SUMMIT FOR DEPARTMENTS OF PEACE
London, 19 October 2005
Today, we announce the launch of an international initiative for the creation of Departments of Peace in governments throughout the world.
Violence of all kinds is increasing.
There is an urgent need to find responsible solutions, expanding on past and present peace-building successes.
This international initiative will both provide resources and support for existing national Department of Peace campaigns, and assist new ones as they appear in other countries.
While the exact role of the department will differ in each country, its basic functions will be the same:
To foster a culture of peace;
To research, articulate and help bring about non-violent solutions to conflicts at all levels; and
To provide resources for training in peace-building and conflict transformation to people everywhere.
We, the undersigned, joyfully vow to support and encourage each other, to share information, to enrich each other’s experience, to listen to one another and to celebrate our commonalities and differences in our journey together towards a culture of peace.
Department of Peace, Australia
Working Group for a Federal Department of Peace, Canada
ministry for peace, United Kingdom
The Peace Alliance, Campaigning for a US Department of Peace, United States of America
Delegation from Israel
Binnie D’egli Innocenti, WWGHM, Italy
Federation of Damanhur, Italy
Global Peace Campaign, Working for a Ministry of Peace in Japan
Ank Mesritz, House of Peace, Netherlands
Paul van Tongeren, European Centre for Conflict Prevention, Netherlands
Zoughbi Zoughbi, WI’AM, Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre, Palestine
Romanian Department of Peace Initiative
Jo Berry, Building Bridges for Peace, United Kingdom
Rolf C Carriere
Simonetta Costanzo Pittaluga, NOVA, Center for Social Innovation - Spain
SECOND PEOPLE’S SUMMIT FOR DEPARTMENTS OF PEACE
- BUILDING ON STRENGTHS -
The Second People’s Summit for Departments of Peace – Building on Strengths, will take place in Victoria, Canada, following the model of the First People's Summit, held in London in October 2005. It will include further training in peace building and conflict transformation, reports of progress on action plans agreed to in October, and solidification of plans for continuing activities, including the engagement of youth in this worldwide movement. The Victoria Summit is expected to draw half again as many people (about 60) from more countries (20). Included will be a number of attendees from developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Objective: To share experiences and move forward the agenda for creating ministries or departments of peace by focusing on strategies, tactics, timetables and the identification of key players to advance the initiative. It will capitalize on the opportunity presented by the World Peace Forum (WPF) being held in Vancouver immediately following the Summit, by convening there an international panel of parliamentarians, supportive of departments of peace. They will review and discuss progress and engage others in the quest for ministries or departments of peace in all nations. Six workshops related to aspects of Departments of Peace will follow.
Outcomes: A concrete, strategic plan for participating nations to move toward the creation of ministries or departments of peace and a communiqué, widely, disseminated, detailing the Summit's achievements.
2 March 2006
A FRESH APPROACH TO RESOLVING
The International People's Initiative for Departments of Peace calls urgently for the non-violent resolution of the growing conflict involving China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States of America.
As Earth's climate warms up at an alarming rate, threatening widespread global devastation, humanity faces the biggest challenge to its survival in history. For our children, our children's children and the planet, we must now avoid wasting our precious resources engaging in costly, destructive wars and instead employ well-tried, non-violent methods of resolving conflicts around the world. We can then focus our energy, creativity, wisdom, and prudence on providing for a sustainable, and thus safe and secure, future.
While recognising the efforts of all parties to resolve this dispute through negotiation, we are also aware that frustration at the lack of agreement can lead to increasing polarisation, harsh language and even the extreme violence of military action. As with past conflicts, this is likely to produce a similar result – war, chaos and suffering. It is therefore time for all of us – private citizens, civil society organisations, and governments – to call for a change in the manner in which conflict is dealt with so as to meet the fundamental needs of all humanity for security, mutual respect and justice.
The good news: non-violent conflict resolution is possible and already happening. Indeed, we have within the human family many men and women experienced in successfully facilitating the non-violent resolution of conflict within and between nations and states. We call on all governments involved to seek immediately their input and action.
We can all help bring about this change and we encourage everyone to take action now. Please talk with your friends, family and community members, and encourage everyone to call on political leaders to settle for nothing less than a non-violent resolution to this conflict. Suggestions as to specific actions you can take are listed at www.peoplesinitiativefordepartmentsofpeace.org.
It is time to create a world in which we all pursue the non-violent resolution of conflict. The stakes are too high for any other course of action.
For further information, please contact email@example.com.
The International People's Initiative is working towards the formation of ministries and departments of peace in all governments so that national ministers of peace may meet on a regular basis, especially during crises, with a mandate to seek and maintain an ongoing focus on reaching peace by peaceful means.
Negotiate Peace – A Unique Citizens’ Peace Initiative
A conflict is developing between the international community and Iran. What is to be done? A military intervention would have disastrous effects both on Iran and its people and on human security worldwide.
Negotiate Peace (www.negotiate-peace.org) has been set up by ministry for peace in the UK and was launched at the ministry for peace meeting in Parliament on March 1st 2006 in response to the call from the People's Initiative for Departments of Peace for governments to use proven non-violent conflict transformation methods to resolve this situation. This website offers resources to individuals and organisations wishing to call on governments to adopt this non-violent strategy.
Why Negotiate Peace?
Like us, you are probably noticing similarities between early 2003 and early 2006 on the international scene, except that this time the country in the frame is Iran.
Like you, we joined millions of people worldwide on February 15th, 2003 to march against going to war in Iraq. That war went ahead.
Like you and many others we went on the march on 18th March against going to war over Iran. That war must not go ahead. Marches are necessary and let’s add a new strategy to stop wars and build peace.
Alarmed by what we have been hearing and reading about the situation over Iran/US, ministry for peace has been talking via conference calls with the other organisations around the world working for Ministries for Peace/Departments of Peace on this. We set up the People’s Initiative for Departments of Peace last October at the First People’s Summit for Departments of Peace here in London. They are also gravely concerned about the situation.
We signed up to the Statement produced by the People's Initiative for Departments of Peace on 2nd March 2006.
In response to the call in this Statement for people to take action, ministry for peace hastily organised a meeting on the Iranian situation in Parliament on March 1st. We had three excellent speakers, two Iranian women - Dr. Elaheh Rostami-Povey from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University), and Roya Kashefi from Iranian Researchers International - who talked about the situation in Iran, and Paul Ingram from the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) who looked at the international situation.
At the end of the meeting we launched a "unique citizens' peace initiative - Negotiate Peace. We want this campaign to be the 2006 version of Make Poverty History using the internet to spread the message around the world that we, the citizens, demand that our governments use proven non-violent conflict transformation methods to resolve this and all future international conflicts.
There were about 80 people at the meeting and after we had outlined the reason for this campaign, and read them the Statement, we asked who would support this new campaign. All the hands shot up!
Here is a brief description of this unique citizens’ peace initiative. We are proposing a one year massive, worldwide call to all governments to use only proven conflict prevention/transformation methods to resolve this crisis. We hope that this call will strike a chord with thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people around the world via the internet. We hope that you and they will all want to join us in choosing this non-violent approach.
Let's create a positive, speed of light internet virus – tell everyone we know and they tell everyone they know and so on, to organise petitions, letters to governments, letters in the press, phone ins on radio shows, etc saying that we, the citizens of the world demand that this looming conflict between Iran, the US, the UK etc be settled only using proven non-violent conflict resolution processes.
We have created a new website for this Negotiate Peace campaign with:
• The Statement from the Peoples' Initiative for Departments of Peace - please print it off and send to your MP, to Tony Blair, to local newspapers
• On-line petition – please ask all your networks to circulate the url - www.negotiate-peace.org and go along and sign online.
• A downloadable petition – please print off and take it to all the local places that allow petitions, health food shops, libraries, your workplace, friends and family
• There are lists of other activities you could consider
• There are stories about successful conflict prevention for those people who don’t believe conflict prevention is possible
• There are daily stories from the alternative press about the Iran/US situation
• There will shortly be a Persian (Farsi) section because we want to reach out to Iranians in the Diaspora and in Iran and show them that we support a peaceful resolution of this crisis
I mentioned the People’s Initiative for Departments of Peace. The call to governments by citizens for a non-violent solution to this current crisis is the first step in this international campaign in relation to this threat of war.
The second step will be to commission a high level delegation, including, if possible, the founder of conflict prevention studies, Johan Galtung, to visit Iran, the US and other western governments to put this non-violent conflict prevention strategy into action.
Early in April members of the Steering Committee will be meeting Johan Galtung, the father of conflict transformation and the founder of Transcend to discuss this delegation.
Other Negotiate Peace activities
• Second ministry for peace meeting on the Iran situation on 26th April in the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House starting at 7pm.
This meeting will bring us all up-to-date on crisis in the first hour, with lots of time for questions from the floor. In the second hour Kai Brand-Jacobsen from Transcend will show how conflict transformation methods have successfully prevented international conflicts elsewhere and how these can be applied to the Iran situation. Again, with time for questions from the floor.
• Building a Negotiate Peace coalition.
We want to reach out to other organisations to build a broad coalition for this campaign. We need your help to bring together the hundreds of organisations it will require if Negotiate
If you are a member of an organisation, would you be willing to put a small banner on your site with a click through to the Negotiate Peace site for people to sign the online petition and join the campaign? We would email you the html for the banner.
Would you be willing to send an invitation to like-minded people to send this email out to their lists?
• Local groups
Just imagine if, working together, we could enable a local Negotiate Peace group to be set up in every constituency around the country willing to begin a regular dialogue with the local MP on how conflict transformation methods can be successfully applied to this and future conflicts. We can provide materials for these discussions.
• Training on conflict transformation methods
These are the plans so far, many more activities will take place during the Negotiate Peace year. If you would like to take an active part in working on this campaign either at a national or a local level we would love to hear from you.
Just imagine, if this citizens' initiative - working worldwide - is able to prevent this war, how could governments ever go to war with one another again? We would have proved to them and to the world that non-violent conflict prevention is possible, that it resolves conflicts more cheaply than war - without the death, suffering and destruction - and is, of course, morally superior to war; in short, that it is the only rational answer to international conflict.
This is an opportunity to change the course of history. Join us.