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Vol. XVI, No.3 Spring, 2002




ONGOING ACTIVITIES

In October Eight Dutch volunteers from several organizations went as observers to the Palestine territories and Israel as part of the campaign, "United Civilians for Peace." During their three month stay in the area they reported about the continuing violence and human rights violations. An opinion poll (from Intomart) last fall showed that 73% of the population applauded this plan of Dutch social service organizations. The goals of the observers were to be visibly present, to observe and to report. International presence can have a mitigating effect upon the use of violent means. Furthermore, the campaign is an indication of support for the work of Israeli and Palestinian organizations that strive for a sustainable and just peace.

These organizations have requested the presence of the observers, who were stationed with them in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Gaza. "United Civilians for Peace" is an initiative of the Dutch development and peace organizations: Cordaid, ICCO, IKV, Churches in Action, Novib en Pax Christi. The initiators are very concerned about the violence victimizing innocent civilians on both sides. The observers also noted the less visible violence of continuing Israeli occupation, with its many human rights abuses. The initiating organizations have been critical of the lack of action by Dutch and European politicians in this area, believing that much more pressure should be placed upon both parties in order to reach a sustainable peace, based on human rights and international law. The eight observers went to the region as a pilot group. An international expansion of the campaign is being developed, which is expected to extend to other places within and outside of Europe. For further information, contact Erik Ackerman, +31-30 - 6927995 or mobile phone: +31 -6 - 2707 4934, or David Grant, 3003 Van Ness, NW, Apt. W505, Washington DC 20008 (202)363-1469.

In March, Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace (Two groups cooperated in this project, the Parents' Circle of 200 families in Israel and National Movement for Change in the Palestinian Authority) arranged a "Coffin Display" in Hamaskold Plaza near the United Nations. There, in the space where on other occasions thousands have rallied for various causes, were over a thousand coffins. 800 coffins draped with Palestinian flags, 250 with Israeli flags. David McReynolds (on the staff of War Resisters League and Socialist Party candidate for President, 2000) commented in part "I am a hardened radical but as soon as I saw the neat rows of coffins my eyes filled with tears. I walked down the rows, looked at the banners posted on all four sides of the square 'Better Have Pains of Peace Than Agonies of War.'" For more information contact David at DavidMcR@aol.com.

Freedom Summer in Palestine, 2002, 54 days of non-violent, direct actions by Palestinians and Internationals to promote freedom and justice for Palestine in numerous areas throughout the West Bank and Gaza is scheduled for this summer. "Freedom Summer is based on the notion that International Civilians are a resource for Palestinians in their struggle against occupation and for freedom and justice. As such, teams of International Civilians will be stationed for the entire period of Freedom Summer in various regions (Nablus, Salfit, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem/Beit Jala/Beit Sahour, Hebron, Gaza and Rafah). They will be hosted by Palestinians and will work with local community leadership to protest and take direct action against occupation forces. They will also document and report on their actions and the various criminal actions of the Israeli occupation forces - incursions, home demolitions, arrests, etc." Participants will work at different levels of involvement and for varying periods of time. For more information, go to the ISM website: www.palsolidarity.org, or contact Jordan Flaherty at anticapitalist@hotmail.com.

The Carter Center has been building upon the momentum of a Center negotiated peace agreement in Sudan and Uganda to promote peace, disarm rebels and return abducted Ugandan Children to their homes. The Center continues to observe elections in various countries, helping to insure that they are free and fair. In the area of health, a worldwide campaign led by the Center has achieved a 98% reduction in Guinea worm disease, which is painful and crippling. They are also active in the effort to reduce river blindness, a parasitic ailment that afflicts 18 million people, with 120 million at risk. For information, contact the Carter Center1 Copenhill Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, http://www.cartercenter.org.

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) has opened two new new centers to advance its work. The Educational and Action Center operates the EnviroHealthAction Web site, http://www.envirohealthaction.org/, to enable busy health providers, and others concerned with health and the environment, to keep up dated and and take quick and timely action and communication with policy makers on critical issues. To react to the need for new approaches to health impacting security policy since the attacks of September 11, especially perceiving much of U.S. Government policy to be anachronistic, PSR has established the Global Center for Security and Health. The Center draws on the interdisciplinary expertise of PSR's professional staff, as well as PSR's activist base and boards of directors and sponsors, to reach across the fields of medicine, public health and public policy, "to provide timely information, analysis and policy guidance to the public, decision makers, the media, and the medical community." The center's resources include expertise and experience in national and global security; international institutions, treaties and law; nuclear weapons doctrine; environmental health and security; violence prevention; and civil conflict. Current Center projects include, chemical and biological weapons activities, U.S. energy policy, The Security and South Asia Project (with a strong focus on the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir), The Project on Small Arms (with a strong focus on issues of arms transfer), and the Center for Security and Health Information Service. The Center can be contacted via its Research Director, Jaya Tiwari, (202)667-4260, ext. 232, jitwari@psr.org, www.psr.org

PSR has a number of concerns relating to weapons of mass destruction following 9/11. In the field of biological weapons, PSR is unhappy that, in December, the U.S. Disrupted the 5th Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Conference (BWP) by attempting to block negotiations for new inspection and enforcement provisions meant to strengthen the treaty. The U.S. Government was responding to concerns from pharmaceutical companies that trade secrets might be released by inspections, something that has never yet occurred in arms control. Without that feature, there is no way to see that the treaty is being followed. PSR seeks an affective enforcement mechanism for the BWP; an enhanced and expanded collaboration between the U.S. and Russia for destruction of Russian Chemical and biological weapons; promotion of legislation in all BWC states making it a crime for any person or entity to acquire, develop, stockpile or use biological weapons; a requirement that all U.S. (And eventually all BWC state) laboratories capable of producing biological weapons be registered and submit an annual declaration, verifiable by inspection, that they are not producing biological weapons. PSR supported the resistance by Congress to Bush administration proposals for a 30% cut in funding for the Nunn-Lugar program to assist Russia in safeguarding nuclear weapons materials and scientists and seeks additional financial aid to protect Russian nuclear materials and provide Russian nuclear scientists with income so that they will be less likely to work for states and organizations wishing to acquire nuclear weapons. In relation to the the International Treaty to Eliminate Persistent Organic Pollutants, signed by the U.S., PSR is concerned that President Bush is asking the Senate to ratify the treaty without putting in place the measures necessary to implement it. For more information about any PSR program, contact PSR, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 1012, Washington. DC 20009 (202)667-4260, psrnatl@psr.org, www.psr.org.

The Institute for Space and Security Studies is concerned that President Bush has announced that the U.S. Will pull out of the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty in June, under which the U.S. And Russia agreed to limit the development and deployment of anti balistic weapons systems. The institute seeks Congressional action to prevent the United States from acting contrary to the terms of the treaty (even if it is no longer legally in affect). For information, contact Institute for Space and Security Studies, 2066 Deercroft Dr., Viera, FL 32940 (321)752-5955, isss@mbowman.com. www.rmbowman.com

Peaceworkers is organizing a multicultural Nonviolent Peaceforce "to be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle nonviolently, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution." The aim is to create train and maintain a Peaceforce of 200 active members, 400 reserves and 500 supporters growing to 2000 active members 4000 reserves and 5000 active supporters over a decade. People are currently being recruited for a pilot project as development moves toward an International Convening Event in September. For information contact Peaceworkers, 801 Front Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103 (651)487-0800, infoAnonviolentpeaceforce.org, www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org

Human Rights Watch follows the blueprint of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948, in working to protect human rights around the globe. "We shine light into dark corners to expose human rights abuses because such crimes threaten all of us." Today, millions of men, women and children suffer human rights abuses, often committed by the very governments to which they looked for protection. Current foci include protecting Arab Americans, Muslims and Sikhs against assaults and discrimination amidst the war on terrorism, and opposing repressive governments using "the war on terrorism" as a cover for stifling the voices of legitimate opposition.

In Afghanistan and neighboring counties, Human Rights Watch insists "that all parties to the conflict comply with international humanitarian law and protect refugees from the fighting...Furthermore, we will caution the United States not to give unqualified military support to any group with a history of serious human rights abuse, and not to ignore human rights abuses committed by countries that have joined the anti-terror coalition." "The fight against terrorism must remain a fight for justice, human rights, and the rule of law." For more information contact Human Rights Watch, 350 5 Ave., 34 Fl., New York, NY 10118, www.hrw.org.

Doctors Without Boarders has joined other relief organizations in "helping families recover from War, Famine - and Fear" in Afghanistan. They are assisting people all across Afghanistan returning to looted homes and bombed out villages, surviving in crowded refugee camps, searching the countryside for family and loved ones, and beginning to rebuild lives and a nation after years of violence and repression. For information contact Doctors Without Boarders, 6 E. 39 St., 8 Fl., New York, NY 10016 (212)679-6800, doctors@newyork.msf.org, www.doctorswithoutboardrs.org

International Rescue Committee (IRC) has increased immediate and long term development aid activity in Afghanistan while continuing efforts elsewhere. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an improving security situation in the Eastern region has provided aid organizations with access to previously inaccessible areas.

In Macedonia, the August peace agreement has reduced violent incidents, however, violence in February in Tetovo and Kumanovo has displaced 65,000 people, whom IORC and other agencies are assisting. IRC is working to build up its capabilities should the peace accord collapse. For more information contact IRC, 122 E 42 St., New York, NY 10168 (212)551-3000, www.theIRC.org

The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) continues to assist in the development of micro credit: community run credit groups in many poor nations and communities, to provide small scale capital to help low income people build businesses that will get them out of poverty and enable local economic development. For details, contact FINCA, 1101 14 ST., NW, Washington, DC 20005 (202)682-1510, www.villagebanking.org.

The Women's Human Rights Net, WHRnet, is coordinating an online effort to gain as much support as possible for the Twelve Points: Stop the War, Rebuild a Just Society in Afghanistan and Support Women's Human Rights. The Twelve Points were "developed in exchanges among several women's human rights activists in New York, Asia and Latin America following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. They are intended to suggest alternatives to military action and the cycle of violence, destruction and death. The 12 Points are online in the "activists for peace" section at www.whrnet.org. People wishing to support the12 Points may do so by sending a message to whrnet@whrnet.org, including their name/full organization name/country and email address.

The Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) is a small 501c(3) non-profit dedicated to shifting U.S. policy and public opinion in support of the people of Iraq and ending 11 years of U.S.-led air strikes and sanctions against Iraq. As an organization that focuses on the humanitarian consequences of war and siege, EPIC has also started to do some work on Afghanistan. For information. Contact EDUCATION for PEACE in IRAQ CENTER (EPIC), 1101 Penn. Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 (202)543-6176; 202-543-0725 (fax), epicenter@pop2.igc.org, http://saveageneration.org.

The Zajel Youth Exchange Program, at An Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine provides youth from different countries the opportunity to develop a broader understanding of the situation in the Middle East, in its most various aspects (culture, politics, economics, conflicts, etc) in a contextual and interactive way. The Zajel Program offers The International Study Visit, through which the participants have the opportunity to sink deeply into the history of the region, especially in issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, attending lectures, workshops, visiting refugee camps, etc. Zajel also offers The International Work Camps, with a focus on international understanding and voluntary work, in Palestine, in areas related to environmental protection, agriculture and social work. For information, visit: www.najah.edu/english/Youth%20Prog/youth.htm youthexchange@najah.edu Phone: ++ 970 9 2381113/7 Fax: ++ 970 9 2387982.

Aotearoa-New Zealand Foundation for Peace Studies has been active since 1975 in promoting peace studies in schools, universities and communities in Aotearoa-New Zealand, producing a wide range of teaching materials in several media, and helping network the peace community. It is concerned with building peace at all levels including overcoming structural and cultural causes of violence. For more information contact Peace Foundation, Box 4110 Tamaki Makaurau (Aukland), Aotearoa-New Zealand, Ph. (64-9)373 2379, peace@fps.ak.planet.co.nz, www.peace.net.nz.

EURED: Education for Europe as Peace Education, is the co-operation of an international group of scholars centered at the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Intercultural Education Research in Villach/Austria (a department of Klangenfurt University in Austria). EURED provides in-service teacher training on peace education as a comprehensive curriculum, at every level, across Europe. For information contact Lennart Vriens, Dept. Of Education, Faculty of Social Science, University of Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS 2522352, The Netherlands, vriens@tsw.uu.nl.

The Peace Instiute, Ljubljana, Slovenia, has expanded its research focus on war, violence and security to encompass peace related areas of the social sciences, particularly in political science, sociology, anthropology, culture studies and gender studies. For details contact The Peace Institute, Metelkova 6, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Ph. +386-61-1322372, mirovni.instiut@guest.arnes.si, http://www.mirovni-institut.si.

UNESCO 2001 Prize for Peace Education was awarded to the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva, Israel and to Ugandan Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng for exceptional efforts "in the areas of peace educationm, the promotion of peace and nonviolence," and to reward "the work done for the resolution of conflicts through dialogue."

The Merger between the Consortium on Peace Research Education and Development (COPRED) and the Peace Studies Organization (PSA) is continuing to be worked out by an interim board that expects to complete its task this spring, including deciding upon a name, vision statement and constitution for the new peace organization, and setting the time and location of its next conference. In the meantime, the combined organization remains active with its office at Evergreen College: publishing The Peace Chronicle, operating a list serv and a web site. and For information, contact COPRED/PSA, c/o the Evergreen State College, Mailstop SEM 3127, Olympia, WA 98505 (360)867-5230, sharonis@evergreen.edu

The on-going effort to get pension giant TIAA-CREF to become more socially responsible in its investing, recently, has made progress in its effort. In a New York Times article (January 6, 2002), TIAA-CREF's CEO John H.Biggs said he would support the creation of a new retirement fund that would employ not only negative screens (avoiding certain companies), but also positive screens (investing in companies strong on social responsibility). As such, it would be more similar to a state-of-the-art socially responsible mutual fund than TIAA CREF's current Social Choice Account. (In the Times article and since, Biggs has voiced opposition to other more proactive ways of investing that would make direct social change along with making a profit. However, the campaign will continue to push for those.) Mr. Biggs "said he would support creating such a fund only 'if you could guarantee the investors would be there to invest.'" He explained that TIAA-CREF would need $50 million in seed money, and that the minimum commitment needed from investors to justify the development of such a fund would be $25 million. TIAA CREF would provide the other $25 million, with the expectation that it could be withdrawn as the fund grew.

Go to http://www.manchester.edu/academic/programs/departments/peace_studies/fund/ to learn more about the proposed new fund, or contact Abigail A. Fuller, Assistant Professor of Sociology or Neil Wollman, Senior Fellow of the Peace Studies Institute and Professor of Psychology, Co-Chairs, Social Choice for Social Change: Campaign for a New TIAA-CREF, MC Box 135, Manchester College, North Manchester, IN 46962, (260) 982-5346, njwollman@manchester.edu

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is concerned that the current U.S. Congress is over emphasizing military aspects of security while "not addressing the common good" which ultimately is the foundation for national security. Specific complaints are that in the face of a looming recession with rising joblessness and more than 40 million people lacking health care coverage, Congress has failed to enact measures to help those most vulnerable or to take steps to address health care access and affordability. FCNL decries a $1.35 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy while reducing the ability of the government to address unent human needs at home and abroad. They are concerned at the vast rate of increase of military spending, including $8 billion for a "misguided" missile defense system. FCNL is particularly unhappy that "anti-terrorism legislation passed in the wake of September 11 threatens constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms without evidence that the expanded police powers would measurably help protect people in the U.S, from terrorism." For more information contact FCNL, 245 2nd St., NE, Washington, DC., 20002 (202)800)630-1330, fcnl@fcnl.org, http://www.fcnl.org.

The Campaign for Labor Rights (CLR) reports that in the face of recession, factory closings, increased government repression and heightened corporate greed, unions are gaining a foothold and beginning to overcome sweatshop conditions in Thailand, the fields of the U.S., Mexico and other places in Central America. In Guatamala, the mostly female textile workers of of Choshin and Cimatextiles have taken their campaign to organize a union public, while consumers and activists in the U.S. have been pressuring Talbots Inc. and Liz Claiborne to use their influence to support the basic rights of workers who produce the goods they sell.

In Oregon, the 16 year effort by the farm workers' union, PUCN, to bring NORPAC member growers to the bargaining table to negotiate wages, hours and working conditions has gained impetus with CLR's "Stop Sweat Shops in the Field Campaign," launched in 1999. Several companies have stopped buying from NORPAC and Dodexo, the world's largest non-commercial food provider has stated that they will cease purchasing from NORPAC if it does not begin a meaningful collective bargaining process enforced by a third party. For more information, contact The Campaign for Labor Rights, 1247. SE, Washington, DC 20003 (202)544-9355, clrmain@afgj,org.

Global Exchange is sponsoring a series of tours to Afghanistan to examine the impacts of the War on Terrorism through the eyes of the Afghan people. This is being undertaken in connection with creation of a Victims Fund for Afghan Civilians. "The horrific terrorist attacks of September 11 have forced the people of the US to confront a number of terribly difficult decisions: Should the US respond to the assaults with its own attack, or should we refuse to fight violence with violence? How should the nation balance its desire for freedom with its need for security? And how can we best maintain our commitment to diversity and tolerance and not let scapegoating tear the nation apart? Global Exchange is urging people around the US to reaffirm their commitment to peace, justice, and tolerance during this traumatic time. We are working with communities around the country and our elected officials to spread a simple message: 'No More Innocent Victims.' While we call for reconciliation rather than retaliation, Global Exchange is organizing communities around the U.S. to say no to the kind of prejudice that makes terror possible in the first place. Already, Arab Americans, Muslims, South Asians, and others have been the target of hate crimes. This is intolerable. That's why we are asking communities to declare themselves a "Hate-Free Zone" and to pledge that they will not blame innocent people for the murderous acts of a few individuals. Finally, Global Exchange is working hard to ensure that the September 11 attacks are not used as pretext for curtailing civil liberties. The purpose of terrorism is to terrify. If we surrender our freedoms, we have fallen into the attackers' trap." For information, go to: http://www.globalexchange.org/September11.

The Nonviolence Web, http://www.nonviolence.org//, "began in 1995 by dragging some of the U.S.'s most dynamic peace groups online, providing them with free webmastering and hosting. We continue in the spirit of this work, featuring their hard-to-find and under-publicized sites and articles here in Nonviolence Web Upfront!"


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©2002, 2003, 2004,2005. All rights reserve. The Nonviolent Change Journal is published by the Research/ActionTeam on Nonviolent Large Systems Change - an interorganizational and international project of The Organization Development Institute.

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