CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of December 1, 2022

The Peace Movement: Alive and well

As the war in Ukraine threatens to unleash a new world war, the peace movement is rising to the occasion to provide an alternative.

In this month’s CPNN, we carry articles from the peace movements in the United States, Italy, France, England and Germany, as well as information about the remnants of peace movements in Ukraine and Russia.Continue reading

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of November 1, 2022

Education for peace

A virtual conference advocating that the United Nations recognize a Global Peace Education Day featured 50 peace educators from around the world. They included Anwarul Chowdhury, Federico Mayor, Nobel Peace Laureate Ouidad Bouchamaoui, Gabriela Ramos from UNESCO, Reiner Braun of the International Peace Bureau, Francisco Rojas of the University of Peace, Tony Jenkins of the Global Campaign for Peace Education, Lisa Huber of the National Peace Academy, David Weinberg of the Global Peace Education Network, Philippe Rio of Mayors for Peace and Tezekiah Gabriel of Pathways to Peace. Videos of their presentations are available for the first five listed.

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CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of September 1, 2022

The struggle for nuclear disarmament

Speaking at the United Nations at the opening of the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (10th NPT Review), Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that humanity is “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.” “The risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening.   And crises — with nuclear undertones — are festering, From the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and to many other factors around the world.” 

A few days later Guterres went to Hiroshima where he spoke at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, marking the anniversary of the atomic bombing, the most horrendous terrorist act in human history. At his press conference, he stated that the world is in danger of forgetting the lessons forged in this city 77 years ago.  He added that it is unacceptable for states in possession of nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of nuclear war.  He stressed that we must use every avenue of dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation to ease tensions and eliminate the nuclear threat.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, speaking at the ceremony, said, “I call on the leaders of the nuclear-weapon states to visit the atomic-bombed cities where they can personally encounter the consequences of using nuclear weapons and strengthen their will to take these steps. I want them to understand that the only sure way to protect the lives and property of their people is to eliminate nuclear weapons.”

Speaking 3 days later at the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of that city said: “In January this year, the leaders of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China released a joint statement affirming that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’ However, the very next month Russia invaded Ukraine. Threats of using nuclear weapons have been made, sending shivers throughout the globe. . . . Instead of waging war, mankind should foster “a ‘culture of peace’ that spreads trust, respects others and seeks resolutions through dialogue.”

Mayor Tomihisa Taue then traveled to the United Nations where he addressed the meetings of the 10th NPT Review, recalling “the hibakusha’s long-standing call for the abolition of nuclear weapons—which has resonated throughout the world, raising awareness of their inhumanity. Nevertheless, decades of such effort can be undone if just one nuclear-weapon state decides to use all of its power to tyrannize other states.” He urged the attendees to fulfill the nuclear disarmament obligations as stipulated in Article VI of the NPT, as well as to propose concrete strategies to ensure progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures. He also expressed the determination of Mayors for Peace, to continue striving for a world without nuclear weapons. He closed his statement by imparting a message: May Nagasaki be the last wartime atomic bombing site.

The messages from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were echoed around the world. In Winchester, United Kingdom, the mayor presided over an event to commemorate the bombings, saying, “I share the spirit of my fellow Mayor of Nagasaki, who stated, ‘I hereby declare to do the utmost to realise the abolition of nuclear weapons and everlasting world peace’.” And in Nagpur, India, more than 5000 people visited the event No More Hiroshima: No More Nagasaki.

The 10th NPT Review ended at the United Nations in New York without even reaching a joint statement, let alone taking any concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament. However, in reporting the results, the peace organization Unfold Zero, stated that some of the issues mentioned at the conference, such as nuclear risk reduction, non-use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict, the adoption of no-first-use policies and negative security assurances, will be raised in other forums. “We encourage you to stay tuned and engaged in this.”

More than ever, we need a global movement for nuclear disarmament!

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

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Humanity’s just one misunderstanding away from ‘nuclear annihilation’ warns UN chief

  TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

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Solidarity with the Palestinians and the forces of peace operating in Israel

  WOMEN’S EQUALITY

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Mexico: Curricular Strategy on Gender Equality to be implemented in public schools

 

  FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

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United Nations Secretary-General in Japan, 5–8 August

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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Nigeria: Reps Push For ‘Silence The Guns’ Implementation

  DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

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Colombia: Peacebuilding in Viotá, a model that seeks to be replicated throughout the country

  HUMAN RIGHTS

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Honduras: A massive march cries out for peace in Olancho

  EDUCATION FOR PEACE

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Mexico: International Diploma in Development and Culture of Peace at the UAZ

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of August 1, 2022

Culture of peace in Latin America

The elections of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico, Gabriel Boric in Chile, Jose Pedro Castillo in Peru, and Gustavo Petro in Colombia, as well as the potential for the election of Lula da Silva in Brazil are being considered as a “second progressive wave.”

It is compared to a “first progressive wave” from 2008 to 2016 when Latin leaders included Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Luz Ignacio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Nestor Kirchner in Argentina, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

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CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of July 1, 2022

Colombia and nuclear disarmament

Two sets of events this month promise progress towards a culture of peace.

In Colombia, the newly-elected President Gustavo Petro promises to re-invigorate the peace process, while at the same time the Colombian Truth Commission has published its long-awaited report.

The election of Petro is the first time in the history of Colombia that a left-wing candidate has been elected President. Petro based his candidature on the promise to complete the peace process by making peace with the ELN guerillas, and to ensure the safety of community leaders and former FARC guerillas. This will not be easy since during the administration of the outgoing President Duque 4,930 leaders were assassinated.

The Colombian Truth Commission has been working since 2018 to clarify the violations that occurred during the armed conflict and to contribute to uniting Colombian society so it can advance towards the construction of a future of peace for all. As expressed by newly-elected President Petro, “The truth cannot be a space for revenge.”

Also in June, two important international meetings took place in the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons.

On 9-10 June scholars and experts met in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to discuss the importance, challenge and prospects for Nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ). The participants congratulated Mongolia on the 30th year of its unprecedented initiative to establish a single-State NWFZ.

More than half of the world is now covered by Nuclear-weapon-free zones, as shown in the world map published with the article from Mongolia.

Then on 21-23 June, the historic first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons met in Vienna and adopted a political declaration and practical action plan that set the course for the implementation of the Treaty and progress towards its goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

CPNN readers may recall that the Treaty was was adopted by a majority of States (122) at the UN on July 7, 2017 (See CPNN bulletin for August 2017) and it entered into force on January 22, 2021 (see CPNN bulletin for February 2021).

The urgency of these initiatives was underlined in the most recent report from SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Of the total inventory of an estimated 12 705 nuclear warheads at the start of 2022, about 9440 were in military stockpiles for potential use. Of those, an estimated 3732 warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft, and around 2000—nearly all of which belonged to Russia or the USA—were kept in a state of high operational alert. SIPRI adds that nuclear arsenals are expected to grow over the coming decade.

The war in Ukraine runs the risk of escalating into a nuclear war. Speaking at the meeting in Vienna, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “The once unthinkable prospect of nuclear conflict is now back within the realm of possibility”.

Cities have no use for nuclear weapons. Hence the United States Conference of Mayors has called on the U.S. and the other nuclear-armed states to commit to a process leading to the adoption no later than 2030 of a timebound plan for the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045. The European Chapter of Mayors for Peace expressed their solidarity with Ukrainian cities and called for a long-term vision of international security that overcomes nuclear deterrence. They attended and supported the Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon in Vienna that is mentioned above. Activists in a number of European cities mounted actions to support that meeting.

We conclude with homage to the great peace activist Bruce Kent who passed away at the age of 93 last month in England. One of his last acts was to join a small CND delegation delivering a letter to the Russian Embassy in London, which said: “For the sake of Ukrainian children taking shelter from Russian missiles; for the sake of all those who will die if the situation escalates and for the sake of the millions of us who will perish if the heightened risk of nuclear war turns into a nuclear conflict, we urge your government to halt the attacks, withdraw the troops and withdraw the nuclear threats.”

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

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Ulaanbaatar Statement on Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

  TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

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Gabon: Training to Prepare Project of Youth as Weavers of Peace

  WOMEN’S EQUALITY

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One year driving action for gender equality. One year of Generation Equality

 

  FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

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Colombia: What is Gustavo Petro’s campaign proposal for ‘total peace’?

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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La Via Campesina calls on States to exit the WTO and to create a new framework based on food sovereignty

 

  DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

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Algeria: 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games

 

  HUMAN RIGHTS

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Colombia: Final report of the Truth Commission: an oral and written legacy for the country

 

  EDUCATION FOR PEACE

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Mexico: First issue of the electronic magazine “Culture of Peace” published by the State Human Rights Commission

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of June 1, 2022

A GLOBAL YOUTH MOVEMENT? . .

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement for peace and sustainable development?

If Australia is an example, the answer may be positive.

In Australia, the political landscape was changed radically in recent elections that saw young people turn out to vote in record numbers to address the issues they care about most: climate change, housing affordability and the rising cost of living. The electoral “greenslide” was made mostly of wins for seats that have the highest population of young people. 

In other countries around the world, it is the new generation that has taken the lead for social change.

Continue reading

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of May 1, 2022

The struggle for truth

As the Culture of War, now led by Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, continues to use the control of information and outright lies as a major weapon in their arsenal, the struggle for truth becomes ever more important for the culture of peace. As Gandhi said, “‘Non-violence and truth are inseparable and presuppose one another.’ He called it Satyagraha.”

This is not safe or easy, as we see in the following recent exampes of those who engage in this struggle.

Julian Assange has been imprisoned for many years now and threatened for extradition to the United States where he could be imprisoned for the rest of his life. In a letter this month to President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, more than 30 progressive advocates, intellectuals, and former heads of state argued the charges against Assange should be dropped. The charges against Assange stem from his publication of classified material that exposed U.S. war crimes, including video footage of American forces gunning down civilians in Iraq.

According to a report by Yahoo News, the CIA and senior officials of the Trump administration discussed how to assassinate him.

Dmitry Muratov, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his independent journalism criticizing Russian policies, was attacked recently by someone shouting “Here’s to you for our boys” (i.e. Russian soldiers). Perhaps saved by his notariety as a result of the prize, he was not assassinated like several others of his journalist colleagues. Although his journal, Novaya Gazeta, has been shut down by Russian authorities, there are plans to re-open it abroad.

Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist who has been defending freedom of information for almost 20 years now, including defense of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, and publishing investigative reports on corruption in Brazil and elsewhere. In an article this month republished by CPNN, he reviews the extreme censorship now being orchestrated from Washington has greatly limited the possibility to know what is truly happening in the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. He asks, “Why is there so much urgency about silencing the small pockets of dissenting voices about the war in Ukraine?” And he responds, “The answer seems clear,” and he documents the enormous contracts being given to the military-industrial complex to expand the war.

As an example of how censorship limits the possibility of knowing what is happening in Russia, the reader should recall the editor’s note on the CPNN article of January 19 this year, prior to the invasion of Ukraine: “: In recent weeks, Russian President Putin has proposed new peace treaties between Russia and the US and between Russia and NATO. Google lists perhaps a hundred news articles that mention Putin’s proposals but nowhere in any of the articles could I find a reference to the actual text of the proposals or to the historical context that includes American assurances at the end of the Cold War that NATO would not be expanded towards Russia. Instead, the articles listed by google support American and NATO claims that that Putin’s proposals mask a justification for Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Finally, after a rather long and detailed search, I found the following article (not listed by google) that links to the treaty proposals and to the historical context. Here it is.)

Sergey Aleksashenko, a former deputy governor of the Russian central bank, now writes a dissident blog from inside the Russian Federation. As republished in CPNN, he documents the censorship now being conducted by the Russian authorities which is so extreme as to become ridiculous at times. Somehow, despite the Russian censorship, he continues to publish daily blogs about the situation there.

Medea Benjamin and Nicholas Davies, from the American peace organization Codepink, condemn not only the war crimes committed by Russia in the Ukraine, but even more so the long list of war crimes committed by the United States military in recent years, such as those in Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq. ” The United States and its allies have waged war in country after country for decades, carving swathes of destruction through cities, towns and villages on a far greater scale than has so far disfigured Ukraine.”

Marina Ovsyannikova is the Russian journalist who dared to interrupt a live news bulletin on Russian state TV Channel One holding a sign reading ‘NO WAR. Stop the war’. CPNN carried a link to the video of the event in which she describes her motivation.  She was immediately arrested and according to a more recent article in Haaretz, “A court fined her the equivalent of about $270, but she still faces charges of violating a law against ‘false news,’ which makes it illegal to refer to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “war.” If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.”

Oliver Stone, the film-maker who dared to defy the American authorities with his film JFK about the asassination of President Kennedy, has now published a film about the coup d’etat in the Ukraine in 2014 orchestrated by the American government, including Vice-President at the time Joe Biden. This provides key evidence of why the Russians have invaded, including links to the conversation between the US ambassador to the Ukraine and a top State Department authority on how to form the new government in 2014, and a statement from Vladimir Putin, asking what can be done to stop the encroachmen of NATO against his country.

In CPNN in recent weeks we have published statements and petitions from hundreds of thousands of Russians opposed to the war as detailed in last month’s bulletin. And most recently we have published also a call from Ukrainian pacifists who dare to criticize their own country as well as the Russians.

The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement writes, “We condemn military actions on both sides, the hostilities which harm civilians. We insist that all shootings should be stopped, all sides should honor the memory of killed people and, after due grief, calmly and honestly commit to peace talks. . . . War is a crime against humanity. Therefore, we are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.”

Finally, we turn to the censorship of China.

As re-published in CPNN, “Chinese professors have been restricted from airing their views and are reluctant to contradict the official Communist Party line on international relations and political events. However, a group of five prominent history professors from top Chinese universities were willing to go against the official narrative in a rare joint letter condemning the invasion of Ukraine.”

“The letter, signed by Nanjing University’s Sun Jiang, Peking University’s Wang Lixin, Hong Kong University’s Xu Guoqi, Tsinghua University’s Zhong Weimin, and Fudan University’s Chen Yan, described the Russian invasion as a “war that began in the dark”, and for an immediate end to the fighting. . . . The letter was immediately removed by censors when it appeared on 26 February on the Chinese social media platform WeChat but not before it had been viewed and commented upon – including attacking the professors on China’s social media with some calling them spies or traitors.”

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

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Russian Nobel Laureate Muratov Doused With Red Paint By Unknown Attacker

  TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

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Chad, Cameroon and Gabon: Youth as Weavers of Peace in the border region

  WOMEN’S EQUALITY

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Gabon Candidate for International Peace Ambassador

  DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

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Statement of The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement Against Perpetuation of War

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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UN climate report: It’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees

  DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

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France : “We, Mayors, want to be architects of Peace!”

  HUMAN RIGHTS

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Glenn Greenwald: The Censorship Campaign Against Western Criticism of NATO’s Ukraine Policy Is Extreme

  EDUCATION FOR PEACE

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Transformative Peace Initiatives through TOCfE Tools

CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of March 1, 2022

Peace Activists Against War in Ukraine

(Editor’s note: This was originally published on February 21 prior to the invasion.)

The commercial mass media, more than ever an arm of the culture of war, has trumpeted claims that the Ukraine is about to be invaded by Russia in open warfare and that the US and NATO are moving forces into the surrounding countries.

What you don’t find in the commercial mass media is any mention of the antiwar declarations by peace activists in all of the countries concerned.

By careful searching we have been able to find these declarations. Here they are.

Ukraine: The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement has published a declaration on their facebook page, demanding:

  • compliance with the Minsk peace agreement of 2015,
  • withdrawal of all troops,
  • suspension of all supplies of weapons and military equipment,
  • suspension of total mobilization of the population for war, propaganda of war and hostility of civilizations in the media and social media.

and going beyond the Ukraine they demand:

  • global deescalation and disarmament,
  • the dissolution of military alliances,
  • the elimination of armies and borders dividing people.

Russia: An open letter, signed by many Russian artists, politicians and academics, and even a retired colonel of the armed forces, criticizes what they call “the party of war in the Russian leadership.” “Only one point of view. is presented on state television, and that is the point of view of the supporters of the war.  We hear about military threats and aggression concerning Ukraine by America and Western countries. But the most dangerous thing is that war is being presented as an acceptable and inevitable course of events. People are trying to deceive, corrupt, impose on us the idea of a holy war with the West instead of developing our country and raising our standard of living. The question is not discussed, but it is ordinary people who will have to pay this price – a huge and bloody price.”

Ironically, the Google document with the full list of signatures is blocked by Google, with the statement that “You can’t access this item because it is in violation of our Terms of Service.”

(Editor’s note: More recently, as of February 26, protests have intensified including thousands of Russian artists and scientists who have signed open letters against the war.)

United States: The United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC), which brings together most of the leading antiwar organizations of the United States, has issued a statement recalling that the United States promised Soviet leaders at the end of the Cold War that NATO would not expand east of Germany, and criticizing the West for breaking this promise and threatening Russia. UNAC demands:

  • No US weapons or military advisors for the Ukrainian military;
  • Stop the US saber rattling;
  • No war with Russia;
  • Keep Ukraine out of NATO.

France: An extensive list of French peace organizations and trade unions have signed a statement condemning the “geopolitical games at work both on the part of the Russian Federation, the European Union, NATO and others” and demanding:

  • Immediate negotiations for de-escalation;
  • Stopping threats, NATO and Russian troop concentrations and arms deliveries to all parties;
  • A ceasefire in Ukraine and the implementation of existing agreements;
  • That the United Nations be the privileged framework for developing political and diplomatic solutions to settle the Ukrainian question.

United Kingdom: Stop the War Coalition has issued a statement opposing war in the Ukraine and criticizing the role the the Britsh government has played by talking up the threat of war continually, advancing no proposals for a diplomatic solution and sending arms to Ukraine and deploying further troops to Eastern Europe. Among other demands, the Coalition call for “a halt to the eastward expansion of NATO” and “a new security deal for Europe which meets the needs of all states and peoples.”

Germany: A petition signed by over 200 German politicians and peace activists states that “A one-sided blaming of Russia, as practiced by some Western governments and in the major media, is unjustified  and is increasingly taking on the character of war propaganda.” The petition demands:

  • Concrete steps to de-escalate, no military supplies to Kiev;
  • No more war rhetoric, confrontational politics and sanctions against Russia;
  • Active advocacy for the implementation of the Minsk II agreement, which is binding under international law ;
  • Negotiations with Russia based on a clear commitment to detente and the principle of common security;
  • Active advocacy for arms control and disarmament negotiations.

In addition to these declarations by peace activists, the European Leadership Network has published an updated set of seven far-reaching recommendations for reducing the military tensions between Russia, the US and NATO that is signed by 26 leading Russian academicians and 49 leading academicians from the West. In addition to academicians among the signatories from the United States are former ambassadors to Russia, Ukraine and NATO, a former Secretary of Defense, and several retired admirals and generals. On the Russian side there are also very high-placed signatories in addition to academicians, including the former head of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, a former ambassador to the United States, a former Chief Military Representive to NATO and a retired general of the armed forces.

Will the political leaders of Russia, Ukraine, United States and NATO listen to these voices, even though they are not found in the commercial mass media. We can only hope so.

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

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France : War is never the solution. Yes to a negotiated political solution.

  TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

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The Pope : “The time has come to live in a spirit of fraternity and build a culture of peace”

  WOMEN’S EQUALITY

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United Nations : Commission on the Status of Women 2022

  FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

experts

The Expert Dialogue on NATO-Russia Risk Reduction: Seven recommendations

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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Central Africa : Safeguarding the Lake Chad basin, a major regional challenge

  DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

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UN chief calls for Olympic Truce to build ‘culture of peace’ through sport

  HUMAN RIGHTS

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Amnesty International : Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians

  EDUCATION FOR PEACE

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Mexico : Renowned researchers share their experience of the UNESCO Chairs of the Latin American and Caribbean Region