October 2010
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Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Newsletter #33
In This Issue
FIDEL CASTRO, DANIEL ORTEGA EXPRESS SUPPORT TO ARTICLE 9
ARMS DOWN! CAMPAIGN HOLDS CLOSING CEREMONY
RECOMMENDATIONS TO ASIA EUROPE MEETING (ASEM8) LEADERS REFERS TO ARTICLE 9
A NUCLEAR WEAPON-FREE ZONE AS A PEACE MECHANIM IN NORTHEAST ASIA: THE MONGOLIAN EXAMPLE
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Dear Friends and Supporters of Article 9,

We are pleased to send you some information about the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War's recent activities and related developments.

FIDEL CASTRO, DANIEL ORTEGA EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR ARTICLE 9


Peace Boat, as part of its 70th Global Voyage for Peace, called to ports in Cuba and Nicaragua where Peace Boat staff, Hibakusha (survivors of the A-bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and representatives of the Global Article 9 Campaign had the opportunity to meet with the countries' highest officials.


Fidel Castro mention Article 9In Havana, Cuba, Fidel Castro invited them and 700 Peace Boat partcicipants to the capital's Convention Centre, where he listened to the testimonies of Hibakusha Watanabe Junko and met with representatives of Peace Boat and the Global Article 9 Campaign for 2.5 hours. During the encounter, mention of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution was made, in reference to the shared commitment to nuclear weapons abolition, the prohibition of foreign military bases and the peaceful resolution of disputes.


A few days later, Peace Boat called to Corinto, Nicaragua, where Peace Boat Director and Global Article 9 Campaign initiator Yoshioka Tatsuya issued a joint declaration with President Daniel Ortega that highlighted their "shared willingness to promote closer understanding and cooperation between Asia and Latin America, the Peoples of Nicaragua and Japan...in the promotion of our shared goals toward peace."


In this context, the declaration reiterated the peoples of Japan and Nicaragua's "true commitment" to peace and nuclear disarmament "as enshrined in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and Article 5 of the Nicaraguan Constitution." Further they "commit[ted] to work together with other Latin American countries internationally to promote peace constitutions, and express[ed] interest to move towards proposing a resolution to the United Nations on the value of those constitutions as peacebuilding mechanisms".


Article 5 of the Nicaraguan Constitution states that "Nicaragua bases its international relations on friendship and solidarity among the people and reciprocity among States. Therefore, all forms of political, military, economic, cultural and religious aggression, as well as the intervention in the internal affairs of other States are proscribed. The principle of peaceful solution of international disputes by the means offered by International Law is recognized and the State proscribes the use of atomic weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in internal and international conflicts..." *


Read the Corinto Declaration issued on the occasion of the Peace Boat visit to the Republic of Nicaragua here.


Read Fidel Castro's "Reflection" on the themes of Nuclear Winter and Peace here.


The full text of the constitution of Nicaragua can be found here (in Spanish only).


footnote* Unofficial translation

 

Picture credit: Peace Boat

ARMS DOWN! CAMPAIGN HOLDS CLOSING CEREMONY

ARMS DOWN - CAMPAIGN FOR SHARED SECURITY


On October 4, 2010, Religions for Peace held a formal closing ceremony for its ARMS DOWN! Campaign for Shared Security. Co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations in New York, the event brought together close to 300 religious, diplomatic and civil society representatives.


Launched in November 2009, the ARMS DOWN! Campaign collected more than 20 million signatures from 140 countries, calling on world leaders to reduce their military spending and re-allocate these funds to support the realization of the MDGs.


Throughout the year, Religions for Peace's Global Youth Network reached out to international organizations, governments, national assemblies and parliaments, municipalities, media, and citizens around the world, advocating for disarmament toward shared security, notably by abolishing nuclear weapons through strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty and developing a universal Nuclear Weapons Convention to achieve disarmament by 2020; stopping the proliferation and (mis)use of conventional weapons, by passing a global Arms Trade Treaty and implementing existing international law instruments; as well as redirecting 10% of military expenditure to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.


The petition was presented to the UN Secretary General's Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte during the closing ceremony.


For his part, Duarte delivered a message on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who welcomed the initiative and highlighted its importance at a time when world military expenditure has risen by 50 percent since 2000 to more than US$ 1.5 trillion. "This money could surely have been much better spent on poverty reduction, climate change mitigation and adaptation, food and nutrition security, women's and children's health, and other global development challenges," he said.


The ceremony was followed by a series of meetings, during which International Youth Committee Members discussed the next phase of the Arms Down! campaign and decided it will continue with increased advocacy and campaigning.


Religions for Peace is the world's largest and most representative multi-religious coalition dedicated to promoting peace. Its Global Youth Network is representative of the world's major religions.


Visit the ARMS DOWN! Campaign's website here.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO ASIA EUROPE MEETING (ASEM8) LEADERS REFER TO ARTICLE 9


The eighth edition of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM8) - a bi-annual forum for dialogue among 47 countries in Europe and Asia - was held in Brussels, Belgium on October 4-5.


As an official side-event of the ASEM8 summit, more than 150 civil society representatives (including NGOs, journalists, academics, artists, youth and business people) came together for the 4th Connecting Civil Societies of Asia and Europe Conference, organized by the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Europe-Asia Policy Forum, in cooperation with 15 Asian and European institutions.


From October 1-3, eight thematic workshops were held on topics ranging from regional integration to community building and post-conflict reconciliation.


One of the workshops, entitled "Building Regional Community: Translating the European Experience to East Asia", was organized by Peace Boat together with the European Centre for Conflict Prevention, and the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research. The session explored lessons that can be learned from European post-war reconciliation and cooperation, to be applied to Asia in general, and Northeast Asia in particular. In this context, the role of Article 9 of Japan's constitution was discussed and reference was made to the Global Article 9 Campaign as a civil society initiative that contributes to building regional confidence and a peaceful community.


As an outcome of the three-day conference, recommendations were presented to ASEM leaders on how to enhance Asia-Europe relations. The eight points of action reflect key concerns of the participants, including the need for ASEM leaders to foster a common regional vision by developing common goals and deepening knowledge of each other.


In its section related to "Build[ing] Regional Communities for Post-Conflict Reconciliation", the document urges ASEM leaders to critically look back at the respective European and Asian post-war reconciliation experiences and subsequent integration processes, mentioning the example of the European Coal and Steel Commission as a possible example of how to address today's tensions in Asia over natural resources. Significantly, in this context, the document highlights Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution as a mechanism that contributes "building strategies for regional stability and trust building".


Read the eight-points recommendations to ASEM8 leaders here.


Learn more about the 4th Connecting Civil Societies of Asia and Europe Conference here.


For further information on the workshop "Reconciliation and Community Building: Translating the EU Experience to East Asia" see here.


Visit the ASEM8 official site here

A NUCLEAR WEAPON-FREE ZONE AS A PEACE MECHANISM IN NORTHEAST ASIA: THE MONGOLIAN EXAMPLE


On October 15, the International Conference on Eliminating Nuclear Threats in Northeast Asia took place in Ulaanbaatar.


Co-organized by Mongolian NGO Blue Banner and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Northeast Asia under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, the event attracted close to 50 people, including government representatives and members of civil society organizations from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Russia.


Participants discussed the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free-zone (NWFZ) in Northeast Asia in the current regional context, notably in light of the increasingly tense situation in the Korean Peninsula following the Cheonan incident.


They highlighted the significant role that Mongolia can play in this process, given its nuclear-weapons-free policy and single-state nuclear-weapon-free status. Indeed, in 1992, Mongolia declared its territory a nuclear weapon-free zone - a status recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1998 and codified in the "Law of Mongolia on its nuclear-weapon-free status" in 2000. Efforts to further institutionalize this "single-state nuclear-weapon-free" status were explored, such as a potential trilateral treaty between China, Russia and Mongolia.


Civil society as well has a key role to play, notably by facilitating dialogue among Northeast Asian countries and fostering the creation of a lasting peace mechanism in the region. The creation of a nuclear weapon-free zone would act as such a mechanism, as eliminating the threat of nuclear weapon in Northeast Asia is key to building peace in the region.


In this context, the role of Article 9 of Japan's constitution as a peace mechanism was also mentioned, and support was expressed to a number of initiatives that promote nuclear disarmament, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, notably the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Mayors for Peace and the Global Article 9 Campaign.


To read the full report of the meeting, click here.

 

Visit the GPPAC website here.

Thank you for your interest in and support for the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War.

Peace,

The Article 9 Team

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