Wednesday, 17 October: Right to live in Peace at a local, regional and international level
The right to live in peace is particularly close to the heart of the IVS movement: its origin goes back to 1920, when a group of pacifists from different countries engaged in the first workcamp after the First World War, to show that international solidarity, non-violence and understanding are the keys to overcome armed conflict and to establish peace and respect for Human Rights. We know very well that these endeavors represent a never-ending process, full of obstacles, misunderstandings, tensions and conflicts. Yet, it is the only possible path we can follow, if we want to find constructive and shared solutions to local and global challenges.
We are all aware that the absence of war within the border of a country does not necessarily mean the presence of peace. For example, a community can host a weapon factory that exports arms used in conflicts involving civilians a thousand kilometers away. For this reason, in order to promote the right to live in peace, it is necessary to raise awareness on many related issues, that include economic choices, education, the involvement of the community and alternative narratives.
Training courses, seminars, working groups, long and short-term voluntary projects are the instruments that the IVS movement has developed all over the years to provide its contribution to the promotion of a culture of dialogue and peace. The focus is on participation, activism and intercultural learning.
The GHRW intends to give visibility to such efforts, keeping in mind that these contributions can become even stronger if supported by the civil society, institutions and governments. The message from UNESCO, who contributed to the GHRW with a post on the Coalition of Sustainable Cities, shows that the commitment of everyone is needed in order to bring forward dialogue and peace.
The opening post and the contents on day 3 of the GHRW were published by the SEEYN network.
The promotion of peace and reconciliation were the strongest driving forces that motivated the activists who joined the first IVS initiative in 1920. After almost a century, the movement keeps on working in the same direction: Raising Peace camps are a powerful instrument to empower volunteers and community and to raise awareness on peace, at a local and global level.
Besides giving visibility to the activities implemented by the IVS movement on the specific topics related to Human Rights, the GHRW hosts also contributions from like-minded organisations, networks, foundations and institutions. On the day focused on Peace, we published an article from UNESCO, which highlights the contribution of ICCAR (International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities) to the promotion of social inclusion, peace and dialogue.
To promote peace and most of all non-violence in the resolution of conflicts does not mean to choose a “passive” approach. These values are essential to promote social change and to obtain political achievements, that can be much more sustainable than aggressive reactions. This concept is expressed in the contribution that the NOVA, a Western Sahara organisation, offered to the GHRW 2018:
The GHRW gives visibility to the efforts of organisations working for the promotion of Peace and Human Rights in the world. Here is a content from the De-Otherize Dialogue Project , a traveling action that engages communities across America in virtual dialogue with people living in the Middle East (www.de-otherize.org)
We are all well aware that peace does not simply mean the absence of war. For example, a community can be involved in a distant conflict by producing weapons that are used by unscrupulous governments to solve internal and external conflicts with the use of force and violence. In these contexts, efforts should be made to ensure a peaceful and sustainable economic development of a region, in order to create the conditions to reject the plans of the war industry.
What we call “defense” or “security measures” are actually slogans that often hide wars, the use of violence, armed conflicts, political and military aggression. Is it possible to propose alternative solutions to promote Peace and Human Rights? How can citizens be empowered, in order to express their opinion and to influence political decisions, giving priority to dialogue and non-violence? The role of the civil society, NGOs and institutions is crucial, as well as the contribution of independent media and education: information, reflection and action are the steps to take to promote active participation and to shape peacefully our future. Here are some suggestions published by the GHRW regarding this topic:
War Machine – The Facts: a closer look at the arms trade, a powerful and enduring obstacle to peace;
10 routes to peace: Another contribution to reflect about peaceful actions to promote as an alternative to militarism and to the use of force and violence to solve conflicts