We are facing an exceptional situation where nearly 5 million people have been displaced due to armed conflicts, and where hundreds of thousands have come to Europe in recent years. For the most part, these people run away from violence, fear and persecution for political, ethnic, religious, gender or nationality reasons. These are violations of their rights to peace and to a free from violence lifehood that continue throughout their transit, which can last for months or even years in refugee camps. It also continues when they arrive to Europe, as their asylum right is not currently ensured.
But armed conflicts that generate refugees are not born out of nothing. They are based on social ideologies such as militarism, and they are fed by warmongering foreign policies and by the arms trade circuit. Militarism justifies the doctrine of defense and the military economic cycle, integrating spending and military R & D and the arms trade. Militarism is directly contributing to the proliferation of weapons, to the violent resolution of conflicts and their amplification, and to clear violations of human rights. Militarization is one of the causes of military conflicts. It encourages the proliferation of weapons and normalizes the use of armed and military force. Moreover, it implies that all expenses being devoted to militarization are not used for human needs such as health or education.
In this context, Barcelona will become on November and for a few days the capital and spearhead of the global campaigns to reduce wars and violence in the world and to redirect military expenditure to human needs. Activities during these “4 Days for Peace”, organized by the International Peace Bureau (IPB), will include,
- On Thursday, November 23rd, two panel sessions on “Arms Exports, Border Wars and Refugee Flows” and “The New European Paradigms on Security, Borders and Defense”. Speakers will include Susan George, Gemma Pinyol, Ben Hayes, Joseph Gerson and Sonia Andolz.
- On Friday, November 24th, the Séan MacBride Peace Prize 2017 will be awarded. The International Peace Bureau awards the Séan MacBride every year to a person, organisation or movement in recognition of its outstanding work for peace, disarmament and human rights. The recipients this year will be the Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base, Noam Chomsky and Jeremy Corbyn. There will be a press conference on the same day at 11am. Read more…
- On November 24, 25 and 26th: Two days of meetings of the IPB’s global team, including its Board and Council. On 24th, a coordination meeting of the IPB Executive Board will be held, and on 25 and 26, Barcelona will host the annual meeting of the IPB Council, where two attendants from each IPB region will participate.
- A webminar on Global Military Spending will also be organized during the week-end.
The final program of the Four Days for Peace events will be soon available.
Ban-Ki-moon recently stated that the World is over-armed while peace is under-funded. And the Peace Nobel Prize Malala Yousafzai, in her Nobel acceptance speech, asked why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so difficult. More than ever, we need new partners, individuals and organizations to work on the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS), to be active on lobbying politicians, and to ensure that the GDAMS and Cut Milex campaigns become a great success!