No. 2000/2 October 2000
University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies —PeaceWrites
The newsletter of peace studies, seminars, books, and peace initiatives
Nelson Mandela Visits our Centre
On 4th September, Nelson Mandela came among us! For an hour we were enthralled by his noble presence, his words of encouragement, his wisdom and message of hope. In an impromptu discussion on reconciliation, he drew upon a life- time’s experience dedicated to the attainment of peace with justice. "Reconciliation" he told us, means to "ensure that we eliminate tension in society" in order to "create an environment where people appreciate the gifts and talents of each other." There is a need to "forget the past … we are not very responsible for the past but we are responsible for the present and the future." For a special sixty minutes he made the Centre his home, and us his friends. Since his visit, our work has taken on a new energy, a sense of commitment and optimism that we are on the right track, however long and winding the path.
Inside this Issue
The West Papua Project 1
Reconciliation in Australia 2
and Canada 3
Shan Ali bringing Microcredit to East Timor 4
Wendy Lambourne in Canada 5
Armen Gakavian in Armenia 6
Graduate Peace and Conflict Studies for 2001 6
Summer School + New Units
Welcome to Human Rights Fellow: Patricia Garcia 6
Poetry for Peace: Nelson in September 7
Forging New Partnerships 7
Australia’s Peace and Security: A Quaker View 7
Applauding Recent Peace Initiatives 8
Professor Chandra Muzaffar - Peace Maker … 8
Book Review: Johan Galtung and Carl G. Jacobsen 8
Searching for Peace: the Road to Transcend
Dates for Your Diary
Wednesday 18 October,lunch-time seminar at UTS Broadway, Professor Chandra Muzaffar: "Multi-religious dialogue: a way of peacemaking – an Asian Perspective" (see page 8 for further details)
West Papua Project Launch
Wednesday 18 October, 5-7pm The Launch of the West Papua Project to promote a peaceful resolution of the West Papuan conflict hosted by Dr Meredith Burgmann, President of the Legislative Council and CPACS. Venue: President’s Dining Room, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney $35/$15 RSVP 9230 2301
Tuesday 24 October, 5.15pm for 5.30pm until 6.30pm
The Safer Arming of Police and Security Guards.
All police and some security guards in Australia carry lethal weapons. Each year these result in death and injury. New non-lethal technologies may offer safer protection and would set the climate for a less violent and more peaceful society. In the
Mackie Building, Posters for Peace Gallery, Arundel Street Glebe, opposite the Footbridge Theatre. All welcome –FOC
2000 Sydney Peace Prize Lecture
Thursday 9 November, Xanana Gusmao -
Peace-Building: The Challenge for East Timor
6.30pm, Seymour Theatre Centre. Box Office: 02 9351 7940, tickets $25 or $11 (concession)
2000 Sydney Peace Prize
Friday 10 November: Sydney Peace Prize,President of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), Xanana Gusmao is this year’s Sydney Peace Prize recipient – He will be in Sydney in November to receive the prize at a gala fund-raising dinner on Friday 10th November. If you would like to know more about the dinner please contact:
Antonia Stephenson on 02 9351 4468.
The West Papua Project
The recently established West Papua Project at CPACS is coordinated by John Ondawame, a leading West Papuan academic, with the support of Professor Stuart Rees.
The southeast Asian nation West Papua, also known as Irian Jaya, has been under Indonesian governance since 1962. In 1969 the Indonesian Government orchestrated the so-called ‘Act of Free Choice’. This was allegedly a democratic referendum, formalized by the United Nations, allowing West Papuans to vote for independence. But from a population of 700,000, the Indonesian Government hand-picked a mere 1,025 who were coerced into voting for Indonesian rule.
Since then, there has been violent conflict between the national resistance movement (Operasi Papua Merdeka (OPM)), the Indonesian army and militia groups.
On 4 June this year the 501 strong West Papua congress called on the world to
recognize West Papua’s rights as a sovereign state and claimed that the
half-island territory on the western side of New Guinea island was never legally
integrated into Indonesia.
The West Papua Project seeks to promote peaceful dialogue between the people of West Papua and Indonesia, and to promote conflict resolution as a viable alternative to the current escalating conflict. In pursuing this goal, we aim to raise public awareness of the human rights violations in West Papua, establish institutional networks with NGO’s, universities and parliamentarians, and develop a resolution programme for West Papuans, with a focus on students and community leaders.
For further information on this project contact the Centre on:
02 9351 7686 or 02 9351 3889. Our thanks to Meg Lethbridge and Amy Rose, research assistants on this project.
Many hundreds of people joined in collective support for Aboriginal Reconciliation when they walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a bright, blustery morning last May. The high point was watching a plane write in fluffy white script the word "Sorry" across the sky – this even gets a mention in the Stuart Rees poem opposite.
A man with an air of gentleness
asked us to speak quietly to those who
doubt the benefits of revising a history
whose mateship centrepiece was cast aside
when Mabo overturned the myths of emptiness,
dispossession showed its jagged edges,
stolen generations started to come home
and a rainbow of young voices sang
that no-one could steal the future.
Once disguised by ‘the best of intentions’,
broken families and deaths in custody
showed that first people finished up being last
but today’s walkers for reconciliation
have been confirmed by the silent silver
writing its fluffy white on a parchment of blue
by diving in alphabetical lines and circles
to spell ‘sorry’ above the bridge
and in the freedom of the sky.
(Stuart Rees, Sydney, 28 May, 2000)
In spite of overwhelming support for reconciliation – a reconciliation based on recognition of past injustice and a desire to ensure the implementation of human rights, the United Nations remains critical of Australia’s treatment of its Aboriginal people. As revealed in the following article, injustice is not confined to our shores.
Canada Joins Australia in Condemnation by Indigenous groups before the UN by Shelley Wright Faculty of Law, University of Sydney
Australia is not the only Western democracy to face condemnation by the United Nations over its treatment of Aboriginal peoples. Canada is also facing criticism as representatives of Indigenous groups complain of their treatment before the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations which met in Geneva the last week in July. It was reported by Canada’s leading newspaper, the Toronto Globe and Mail (July 28, 2000) that Aboriginal leaders are accusing Canada of violating native rights and of pursuing a "racist land-claims policy". These accusations were made as recently released data shows that status Indians in Canada are still severely disadvantaged.
Ashley Iserhoff of the James Bay Cree reported to the Working Group that "Our experience with Canada is an ongoing violation of our people’s fundamental human rights. Our people are still confined to tiny portions of Canada’s land mass, with few or no resources. . . . Our peoples still mostly live in desolate communities with unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation. Our people are still crowded into unsafe and unhealthy dwellings or live homeless on the streets of the big cities."
Tu Thanh Ha of the Quebec Bureau of the Globe & Mail reported findings by the Federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development comparing 1991 and 1996 census data on Indians registered under the Indian Act. According to the government’s own statistics on Indigenous peoples across the country: "The average individual income on reserves went up from $9,824 to $12,918, compared with $26,254 for the whole Canadian population in 1996. The on-reserve unemployment rate decreased from 31 to 28.7 per cent, compared with the national rate that hovers around 10 per cent. The incidence of tuberculosis on reserves dropped from 58.1 per 100,000 people to 35.8, compared with 6.5 in the population at large in 1996. The Indian infant mortality rate remained at more than 11 deaths per 1,000 children, compared with the 6.1 national figure in 1996. Life expectancy for a status Indian man rose from 66.9 years to 68.2, while the rate for Canadian men went from 74.6 to 75.7 years during the same period. For women, life expectancy for Indians increased from 74 to 75.9, compared with a hike of 80.9 to 81.5 for Canadian women in general." These statistics indicate that there has been improvement over the last decade in income levels, employment and health for Canadian Indians. But the incidence of disease, death, infant mortality, unemployment and poverty is still at Third World standards.
As in Australia, a principle problem is inadequate access to land and resources as Indigenous peoples remain confined to the fringes of mainstream society. Racist attitudes make it difficult for Indigenous people to access jobs, housing and education despite legal measures designed to combat such discrimination. At the moment Canada is going through a major process of land claims and treaty negotiation. But serious differences have arisen. The Federal government in Canada, like the Australian Commonwealth, is concerned to reach agreements that will be binding and final. Indigenous leaders meeting in Geneva accused the Canadian government of trying to force Indian groups into surrendering rights and agreeing to extinguishment of native title. An official speaking on behalf of Canada’s Minister for Indian Affairs, Mr. Nault, denied that this was government policy, but was quoted as saying, "What we’re doing is negotiating legal clauses, which bring certainty over who owns the land and the resources."
The Canadian figures indicate that Canadian Indigenous people are substantially better off than Aboriginal peoples in Australia for whom infant and adult mortality rates are still shockingly high. But the problems groups face in both countries are similar. Canada has been publicly embarrassed in the past by UN Human Rights Committees and Working Groups over its treatment of Indigenous peoples. In response to this Canada has instituted some positive changes. But major work remains to be done.
Unlike Australia, Canada has a Bill of Rights to which all Canadians, including Indigenous Canadians, can turn to for breaches of individual human rights. Also, under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, Aboriginal and treaty rights are specifically protected. But legal provisions alone cannot guarantee fairness to Indigenous peoples. There is also a need for changed attitudes and greater flexibility. The Australian government’s intransigent attitude towards mandatory minimum penalties, native title and other Indigenous issues guarantees that little or no progress will be made on what remains Australia’s most serious social and human rights issue. Mandatory minimum sentences in Western Australia, which are not being dealt with by the Federal Government, has already led to a steep rise in Aboriginal deaths in custody.
The UN is right in continuing to focus international attention on our failings in this area, just as it is right in providing a forum for Indigenous peoples from Australia, Canada and many other countries to clearly voice their complaints over the appalling treatment they receive here and elsewhere. So long as no adequate forum for negotiation and resolution of these issues exists in Australia the international arena will remain an important site of publicity and pressure. We can expect to remain the focus of negative international attention, just as Canada does.
The UN has already requested Australia to suspend or repeal the 1998 amendments to the Native Title Act, institute appropriate human rights guarantees in this country including a Bill of Rights, rescind mandatory minimum sentences and engage in much greater consultation with Aboriginal peoples over necessary political, economic, social and legal reforms. These reforms must include a nation-wide policy of effective and genuine negotiation over land rights. Much greater resources need to be put into Aboriginal health, education and social security. Recognition of Aboriginal self-government and self-determination is important, which may include a treaty, treaties or legally binding document of reciprocal rights and responsibilities. But perhaps most importantly of all we all need to engage in a reciprocal process of education about our past, our present and our future direction. Looking beyond our borders to the experience of other countries, and listening to advice given by international experts acting under human rights conventions Australia helped draft and has ratified, must also be part of this process. We are not alone in addressing these issues. They are not going to go away. Our future depends on getting this right.
THE HUMAN RIGHTS STAGE
Microcredit in East Timor
In July, Shan Ali spent a harrowing few weeks in East Timor assessing the extent of the devastation. The purpose of Shan’s visit was to see whether microcredit would offer the East Timorese people an opportunity to rebuild their lives and their communities.
On 25 July, at a lunchtime seminar hosted by CPACS and the Sydney Peace Foundation in the United Nations Information Office, Sydney, Shan told a packed audience of his experiences and how microcredit might be established in this devastated country. Micro credit, based on the model pioneered by the Grameen Bank’s Muhammad Yunus, lends money to the poorest of the poor, mainly women. East Timor has many very poor women, many bereft of husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, uncles killed or displaced since Indonesian occupation. Homes have been razed, stock slaughtered, coffee plantations uprooted. These people have no collateral necessary for a traditional bank loan. But the microcredit system does not ask from collateral, and principally it lends to women.
Like many post-conflict societies, East Timorese face the following challenges:
High and unpredictable inflation. Currency chaos: US$ is the official currency but A$ is widely used among the expatriate community. BNP, the only bank in East Timor, is busy pushing Portuguese Escudos. And for rural people of East Timor a dollar or an Escudos is too big an amount; they use Indonesian Rupiah. Very little human capital - very hard to find qualified and trained people. Therefore worker productivity is going to be very low and a microcredit program cannot be self-sufficient in its initial years. Inability of East Timorese rural poor to pay real (i.e. above inflation) interest at this point in time.
Shan concluded from his visit that there was definitely a demand for micro-capital, especially in rural areas. He held discussions with the OMT (the women’s arm of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT)) about how the East Timorese could best manage this type of intervention. OMT would identify three geographical locations and potential East Timorese participants for microcredit training at the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. These participants would then return to East Timor and set up pilot microcredit programs in the three locations identified.
The estimated cost of the training, about $2500 per participant, would be a relatively small investment in return for self-reliance.
If you wish to know about the microcredit project in East Timor, as well as contribute to its tax-deductible fund raising programme, please contact Jacqueline Portrait.
Grameen Foundation Australia
or Dr Stella Cornelius firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Peace Trail…
Wendy Lambourne in Canada
(Wendy is the CPACS Membership Secretary and a University of Sydney PhD Student)
Part 1 – Conferencing in Kingston
On 1 June this year I arrived in Kingston, Ontario, just in time for the last session on the first day of the Canadian Peace Research and Education Association (CPREA) 2000 Conference. What the conference lacked in quantity of participants, it more than made up for in quality. Papers covered such topics as nationalism and globalisation, sovereignty and separatism, peace and human rights, "just war" doctrine, peace education, and the philosophy of peace. James Mark Shields of McGill University reflected on Japanese Buddhist justifications for war, while Satish Sharma of the University of Nevada described the Buddhist tradition of peace. Nigel Young of Colgate University gave a moving personal account of the role of historical memory work in creating a culture of peace, and Walter Dorn from Cornell argued for the importance of setting up effective early warning systems to prevent the escalation of violent conflicts.
The most interesting sessions for me were those on the theme of reconciliation, from the challenges of promoting reconciliation in the aftermath of the Second World War to the issues involved in reconciliation with indigenous peoples in North America. Russell Daye gave an insightful account of political forgiveness and South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, while David Wurfel of York University analysed the dilemmas of justice and reconciliation in East Timor. Laura McGrew reported on the results of her extensive interviews with Cambodians on the topic of truth, justice and reconciliation; Ryota Jonen from American University described his research findings on the role of reconciliation in post-conflict Liberia; and Manuela Godinho spoke passionately about her recent trip to Rwanda and her observations of the painful process of reconciliation in the aftermath of genocide.
Finally, over dinner, consultant Robert Stewart outlined his vision for a Canadian Peace Institute. The self-catered conference dinner embodied the community feeling of the conference. Rather than a formal dinner in a fancy restaurant, we all "mucked in", preparing food, setting tables, clearing up and washing dishes. It was surprisingly relaxing and a very friendly event. I left Kingston with a strong feeling of connection with the Canadian peace research and education community. There is great potential for creating a network of mutual support between Australians and Canadians as we face the challenges of trying to sustain our respective peace communities and activities. Amongst the resources I brought back to share with my CPACS colleagues are sample issues of the Canadian journals Peace Research and Peace Magazine, as well as a listing of Canadian peace studies programs and the draft proposal for a Canadian Peace Institute.
Part 2 – PhD Progress
After the conference I spent two weeks in Toronto, staying in an 18th floor apartment with a wonderful view which had the desired effect of inspiring me to work on my thesis. My host was Dr Ian Lubek from the University of Guelph whom I had met when he gave a lecture on his research in Cambodia to psychology students at the University of Sydney earlier this year. In addition to writing, I conducted interviews to augment the results from my field research in Rwanda. I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with the director, Carole Ann Reed, who told me about the programs bringing together Holocaust and Rwandan genocide survivors to share their experiences and thereby contribute to each other’s healing. I was also able to organise a group meeting where nine Rwandans spent three hours on a Sunday afternoon sharing their experiences of the genocide and their ideas about justice and reconciliation. I was humbled, moved and grateful for their contribution to my research. They thanked me for the opportunity to express their thoughts, and I was told that some of them had said things that they had never shared publicly before. I was also able to spend some time with another Rwandan in Toronto just before I left. He shared with me his belief in the need for reconciliation to rebuild hope for Rwanda and gave me a copy of a short paper he had written entitled "Revenge Is Not The Answer".
Part 3 – Transformation in Toronto
My final week in Canada was spent participating in a course on "Identity-Based Conflict and Conflict Transformation" run by the Transformative Learning Centre located in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. The course was an amazing experience, led by Anne Goodman Adelson, a peace educator and activist originally from South Africa. Anne teaches at McMaster University’s Centre for Peace Studies, is Vice-President of CPREA, and is a member of the Canadian National Working Group for the International Year for the Culture of Peace. The class comprised only six students, but with an extremely rich range of background and experiences. We were all very different, but very much united in our passion and commitment to social justice and making a difference.
To illustrate the concept of identity we spent some time exploring and sharing our own self-identities. We looked at various theories of identity, especially as these relate to ethnicity and how we create enemies of the other, how this can lead to violent conflict, and how we can act to transform violent conflicts to create a culture of peace. We had the opportunity to hear from three guest speakers who linked these issues to conflicts with which they each had particular experience. Leo Kabalisa explained the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic identities and shared his experiences of returning to Rwanda after the genocide and his ideas about bringing peace to his country. Kirthie Abeyesekera told us about the Sri Lankan conflict and the growing ethnic polarisation between the Sinhalese and Tamils within the Sri Lankan community in Toronto. Finally, Niki Landau described her experience with compassionate listening, a tool used by the Mid East Citizen Diplomacy program in its visits to Israel by North Americans committed to listening to the personal stories of people from all sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
We were all moved and transformed by the course and our experiences of each other.
[Note: I am grateful to Stuart for his encouragement and to Stella Cornelius and the Conflict Resolution Network for funding support through CPACS.]
Armen Gakavian in Armenia
A message from Armen as he contemplates his work in Armenia to work with students to establish supportive social structures:
"I’m excited about the work I have cut out for me here. But at the same time I am reminded daily, by the faces of despair and hopelessness, and the depressive environment of this country, why I am in Armenia - to bring, in some small way, faith and hope to a broken people. Please keep in touch. I will not always be able to reply to your emails as quickly or thoroughly as I’d like, but I will enjoy reading them." (July 2000)
Armen Gakavian can be emailed on:email@example.com
Graduate Peace and Conflict Studies for 2001
This is the first time a unit of the Peace and Conflict Graduate Programme will be taught in the University of Sydney’s 2001 Summer School from 16th January 2001 to 16th February 200, Tuesday and Thursday mornings 10am – 1pm. The unit: "Resolving Conflicts Within Organisations", taught by Professor Stuart Rees, Cheryl Minx and Carolyn Hayes, will analyse organisations and diagnose dysfunctional processes. It will explore conflict/consensus theories and the meaning of politics within organisations. It will examine cultures that nurture employees and unmask the relevance of peace with justice in the workplace. It will develop the theory and skills of negotiation towards mutually satisfying outcomes.
For details contact Jim Sait on 9351 5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org
From 2001, the introduction of two new units to our Graduate Peace and Conflict Studies Programme means that a total of 8 units are now available, enough to complete a masters within this field of study.For full details see our website http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/centres/cpacs or contact the teaching coordinator, Dr Jane Fulton on 02 9351 5440 or email: email@example.com
The new units are:
SCWK6940 Peace and Poetry – Overview
(Semester 1: 2001)
Taught by Professor Stuart Rees
In the units offered by Peace Centres in universities world-wide, the role of poets and the influence of poetry are left mostly unacknowledged. Yet for centuries poets have protested against tyranny, written against wars, advocated human rights and raised expectations about prospects for peace. An examination of the peace message of poetry from different cultures is relevant to those involved in conflict resolution. That message has satirized abusers of power and advocated non-violent solutions to conflicts. The originality of this unit will bring poetry to students who come here to study human rights & conflict resolution. It will complement other units, yet be so different from them.
This unit explores how different models of knowledge of being are reflected in the work of poets who have written against war and in praise of peace. This introduction is followed by reading different traditions in the ‘poetry of peace’: the message of anti-war poets; those whose work symbolizes non violence including protection of the environment; poetry which articulates the meaning of peace. A final section examines the ways in which peace negotiators – such as former Secretary General of the U.N. Dag Hammarsjkold – were inspired by poets. The unit will focus on poetry but also encourage students to tap other literature which has explored the meaning of peace and thereby influenced social movements.
SCWK6941 Understanding and Attaining Human Rights: (Semester 2: 2001)Taught by Patricia Garcia
The management and resolution of conflicts in diverse countries requires the staff involved to understand the development of human rights in general and the application of current human rights protocols and covenants in particular. Such staff – including representatives of NGO’S, police, social workers and volunteers who work in human rights crises – need to identify how the attainment of human rights contributes to peace with justice. They also need the skills to achieve small victories in human rights advocacy. This unit addresses those issues and would complement other units offered to prospective students enrolled in the Certificate, Diploma or Master Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies.
Four particular themes are examined:
1) The development of human rights and analysis of controversies about the implementation of legislation, i.e., controversies about universal human rights.
2) An appraisal of the roles of non lawyers in human rights work with particular attention to the staff of NGO’s such as Red Cross, Austcare, Care Australia.
3) The development of a model of social action to recognize and attain human rights in response to crises.
4) An appraisal of this action model in international relations as well as in domestic affairs.
Welcome to Human Rights Fellow
Patricia Garcia joined CPACS in May to establish the above Peace Studies unit. Patricia is a graduate of this University with a Masters degree in Social Policy (development/social planning research). Patricia worked for three years as community development worker in welfare agency and local council in Tasmania and NSW. Then for period of five years as Programme Manager/Administrator with Commonwealth Government Dept. Immigration, Foreign Affairs, Social Security. In 1988 she changed career to overseas aid and development, working first in Sudan as Manager of a UN refugee camp, then as consultant for AUSAID on programme design, project monitoring and evaluation for aid projects. During the last ten years Patricia has worked as Programme Manager for NGO’s, Community Aid Abroad (OXFAM AUST), International Women’s Development Agency and AUSTCARE. During this time she gained experience in assessment, planning and monitoring emergency relief and rehabilitation projects, including mine action activities and gender issues. She has also conducted short-term training consultancies for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Turkmentistan and is a trainer on People Oriented Planning, Humanitarian charter and minimum standards on disaster response. Her publications comprise articles on refugee and human rights issues including gender and violence.
Patricia can be reached on 02 9351 3889.
Poetry for Peace
Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s visit to our Centre, Stuart Rees penned this poem:
Nelson in September
The build-up was like waiting for a bride
To give the cue for all to stand and gaze
At groom already married to ideals,
A handsome suitor armed with selfless deeds,
Like laughter at the shirt he’s asked to wear
In stripes of Africa’s opposing team,
So Gandhi-like he teaches you and me
To shower with love each polar enemy.
A sonnet is too short to catch this man
Of sunlight on the global seas of grey
Whose poverty condemns and disempowers
The millions who would lift and be inspired
By being here to breathe, to learn, to see
This beacon light for all humanity.
(Stuart Rees 2000)
Forging New Partnerships
The Sydney Peace Foundation has forged new partnerships between the corporate world and the world of NGO’s and academic peace studies. Forging partnerships is a way of highlighting our shared humanity. Until there is an holistic understanding of humanity whereby national, tribal, ethnic, religious, political, economic, and social boundaries between people are dissolved, inequalities will remain. Forging new partnerships is a step towards bringing together the strong and weak. The International Crisis Group (ICG) is another partnership, a private, multinational organisation committed to strengthening the capacity of the international community to anticipate, understand and act to prevent and contain conflict.
ICG’s approach is grounded in field research. Teams of political analysts based on the ground in countries at risk of crisis, gather information from a wide range of sources, assess local conditions and produce regular analytical reports containing practical recommendations targeted at key international decision-takers.
ICG’s reports are distributed widely to officials in foreign ministries and international organisations and made available to the general public via the organisation’s internet site, located atwww.crisisweb.org (which drew more than a million visitors during 1999). The organisation works closely with governments and the press to highlight key issues identified in the field and to generate support for its policy prescriptions. The ICG Board - which includes prominent figures from the fields of politics, diplomacy, business and the media - is also involved in helping to bring ICG reports and recommendations to the attention of senior policy-makers around the world. The ICG Board is chaired by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari; Gareth Evans, for eight years Australia’s Foreign Minister, recently took over as ICG’s President and Chief Executive.
ICG is headquartered in Brussels with a U.S. branch in Washington DC. The organisation currently operates field projects in nine crisis-affected countries worldwide: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Algeria, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia. Their website is worth a visit.
Australia’s Peace and Security: A Quaker View
By CPACS member Jan de Voogd
The following is a summarised version of Jan de Voogd’s submission to the Defence Review held in Sydney on 8th August, 2000.
"Our current defence policy is based primarily on defending Australia against attack by a major military force. This has involved asserting regional superiority through sophisticated military capabilities and maintaining the U.S. alliance to underpin our power. However, these capabilities have proven to be of little value in addressing the threats that our region has faced over the last fifty years and neither are they likely to help us in the foreseeable future. The impact of Australia’s current defence policy is to promote a wasteful arms race against our regional neighbours, increasing distrust between countries. Further, high military expenditure detracts from the capacity of our poorer neighbours to address their social needs, and this has added to the destabilisation of our region.
Instead defence policy needs to be focussed on cost effectively promoting regional stability based on cooperative, multi-level relationships within the region. This would require an integration of defence, foreign affairs, trade and cultural considerations together with community and NGO interests.
We would like to see more resources for peace keeping, more support for the United Nations, and greater use of conflict resolution and mediation teams in our region. Furthermore, the Australian Government should support the work of peace centres such as the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. Peace is too important a subject to have a Peace Studies Department run mostly by volunteers!"
Applauding Recent Peace Initiatives:
7 October, the US House of Representatives approved legislation aimed at protecting women from domestic violence and cracking down on traffickers who force women into lives of prostitution and sexual slavery. Currently, as many as 50,000 women a year are forced into the US sex industry. In the first week of October, the Wik people of north Queensland were granted native title to their land - 6,000 square kilometres of Cape York. It took six years to persuade the Federal Court that pastoral and mining leases did not extinguish native title.
Professor Chandra Muzaffar - Peace Maker Visits Sydney
In early February Stuart Rees attended the international conference ‘Dialogue between Civilizations’ in Okinawa. Organised by the Hawaiian based Toda Institute, delegates from many countries, representing most of the world’s religions, assembled to talk about peace. (See PeaceWrites No 2000/1.)
Here he met Professor Chandra Muzaffar, Director of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue at the University of Malaysia, and President of the International Movement for a Just World. On Wednesday 18 October at 1.00pm in the UTS Broadway, Bon Marche Building, Room 510, Muzaffar will give a talk on Peacemaking. Conflicts in East Timor, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Middle East are often depicted as religious unrest. This forum will question this understanding. Coming from a Muslim religious perspective, Professor Muzaffar will address the part religion plays in these political and social upheavals and how religious dialogue can contribute to peacemaking.
Muzaffar not only has a comprehensive understanding of religious belief, he also has deep insights on the social, political and economic nature of the injustices in our global system which he argued at the Okinawa conference were caused by three underlying forces:
"First, we have inherited a global system with built-in inequities of power, wealth, and knowledge. Second, this phase of capitalism is bereft of compassion at both the national and global levels. Third, there is an absence of a holistic world view which, if it existed, would provide meaning and purpose to life." (Professor Chandra Muzaffar)
Johan Galtung and Carl G. Jacobsen (2000) Searching for Peace: the Road to Transcend. London: Pluto Press.
In our recent graduate unit "Peace and Conflict: Understanding the Issues" this book provided students with a sense of what is involved in the process of peacebuilding. Galtung is a patient man and an optimist who has dedicated his adult life, so far all forty years, to the attainment of positive peace, a peace that is more than an end to fighting. For Galtung peace must bring justice through social, political and economic structures that ensure the sustainable attainment of human rights. The book provides a comprehensive analysis of past conflicts; critiques the failures of recent peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts; and offers an alternative, the TRANSCEND approach, to a less violent future.
Court Cullen-Reid for updating and refining the CPACS website -http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/centres/cpacs
Lyndon Cullen-Reidfor creating a new website for the Sydney Peace Foundation – address forthcoming.
Meg Lethbridge and Amy Rose, Social Work students for their work on the West Papua Project.
Donna Toussard for establishing order out of chaos in our busy Centre.
Peg Craddock for giving CPACS a reference library of which to be proud.
To all CPACS Members for their support.
Paralympics – the athletes in the Cambodian team have lost limbs to mines. We live a destructive world, and the presence of this Paralympic Team is an inspiring example of human resilience and bravery in the face of adversity. Many children, including my own, will be watching these athletes. May these children grow up demanding that land mines be relegated to a barbaric past.
Our colleagues at the Conflict Resolution Network (CRN) have updated their website:http://www.crnhq.org
Here you will find over 60 programs dedicated to the International Year for the Culture of Peace. There is also a useful Conflict Kit - it’s not a karate suit and boxing gloves!
A website to visit: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees –http://www.unhcr.ch/
Here you will get information about refugees – ordinary people who have left their homes to escape war, persecution and human rights abuse. Includes UNHCR’sMission Statement and the at-a-glance Refugees by Numbers (pdf). Want to know what rights refugees have? Can a criminal be a refugee? For answers to these and many other questions, click on "Who Is A Refugee".
Comments and contributions welcome. Contact Editor and Publications Officer Jane Fulton on tel 02 9351 5440, fax 02 9660 0862 firstname.lastname@example.org Disclaimer—the views in this publication are solely those of the contributors.