No. 2001/1 April 2001

University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies —PeaceWrites

The newsletter of peace studies, seminars, books, and peace initiatives

Xanana Gusmăo – Acceptance speech at the 2000 Sydney Peace Prize Dinner

Each year the Sydney Peace Foundation, affiliated with the University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, recognises one person’s outstanding contribution to the development of peace with justice. Former recipients have included the founder of the Grameen Bank for the poor, Professor Mohammad Yunus, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for his work with South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In 2000 the award went to Xanana Gusmăo for his work towards peace in East Timor.

Copies of the transcript of Xanana Gusmăo’s Peace Prize Lecture "Peace-Building in East Timor" can be obtained for $11.00 including GST and P&P through the Centre: Contact Jane Fulton, Publications Officer, 9351 5440.

Inside this Issue

The UN International Year of Volunteers 2001 2

Profile of CPACS volunteers 2 Conferences: Human Rights - A Fair Go for All 3

Committees: NSW Human Rights Education 3

Publications and Essay Prizes at CPACS 4

Research at CPACS: The West Papua Project 4

Aceh: A Visit 4

Programme Development at CPACS 4

Graduate Peace and Conflict Studies 4

Poetry for Peace: Devastation in Dili 4

Australia’s Governor-Generals: for social justice 5

Police Safe Arming 5

Western Sahara: country in turmoil 6

Book Reviews 7

Report on the CPACS Library 8


Dates for Your Diary

Friday 4 May CPACS is hosting a lunchtime seminar in the Centre’s Posters for Peace Gallery 1-2pm given by Dr John Renninger, Director of the Asia-Pacific Division of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs on the topic: "The United Nations and Conflict Prevention in the Asia Pacific Region". All welcome. Contact: 02 9351 3971


Wednesday 9 May Sydney Peace Foundation will host "Investing in Human Rights" with guest speakers Shaun Mays, Managing Director, Westpac Financial Services and Klaus Rohland, Regional Director, The World Bank to assess the financial value of human rights, weigh social and economic criteria, and grapple with the issue of human rights and economic development. Hilton Hotel 6.30-8.00pm, Sugarloaf Bay Room, Level 9, 259 Pitt Street, Sydney. $25 (Refreshments from 6pm.) Bookings: Antonia Stephenson 9351 4468,

Saturdays 12 and 19 May and 16 June 10:30am to 5pm The History and Ideas of Social Action A three day workshop with CPACS member Dr Armen Gakavian, Centre for Popular Education, UTS, Broadway NSW 2007 e-mail: fax: 02-9514 3939 tel: 02-9514 3843

Wednesday 16 May CPACS lunchtime seminar 1-2 pm Posters for Peace Gallery. Armenia: In search of solutions to conflict and injustice. Dr Armen Gakavian. 9351 5440

Tuesday 29 May Announcement 2001 Sydney Peace Prize Recipient.

Friday 1 June West Papua Workshop 8.30-4pm, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Mackie Building.

Contact Dr John Ondawame, Coordinator West Papua Project on 9351 7686 or Anna Moden on 9351 3971.

Thursday 8 November 2001 Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

Seymour Theatre Centre. Box Office: 02 9351 7940

Friday 9 November 2001Sydney Peace Prize will be awarded in Sydney at a gala fund-raising dinner. If you would like to know more about the dinner please contact:

Antonia Stephenson on 02 9351 4468.

United Nations International Year of Volunteers

The 52nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly approved by consensus on November 20, 1997 a proposal by the Government of Japan and 122 other Member States that the year 2001 be proclaimed the International Year of Volunteers. More than 2,000 experienced and motivated women and men of about 150 nationalities are currently serving in developing countries as UN Volunteers. (See last page for website address.)

Profile of CPACS volunteers

by Programme Coordinator Lynda Blanchard

Marjorie Bull: When Marjorie Bull celebrated her 87th birthday at the beginning of February, CPACS sent her a medal!

Ranging from the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in this country to the treatment of the elderly as a peace issue, her interest in, and energy for, issues of peace with justice is remarkable.

CPACS placement students marvel at Marjorie’s past – she was one of the first students to graduate with a University of Sydney Social Work degree in the 1940’s.

Marjorie’s experience as a practising social worker at the time of child removal policies, resulted in her being called upon as an expert witness at last year’s precedent ‘stolen generations’ court case. As a testament to her strength of character and clear sense of social justice, she took on the difficult and painful process of describing to the court the insidious nature of indirect violence suffered by Aboriginal families.

CPACS enjoys Marjorie’s participation very much.

Michelle Murray: Volunteering has always been important to my life. Altruism aside, I need the volunteer experience in my life for many reasons. Socialisation, self esteem and purpose are aspects of life many people take for granted until they don’t have them.

Due to severe Psoriatic Arthritis, I cannot compete in the main-stream work force with my existing skills, although I have worked between surgery and rehabilitation in the past. As my condition deteriorates, I require more flexibility in my work arrangements.

CPACS has offered me the perfect opportunity with the necessary empathy. Last year I worked with St James Ethics Centre but could not maintain it due to the cost of transport. Many people on welfare payments would contribute more if the cost of volunteering wasn’t prohibitive. With my Internet research and administration skills, I hope to be a valued member of the CPACS team.

CPACS is also supporting me in negotiation with Commonwealth Rehabilitation Services. I would like to study web design in the hope of working for myself from home, offering community groups and NGOs a web design service. Trying to secure funding, a grant or a loan, for fees has been a long and arduous process.

In the UN International Year of the Volunteer, I’m proud of my history of volunteer service but I’m also thankful for the sense of purpose, friendships and opportunities given to me through that service.

Anna Moden: I’m helping out with the West Papua Project while working on my Masters in International Studies at Sydney Uni. I see it as an interesting opportunity to become more familiar with the situation in West Papua and learn more about conflict resolution and peaceful dialogue. In the coming months, I will help plan the practical aspects of the June 1 workshop (see page 4 for details), and look forward to what looks to be a an interesting meeting.


Before coming to Sydney, I worked for an organisation called Student Pugwash USA in Washington, D.C. The organisation aims to raise issues of the impact of science and technology on society, and involves students, most of them in science and engineering programs, on campuses across the United States in these discussions. Because it attempts to include as many views as possible, the organisation is non-advice, focusing instead on dialogue between people from different fields and with diverging opinions. We dealt with topics ranging from nuclear weapons, genetics, and communications technologies, to the environment and the impact of science and technology on human rights, and held everything from small discussions to seminars and conferences with hundreds of people.

There are Student Pugwash groups in about 20 countries and the job was a good opportunity to work with interesting people from around the world, talking about issues that I feel are very important. Our parent organisation, the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for their role in nuclear disarmament. Working with them, we were able to engage people from different generations - students, established scientists, and senior experts - trying to create an environment where they could learn from and with each other.


Marie Loller in Israel and Palestine

Marie is a CPACS member, an educator at the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, and will shortly commence PhD studies.

During the last 10 years Marie has returned to Israel and Palestine several times to study and work in interfaith and intercultural areas. In June she will leave to take up a 6 month volunteership at Mar Elias Peace College in Ibillin near Nazareth. The founder of the College, Abuna Elias Chacour, is a Palestinian Arab and Melkite priest, whose village of Biram was razed by IDF bulldozers in 1948. Along with 1.5 million of his fellow Palestinians he is a refugee in his own land. His ministry of bringing peace and reconciliation to the peoples of the Holy Land is lived out by the staff and students of Mar Elias, who come from Moslem, Christian, Jewish and Druze communities.

As Abuna’s personal assistant (English speaking) Marie will host visiting groups and carry out a range of office duties. It will be a privilege to have the experience of learning from Abuna and the people of Ibillin. Marie will also facilitate a two-week immersion program for educational leaders from Australia in October.

Israel and Palestine are fertile ground for a number of grass roots organisations whose people have for many years been quietly supporting peace initiatives between conflicting sectors of Israeli and Palestinian society. Despite years of intractable conflict and the escalation of violence in recent months, hope for a better life for their children continues to motivate thousands of ordinary people to seek ways of breaking down barriers of fear and building positive human relationships.

Praveena Gunaratnan: I first heard of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies through fellow students who had been on placement there. Through hearing about their experience I became interested in the work of the Centre and tried to find out more. I did this mainly by searching their website. I was interested in learning more about conflict resolution in third world countries and it was evident that CPACS was a place in which I could do this. This is what led me to contact the Research Officer, Lynda Blanchard, and work as a researcher into peace study centres in the world.


Human Rights: A Fair Go for All

Hosted by the John Curtin International Institute at Curtin University of Technology in conjunction with the National Committee on Human Rights Education, this three-day conference was held in Perth in early December, 2000. As the year 2000 marked the mid-point of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, this was a very appropriate time to present a ‘snapshot’ of views on some of the contemporary human rights issues and ongoing challenges in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Prominent national and international speakers shared their views and experiences as educators, politicians, lawyers, media spokespersons and government and non-government representatives in Australia, Indonesia, India, Cambodia and China.


The key to human rights is education, claims the Hon Daryl Williams (Attorney General of Australia). Moving from the national to the international, Mr Chris Sidoti (former Human Rights Commissioner) summarised Australia’s performance over the past five years and of the human rights challenges we face over the next few. The challenges of operating at the international level while acknowledging the culturally

or geographically specific needs and operating methods of particular countries, took on an interesting perspective in the comments of Mr Zhu Muzhi, the Honorary President of the China Society for Human Rights Studies.

Regional perspectives on human rights education were supplied by Mr Kieren Fitzpatrick (Asia Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions), Ms Rani Jethmalani (Supreme Court of India), Ms Vanessa Johanson (Indonesian National Commission for Human Rights), Mrs Sau Si Samuth (Church World Service Cambodia) and Professor Vijay Mishra (Murdoch University) who identified ongoing concerns in his discussion of the Fiji crisis.


Indigenous human rights issues and reconciliation were a prominent focus of the conference, from the welcome by the traditional owners, the Nyoongar, to workshops and specific discussions of the numerous obstacles that continue to hamper reconciliation processes in Australia, such as: access to education, especially tertiary education; the appropriateness of the legal system with particular focus on mandatory sentencing. The discussion forum on education that took place under the aegis of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University, highlighted the severe disadvantages that still affect Aboriginal children in many schools. Professor Martin Nakata (Aboriginal Research Institute, University of South Australia) addressed precisely this issue in his paper on human rights and the maintenance of cultural identity.

At the conference, Lynda Blanchard outlined the work of CPACS in her introduction as panel chair. That session included Justice Christine Wheeler (Supreme Court of Australia) and Professor Margaret Reynolds (National President, United Nations Association of Australia) who were fielding questions on the less visible areas of human rights needs: the rights of the child, the mentally ill, the immigrant.

Conference proceedings Human Rights: A Fair Go For All is in the CPACS library.


NSW Human Rights Education Committee

In 1998, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Australian Government approached several prominent Australians with a view to establishing a National Committee on Human Rights Education. Dr Eric Chan was asked to Chair the committee. One of the roles of the committee is to develop a coordinated approach to human rights education for the whole community.

The NSW Committee, established in 2000, is part of the national network of government and non-government organisations working in collaboration with the National Committee to provide a focussed forum for the development of policy programs in support of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education.


CPACS is taking an active role in the functions of the State Committee which include: educating ourselves about human rights; advocacy of human rights; information gathering and dissemination; linking with academic and other educational institutions; and linking with government departments and agencies, business, professional and labour organisations about human rights. The NSW Human Rights Education website can be accessed from the CPACS homepage.



Publications and Essay Prizes at CPACS

Late last year Lynda Blanchard’s paper Peace-Building Tourism won the King Hussein International Peace through Tourism Award for the Asia-Oceania region. In awarding the prize Professor Cushman of Lincoln University indicated the paper provides new ideas and gives hope. Further he said that the notion of "peace-building tourism" drew on language analysis, cross-cultural communication and peace studies which integrated "peace issues into the language, and thereby the practice of tourism". Congratulations Lynda!

Recent Publication Lynda Blanchard and Leah Lui ‘Citizenship and Social Justice – Learning from Aboriginal Night Patrols in NSW’ in Indigenous Law Bulletin January 2001, Vol 5, Issue 5: pp 16-21. Reflecting on their study of Aboriginal Night Patrols, which transport young people from public places to their homes (or safe places) in the NSW towns of Narrandera, Kempsey, Forster and Dareton, Blanchard and Lui look at the relationship between citizenship and social justice, and the extent to which Aboriginal youth, as citizens of this nation, receive the rights of citizenship, namely respect and non-violence from others.

Research at CPACS

The West Papua Project

This project aims to initiate a dialogue for peace between the people of West Papua and Indonesia, and to articulate strategies for alternative resolution of conflict in that region. A series of workshops will establish networks between Australian, Indonesian and West Papuan parties including government and non-government agencies; national and international universities; politicians and parliamentarians; and the corporate sector. Crucial to the strategy of this project and to successful outcomes is diverse representation and practised facilitators who will bring together the different views, expertise and experiences of participants in order to develop the negotiation skills necessary to promote dialogues for peace. Initiating these dialogues has the potential to affect public perceptions and governments’ interests in promoting non-violent conflict resolution in West Papua.

The project team includes CPACS staff and students. The coordinator of the West Papua Project is visiting Research Fellow Dr John Ondawame. A quietly spoken charismatic colleague, John’s life story journeys from a childhood as an Amungme villager to adulthood as a human rights leader. Experiences in political resistance, including his capture, imprisonment in PNG, possible deportation to face death in Indonesia, and sudden reprieve when the United Nations High Commission for Refugees supported his appeal, and subsequent fifteen years of political exile in Sweden, highlight John’s lifetime commitment to peace in his country. His scholarship about the West Papuan’s struggle to negotiate their human rights and recent discussions with Australian government and non-government parties about non-violent alternatives, begin a new phase in this quest for peace.

We welcome Dr John Ondawame to CPACS and look forward to learning more about the capacities for peaceful conflict resolution in this significant regional dispute. Further information can be obtained on the West Papua Project website, accessible through the CPACS website

The West Papua Project is hosting The West Papua Workshop: West Papua – Exploring the Prospects of Peace with Justice, 1 June 2001 at CPACS 8.30am-4pm. Enquiries: Dr John Ondawame 9351 7686 or his assistant Anna Moden on 9351 3971.

Aceh: A Visit

On the 11th of April, human rights workers from the Indonesian province of Aceh visited CPACS. Cut Nur Asikin and Zubaidah from Aceh and Muhammad Dahlan, now resident in Australia, outlined the struggle between

the Free Aceh movement (GAM) and the Indonesian military (TNI). They also described in graphic terms the violence and trauma experienced by the estimated 100,000 internally displaced persons. That violence included: disappearance of men suspected of supporting the GAM; beating and raping women; burning of homes in the Indonesian military's 'sweeping' campaigns; lack of drinking water and suspected poisoning of food supplies; burning of rice yields in order to starve the population into submission.

We were impressed with the bravery of these women and with their gratitude even for our expression of solidarity. This significant meeting also provided insight into the CPACS initiated West Papua project and in particular the conundrum of how to enter dialogue with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. Our Acehnese contacts shared with us a letter from United States Senators to the current Secretary of State Colin Powell about US policies towards Indonesia. Although the US supports Indonesia's territorial integrity, such support

does not give Indonesia a green light for military offensives which involve human rights abuses. That constructive view also provides a base for discussions within Australia about the principle of using human rights standards to influence the development of foreign policy, in particular with regard to Indonesian controlled Aceh and West Papua.


Programme Development at CPACS

This new role at CPACS has been undertaken by Lynda Blanchard. It has four specific aims: Firstly, to identify leading national and international peace studies centres listed on the Internet and identify the priorities of those centres. The next step will be to determine the common ground between those ‘priorities’ and CPACS’ interests, in order to initiate dialogue. This will lead to a profile of CPACS’ activities to promote international collaborations with like-minded peace centres. Lastly, to investigate the capacity for on-line technology to promote CPACS’ projects and peace education initiatives.

Much of this work is drawing upon the support and expertise of the Conflict Resolution Network. The guidance of

Dr Stella Cornelius in this development role is invaluable.


CPACS Graduate Peace and Conflict Studies

Semester 1 this year has seen the enrolment of many talented students from Australia and overseas. The graduate programme has been met with enthusiasm and we are delighted by this show of support. Via the Internet, students from across the globe are emailing us with requests for application forms – it’s a delight to have contact from remote parts of Africa, or Russia, as well as from familiar cities as Oxford or Los Angeles! For full details of our Masters, Diploma, and Certificate, of Peace and Conflict Studies visit our website  or contact the Teaching Coordinator, Dr Jane Fulton on 02 9351 5440 or email:


Poetry for Peace

Professor Stuart Rees’ new unit in the graduate programme "Passion, Peace and Poetry" examines the role of poets, through their poetry, to convey the essential human qualities of rights and justice and to decry the failings of society when such rights are denied. In the footsteps of Angolan poet Antonio Jacinto, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and Aboriginal poet Pam Errinaron-Williams (to name a few), Stuart Rees wrote the following poem whilst in East Timor last year to meet Xanana Gusmăo, the East Timorese Independence Leader:

Devastation in Dili

A gentle sea is close yet far away

a few palms bend to say there was a past

when shops and homes were sites of love’s exchange

but now the city has been fired and crushed

by hatred and a lusting for revenge

against the votes of independence day.

Street after street, there are no signs of lives

when conversations lived between these walls

whose blue graffiti like a spider crept

where kerbs have crumbled and the trees are stumps

sticking like amputated limbs, as though

nothing loyal to Timor could be kept.

Charred beams support no roofs while iron rusts

in shapes of death and poverty lies wrapped

amid the crap of waste whose silent men

have disappeared to borders like a wind

with justice not in sight, only a mime,

as though this rape was pleasure not a crime.

(Stuart Rees, Dili, East Timor 6 October 2000)


Applauding Australia’s Governor-Generals, voices for social justice.

Sir William Deane and Governor-General designate Peter Hollingworth, the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, are men of social conscience. Archbishop Hollingworth has spoken out for reconciliation, and in 1998 at the General Synod he sponsored a motion calling for an apology to Aboriginal people for the Church’s role in taking children from their parents. He will replace Sir William Deane as Governor General later this year. Sir William has used his high office to speak for the disadvantaged. In early 1996, at the start of his appointment, he said:

"The focus of what I want to do lies with the disadvantaged. I don’t just mean reconciliation between Aboriginal and other Australians, but all the disadvantaged. That sounds wet, but it’s what I’m about."

CPACS acknowledges and applauds Sir William Deane as a skillful peace-maker, an advocate for social justice and reconciliation, and hopes Peter Hollingworth will follow this exemplary path.



Police Safe Arming

(A paper by Sam Lee, NSW Anti-Gun Lobbyist, presented at a CPACS Seminar on 24th October 2000)

Brief History:

In NSW, pistols were introduced in the police force, and it was made compulsory for officers to carry them, just after WW1, when returned soldiers, who had been mentally disturbed by the war, carried out a series of murderous attacks on unarmed police officers. The same standard weapon, a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson, has been in use since the 1960s.

In 1970 the NSW police force was the only Australian force which was habitually armed. A domino effect caused the other States and Territories to become armed, with little public debate or evidence, or informed decision-making.

Government responses:

In 1991, the 8th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held in Havana, agreed by consensus upon Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. The Principles call upon governments to "keep ethical issues associated with the use of firearms under review"; urge the "development and deployment of non-lethal incapacitating weapons"; and require that rules and regulations of police forces should include guidelines that "preclude the use of those firearms and ammunition that cause unwarranted injury or present an unwarranted risk".

Rick Sarre’s paper ‘The Public, the Police and the Use of Firearms’ in Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences (1991), makes the point that no research has ever been attempted in Australia to test the assumption that carrying firearms by police makes for a safer community, with the exception of a 1970 study by Hawkins and Ward, which proposed that there was a correlation between the extent to which police carry pistols, revolvers, and shotguns, and the frequency of police themselves becoming victims.

After Port Arthur the Commonwealth Attorney-General made the suggestion that police should be disarmed. The suggestion was rejected as utopian by the Australian Federal Police, and by members of the various State police unions.

After the shooting of David Grundy in 1990 by the Special Weapons Operation Squad, in the midst of a raid by six squads on private houses inhabited by aboriginal families in Redfern, and as a result of another shooting by police in the ACT, the Federal Justice Minster presented a set of minimum standard: "National Guidelines for the use of lethal force by police" at a meeting of State police ministers in May 1992. The Guidelines state that police will only use guns when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life, and only when less extreme means are sufficient. The guidelines also state the police must:

Identify themselves as police

Give a clear warning of their intent to use firearms

Ensure that there is sufficient time for the warning to be observed before using firearms

Not fire warning shots. The guidelines also contain provision for training in the human rights and ethical issues involved in the use of lethal force, and in the peaceful settlement of conflict.

In 1995/96, Sarre conducted a study of all Australian police jurisdictions regarding their policies on firearm carriage. He found that, despite a call in 1990 by the Australian National Committee on Violence for a uniform police firearm policy, and despite the fact that the Federal Police Minister’s 1992 guidelines were endorsed by all State Ministers, such a policy has not emerged.


In the late 1970s it was found that inadequate firearms training led to police endangering themselves, each other and members of the public. It was also found that killing another human being, even if in the course of duty, and within the law, resulted in an enormous amount of trauma for the individual police officer responsible.

There is no uniformity across jurisdictions on the amount of training police receive in the use of firearms. It was reported in the press, after the Bondi Beach shooting of Roni Levi in 1997, that NSW Police receive two days training per year on dealing with such situations.

Lack of guidelines on how to deal with the mentally ill.

There also appears to be little policy or training focus on the avoidance of firearm use, or exploration of alternatives. Instead, there is an affirmation of the necessity for firearms. On 17 April 1997, the NSW Police Minster announced a call for tenders to upgrade police guns to a .40 calibre self-loading pistol, on the advice of the Government’s Standing Firearms Committee. The Government was providing $11 million for the purpose. The intent was to "improve officer safety" following the deaths of the two police officers in Cresent Head in 1996.

1996 Royal Commission:

There are frequent references to firearms mishandling in the transcripts of evidence to the 1996 Royal Commission conducted by Justice Wood into corruption in the NSW Police Service. There was frequent mention of the use of guns in connection with organised crime, often connected with drugs. There was disturbing evidence of police receiving money for surrendered guns, inconsistent record-keeping and poor storage of firearms in police stations, especially seized firearms. There were also instances of police or members of their families being drunk in public; driving and discharging firearms; finding but not seizing firearms in raids; and returning seized firearms to unlicensed owners.

Presence of Firearms:

There is a body of "weapons effect" research which shows that the presence of a firearm in any situation can exacerbate aggression, as well as research which shows that police carriage of weapons tends to escalate aggression in offenders, heightening the likelihood that police themselves will be shot.

In terms of risk to police from armed offenders, Bruce Swanton (Police work and its health impacts, Australian Institute of Criminology Research Brief no. 7.,1987) carried out a study of police between 1976-1985 and found that in this period, of 65 murders of on-duty police officers in Australia, nearly all were committed with a firearm or bomb. It is not known in how many of these the officer was killed with his own weapon stolen by the assailant, or in how many cases the assailant himself was armed.

Self-inflicted Deaths:

Police having to deal with some highly disturbed individuals.

During the periods 1 January 1990 to 30 June 1997 there were 33 self-inflicted firearm deaths in police custody operations, representing 45% of the total 75 firearms-related deaths in custody that occurred during the period. The research indicates that police were not dealing with traditional criminals in these cases. More than two-thirds of these victims were depressed, or had some form of psychiatric history. Alcohol or drugs were contributing factors in half of the cases and in almost half, a domestic altercation had preceded police attendance.

Between 1990 and 1997, 75 people were shot by police officers and 33 died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

More people have died in police custody from gunshot wounds, either self-inflicted or inflicted by police officers, than from any other cause during the six-and-a-half year period.

All but one death occurred while police were in the process of "detaining" or attempting to "detain".

Western Sahara

By Suzanne Schoolmate, President of the Defense Forum Foundation and Chairman of the U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation.

In 1976, the Sahrawis established the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a pro-Western Muslim democracy whose constitution is patterned after our own with three branches of government and the belief that "sovereignty belongs to the people." Among other provisions of the constitution are a limited term for the executive, equal rights for women, private property rights, a free market economy, protection of human rights and freedom of religion. The Sahrawis have fought for over 26 years for one simple goal - a referendum on their self-determination, first promised to them by Spain in 1974, reaffirmed by the International Court of Justice in 1975 (which prompted the Moroccan invasion) and then promised once again by the United Nations in 1991.

Over the last quarter-century, the Sahrawis have seen their children and elderly die - assaulted with napalm bombs dropped by the Moroccan air force when they fled, unarmed, across the Sahara desert. They have seen their young people tortured, shot and killed for peacefully demonstrating for the referendum in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. They have seen hundreds of men and women disappear into the infamous Moroccans prisons. They have lived as homeless refugees separated for 25 years from grandparents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters trapped in occupied Western Sahara. They have waited in vain for the United Nations to follow through with its promised referendum but seen it cave in again and again to Moroccan pressure.

Morocco should withdraw from Western Sahara. Such a dramatic move would earn Morocco instant goodwill credibility, respect and support from the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, the European Community, and the United States — basically, the entire world community that has supported the right of self-determination for the Sahrawi people. It would end the one impasse to the prosperity and success of the Arab Maghreb Union. The peaceful withdrawal by Morocco from the Western Sahara would demonstrate to the world that King Mohamed IV truly wants to be the "king of the poor", and free him and the Moroccan government to focus on bringing economic prosperity to Morocco and relief from the terrible poverty and unrest plaguing that country. For example, rather than spending millions and millions of dollars on their occupation force of over 160,000 soldiers deployed in Western Sahara to keep the Sahrawi people from their homeland, Morocco could instead turn its attention to addressing the very serious problems it faces in its own country: a population in which 65 percent live below the poverty level, 87 percent live without electricity, 50 percent cannot read or write, and a poverty level that has grown 50 percent in a decade.

Morocco also could address its serious human rights problems. It has the distinction of having the highest proportion of homeless children in the Arab world, and a recent poll found that 89 percent of its young people want to emigrate. Furthermore, the Sahrawis are not alone in being persecuted by the Moroccan government, for recently Morocco earned the distinction of ranking among the top ten nations for persecuting Christians. In addition to enabling the country to concentrate on its own serious internal problems, Morocco’s withdrawal from Western Sahara would prevent war in the region — which is increasingly being discussed as the only alternative to the continued stalling of the referendum.

Morocco’s action would also have the added benefit of saving the United Nations from another catastrophic "peacekeeping" failure. So far, the United Nations has spent over $600 million since 1991 on MINURSO, the United Nations peacekeeping mission which calls for a Western Sahara referendum. Yet this vote has yet to occur and the total bill to the United Nations continues to climb at $4.3 million a month. At the request of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Secretary of States James Baker has been working with the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawis to try to get the referendum back on track. However, no progress has been made.

PS – Melbourne academic, Scott Burchill writes:

"Like the East Timorese before them, the people who live on the north-west coast of Africa contend with an even more powerful force than neighborhood terrorism. They confront what a South American victim of torture described as the "blind indifference of a merciless, unfeeling world".

Scott Burchill lectures in international relations at Deakin University.


Book Reviews

The Art of Peace: Nobel Peace Laureates discuss Human Rights, Conflict and Reconciliation (2000). Edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, ISBN 1-55939-149-9 184 pages, Hardback $52.95. Published by Snow Lion, Ithaca, New York

Proceedings of 1998 Nobel Peace Laureates Conference on Human Rights, Conflict and Reconciliation, presented by University of Virginia and the Insititute for Asian Democracy. Ramos-Horta, Betty Williams, Rigoberta Munch Tum, Desmond Tutu, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Harn Yawnghwe (for Aung San Suu Kyi), Bobby Muller, Jody Williams, and the Dalai Lama discuss with each other their views about the conflicts that arise when basic human rights are denied, and share their ideas for reconciliation. At the core of their agenda is the conviction that an ethical concern for the welfare of others is essential for personal, political, social, and economic balance:

"… it may seem that happiness depends solely on economic success or failure. However, to a greater extent happiness depends upon the morality of cooperation, friendship, care, and concern. We have found that even though a modicum of economic success is essential, it is not sufficient for happiness."

Jeffrey Hopkins (ed.) (2000:9)

Artisans of Democracy (2000) by Rosenfeld J & Tardieu B, Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America 276 pages ($35.00) Families in extreme poverty and staff who worked with them – such as social workers and journalists – describe how they became allies to overcome social exclusion. The authors construct theory from life by recording the ideas of members of a Fourth World Movement representing the poorest of the poor. Founded in 1957 for homeless families living in Noisy-le-Grand outside Paris, the movement was inspired by a Catholic priest Joseph Wresinski.

In addition to the rich accounts of powerless peoples’ struggles for justice, the book has lessons for prospective peace negotiators. Accounts of the Fourth World Movement show people perceived as enemies being given respect, show stereotypes being avoided and wisdom being derived from the poor who are often labelled as having nothing to teach. The authors also recall that the establishment of the European Community for sustainable peace in Europe coincided with the birth of this Fourth World Movement to achieve positive peace through freedom from poverty. This optimistic work is now located in CPACS library.

Peace Stories for Children. Martin Auer, renowned Austrian author of children’s books, has put together a collection of stories for children and young people named The Strange War – Stories for a Culture of Peace published by Beltz & Gelberg, Germany. The book can be read on line at   or contact the author at

Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State Terror and Atrocity, Routledge, New York, 2001. ISBN 0-415-92477-4. US$27.50.

This is the first book to comparatively and critically examine over twenty truth commissions, including the first such commission held in Uganda in 1974, the famous South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the various Central American Truth Commissions, and the recently established Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone. Her book challenges many common assumptions about these bodies and their impact on achieving justice, reconciliation and healing in the aftermath of mass atrocities, injustices and human rights abuses. Hayner provides an extremely thorough and insightful analysis to support her suggestions for strengthening future truth commissions, such as those being considered in Bosnia, Cambodia and East Timor. As the publisher says, this book is "essential reading for anyone concerned about human rights" and the attainment of peace with justice.

Two recently published edited volumes on peace and conflict studies, highly recommended for teaching and introductions to the field, including up-to-date research as well as key historical contributions:

D. P. Barash (ed.), Approaches to Peace: A Reader in Peace Studies, Oxford University Press, New York/London, 2000. ISBN 0-19-512386-7. US$22.50 pbk

D. J. Christie, R. V. Wagner & D. D. Winter (eds), Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology in the 21st Century, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2001. ISBN 0-13-096821-8. (available from Pearson Education Australia, Ph. 02 9454 2222, Fax 02 9453 0093)

Sabbioni, J, Schaffer, K. & Smith, S. (eds) (1998) Indigenous Australian Voices: A Reader, Rutgers University Press, New Jersey. CPACS member Sharon Seaman highly recommends this book. It is an anthology of Indigenous Australian experiences of colonialism, racism and the changes and survivals in their societies.

Report on the CPACS Library

CPACS Librarian, Peg Craddock

CPACS wishes to thank:

Brian Burns of Mullumbimby for his generous donation of essays written by Bertrand Russell ranging from: The Conquest of Happiness; Education and Social Order; Impact of Science on Society; Marriage and Morals; and In Praise of Idleness!

Dr Juliet Sheen (former NSW Chair Human Rights Education Committee) for her publication, Freedom of Religion and Belief (1997) which she has kindly donated to the library.

CPACS member Jan de Voogd for donating a year’s subscription to the Guardian Weekly to keep us up to date with world affairs!

We would like to obtain new or second-hand copies of books on subjects relevant to the Centre’s concerns, including biographies. Donors are recognised in the catalogue and on a suitable place in the front of the book.

Last Word:
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

"Every noble work is bound to face problems and obstacles.  It is important to check your goal and motivation thoroughly.  One should be very truthful, honest, and reasonable.  One’s actions should be good for others, and for oneself as well.
Once a positive goal is chosen, you should decide to pursue it all the way to the end.  Even if it is not realized, at least there will be no regret."  

from The Path to Tranquility and Insight: Daily Wisdom Snow Lion Publications available on line at

A website to visit: The United Nations International Year of Volunteers 2001 (IYV) provide details on volunteer activities, stories, resources, event materials and contact information:  or

Comments and contributions welcome. Contact Editor and Publications Officer Jane Fulton on tel 02 9351 5440,

fax 02 9660 0862 or

Mackie Building KO1, The University of Sydney, 2006.

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Disclaimer—the views in this publication are solely those of the contributor.