IN THIS EDITION, READ ABOUT: February – April 2010 Regional Updates Small Arms and Light Weapons: Africa - A Resource
The Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security, led by youth from the world’s major religions, works to engage religious leaders and believers around the world to unleash the power of multi-religious cooperation through shared action. It is reaching out to international organizations, governments, national assemblies and parliaments, municipalities, media, and all men and women of good will. Through education, mobilization and advocacy, the campaign is advancing shared security by working to reduce nuclear and conventional weapons and to reallocate military spending to support urgently needed development, as set forth in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Guide for Religions for Peace Signatures To Be Sent at Religions For Peace Headquarters Arms Down! on the web
The stories that follow are just a few examples of dedicated work undertaken by members of the Religions for Peace Global Youth Network in relation to the Arms Down! campaign, from February–April 2010. Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multireligious coalition dedicated to promoting peace. Its Global Youth Network is representative of the world's major religious traditions across six regions.
MORE THAN 2,000,000 signatures on the Arms Down! petition already collected and the number is still rising...
Send us your news and work, and we'll include it in the next newsletter! Questions, comments, or news? Kindly Contact: Ms. Katerina Ragoussi Associate Director, Youth & Network Coordination Religions for Peace 777 United Nations Plaza
REGIONAL UPDATES AFRICA
KENYA | SENIOR RELIGIOUS LEADERS SIGN THE ARMS DOWN! PETITION IN NAIVASHA The Religions for Peace African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL) hosted a senior religious leaders meeting in Naivasha, Kenya from the 2–5 February 2010, under the Religious Leaders Peace Initiative for the Horn of Africa (RL-PIHA) program. The 55 leaders came from the six countries in the Horn of Africa Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Playing an important role in the event the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church- His Highness Aboune Paulos. During the conference, Ms. Stellamaris Mulaeh, Religions for Peace Global Youth Coordinator, introduced the Arms Down! Campaign and invited the religious leaders to sign the petition and to support the efforts of youth towards disarmament across the Horn of Africa. In addition to securing the support and signatures of all the religious leaders present, support was also received from a prominent Kenyan policy-maker and politician, Mr. Patrick Lumumba. The ACRL is the largest and most representative multi-religious platform in Africa whose mission is to advance multi-religious dialogue and cooperation in support of peace and sustainable development. This was the first time that Arms Down! Campaign petitions were signed in Kenya and it set the precursor for the regional Arms Down! Campaign launch in Kigali, Rwanda, that took place in March 2010.
RWANDA | PAN-AFRICAN LAUNCH OF THE CAMPAIGN IN KIGALI Forty religious leaders of different faiths came together at the Great Lakes ACRL regional meeting held on 22–25 March 2010 in Kigali, Rwanda, to discuss the dangers and effects of small arms and light weapons (SALW) proliferation on the region and positive solutions to tackle the problem. Religious leaders were from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo all responded and endorsed the youth-led Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security. Youth representatives from pan-African organizations including AACC, WSCF, Focolare, Africa Youth Trust, Fellowship of Christian
New York, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212 687-2163 Fax: 212 983-0098 kragoussi@religionsfor peace.org www.religionsforpeace .org RELIGIONS FOR PEACE—the world’s largest and most representative multireligious coalition— advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than seventy national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Youth Network.
Council and Churches in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA), Pax Romana and OAIC developed a pan-African plan of action for the Arms Down! Campaign, which will focus on small arms and light weapons. African youth assigned respective organizations with a specific target number of petitions for the Arms Down! Campaign. These events were met with great interest by the participants and received the political backing from leaders. The President of Rwanda H.E Paul Kagame welcomed the delegation at the State House where the work and mission of Religions for Peace as well as the notion of shared security was introduced to him. The President responded positively in supporting the initiative of religious youth leaders for the reduction of military expenditure and the advancement of MDGs and agreed to actively engage his country in the Arms Down! Campaign. Sheikh Shaban Mubaje, the Grand Mufti of Uganda and a Co-Chair of Religions for Peace Africa, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, Secretary General of Religions for Peace Africa, and Ms. Stellamaris Mulaeh, Coordinator of the Global Youth Network of Religions for Peace all voiced the same sentiment that shared security is the only viable option! The new toolkit for faith communities, Small Arms and Light Weapons, Africa: A Resource Guide for Religions for Peace, was launched at the event (for more info please see end of newsletter).
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
AFGHANISTAN| CROSS-BORDER TRAINING WORKSHOP The Sustainable Peace and Development Organization (SPADO), a Religions for Peace partner organization that focuses on sustainable development and conflict resolution, organized a cross-border training workshop on conflict resolution from 26–28 February 2010. Thirty representatives from the public and voluntary sector in Afghanistan participated together with community leaders and other influential individuals from Afghanistan’s civil society. Under the umbrella of SPADO, the Youth for Peace (YFP)– Pakistan delivered a half day session that provided useful information on the Arms Down! Campaign and invited the workshop participants to join hands by signing the petition.
PAKISTAN| PEACE WALK IN PESHAWAR AND SPORT EVENT FOR SWAT YOUTH Youth for Peace (YFP)–Pakistan launched the Arms Down! Campaign in Pakistan by organizing a peace walk in Peshawar in December 2009. During this peace walk, the Arms Down! petition was signed by more than 500 youth leaders, members of the local non-profit organizations, universities and colleges students. YFP also launched an outreach program to involve the youth groups, existing networks and civil society organizations in disarmament peace and security initiatives to support and help achieve the goals and objectives of this global initiative. Similarly, in the troubled region of Swat, YFP has successfully implemented the goals of the Arms Down! Campaign through its dedicated representatives and volunteers. During a recently organized sport event for Swat Youth, more than 500 individuals signed the Arms Down! petition. The goal for the Swat region is to collect more than 10,000 signatures. YFP is working hard to reach the target of 1 million signatures from Pakistan.
JAPAN | BILLBOARD AT THE HEART OF TOKYO The Arms Down! Campaign in Japan set up the first ever Arms Down! billboard at the Ginza Station at the heart of downtown Tokyo.
JAPAN | MAYORS OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI SIGN ARMS DOWN! PETITION On 5 April 2010, members of Religions for Peace–Japan met with the Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, who strongly commended the partnership between Religions for Peace and Mayors for Peace. On 10 April 2010, he signed the Arms Down! petition in front of the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima.
In addition, Religions for Peace–Japan met with Mayor Tomihisa
Taue of Nagasaki who also signed the Arms Down! petition on 14 April 2010.
JAPAN | GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS The Arms Down! Campaign is having a resounding impact in Japan, especially on the grassroots level. An appeal for our Arms Down! Campaign came from a 9 year old boy who brought the campaign to the attention of his school teacher. The teacher was touched by his passionate appeal and organized a special class on Arms Down! educating children about the importance of disarmament.
SINGAPORE| PLEDGING PROCESS In the beginning of April 2010, Religions for Peace Singapore put into action a novel system for signature collection by inviting organizations to pledge large numbers of signatures for the Arms Down! Campaign. These pledges will be presented at local Arms Down! events, symbolically, through a banner declaration to a Religions for Peace representative, with accompanying media exposure to benefit the organizations. This pledging system will be used across the Asia-Pacific region, targeting a mix of various faith and private organisations in the next few months.
EUROPE ITALY | INAUGURATION OF ARMS DOWN! CAMPAIGN From 19â€“21 February 2010 the Youth for a United World, part of the Focolare Movement, successfully launched the Arms Down! Campaign at their meeting in Italy. Ms. Stella Chiu from Focolare International Secretariat, together with Dr. Pasquale Ferrara, Focolare member and Minister Plenipotentiary from the Italian Foreign Ministry, introduced the disarmament issue to the 700 participants and organized a Youth workshop on the Arms Down! campaign. 258 Youth signed the petition immediately and proceeded to invite the whole assembly to sign the petition online. Religions for Peace continues to work with Focolare to promote the Arms Down! Campaign in other regions of the world.
FRANCE | EUROPE YOUTH NETWORK MEETING The Religions for Peace Europe Youth Network met in Paris, France from 23-25 April 2010 in order to discuss the Arms Down! plans for Europe and strategize the best way to move forward in terms of media-outreach and a broad range of activities that would involve organizations and networks. Concrete results are expected within the following few months.
THE MIDDLE EAST PALESTINE | CONFERENCE OF PALESTINIAN UNIVERSITIES On 18 March 2010, the Sabeel Center's Young Adult Program held a conference in Jericho for Palestinian university students on the subject of the Religions for Peace Arms Down! Campaign. The conference attracted over 70 students, all selected by their universities as active young leaders. The participants were
Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans who came from all over the West Bank from various economic and social backgrounds. The conference took place over the course of a full day; it began with two presentations by leaders of the Muslim and Christian communities, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, Chief Islamic Judge of Palestine and William Shomeli, the Auxiliary Bishop to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The speakers gave the positions of both the Muslim and Christian faith perspectives on disarmament and provided a general framework to guide the discussions. After the encouraging presentations, Omar Haramy, Sabeel's Youth leader, spoke about the Arms Down! Campaign launch in Costa Rica in November 2009, and brainstormed together with the students on how to effectively overcome challenges and promote the campaign in their region. All speakers and many of the participants signed the Arms Down! petition with the hope that the Palestinian voice for non-violence can be one of the loudest in pressing for the world to be safe and just for everyone.
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN ARGENTINA | CAPACITY BUILDING AND PLANNING The first meeting of Religions for Peace Argentinean Youth Network took place in Buenos Aires in 13-14 February 2010 and was the starting point for planning actions and addressing challenges related to promoting the Arms Down! Campaign in Argentina. Ms. MarĂa PĂa Devoto, one of the directors of the Association for Public Policies, led a workshop on the problems
associated with arms, the policies to control them, processes and instruments on the local, regional and international levels, and finally, the campaigns to be undertaken and the importance of working in networks.
ARGENTINA | MEETING WITH CORDOBA INTERRELIGIOUS COMMITTEE FOR PEACE (COMIPAZ) Senior members of Cordoba Interreligious Committee for Peace (COMIPAZ) signed the petition and committed themselves to the Arms Down! Campaign.
COSTA RICA | PANEL ON RELIGIONS AND PEACE AT THE UNITED WORLD COLLEGE On 24 February 2010, representatives from different communities of faith presented their perspective on peace in a panel organized by the Costa Rican Youth Network at the United World College. Sherman Herrera, a member of the Executive Team of Latin America and Caribbean Youth Network, presented the Arms Down! Campaign while stressing the campaigns focus on interreligious cooperation.
HONDURAS | YOUTH NETWORK UNIVERSITY PETITION COLLECTION On 3-17 March 2010, the Religions for Peace Honduran Youth Network visited two of the most prominent universities of Tegucigalpa educate students about the threat of conventional and nuclear weapons and to collect signatures for the Arms Down! Campaign petition.
MEXICO| INTERVIEW ON RELIGIOUS TV PROGRAM Two members of the Mexican Youth Network were interviewed by presenter Roberto Oâ€™Farril of the Sunday program El Pulso de la Fe (The Faith Pulse) on 7 February 2010. The members discussed the campaign and reached out to significant Mexican audience.
EL SALVADOR | SOLIDARITY MESSAGE TO ANGLICAN BISHOP MARTIN BARAHONA On 18 March 2010, the Religions for Peace Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network expressed solidarity with the Anglican Bishop Martin Barahona who was attacked by firearms posing an immediate threat on his life in El Salvador. The message called attention to the problem of armed violence in Centro American countries and invited religious leaders of this sub region to engage in the Arms Down! Campaign.
UNITED STATES PENNSYLVANIA | CAPACITY BUILDING AND PLANNING On 21 February 2010 at the State Green Party Convention in Pennsylvania, Mr. Robert Piemme, Pittsburgh Peace Activist and Buddhist, presented the Arms Down! Campaign to approximately 30 participants. Mr. Piemme discussed the the goals of the campaign and issued discussions on plans to promote the campaign in North America, including contacting churches, temples, charities and other organizations as well as writing to local newspapers, radio stations and TV news channels.
NEW YORK | ARMS DOWN! PRESENTED TO STUDENTS FROM FIVE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES On 26 March 2010, Religions for Peace was represented at ‘Disarming for Peace and Development’, a two-hour panel discussion held in New York for students from five Catholic universities. These universities are part of the Lower Hudson Valley Catholic College and University Consortium. Other panelists included Ms. Tracy C. Brown of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute and Ms. Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The presentation made by Ms. Allison Pytlak, Religions for Peace Disarmament Program Coordinator, focused mainly on the subject of cluster bombs, highlighting the successful international campaign efforts that have banned this weapon and Arms Down! was highlighted as a pathway to action.
NEW YORK | ARMS DOWN! AT THE UNITED NATIONS On 22 April 2010, Arms Down! was presented by Ms. Allison Pytlak during the weekly briefing organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) for NGO representatives. Other panelists included the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine, the Chief of the Conventional Arms Branch of the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs, and the President of the Hague Appeal for Peace. The briefing was
attended by representatives of 75 organizations, many of whom signed the Arms Down! petition. The presentation focused heavily on the Arms Down! Campaign and its emphasis on education, advocacy and mobilization as well as the connection between disarmament and development. These themes were also emphasized by the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs.
SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS: AFRICA - A RESOURCE GUIDE FOR RELIGIONS FOR PEACE Religions for Peace has developed a resource guide to support religious leaders in their efforts to reduce the threats of small arms and light weapons. It includes practical information about the proliferation and effects of these weapons across Africa. It also highlights the links between them and other problems such as poverty, the abuse of children and gender-based violence. It provides religious leaders with some of the major agreements that govern the trade and use of small arms. Finally, the guide contains helpful tools for conducting advocacy and other forms of action. It provides real life examples of multi-religious cooperation that have helped to make a difference.
SIGNATURES TO BE SENT TO RELIGIONS FOR PEACE HEADQUARTERS Rissho Kosei-kai of New York is very kindly providing space for Arms Down! petitions that are being currently collected from different parts of the world. Please note that ALL petitions collected should come to Religions for Peace International Secretariat and should include a clear
indication of the amount being sent.
ARMS DOWN! ON THE WEB Please visit Religions for Peace Arms Down! campaignâ€™s webpage at: http://religionsforpeace.org/initiatives/global-youthnetwork/campaign-for-shared-security/ to sign our petition. It is currently available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian Portuguese. Help us reach our goal of 50 million signatures!
On this webpage you can also find: â€˘
Arms Down! resources in various languages for engaging the public and mobilizing for disarmament;Detailed information on each of our campaign goals;The procedure for disbursement of funds for local, national and regional activities conducted in the framework of the Arms Down! campaign.
Please also join us and invite your friends on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/arms.down
Please also join us and invite your friends to join our flickr group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1351530@N25/ ARMS DOWN! VIDEO
To view other ArmsDown! videos in multiple languages visit http://www.youtube.com/user/ReligionsforPeace
ARMS DOWN! ONLINE RESOURCES Please visit the Religions for Peace Arms Down! campaign’s webpage at: http://religionsforpeace.org/initiatives/global-youth-network/campaign-for-sh aredsecurity/ to sign our petition currently available in English, Arabic and
Spanish, and help us reach our goal of 50 million signatures! On this Web page you may find: • • •
Our Arms Down! resource guide for engaging the public and mobilizing for disarmament; Detailed information on each of our campaign goals; The procedure for disbursement of funds for local, national and regional activities conducted in the framework of the Arms Down! campaign.
The official logos of the Arms Down! campaign are now available in Spanish
and Portuguese. Both logos are available on Religions for Peace campaign Web page.
ARMS DOWN! LOGOS Please visit the Religions for Peace Arms Down! campaign’s webpage at:http://religionsforpeace.org/initiatives/global-youth-network/campaignfor-shared-security/ to download our logos.
ARMS DOWN! BOOKMARKS Please visit the Religions for Peace Arms Down! campaign’s webpage at:http://religionsforpeace.org/initiatives/global-youth-network/campaign-for-sharedsecurity/ to download the latest arms down bookmarks.
KEEP US POSTED Send us your news and work, and we’ll include it in the next e-
newsletter! Questions, comments, or news? Kindly contact: Ms. Katerina Ragoussi Associate Director, Youth & Network Coordination Religions for Peace 777 United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212 687-2163 Fax: 212 983-0098 firstname.lastname@example.org www.religionsforpeace.org
RELIGIONS FOR PEACE-the world's largest and most representative multireligious coalition-advances common action among the world's religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than seventy national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Youth Network.