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29.11.2011: INES 20th Anniversary

 

 What's new in INES (No. 3), 15. April 2013

New German INES bank account:
Berliner Sparkasse

Lucas Wirl wegen INES
Account Number: 1062441881
BLZ: 10050000
IBAN: DE78100500001062441881

For a fresh start into the upcoming springtime we wish you an enjoyable and informative lecture of our April INES-newsletter edition!
Greetings,

Lucas Wirl (Program Director)
Jeannine Dreßler (staff member)


CAMPAIGNS

President Obama: De-Escalate the North Korea Nuclear Crisis.

War Resisters’ International’s Countering the Millitarisation of Youth project – Day of Action 14 June 2013.

Breaking the Nuclear Chain Competition – Making your way to Geneva.

NEWS

 

PUBLICATIONS

  

UPCOMING EVENTS


CAMPAIGNS

President Obama: De-Escalate the North Korea Nuclear Crisis

For decades, U.S. political and military leaders have put their faith in the theory of nuclear deterrence, which requires both sides in a conflict to have rational leaders who will understand the threat of nuclear retaliation and act accordingly. An irrational leader, such as 28-year-old Kim Jong Un of North Korea, is a wild card who does not conform to traditional assumptions regarding nuclear deterrence.
 
The escalation of threats from North Korean leaders has reached a new level of hysteria, in which they have threatened nuclear attacks on the U.S. and indicated, “The moment of explosion is approaching fast.”

For its own security, the U.S. needs to set aside traditional nuclear deterrence theory, which isn’t working, and be the mature party seeking a de-escalation of the crisis. The U.S. should immediately cease its nuclear threats to North Korea and concretely convey its willingness to de-escalate the crisis.

Tell President Obama that acting with humility rather than with additional threats is urgently needed to defuse this dangerous situation.

Support the campaign and sign here.


War Resisters’ International’s Countering the Millitarisation of Youth project – Day of Action 14 June 2013.

Dear all,

As part of War Resisters' International's Countering the Militarisation of Youth project we are coordinating an international day of action For Military-Free Education and Research on 14 June 2013. It will events in different countries which use the same slogan (Military-Free Education and Research), and possibly the same logo(s), but individual groups will have autonomy in organising their actions.

Background
The day coincides with three days of action (13-15 June) in Germany, inspired by the week of action in Germany in September 2012, which was supported by over one hundred groups and organisations, with actions in at least eight cities. Many of the actions during the September 2012 week involved handing out leaflets at schools and other education centres highlighting the dangers of joining the military, and the leaflets were accompanied in some cases with fake blood, a coffin, and chocolate 'medicine' to protect students against military propaganda. Read a full summary of the 2012 week at http://wri-irg.org/node/21068.
The German activists are planning an week of action for 2014, and they hope groups and individuals from countries around the world will join them to make it truly international. The day of action this year will be a chance to share ideas for action ahead of the the 2014 week of action.

Join us!
Excluding the German groups we currently have around eight groups from six different countries (India, Chile, Israel, the USA, Spain/Basque Country, and the UK) who are going to take action on June 14, and several other interested groups.
The German groups will post news and photos of actions on the international day on their website, which should be live soon. The are also designing a logo.

Please email owenwri-irgorg if your group would be interested in taking part in the June day of action, and/or the 2014 week of action.
Some ideas for actions
*handing out leaflets at schools, colleges, and universities, exposing the ways in which the military has a presence and influence in these institutions (from overt recruitment to the funding of research), and proposing alternatives.
*doing this online (on facebook, twitter, identi.ca, etc) too!
*taking photos of yourselves/each other holding signs saying things like 'Lots of military personnel visit schools; few peace activists do. There needs to be a balance!'; 'I question the prioriting of military research in universities'; and 'No to armed forces recruiters in schools or universities', etc
*remember to tell people that this is part of an international day of action – that people are calling for Military-Free Education and Research in lots of different countries
If you have any suggestions for other actions, or information on the presence and influence of the military in your country's education system which I could circulate, please send them to me (owenwri-irgorg).

Best wishes,

Owen.

War Resisters International


Breaking the Nuclear Chain Competition – Making your way to Geneva.

Dear Bang Europe,

Breaking the Nuclear Chain is a campaign launched in October as an initiative of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), IKV Pax Christi and Peace Boat. Its main objective is to inform, motivate and activate people to prevent the looming humanitarian catastrophe represented by the nuclear chain- from uranium mining, to power, to weapons to nuclear waste.

We are now hosting a contest, "Making your way to Geneva", and we think that your organization might be interested in spreading the word among your contacts. 
The winner of this competition will be flown to Geneva, Switzerland, in April 2013. As a team, we will present community-developed recommendations to the UN Non Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting, and lobby diplomats on the basis of these recommendations.

To take part in the competition and become the winner participants are asked to actively participate on the campaign website by uploading videos or photos, writing blogs, participate in different activities of the campaign or becoming involved with an organization working on the nuclear chain. To post entries participants need to register to the community. As first contribution they are invited to write a blog explaining their reasons to participate and publish it on the competition page. Only contributions published in this section will be taken in consideration for the contest.

All the information about the competition, terms and condition and how to register to the community can be found at the following link: www.breakingthenuclearchain.org/competition. The deadline is Tuesday 26th March 2013. The costs that will be covered for the winner include travel and visa costs, and accommodation, food and beverage only for those dates the winner needs to be in Switzerland for the campaign.


Thank you for your attention.

Best,

Breaking the Nuclear Chain Team


NEWS

Statement on th Situation in the Korean Peninsula April 8th 2013.

We note with concern the current escalation of tension in the Korean Peninsula and are categorically opposed to any state threatening to use aggressive action against another, especially if that threat involves the possible use of nuclear weapons. We denounce the implication that nuclear weapons can be used as a way of conducting international relations. We recognise that if such a situation were to escalate to involve violence then it would be the innocent citizens of those states who would suffer the most. We believe that the war games and the war talk being conducted by all parties involved is threatening the security of the region and – the whole world.

We condemn the actions and rhetoric from all sides of the conflict. Such behavior leads to a systematic militarization of the whole region and is being used in an attempt to satisfy the perceived need to secure long sort after geostrategic interests (i.e. the encirclement of China) and may lead to a (nuclear) militarization of Japan, an increase in foreign military bases, and to the establishment and deepening of military alliances – a new or much extended NATO – in the Pacific region. The rhetoric and military actions connected to nuclear weapons in this conflict is being used by nuclear weapons states to legitimize the modernization of their nuclear arsenals and may lead non-nuclear weapons states to believe that they need to obtain nuclear weapons themselves, thus endangering the fragile system of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nuclear weapons should not be obtained or retained by any state; rather they must be abolished once and for all. Furthermore, the current conflict is being used to legitimize the continuing deployment of missile defense systems particularly in the Pacific region.

We condemn the aggressive acts and statements coming from North Korea as acts of war not of peace and dialogue. Military maneuvers close to North Korea i.e. by South Korea and the USA, are also aggressive and provocative actions. We see a great danger that the continued provocation by both sides may lead to a war which would be far more than a regional catastrophe. Dialogue, negotiation, and immediate steps towards disarmament – both in rhetoric and in reality – are the real necessities.

The exchange of threats, counter threats and military build up are not new but the situation can only be made worse by such posturing and if either side takes the other too seriously then the world may be being lead much further along a possible irreversible path to nuclear war and global destruction. We urge that both sides of this confrontation recognise what is at stake should a violent conflict erupt. It is time that states talked more and threatened less, establishing a culture of peace and dialogue. We will not make progress to a more peaceful world until we reject the use of military force as a first option and work instead to understand and respect the plight and culture of others. The situation clearly demonstrates once again that, if we do not abolish nuclear weapons, the whole world will remain on the verge of being destroyed.

For further information please contact: Claire Chastain: Claire.chastain[at]gmail.com Lucas Wirl: l.wirl[at]gmx.net

www.no-to-nato.org

by Kristine Karch,  10. April 2013


The Game with North Korea: Nuclear Roulette has no winners.

The United States and North Korea are playing a dangerous game of nuclear roulette. The United States is taking actions that threaten North Korea, such as conducting war games with US ally South Korea, including practice bombing runs that send nuclear-capable B-2 bombers from Missouri to the Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans, in turn, are blustering, declaring they are in a state of war with South Korea, which, technically, is true, since a truce and not a peace agreement ended the Korean War in 1953. North Korean leaders have also cancelled the military hotline it maintains with Seoul to coordinate movement between the countries' borders and are threatening nuclear attacks on the United States, its troops and its allies.
North Korea withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and has since tested nuclear devices on three occasions (2006, 2009 and earlier this year). It has also tested medium- and long-range missiles and is developing capabilities to threaten the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons. The United States has responded to the North Korean tests by holding talks with other countries in Northeast Asia and putting increasingly stringent sanctions on North Korea. The United States also continues to regularly test its long-range, nuclear-capable missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Tensions in Northeast Asia continue to rise.
Nuclear threats are an integral part of nuclear deterrence. For nuclear deterrence to work effectively, it is necessary for an opponent to believe a nuclear threat is real. When the United States joins South Korea in playing war games with nuclear-capable aircraft on the Korean Peninsula, the message of threat is clear to the North Korean leaders. Equally clear is the message North Korea sends to the United States with its nuclear tests and bluster: North Korea has a nuclear capability that could cause unacceptable harm to the United States, its troops and its allies.
From an objective perspective, each country has the capability to cause the other (or its troops or allies) horrific damage. While they are pounding on their chests and demonstrating that they are, in fact, crazy enough to use nuclear weapons, they are engaged in a drama that hopes to dissuade the other side from actually doing so. Both countries should take note of this.
The dangerous game of nuclear roulette is built into the nuclear deterrence paradigm. Each time the hammer of the gun is cocked and the gun is pointed at the other side's head, the barrel of the opponent's gun is also pointed at one's own head. An accident or miscalculation during a time of tension could trigger a nuclear holocaust.

Yes, of course the United States is the stronger of the two countries and would fare better, perhaps far better, in a nuclear war, but that isn't good enough. Yes, North Korea could be destroyed as a functioning country, but at what cost? In addition to the terrible cost in lives of North Koreans, the United States and its allies would also pay a heavy price: first, in the deaths of US troops stationed in the Northeast Asian region; second, in the deaths and devastation of US allies, South Korea and Japan, and possibly of the United States itself; and third, in the United States' loss of stature and credibility for having engaged in nuclear warfare that destroyed the lives of potentially millions of innocent North Koreans.
Nuclear roulette has no winners. It is a game that no country should be playing. But the leaders of countries with nuclear weapons tend to believe these weapons make their own country more secure. They do not. They risk everything we hold dear, all we love and they undermine our collective sense of decency. The only way out of the nuclear roulette dilemma is to unload the gun and assure that it cannot be used again by any side.
We can do far better than we are doing. For the short term, the US should stop conducting provocative war games in the region and instead offer some diplomatic carrots rather than sticks. The US would go far to defuse a dangerous situation by again offering to support North Korea in providing food and energy for its people. For the longer term, the US should lead the way forward by using its convening power to commence negotiations for a new treaty, a global Nuclear Weapons Convention, to achieve the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His latest book is ZERO: The Case for Nuclear Weapons Abolition.


Impressions of the World Social Forum, Tunis 26th - 30th of March 2013.

It was huge (the organizers spoke of about 50,000 participants), it was young, female, multifaceted, and with Tunisian atmosphere. The forum impressed with interesting topics which are usually not in the focus of world social forums.

It was the first time that the World Social Forum took place in the Arab world, in Tunisia, the country in which the Arab Spring began two years ago. One noticed an atmosphere of awakening, thirst for international exchange and knowledge, a wish to make contact with new friends, and the urge to report about own experiences. The topics of the Arab Spring, here often declared as a revolution, shaped the forum in 2013: Democracy and Human Rights were of extraordinary importance in the discussions; the meaningful term “dignity” formed the forum. The term expressed a new self-confidence, expectations, and configurations for the own future and the future of society. This was amazing. The need for information was enormous as well. It seemed a lot of things must be made accessible after years of isolation.

These key-points replaced – or better relativized - traditional topics like international trade, globalization, Euro / Euro-crisis, criticism of capitalism (at times this even was pleasant because some traditional platitudes were not repeatedly called for)

Tunis in Spring 2013: Set people in motion

In Spring, in Tunis, at the city university, at the hilly and spaciously campus El Manar the world social forum took place. From this point it was possible to view on the capital of Tunisia, in the background the Eastern foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Around 50,000 activists lost and found, discussed, exchanged, ate, and sang. Every now and then they spontaneously teamed up for demonstrations (also there was the huge, colorful, and international opening march). Geographical center was a huge square with youth camps, football grounds and music stages. Half a dozen departments with a lot of rooms for working groups and information stands were located around it; as well as cafeterias, eating booths, and outdoor meeting points of all types. Especially the last ones were popular for activists from the global North. Coming from cold, long winters in Europe, Asia, and North America they abided by the Tunisian sun and sun lotion became the most asked for community asset.

In Tunisia was spring break during the week of the World Social Forum. Lots of students and pupils supported the WSF and helped the foreigners with information – whether logistic support or brief tutorials on Tunisian history, culture or society – and participated as well. Around 80% participants originated from Tunisia.

In the working group about a new internationalism it was noticed that the search has just begun. International solidarity is the strongest element weak countries have and must be revived and intensified. Its fundaments are the equality of all partners (in difference to the old internationalism), democracy, participation, and mutual criticism. This has to be developed and tested in common actions.

Other working groups resulted in more concrete proposals: in the working group on Disarmament for Sustainable Development, the idea to start an European citizens' initiative petition regarding arms trade was developed. It should be further pursued and discussed in the different organizations. Furthermore, it was agitated to use the global day against military spending (GDAMS, 15.4. www.demilitarize.org) as tool for education and awareness raising. In the working groups on NATO and Africa as well as Food and conflict good speakers were present; both were highly informative. The topics presented in these working groups (including the Global NATO, its geo-strategic interest in Africa, and conflicts in fishery) yielded new information about issues that were not previously on the agenda of many present activists.

Food security issues were covered in numerous events of the forum; there was a large demand for information. Unfortunately, (this time) this was not the case in our joint event on “Food and conflicts” with Bread for the World.

For the last day of the World Social Forum, all of the above mentioned peace organizations along with others initiated a meeting on "peaceful paths to peace in Syria". This was overshadowed by a violent clash of proponents and opponents of the Syrian government on the grounds of the WSF on the evening before the event. It seems as if the civil war and the international threats had obscured a peaceful dialogue and political exchange even between social activists. The quest for nonviolent alternatives and highlighting of ways to peace remains an important task - not only for Syria. Peace and above all, peaceful ways of conflict resolution have to be heavily strengthened in the global and regional social movements and connections between various topics and peace needs to be pointed out.

This is the challenge social movements are facing worldwide. Dignity - the motto of the World Social Forum - can only unfold and develop in peace; in times of war dignity dies right after the truth. Also the rejection of any form of foreign intervention, especially by NATO needs to be constantly and explicitly reiterated. In this point, illusions are completely out of place.

The World Social Forum is alive

In thoughts and reflectively we left Tunis and the WSF ended. Many wonderful memories – friendly people, intense discussions, new impressions and experiences stay. One can look back on a well-organized forum, a splendid campus, an interesting city, and an awakening country. The question remains how peace, its concrete shape as well as alternatives to war can play a more important role in the World Social Forum.

It became obvious: the WSF has a future as a forum for exchange of opinion and information and as a get together for discussions. Tunis shows that this concept is particularly successful in countries and regions of transition and transformation. More common actions and a longer and stronger influence of the WSF would also be worthwhile (like the global common demonstration for peace of 15.2.2003); an adaption of the structures of the WSF is bitterly needed (have any structures of the WSF ever been elected by anybody?).

The most present topic of WSF was Palestine; numerous events, spontaneously meetings and the demonstration on the last day of the forum gave attention to this topic. You could feel the significance and the consternation in the Arab countries. With Europe’s, US`s, and Israel’s policy a helplessness concerning the establishment of an independent and democratic state of Palestine. Also importantly were discussions on the Arab Spring (mainly on Egypt and Tunisia, not so much on Bahrain and Syria) and solidarity with West-Saharan`s liberation movement.

Dignity

Along with democracy and human rights (especially freedom of opinion and participation) the topic migration attracted attention and was omnipresent. The situation of political prisoner and refugee were pointed out again and again. For Example, a 15 meter long list of 16.175 refugees who died on the way to Europe was rolled up on campus: a strong action which could not have better expressed the term “dignity”. Loud protests and demonstrations were organized on the WSF for political prisoners - mostly critical journalists or opposition members. In this case the accusations against Europe were clear and full-throated. It is painful and embarrassing, to quite plainly show us Europeans the deadly impacts of Frontex and the NATO-policy.

It´s not easy but impossible to summarize the forum´s diversity, that´s why we just put out some points concerning “peace” at the WSF - not just because of our organizational background and our four events on peace, nonproliferation, and conflicts.

Peace – a forgotten topic?

The (almost complete) absence of the conflict in Syria and the French intervention in Mali was quite surprising. It little presence in the events and meetings of the forum (it was an European (with our support) who has rendered outstanding service to put the war in Syria on the agenda of the World Social Forum). Especially the geographical proximity, the closeness of the Arab region, and the relevance of these two military conflicts left many peace activists expecting more presence at the WSF. Overall, „war and peace“ played a minor role: obvious topics for peace activists - a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, arms trade, the geo-strategic importance of Africa to the U.S., the EU and NATO, the military security of trade routes around Africa or drones - were not discussed widely. Perhaps this is due to the structure and the Social Forum´s main actors, or due to the absence of many peace organizations to the Forum. In four events (of which only one had few participants) we discussed issues of war and peace.
Maybe it is also a reflection of the age structure of the peace movement which has significant problems to attract young people to their cause. 

Still many events discussed peace and alternatives to war. INES, the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Social Responsibility, along with the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), and the International Peace Bureau (IPB) as well as other partner organizations (such as Bread for the World and the international network No to War - No to NATO) organized four working groups on disarmament for sustainable development, NATO and Africa, nuclear weapons, and food and conflict. Also IALANA was invited to a working group to talk about peace and a new internationalism.

Still remains the enthusiasm for dignity and its meaning as a struggle for liberation of people from suppression.

Further information to the different events with materials, ppts and pictures on:www.inesglobal.com

Reiner Braun is Executive Director of the IALANA (international and German Section) and Board Member of the International Peace Bureau (IPB)

Kristine Karch is member of the international coordinating committee of the network “No to War – No to NATO” and board member of the INES member organization “KRIWI”

Lucas Wirl is Program Director of INES and Executive Director of Scientists for Peace Germany (NatWiss)


German court to rule on Kunduz airstrike

A case has been opened to rule on whether the German government can be held liable for a lethal airstrike on two fuel tankers in Afghanistan in 2009. Over 90 people are believed to have been killed in the bombing.

Muhammad Agbad was the scribe of his small community in the Afghan province of Kunduz. Every day, the 12-year-old walked two kilometers (1.2 miles) to the school in the neighboring village. In the afternoons, he often sat under a tree in front of the main mosque, writing letters on behalf of the other villagers to their relatives in Pakistan and Iran.
In the night from September 3 to 4, 2009, Muhammad walked along a dried-up river to where two abandoned fuel tankers had broken down. Perhaps the boy was looking to get some free fuel for his family - or maybe he was just curious and wanted to have a look. He was killed shortly before 2 a.m. on September 4, when two NATO fighter jets bombed the fuel trucks, which had earlier been hijacked by the Taliban.

Going before the court

The attack was ordered by German officer Col. Georg Klein and killed between 91 and 141 people - the victims' lawyer Karim Popal and the German Ministry of Defense report different numbers. Taliban fighters had hijacked the fuel tankers at a fake checkpoint and murdered one of the drivers at around midday on September 3.

NATO fighter jets bombed the riverbed site after the local German command base reported enemy contact. At the time of the strike no NATO troops were at the site, though Taliban fighters were allegedly there.
It is unclear whether the German commanders had seen aerial photographs showing a crowd of civilians near the tankers. Many of the people near the fuel tankers were killed when a pair of US jets acted on orders to bomb the site at 1:49 a.m.
On Wednesday (March 20, 2013), a civil case will be opened at the regional court in Bonn, Germany, with two relatives of the victims as lead plaintiffs against the German government. The victims' lawyer has demanded between 20,000 euros and 75,000 euros ($26,000-$98,000) in compensation for each of the 137 reported casualties, claiming Klein killed the civilians premeditatedly. The defendant is the German Ministry of Defense on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany. The ministry's lawyer, Mark Zimmer, said he would push for the case to be dismissed.

An intentional act?

Popal represents 79 relatives of the alleged 137 civilian victims. "Most of those killed were young people and children," Popal told DW. "Curiosity got the better of them when they saw two trucks outside in the middle of the night."
Popal said he beleives Klein is responsible for the incident. Although a criminal lawsuit against Klein has already been suspended, Popal's legal team has lodged an appeal and hopes to take the matter to the German Constitutional Court.

"Mr. Klein acted erroneously," said Popal. "He made the decision himself, and he saw the civilians. Despite this, he consciously and intentionally issued the command for an airstrike, even though the pilots at first refused."
If necessary, Popal said he is prepared to take the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights - but at the same time he said he believes this won't be necessary.
"I assume that we will win," he said of the proceedings in Bonn. He referred to paragraph 839 of the German civil code, according to which officials who intentionally violate their duty are obliged to provide compensation for resulting damages. In this particular case, Klein acted on behalf of the German government, which, according to Popal, should be held liable for the damage caused.

Contrasting perspective

However, the German defense ministry's lawyer, Mark Zimmer, rejected this claim.
"In this case, Col. Klein wasn't acting primarily on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany but was integrated in a NATO system," Zimmer told DW. "Because of this, his superiors were NATO officers and not German army officers."
For this reason, emphasized Zimmer, the German government is the wrong target for a lawsuit.
He also disputed the validity of the liability claim proposed by Popal. Since the incident was part of an armed conflict, Zimmer said the law concerning officials could not be applied to to the case: "In war, there are different laws."
An additional argument in the ministry's favor is that the criminal lawsuit against Klein was dropped by the Federal Public Prosecutor General, confirming Klein hadn't acted illegally.
"We have two goals," said Zimmer. "The first is to have the claim dismissed. Also, it would be nice to receive confirmation that the officials liability law does not apply to armed conflicts."

History repeats itself

Judge Heinz Sonnenberger, who is presiding over the case, dealt with a similar situation in 2003. Ten civilians had been killed and 17 injured during a NATO airstrike on a bridge near the Serbian town of Varvarin in 1999, shortly before the end of the Kosovo conflict. As a result, 35 Serbians claimed compensation ranging from 5,000 and 100,000 euros. Sonnenberger dismissed the claim on the grounds that "neither in international law nor in government liability law is there a legal basis" that allows an individual to sue a state "for the consequences of war."
When the Kunduz case opens on Wednesday, both sides will present their side of the argument and the judge will decide whether an out-of-court settlement is possible. If this is not the case, a date will be set to hear the case.

by Carla Christina Bleiker, 20.03.2013


International Peace Congress: Stop the War – Ways to Peace in Afghanistan

October, 11th – 13th, 2013 Strasbourg

Statement of Intent

The war in Afghanistan has taken a terrible toll on the Afghan people. Over the last 33 years, it is safe to presume that no Afghan within or outside of Afghanistan has failed to be impacted by the war.

We know that the situation in Afghanistan is man-made and created by governments – war-like and brutal – but can be reversed by people’s will and actions. Together we will continue to work for the right of Afghans to self determination in freedom and in harmony with nature. We know that the pre-condition for this is to end the war and the occupation by foreign troops. For this reason we once again call for the withdrawal of foreign troops, for an immediate cease fire and for negotiations among all parties involved, including women.

We know very well that the path to peace is not an easy one; it has its challenges and is not going to be achieved without sacrifices. We appeal to all Afghans: it is vital that the war in Afghanistan must not escalate into a deepening civil war.
We are convinced that peace in a free and self-determined, gender-just Afghanistan can only be achieved through active participation of civil society, especially including women. Further it needs to be supported by strong solidarity and partnership among all peace- and freedom-loving people in order to ensure peace and to put an end to harmful sectarian divisions.

The future of Afghanistan must be determined by the Afghan people and be achieved through peace in accordance with Afghan culture and United Nations Human rights declarations. Further, any peaceful solution requires looking beyond Afghanistan’s borders and engage the region as a whole.

Aid and support for Afghanistan should be channeled through a legitimate government consistent with the country’s culture and commitments to human rights as well as to decentralized, and grass roots structures. Neoliberal influence and plundering must stop; and the vision of and path for development must be imagined, developed, and created by the Afghan people. Sustainable development is a must. NATO has to take responsibility for the catastrophic civil, economic and environmental consequences of the war. Those who caused the damage must be held accountable for the destruction and damage they have inflicted.

The Afghan exile community in Europe, together with organizations of the European peace movement, will convene a conference on Paths to Peace in Afghanistan, in order to actively contribute towards achieving a peaceful and just Afghanistan. We will develop ideas for peace for and with Afghan and Afghan exile communities who have tired of war and are working for peace. Among others, the following questions will be discussed:

How can the war in Afghanistan truly be ended, focusing particularly on pressuring the withdrawal of all intervention forces, and developing political perspectives for peace after the withdrawal of all remaining foreign troops?


How can Afghans shape a process of peace and reconciliation that reinforces and is inseparable from achieving increased security and cooperation across the region?

Highlight work to achieve Afghan reconciliation while overcoming authoritarian rulers (including the Karzai government, warlords and the Taliban – including Hekmatyār.) How may the threat of civil war be diminished and eliminated?

What role do negotiations with the “Taliban” play (including among others the Shorish Plan)?

Do they bring Afghanistan closer to peace or do they endanger emancipatory processes?

How may the work of governments, civil societies and peace movements best be integrated to develop processes for regional conflict resolution?

How can suppression of Afghan women be stopped, and how can women’s emancipation, participation and empowerment be advanced?

What possibilities for exist for democratization and citizen participation under the authoritarian Afghan regime, and how can Afghan civil society grow through its activities as with the support of international solidarity organizations?

From the perspective of forces of peace, such as anti-neoliberal development organizations, what can be done to achieve sustainable development in Afghanistan?

What do “help for self-help” and independent access to resources mean today?

Do we need a new definition of development in Afghanistan?