Tag Archives: United Nations

North Korea Please Stop the Nuclear Saber Rattling for the Sake of Humanity

5 Apr

In the 21st Century it is unacceptable to throw a tantrum by rattling nuclear weapons sabers.

It is time for every possible nonproliferation expert and international conflict resolution expert to come together to offer expert advice on how to turn down the temperature of the bizarre events happening in North Korea.

Why are North Korean Leaders Playing this Dangerous Game?

Whatever it takes, there needs to be an immediate effort to dialogue with North Korea.

President Obama Speaks at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies on Nuclear Disarmament March 26, 2012

Where are the Leaders Calling for Dialogue and Diplomacy for Nonproliferation Worldwide?

International Buddhist leader, Daisaku Ikeda, repeatedly in many annual peace proposals submitted to the United Nations over more than two decades, has called for concrete efforts on dialogue and diplomacy to reduce and abolish nuclear weapons. Here are links to his peace proposals that highlight the need for all world leaders and grass roots organizations to educate and move the world’s people and countries towards abolishing nuclear weapons together.

In Dr. Ikeda’s 2013 Peace Proposal:

Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence (2013)

On page 9 of the 2013 Peace Proposal, Daisaku Ikeda writes a section entitled:

Nuclear Weapons: the ultimate negation of the dignity of life

“Nuclear weapons do not distinguish between combatants and noncombatants; they destroy whole cities, killing vast numbers of people instantaneously. Their impact on the natural environment is severe, and the aftereffects of radiation exposure inflict long- term suffering on people. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made evident the indescribably inhumane nature of these weapons.”

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pointed out: “The possession of nuclear weapons by some encourages their acquisition by others. This leads to nuclear proliferation and the spread of the contagious doctrine of nuclear deterrence.” [31] Unless we confront the fundamental source of that contagion, moves to prevent proliferation will be neither convincing nor effective.

Dr. Ikeda’s mentor, Josei Toda, made an impassioned speech on September 8, 1957 urging young people in Japan and worldwide to dedicate themselves to ridding the world of nuclear weapons which are a terrible danger to global peace.

The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research established in honor of Josei Toda is dedicated to helping to foster a “Dialogue of Civilizations for Global Citizenship.”

The Nuclear Club of Nations is a Club that Should be Disbanded and Become Obsolete through Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

In Dr. Ikeda’s 2013 Peace Proposal he mentions that he is “encouraged by the following words from President Obama’s speech in Korea

“But I believe the United States has a unique responsibility to act– indeed, we have a moral obligation. I say this as President of the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons.”

This, of course, restates the conviction he first expressed in his April 2009 Prague speech. President Obama then went on to say:

“Most of all, I say it as a father, who wants my two young daughters to grow up in a world where everything they know and love can’t be instantly wiped out. “[Pres. Obama’s speech to Hankuk Univ., Seoul Korea 3/26/2012]

These words express a yearning for the world as it should be, a yearning that cannot be subsumed even after all political elements and security requirements have been taken fully into consideration. It is the statement of a single human being rising above the differences of national interest or ideological stance. Such a way of thinking can help us “untie” the Gordian Knot that has too long bound together the ideas of national security and nuclear weapons possession. [2013 Peace Proposal by Daisaku Ikeda]

Whatever the concerns of North Korea, it is unacceptable that any pleas for attention by its leaders should be made by challenging the world with threats of nuclear war. In the 21st Century in this interconnected world, we need to work together to create an environment of dialogue and diplomacy that will insure these types of appeals for attention are never used or considered.

However, according to Reuters April 1, 2013 article by Jack Kim, “South Korea vows fast response to North; US. positions destroyer”:

“North Korea stepped up its rhetoric in early March, when U.S. and South Korean forces began annual military drills that involved the flights of U.S. B-2 stealth bombers in a practice run, prompting the North to put its missile units on standby to fire at U.S. military bases in South Korea and in the Pacific.”

Was the joint U.S. – South Korean military exercise a major trigger for the recent inflammatory rhetoric from North Korea and its threat to use nuclear weapons? If so, then it is time for the world community to reflect on how better to work together as a global community to improve dialogue among nations.

In a world where several nations still possess nuclear weapons, we must use dialogue and diplomacy to address tensions first, especially when dealing with countries that want to prove how strong they are through flexing their nuclear muscles. It is time to create a world where it would be unthinkable to flex any nuclear muscle. The United States and other nuclear nations can begin by concretely taking steps to fully implement all articles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the mean time, the United Nations should help cooler heads prevail in the Korean Peninsula to lower the temperature and encourage calm and dialogue through all possible channels.

Pakistan Needs Massive International Assistance

21 Aug

Six to Eight Million Flood Victims in Pakistan Require Emergency Assistance.

According to reports from non-gonvermental organizations like Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) in Pakistan, there are millions of people suffering from lack of food, water, lack of shelter and from water borne illness and other medical problems.

Rubina Feroze Bhatti from Taangh Wasaib Organization http://www.taangh.org.pk/ reported the need to reach people in the high flooded areas such as Kalabagh, Mari Indus, Wandha Kukran Wala, Moch, Watta Khel, Daud Khel, Kamar Mashani, Tarrag, Kaloor Shareef, Khagian Wala and Essa Khel. The TWO provides Flood Updates on its website. In addition, TWO has assisted flood victims by providing needed food, water, shelter and medical assistance. TWO needs financial assistance and supplies to continue their work of helping people not being reached by larger non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross.

According to the United Nations, 6 to 8 million of the 20 million affected people in Pakistan need emergency assistance aid.

More Aid Begins to Flow into Pakistan

Here is a Map of the area affected and who still needs aid:

According to  ABC News the amount of people affected by the flood, 20 million people, is the same size as the number of people in Australia.

Pakistan Map: Flooded Affected Areas. Photo Credit: Map provided by the World Food Program (Click on Image for Larger Map)

This article reveals new Satellite Images of the Pakistan Flood on 8/16/2010. The images were taken by NASA’s Aqua Satellite “which uses a combination of infrared and invisible light to increase the contrast between land and water.”

The Tonic website provides a list of organizations that are helping the Flood victims of Pakistan.

Recent updates to the status of the Pakistan Flood are provided by the experimental Global Flood Detection System which is a joint initiative of the Dartmouth Flood Observatory and the European Commission. See the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System website at www.gdacs.org.

What Aid is Needed Now for Flood Victims

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has a website devoted to updates regarding the Pakistan Flood coordination efforts on the ground.

On August 15, 2010 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the people of Pakistan affected by the surging waters from the Indus River. The UN Secretary General said of the destruction and human suffering caused by the floods:

”These unprecedented floods demand unprecedented assistance. I pledge my commitment and the support of the UN through this difficult period and on every step of the long road ahead”.

According to the OCHA website the following aid is urgently needed to help the people in the flood affected areas of Pakistan:

Water:

Clean water is an “urgent priority” especially due to the danger of diarrhoeal and other water-borne illnesses like cholera on the rise.

Food:

Millions of women and children urgently need food to survive the raging floods which have destroyed over 720,000 homes in Pakistan. More than half a million people have received food assistance through the World Food Program and other partners. However, this is only a fraction of the 20 million people affected by the flood. Hundreds of villages are still only reachable by air due to the flooding of roads. These and other areas require food and assistance with keeping livestock alive in order to prevent longer-term food assistance issues.

Shelter:

Even though more than 100,000 households have some form of shelter of either tents or plastic sheeting, more than 620,000 shelters are still needed due to the destruction of nearly 800,000 households from the floods.

In addition, the people need:

Clothing

Medical Assistance

Financial Assistance:

According to the Pakistan One Response website, as of 8/21/2010, the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) is only 55% funded. Funds of $460 million have been requested to provide needed relief aid to victims of the Pakistan flood disaster.

The World Food Programme website reports that at least 40 helicopters are needed to bring food and water to people stranded by the flood waters in locations inaccessible by road in Pakistan.

According to the Boston Globe, Karen Allen, a UNICEF official in Islamabad said:

“The Indus River is at 40 times its normal volume. Whole cities of up to 250,000 people have been evacuated, and people have lost everything.”

More coordinated information about the Pakistan Flood situation and aid response can be found at the One Response-Pakistan website.

65th Anniversary of Trinity Nuclear Test: Time to Retire Nukes

16 Jul

Time to Retire Nuclear Weapons on 65th Anniversary of Trinity Test

Today, July 16, 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the first explosion of a nuclear bomb code-named “Trinity”  in Alamogordo, New Mexico. As the Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) claims in their letter to the public:

Today- July 16, 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of  the first nuclear weapon explosion – named “Trinity”. Some have noted that, as age 65 is the traditional “retirement” date, now is the time for us to seriously work towards retirement for nuclear weapons.


Trinity Nuclear Test, Alamogordo, New Mexico, July 16, 1945

Our Common Humanity

In an interconnected world, there is no need to have nuclear weapons. These weapons make us less secure.

David Krieger, President of the The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, sent a message urging all people around the world to come to their senses and abolish these horrible weapons that threaten all life on this planet:

On this 65th anniversary of embarking on the Journey of Death, we must change course and move back from the nuclear precipice. The weapons are illegal, immoral, undemocratic and militarily unnecessary. The surest way to bring them under control is by negotiating a new treaty, a Nuclear Weapons Convention, for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.

The United States led the world into the Nuclear Age. President Obama has pointed out that the country also has a moral responsibility to lead the way out. This can be done, but not with a citizenry that is ignorant, apathetic and in denial. Sixty-five years on the Journey of Death is long enough. It is past time for citizens to awaken and become engaged in this issue as if their future depended upon it, as it does.

Resources on the Nuclear Threat and Reasons for Abolition

WAND

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

MaximsNewsNetwork: “COUNTDOWN to ZERO” MICHAEL DOUGLAS, BAN KI-MOON

Countdown to Zero – Official Trailer

Citizen Responsibility

Human security is a right.

In an interconnected world, each person has a voice. We each can educate ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities and our representatives to the truth about the fact that nuclear weapons make us all less safe.

Your Ideas on Nuclear Disarmament…


Seal the Deal in Copenhagen for Curbing Global Climate Change

12 Dec

It’s time to seal the deal at the United Nation’s Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urges all people and all nations.

“We need to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen” (Ban Ki-moon)

The UN News Centre has useful articles that allow the public to track what each nation is doing regarding its pledges on climate change agreements:

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialized countries must slash greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050. (from UN News Centre, Dec. 11 2009)

The United States current Climate Change pledge on greenhouse gases:

-17% in 2020; 83% in 2050 based on 2005 levels

-3% in 2020 based on 1990 levels

China PR current Climate Change pledge on greenhouse gases:

Reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent compared with the level of 2005.

India’s current Climate Change pledge on greenhouse gases:

20% to 25% reduction in emission intensity between 2005 and 2020.

Who suffers because of the devastation of Climate Change?

The poor and especially developing countries like Ghana suffer from the ravages of climate change. We are all interconnected and developed countries like the United States must assist other nations in improving their standards of living in ways that do not increase the devastation of climate change.

2009 Woman PeaceMaker: Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan

27 Oct

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and TWO for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti, a human rights and peace advocate, was selected as a
2009 Women Peacemaker together with three other women from around the world by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Creating a Culture of Peace

The Culture of Peace is a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations. (UN Resolutions A/RES/52/13).

Ms. Bhatti is a founding member and general secretary of Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO), a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the development of a Culture of Peace, interfaith harmony, women’s rights, health and equality through its educational programs that creatively address issues of intolerance, sectarianism and discriminatory laws against both women and minorities. The educational and cultural programs of TWO help empower women to report on violence against women, provide counseling, legal aid and economic development assistance. Ms. Bhatti also works with media to raise awareness about these issues.

Taangh Wasaib: Women Peace Maker 2009

A turning point in Ms. Bhatti’s life came when she read the book “The Vision of Peace” by Nobel Prize Laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire. Ms. Corrigan Maguire stood up to the religious intolerance and bloody conflict in Northern Ireland in order to save her country from sectarianism. The personal life story of Ms. Maguire enabled Ms. Bhatti to decide to fully engage in the struggle for social justice in Pakistan in order to truly create a culture of peace within herself and within her community.

Since 1991 Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan has tirelessly dedicated her life to protecting the rights of women and minorities in Pakistan. She began her work when she helped fight blasphemy laws that targeted a Christian Pakistani man who was falsely accused of committing an offense against Islam.

In addition, Ms. Bhatti succeeded in helping to restore the joint electorate system in Pakistan. As of 2002 Muslims and Christians are legally allowed to vote for one another, thus creating a more just electoral system.

Taangh Wasaib: 16 days Campaign

Due to Ms. Bhatti’s efforts, people of all faiths in Pakistan are realizing the importance of protecting women from the effects of the 400 year old tradition of Wan’ni, where women are used to settle disputes and prevent revenge killings between families. Unfortunately, women given to the family “wronged” by another family, are trapped for the rest of their lives as bartering chips in order to end the cycle of revenge. In this inhumane cultural tradition the man who might have killed someone, is never brought to trial. Instead, their female family member pays the debt for the rest of her life by living as a virtual slave to the “wronged” family. As her movie “Wan’ni: Murdered Marriages” poignantly depicts, the woman given to the other family lives a life of sorrow because she cannot see her family or have her own family. The film also depicts Honor Killings and maiming and sheds light on the inhumane practices that lead to psychological, physical and emotional violence against women.

Taangh Wasaib: Wan`ni Murdered Marriages

Ms. Bhatti is working with legislators to change discriminatory laws against women and minorities in Pakistan.

Pakistani students supporting human rights and TWO Rally

University of Sargodha students join TWO Rally to Stop Violence Against Women

Ms. Bhatti’s approach to solving the issues of violence against women in Pakistan shows her determined step by step method of confronting every challenge that arises in the course of finding the best way to help others. First she established legal aid centers for women so they would understand their human rights to not be subjected to violence. However, Ms. Bhatti also realized women needed other forms of assistance to enable them to live happy lives. She then created counseling centers and educational skill-building centers. Then, in order to assist women to begin their own businesses, Ms. Bhatti established micro-lending programs to help women get started with their ventures.

In 1998, while teaching Chemistry, Ms. Bhatti started a dialogue Study Circle Group with students where the participants of all faiths discussed the problems confronting women and minorities in Pakistan of religious intolerance and sectarianism. The students assisted in gathering information to help solve the problems they identified. This process which continues today is a grassroots approach rooted in the local communities. There are now more than 1,500 volunteers working with the TWO in Pakistan.

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

The Transformative Power of Art and Theatre

Ms. Bhatti and her Study Circle Groups have written and performed more than 50 meaningful interactive theatre presentations on peace and human rights where the audience gets to complete the theatre piece through their own suggestions for how the play unfolds. This method builds trust and friendship between those attending the performances which have taken place throughout the Punjab and North-West Frontier Provinces.

Educational Programs in Schools and Communities

Ms. Bhatti has brought Human Rights education into more than 200 schools in Pakistan from primary, elementary to high school level students. Children perform interactive educational theatre presentations in their schools to bring awareness of human rights issues and how to protect the rights of all people, both men and women.

After presenting an educational program to a group of children who work in a brick kiln factory in Pakistan, Ms. Bhatti realized the need for these youth to have access to a school. One young boy approached her after the event and asked her, “What is school? Who studies in school? What are books?” She realized that bringing awareness of education was not enough to help these young people, so she arranged with the owner of the brick kiln to provide a room where children wishing to go to school would have the opportunity. A teacher was hired to come to the school room, and as of 2009, five children from this brick kiln community have passed the high school exam. This achievement is historic and unprecedented due to the difficult living conditions in many of these labour communal situations. However, through her determined effort to help even one child break the bonds of illiteracy, Ms. Bhatti and the TWO have forged a path for these young people to be able to know the joys of learning.

The Interconnection Between Religious Traditions

Ms. Bhatti read Punjabi literature of the Sufis which she feels truly gives a message of “peace, love and harmony.” She draws influences for her art and theatre productions from the stories and spiritual music of Sufism. She said that the scripts of Sufism reach people’s hearts and have the ability to bring people together, regardless of religious backgrounds.

2009 Woman PeaceMaker Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan speaks at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

The Next Steps for Peace

Ms. Bhatti wrote in her personal story of  being a Woman PeaceMaker,

“I have been focusing on promoting a culture of dialogue, collaboration and development partnership among and between various sections of the society and democratic governance. Through these dialogues, people’s perceptions about social problems (effects and causes), roles and functions of social and political institutions would be promoted.”

Today Ms. Bhatti is also concerned about the devastating effects of war on women, children and all humanity. She said that the root causes of war–poverty and lack of education–need to be addressed in order to stop violence both in Pakistan and the world.” Ms. Bhatti said,

“I want to do something for the next generation. Interfaith dialogue turns into friendship which then turns into helping humanity. Our Study Circle Groups continue to help identify commonalities amongst people of different religions.”


In 2005 Ms. Bhatti was one of 1,000 international women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to protect human rights and create a lasting Culture of Peace. Today, through her many activities and dialogues throughout the world, she is continuing her efforts to create a true Culture of Peace in Pakistan and for all humanity.