IFOR and PSPD address the meeting for the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT at the UN HQ

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IFOR and PSPD address the meeting for the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT at the UN HQ

At the 3rd Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT at the UN HQ, the civil society was given an opportunity to address the meeting. On May 1, 2019, 16 speeches were delivered to the delegates by the civil society groups.

One of them was a joint statement on Korea from the PSPD (People's Solidarity for Partipatory Democracy), a prominent NGO in South Korea, and IFOR. Here is the statement, which has been endorsed by 40 civil society groups in the world, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, U.K., Bangladesh, etc

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IFOR joins in messages of solidarity with those affected by the recent bombings in Sri Lanka.

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The bombings of hotels and churches on Easter Sunday in Colombo and other cities in Sri Lanka are a cause of great pain to IFOR, and we add our voice to the messages of solidarity from around the world in recent days. Churchgoing Sri Lankans cannot have expected to face any such situation on the holiest day in their calendar. Within the last six months, the three Abrahamic faiths have now suffered significant acts of violence: at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, USA, and at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We are deeply concerned that the basic right to freedom of worship should come under attack on different continents in this fashion. IFOR sends its sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those killed, and wishes survivors a speedy physical and mental recovery. Violence in the name of God is not acceptable. We promise to continue to work for an increase in peace and for a nonviolent world in which people of all religious beliefs and none, can live in harmony.


Les attentats perpétrés contre des hôtels et des églises le dimanche de Pâques à Colombo et dans d'autres villes du Sri Lanka sont une cause de grande douleur pour l’IFOR, et nous ajoutons notre voix aux messages de solidarité du monde entier de ces derniers jours. Les chrétiens srilankais ne peuvent pas s'avoir attendu à ce qu'une telle situation se produise le jour le plus saint de leur calendrier. Au cours des six derniers mois, les trois confessions abrahamiques ont subi des actes de violence notables: dans une synagogue à Pittsburgh, aux États-Unis, et dans des mosquées à Christchurch, en Nouvelle-Zélande. Nous sommes profondément préoccupés par le fait que le droit fondamental à la liberté de culte devrait être attaqué de la sorte sur différents continents. L'IFOR adresse ses plus sincères condoléances aux familles et aux amis des personnes décédées, et souhaite aux survivants un prompt rétablissement physique et mental. La violence au nom de Dieu n'est pas acceptable. Nous promettons de continuer à œuvrer en faveur d'une paix accrue et d'un monde nonviolent dans lequel des personnes de toutes croyances religieuses et aucune, pourront vivre en harmonie.


Los ataques a hoteles e iglesias el domingo de Pascua en Colombo y otras ciudades de Sri Lanka son una causa de gran dolor para el IFOR, y sumamos nuestra voz a los mensajes de solidaridad surgidos de todo el mundo en los últimos días. Los cristianos de Sri Lanka no pueden haber esperado que tal situación ocurriera en el día más sagrado de su calendario. En los últimos seis meses, las tres denominaciones abrahámicas han sufrido un acto de violencia significativo: en una sinagoga en Pittsburgh, Estados Unidos, y en mezquitas en Christchurch, Nueva Zelanda. Estamos profundamente preocupados de que el derecho fundamental a la libertad de culto deba ser atacado de esta manera en diferentes continentes. El IFOR hace llegar su más sincero pésame a las familias y los amigos de los fallecidos, y desea a los sobrevivientes una pronta recuperación física y mental. La violencia en nombre de Dios no es aceptable. Nos comprometemos a continuar trabajando por una mayor paz y un mundo noviolento en el que las personas de todas las religiones y de ninguna, puedan vivir en armonía.


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Youth Empowerment Initiative: A project of the Fellowship of Reconciliation Zimbabwe

Youth Empowerment Initiative

A project of the Fellowship of Reconciliation Zimbabwe

The economic and political environment in Zimbabwe has created a generation of unemployed youths many of whom even though qualified have no hope of ever finding employment. These youths are frustrated and some resort to drug and alcohol abuse and criminal activities.

This has led them to be taken advantage of and used as readily available tools of political and social violence.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation Zimbabwe through its Youth Empowerment Initiative project is set to empower 20 youths from 5 Youths Peace Clubs. (FOR-Zimbabwe runs Youths Peace Clubs as hubs for raising a young generation which believes in nonviolence as a way of life and a means of transformation)

The youths will be trained in specialized trades (garment making, carpentry, iron fabrication, chicken and fish farming) and will be empowered with skills in Active Nonviolence, Nonviolent Conflict Prevention, Nonviolent Conflict Resolution and Nonviolent Conflict Management over a period of 6 months.

Each Youths Peace Club has an average of 15 youths therefore close to 100 youths will directly benefit.
On full completion of the 6 months training, the youths will set up income generation projects in their respective Youths Peace Clubs and continue  Peer Nonviolence Education within their communities and within their Peace Clubs.

The project will launch in the next few weeks, if you wish to contact for further information you can do so to Makios Phiri at makiosphiri@gmail.com.

We wish to thank FoR England-Scotland for their support through their International Peacemakers’ Fund. Should you wish to support other projects like ours, please follow this link to donate to support us:

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IFOR invites you to join the "Introduction to UN" week

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IFOR invites you to join the "Introduction to UN" week

Dear friends,

Ifor is pleased to extend to all of you the invitation to join us in Geneva for the "Introduction to UN" week.

As we already proposed last year, this IFOR program is aimed to provide an opportunity to get to know more about IFOR work at UN and to find better ways to closely collaborate with branches.

Do not hesitate to contact us for questions.

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IFOR Council Press Release: On the Move conference and actions during council.

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IFOR Council Press Release: On the Move conference and actions during council.

During November 2018 the quadrennial IFOR council took place, before council the Migration conference ‘On the Move’ was held. After this week a press release was released to the public mentioning the appointment of Lotta Sjöström Becker, from Sweden as the new president of IFOR. Followed by some important actions and visits made by IFOR delegates from all over the world that were attending council during this week.

Read on to find out more!

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IFOR Responds to Pittsburgh Synagogue Attack

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation is the world's oldest interfaith, pacifist movement, and its US branch is similarly the oldest of its kind in that country. As IFOR prepares to gather in Italy for its quadrennial Council, we learned with sadness of the murders of a worshipping Jewish community at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. 

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On The Move:  A conversation about migration

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On The Move: A conversation about migration

Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano.

November 2 & 3, 2018, IFOR will be hosting a conference about migration in Catania Sicily. “On The Move” will be a conversation about migration, its causes, the journey and strategies of welcome.

The conference is supported by the City of Catania and will be hosted at

Palazzo della Cultura, Via Vittorio Emanuele 121.

The conversation will be global in scope, featuring both local contributors and special guests from around the world. We will address the impact that war, climate change and global economic forces have had on people’s choices to leave their communities to seek safety and opportunity. We are prioritizing conversations led by people who have themselves migrated and who are participating in finding the solutions to the challenges migrants face.


The following organizations are contributing to the conversation:

Un Ponte Per, SOS Mediterranée, Sant'Egidio, Rete Recosol, Christian PeaceMaker Teams, BASTOB Bangladesh, members of the Sanctuary Movement in the U.S. and many others.


“On The Move” will begin Friday morning, November 2, 2018 at 10:30 and it will end in the evening of Saturday, November 3, 2018 with a musical event by

Jhonny’s Family Project and Ciauda.

To see a draft program for the conference click here

The conference precedes IFOR’s quadrennial international council that will be held from November 4-11 in Zafferana Etnea. IFOR has invited its members from 40 different countries and all delegates to the international council are invited to attend and participate in the conversation.

To Register Click Here

Conference participants are encouraged to find their own accommodation in Downtown Catania. The conference is free to the public but we do ask that those who are able consider making a contribution to support this effort.

Donate

the illustration was provided to IFOR by Anonima Fumetti 

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Words of Gratitude for the Special Rapporteur for Eritrea

IFOR issued a statement expressing gratitude for the work of the Special Rapporteur for her steadfast reporting on human rights violations in Eritrea. It has not been an easy task, she has faced threats and dangers and nonetheless stayed true to her commitment of exposing human rights violations to the world.

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IFOR Warns of Corporate Abuse of the Human Rights Council

IFOR’s Main Representative to the United Nations in Geneva made a statement warning of the dangers of businesses exploiting the procedures of of the Human Rights Council in order to advance their narrow interests. The concern was illustrated by a British corporate lawyer posing as an African NGO in order to deny well-documented human rights violations by her client, exploiting slave labor in Eritrea. Download statement here

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Father Mussie Zerai: "The Right of the Weak is Not a Weak Right"

During the 38th session of the Human Rights Council held in Geneva, IFOR organized a side event, co-sponsored by War Resisters International, focusing on the causes of migration from Eritrea and the struggles of Eritrean refugees.

The event was well attended and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Eritrea, Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth, offered a valuable contribution to the discussion.

Among the speakers was Father Mussie Zerai, a well known advocate for the rights of refugees and chairman of the Habeshia Agency. In addition to his participation on the panel, Father Zerai offered an additional statement calling on European governments to respond to migration in humane ways.

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IFOR Supports Refugees and the Humanitarian Efforts of SOS Mediterranee

On June 12, the rescue ship Aquarius was prevented from docking in Italy after it had rescued migrants who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The Aquarius is one of the ships operated by of SOS Mediterranee and is actively supported by IFOR and by our local branch MIR Italia. On June 25th, IFOR's Representatives in Geneva delivered the statement below about the humanitarian crisis during the 38th Session of the Human Rights Council. 

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IFOR Submits Joint Statement on the Illegal Occupation of Western Sahara

During the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, IFOR joined a group of organizations calling attention to the repeated violations of international law through the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco. The coalition of nongovernmental organizations submitted a report calling for the following:   

  • All High Contracting Parties to ensure that the Kingdom of Morocco respects the Fourth Geneva Convention in Western Sahara; 
  • The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in Western Sahara; 
  • The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Human Rights of the Sahrawi people, including their right to self-determination and independence, in conformity with UNGA resolution 1514 (XV); 
  • The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Principles of International Law, including the Principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and the principle that States shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter; 
  • The members of the Human Rights Council to create the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights violations in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara. 

Read the full written statement here.

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IFOR denounces threats to C.O.s in Turkey and Russia

During the 38th session of the Human Rights Council IFOR delivered an oral statement addressed to the Human Rights Commissioner condemning the targeting of conscientious objectors in Turkey and Russia. IFOR maintains a connection to the Turkish Conscientious Objector’s Organization VR-DER Vicdani Ret Dernegi, through our partners, the European Bureau of Conscientious Objection, and War Resisters International. In 2016, VR-DER held an event in honour of those that have refused, on grounds of conscience, to be recruited into the armed forces,. This led to the co-Chair of the organisation being summoned to answer charges of “making propaganda for terror”. IFOR denounced this and similar aggression directed towards nonviolent movements by the Russian Federation.

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IFOR submits report on Lithuania to the Human Rights Committee (123rd Session)

Lithuania reintroduced conscription to military service in 2015 for males 19 years of age and older. Although the government provides alternative to service, IFOR submits a report to the Human Rights Committee expressing concern about the ways these alternatives are militaristic in nature. These alternatives illustrate the way government institutions often circumvent the international right to conscientious objection.    

Read the full report

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IFOR Condemns Atrocities in Gaza

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IFOR Condemns Atrocities in Gaza

On Friday, May 18th, A special session of the Human Rights Council on the current situation in Gaza took place at the United Nations in Geneva. High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein denounced the violence and called for the creation of a Commission Of Inquiry. Many states condemned the attacks in Gaza. IFOR joined several NGOs condemning the attacks. In IFOR’s statement, our representative spoke in support of Israeli conscientious objectors and condemned the Israeli Defense Force, and the U.S. Government, holding them as the most responsible for the atrocities that were committed.

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IFOR's 2018 International Council and Conference on Migration

Every four years, IFOR's members send delegates to an International Council to discuss priorities, strategies, and ideas for coordinating our global movement in the years to come.  The 2018 International Council will be held hosted by IFOR's branch in Italy, Movimento Internazionale della Riconciliazione (MIR). 

The International Council will be held in the Sicilian city of Catania, November 4-11, 2018. IFOR member organizations have been notified about the upcoming council and will continue to receive information in the coming months.  

Preceding the Council, the International Secretariat is organizing an event to address an area of concern for many of IFOR's members, Migration. The conference will be shaped around three themes that are consistent with the experience of our movement: The Violence that Causes Migration, The Experience of Migration, and The Compassionate Response.

  • The Violence that Causes Migration: We plan to discuss the impact that armed conflict; global economic policy and climate change have on migration.
  • The Experience of Migration: We plan to allow refugees to speak for themselves and share their experiences. We will discuss pressing challenges, concerns, and opportunities to provide concrete support.
  • The Compassionate Response: those working tirelessly to show hospitality to the influx of refugees will tell their stories and provide encourage the movement of hospitality and welcome.

The conference is open to the public. More information about registration for the conference and upcoming council will be provided soon. 

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Israel and Military Service: IFOR's Submission to the HRC 123

IFOR submitted a report on the status of the right to conscientious objection in Israel to the attention of the Country Report Task Force on Military Service in Israel for the 123 Session of the Human Rights Committee. 

From the report: "The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is organized as a citizen's militia. In principle, men and women alike are required to perform obligatory military service, almost always starting on leaving school at the age of 18, and subsequently to report for one month's active reserve duty, until the age of 40 for men and for women until marriage, pregnancy or age 38. In practice, only Jewish Israelis and men from the Druze community are affected. Other "Arab Israelis" are not called up and the Ultra-Orthodox have also in the past benefited from a variety of exemptions. There is however no effective legal provision governing cases of conscientious objection to military service."

To read IFOR's Full Submission Click Here. 

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IFOR Madagascar Responds to Violent Clashes in Antananarivo

Saturday, April 21st, a controversial law about the electoral code which was adopted at the beginning of last April, lead to trouble among the deputies of the House of Commons in Madagascar. Of the 152 deputies, 79 voted FOR and 73 AGAINST this law. The 73 deputies of the opposition denounced the abnormal way in which the law was passed, which they called fraudulent and corrupt. These 73 deputies decided to publicly denounce the actions of their colleagues in parliament before the population of the Capital (Antananarivo) on the 21st of April. The army forbid them access to the Main Square of Independence, where they planned to hold a public rally. The incident ended with violent clashes between the protestors and the army. Four people were killed and many were injured. 

IFOR's branch in Madagascar issued a statement on April 22, 2018 responding to the crisis: 

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