The European Branches of IFOR gathered in Vienna, Austria from April 28th to April 30 to share work and collaborate on the common problems of violence in Europe. Discussions included Security and Disarmament, Campaigns for Nuclear Disarmament, Migration, Refugees, Social Inclusion, and Peace Education. They were joined by IFOR's Honorary President Hildegard Goss-Mayr who spoke with the group and offered words of counsel and encouragement.
They were also joined once again by Junior Nzito Nsuami, UN Ambassador for Child Soldiers, who has been working with IFOR's branches in his work to demilitarize child soldiers.
The branches released a statement at the meeting denouncing Nuclear Weapons ahead of the upcoming preparatory talks for the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty being held at the United Nations in Vienna.
"50 years ago, on April 4th , 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a remarkable speech at Riverside Church in New York City: “Beyond Vietnam. A Time to Break Silence”. Addressing his own nation and people, the United States of America, he talks about the need to “break the betrayal of my own silences” about the Vietnam war, but then moves on to call for a “significant and profound change in American life and policy, a shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” And he argues that only a “true revolution of values” will be able to overcome the issues of inequality, poverty and warfare. Meeting as European branches of IFOR, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, this weekend in Vienna, just before the start of the new review cycle of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and few weeks after the beginning of negotiations in the U.N. in New York for an instrument to prohibit and ban all nuclear weapons, now is the time for us to speak up about this issue. Our message is directed at our own, European countries, our own governments as well as our people."
To read the full statement click here.
The branches represented at the meeting were from Austria, Belgium, England & Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales.