September 2014

Demand a ban on nuclear weapons on first even UN Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons  

Today, 26 September, marks the first ever UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Established in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly the international day of action aims to enhance ‘public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination, in order to mobilize international efforts towards achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon-free-world.’

An understanding of the potential humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use paints a stark picture.

Baroness Valerie Amos, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs admits that “until we achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, they will continue to pose the risk of catastrophic consequences for humanity – whatever the United Nations and its humanitarian partners endeavor to do to pick up the pieces.”

This focus on the humanitarian dimensions of nuclear non-proliferation is gaining significant international support. At the 2013 UN General Assembly’s First Committee, 125 nations supported the joint statement delivered by New Zealand highlighting the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and underscoring the conviction that nuclear weapons should not be used again ‘under any circumstances.’

However, this is a message that nuclear weapons states and many of their allies are continuing to ignore. The Peace Foundation thus calls on New Zealand’s recently elected political representatives to continue and enhance our tradition of international leadership in promoting nuclear disarmament and to adopt a leading role in insisting on the achievement of a world without nuclear weapons.

To celebrate the UN Day of Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, The Peace Foundation is co-sponsoring the Auckland Peace City Celebration of Nuclear Free New Zealand community event in Titirangi to be held tomorrow. Details at www.peace.net.nz

www.peace.net.nz

Contacts: Caroline Ongleo-Calub, Director, New Zealand Peace Foundation. Ph: 09373 2379, Mob: 022 636 2843, caroline@peacefoundation.org.nz


Aiming for a peaceful Auckland
22 September 2014   

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
 
The annual ‘Auckland – City for Peace Youth Awards’ awards ceremony was held on Sunday 21 September 2014. 
 
The awards honour young people who have seen a need for change and acted upon it.
 
The award in the 13 – 18 years age group went to Diana Qiu for her for her outstanding devotion to peace building within her school and wider community; for being an ambassador of social justice, peer mediator, and mentor; and for being active and enthusiastic leader in many peace-related events.
 
In the age group for 19 – 24 years honoured Fatani Paea Manukia for being a youth leader promoting fairness, justice, and peace through sports; and for volunteering to mentor
 
Community Development Committee chair Councillor Cathy Casey, says being a City for Peace contributes to Auckland's becoming the most liveable city in the world.
 
“These young people are our future, through them and our work with the Peace Foundation we can help build a more peaceful future where Auckland becomes a place where everyone feels like they belong, has pride in their city, and feels safe,” she says. 
 
Auckland was launched as a City for Peace in June 2012.
 
For more information on City for Peace visit www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.
 
Winners:
Age Category 13 – 18 years old

  • Diana Qiu (1st place winner)- for her outstanding devotion to peace building within her school and wider community; for being an ambassador of social justice, peer mediator and mentor; and for being active and enthusiastic leader in many peace-related events.
  • Sulani Helg (2nd place winner)- for her dedication in helping out less-privileged children in her school community by taking part in the Breakfast Club; for being a Reading Mentor; and for leading 40-hour famine team at her school.
  • William Vake (3rd place winner) - for his passionate and enthusiastic actions towards ‘youth at risk’ by transforming their lives through values education and spiritual guidance.
  • The Big Stand - for their passion and courage to stand up against violence, bullying and peer pressure, and for helping create a safe physical and emotional school environment at Howick College.
  • Amanda Ngo - for her active and enthusiastic engagement and leadership in a range of school and community programmes.
  • Amandeep Kaur - for demonstrating motivational leadership skills in her school community through involvement in various school councils and helping the school and wider community towards more successful lives
  • Ery Zhu - for excellent leadership skills within her school community and involvement with global and community environmental initiatives.
  • Kalolaine Ikavuka - for caring support to her school and local community including her contribution towards Health Council and Humanitarian Aid Leadership.
  • Seve Paeniu - for his commitment and leadership in his school and wider community through co-ordination of many projects, and especially for mentoring young people by tapping into their leadership potential. 

Youth Age Category 19 to 24 years old 

  • Fatani Paea Manukia (1st place winner)- for being a youth leader promoting fairness, justice and peace through sports; and for volunteering to mentor youth at risk and youth with sports aspirations.
  • Carlos Ulberg (2nd place winner)- for being a philanthropist making positive changes in the lives of troubled youth through sports; and for being an exceptional role model for youth to overcome poverty and violence.
  • Christina Masae (3rd place winner)- for her passion and dedication to address social issues affecting youth, and volunteering as warden to keep her community safe.
  • Fatani Paea Manukia - for being a youth leader promoting fairness, justice and peace through sports; and for volunteering to mentor youth at risk and youth with sports aspirations. 

What they receive:
- Framed certificate
- Peace resource kit
- Auckland City for Peace T-shirt
- All winners will be invited to join ‘The Peace Foundation Youth Peace Ambassador Network’ (they are then eligible for free training and teen  communication; conflict resolution and mediation; and opportunities to lead and participate in peace activities and events in the region and nationally).
 - Any person of legal age (above 18 years old) can nominate

For inquiries, contact:
Caroline Ongleo-Calub, Director, The Peace Foundation
Ph: 09373 2379
Mob: 022 636 2843
caroline@peacefoundation.org.nz


Major Parties respond positively to disarmament issues
9 September 2014 

As in previous general elections, The Peace Foundation has conducted a survey of the main political parties regarding their disarmament policies. Responses were received from the National, Labour, Maori, Green, United Future parties and the MANA Movement, and reflected an overall strong level of support for disarmament positions within New Zealand politics.
 
The survey quizzed parties as to their positions on weapons trading, nuclear weapon abolition and deterrence, and divestment in nuclear weapons manufacturers. According to survey team member, Lyndon Burford, “It is important that New Zealanders have an understanding of how their elected representatives think about and promise to act on these important issues.”
 
All respondents indicated their support for New Zealand’s imminent ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty and for continued funding of weapons clearance under the Convention banning cluster munitions.
 
Greens emphasised small arms as being “particularly devastating in the number of human lives they cost”. The Maori Party confirmed their support for an arms trading ban, stating, “We also want to review the treaty to gauge how treaties of this nature have been influenced by the input of the world's indigenous peoples.”
 
The Labour Party was undecided in relation to the banning of fully autonomous weapon systems, as they were yet to have “sufficient internal dialogue to have settled on a firm position.” Nevertheless, Labour would support the “enforcement of treaties criminalising the development, stockpiling, threat of use and use of nuclear weapons through the International Criminal Court”, and would also reinstitute a Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control.
 
In their response, the MANA Movement was emphatic in calling for “the withdrawal of New Zealand military from all countries where they are engaged in combat or supporting roles for externally instigated wars.”
 
The biggest difference between parties was on support for the International Court of Justice case by the Marshall Islands against the nuclear-armed states for failure to negotiate nuclear disarmament in good faith. While Labour and Greens announced they would join it, the National Party indicated that they are merely monitoring it. This is a significant difference, and a wavering of National’s historically strong anti-nuclear commitment.
 
Nevertheless, National was clear on the important place disarmament has in New Zealand’s international identity and that under a National government “the resources devoted to that work will continue to be prioritised”.
 
Contacts: Nicholas Dynon, The Peace Foundation, 022 663691, nick@peacefoundation.org.nz