On Friday April 29 2016, the Italian news service, ANSA, reported that Pope Francis is “considering global peace as the next topic of the Synod of Bishops.” Earlier in the week, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, said in an interview with the Times of London that a new papal encyclical was entirely plausible. He went on to tell the Times, “Too often the ‘just war theory’ has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war. It can undermine efforts to develop alternative capacities and tools for conflict to be overcome and transformed.”

Three weeks ago I was one of 85 experts on nonviolence from throughout the world called together by the Pontifical Council and Pax Christi to help the Roman Catholic Church re-examine their Just War Doctrine which has shaped not only the Catholic Church’s stance on wars but has also deeply influenced the way the West justifies war and violence since at least the 4th century.

Read more: Shifting from Just War to Just Peace

On 18 April, Nonviolent Peaceforce was invited by the Quaker Council for European Affairs to speak at a conference that marked the 6th edition on Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

NP’s Chief Executive Officer, Doris Mariani, spoke on a panel that focused on the European Union policies in support of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She offered a unique perspective on the role of unarmed civilian peacekeeping, and the humanitarian and cost benefits it provides. Other panels of the day discussed the environment and armed conflict, steps toward realization of sustainable development goals, and a coordinated action plan regarding refugees in Europe.

Read more: NP at the Quaker Council for European Affairs

On April 27th, Mel Duncan (co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce) presented about his recent trip to the Vatican where he was one of eighty peace leaders evaluating the Just War Doctrine. Over 130 people joined the conversation wanting to be part of reintroducing the power of nonviolent action to the world.

 

You can download Mel's presentation by clicking here.

 

Also, read what the press wrote about the conference at the Vatican:

An appeal to the Catholic Church to recommit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence

Did the Vatican Just Throw Out Its Just War Doctrine?

Historic Vatican conference calls for nonviolence and ‘just peace’

Cardinal Turkson: Papal encyclical on nonviolence, just war theory 'plausible'

Mel Duncan, co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce, will present on his recent trip to the Vatican where he was one of eighty peace leaders evaluating "Just War" theory. Join the conversation and be part of reintroducing the power of nonviolent action to the world.

Wednesday April 27th at 7:00pm

Jackman Hall, Plymouth Congregational Church

1900 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

Refreshments will be provided

 

This event is hosted by: Plymouth Global Connections Committee and Nonviolent Peaceforce

 

Download the flyer here!

As violent chaos overwhelms all existing approaches to civilian protection, unarmed civilian protection is gaining attention. Over the past three months, NP has given high-level presentations in Europe, the Middle East and the US. 

On February 1, Rolf Carriere, NP board member and senior advisor, spoke at a Brussels forum on Civil Society Perspectives on European Union Implementation of the 2015 UN Reviews. In noting that unarmed civilian protection (UCP) was prominently cited in two UN reviews, Mr. Carriere asserted, “UCP is ready for scaling up. There is almost no conflict where it would not be suitable for these unarmed strategies to be used, especially if the engagement is early on in the conflict cycle, more preventative.”

Read more: A Paradigm Shift?

Nonviolent Peaceforce, an unarmed, paid civilian protection force which fosters dialogue among parties in conflict and provides a protective presence for threatened civilians, has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

Protecting unarmed civilians nonviolently proven effective worldwide.

“Unarmed civilian protection is a method for direct protection of civilians and violence reduction that has grown in practice and recognition. In the last few years, it has especially proven its effectiveness to protect women and girls,” according to a UN report of October 2015 cited in its nominating letter by AFSC, a Quaker organization working for peace and justice across the U.S. and around the world.

“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Nonviolent Peaceforce would highlight and strengthen their work and the work of other similar organizations, at a time when worldwide tensions seem to be at a boiling point, and their work is vital and relevant,” AFSC wrote.

Read more: NP Nominated for 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

On a day to commemorate the strike by Garment Union Workers in 1908 and to celebrate the progress of women in the last century, it seems fitting to reflect on women's roles in peacekeeping.

Women have a key role to play in creating peace that lasts. A recent study of 182 agreements showed that peace accords are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years if women are at the table during the negotiations. [1] Given their central role in the community and family, women are best poised to recognize and respond to conflict at the grassroots level. In fact, Nonviolent Peaceforce's Women Peacekeeping Teams were initiated by women in South Sudan, who asked to take part in resolving the conflicts in their communities. They recognized that they were the ones who know what is going on because they were there every day caring for their homes, families and one another, while the men are often leaving for work and sometimes, to engage in armed conflict.

Read more: Women in Peace