CONCEPT NOTE

Peace Building and Human Security:
Responses to Migration and Fundamentalism and Terrorism

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 4-6 July 2016

 

Background and Introduction

In 2014, within the framework of the tenth Asia-Europe People Forum, the “Peace and Security” Circle, in coordination with peace movements in Asia and Europe, organized a series of activities which discussed a variety of issues including military spending and arms transfer/arms trade, nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction; killer drones, killer robots, other secret weapons and infrastructures; disarmament policies and conflict prevention in Asia and Europe, etc.

At the Milan forum, various recommendations were made and submitted to ASEM leaders in order to maintain peace and security in the two continents and the world as a whole.

Two years later, it can be seen that some countries said they would cut programs and military weapons to reduce the defense budget deficit; meanwhile the defense budget has been increased continuously in other countries for decades. Besides the conflicts and disputes in hot spots including South China Sea and East China Sea, the long-running crisis in the Korean Peninsula has continued to evolve in complex and dangerous ways.

The development of the terror group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist movements continue killing innocent people, using violence as a way of threatening the world’s security. The Russian plane crash in Egypt on 1st November, killing 224 people and the terrorist attacks on the street in Paris claiming the lives of at least 153 people on 13 November are just two of many cases in point. There are many other episodes of such wanton killings that we could cite.

The current refugee crisis in Europe, constantly in the headlines, is said to be the result of conflicts, tensions and human insecurity in the Middle East and elsewhere (such as the long conflicts and other oppressions in Africa and Afghanistan and many other regions).

In such a context, peace movements and people’s organizations in Asia and Europe have organised various activities to contribute to suggest solutions to these problems. However, there have not been adequate cooperation and connection between movements and movements and states, to create effective synergies in the struggle for peace.

In this context, the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation (VPDF), in coordination with the AEPF’s International Organization Committee, recently organized a Workshop on “Peace and Security in Asia and Europe” in Hanoi, Vietnam as a step forward and help prepare for AEPF 11.

The Peace and Security Circle will be working with peace movements in Asia and Europe to organize a variety of activities at the AEPF 11 in Mongolia under the theme “Peace Building and Human Security – Responses to Migration and Fundamentalism and Terrorism”.

Objectives:

  • To have an overview of the Peace and Security situation in Asia and Europe (Providing context, status, perspectives and challenges);
  • To learn from shared experiences and examine perspectives challenges for appropriate and meaningful peoples’ responses to Migration, Fundamentalism, Terrorism;  
  • To look at alternative visions and strategies for Peoples Action for Peace and Security in Asia and Europe;
  • To strengthen the network of peace movements and people's organizations in Asia and Europe;
  • To make recommendations to ASEM leaders.

The Call for Participation in the AEPF11 recently issued by the AEPF International Organizing Committee and the Mongolia National Organizing Committee articulated the focus on:

  • A European perspective
  • An Asian perspective
  • The Asia-Europe dimensions of the issue

 

PROPOSED WORKSHOPS

Workshop 1

Peace and Security in Asia and Europe: Context, Status, Perspectives and Challenges

Focus of the Workshop: Overview of Peace and Security Situation in Asia and Europe: perspectives on major powers’ relations, on China’s global strategy and its implications on global peace and security. Issues of nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction, foreign military bases, arms trade and military spending will also be taken up as they relate to the overall peace and security situation in Asia and Europe.

Presentations:

  1. Overview of Peace and Security in Asia and Europe
  2. China’s Global Strategy and its Implications on Global Peace and Security
  3. Peaceful Resolution of Disputes and Conflicts
  4. Military Spending, Arms Trade, Foreign Military Bases
  5. Nuclear Weapons &Weapons of Mass Destruction

Output: Concrete proposals and Workshop report. Full report for documentation and 1 page report summary for the AEPF People’s Vision Group.

 

Workshop 2

Responses to Migration, Fundamentalism and Terrorism

Focus of the Workshop: Perspectives, Challenges and Responses: Migration, Fundamentalism and Terrorism in Asia and Europe including NATO

Presentations:

  1. Migration, Terrorism in Europe and NATO
  2. Migration, Fundamentalism, Terrorism in Asia (including South and West Asia)
  3. Refugee Crisis (including what European Union is doing)
  4. Threats and Opportunities to Peace and Peace Building
  5. Responses to Migration, Fundamentalism, Terrorism

Output: Concrete proposals and Workshop report. Full report for documentation and 1 page report summary for the AEPF People’s Vision Group.

 

Workshop 3

Strategies for People’s Vision of Peace and Security in Asia and Europe

Focus of the Workshop: Recommendations for future directions and cooperation (concrete proposals, joint projects, and strategies for action); Networking among Peace Movements; What EU Does and Should Do.

  1. Alternative Visions and Strategies for Peoples Action for Peace and Security in Asia and Europe
  2. Peace Building and Dialogue Process on Northeast Asia
  3. Networking Among Peace Movements and People’s Organizations in Asia and Europe – ow to create Synergies for the Struggle for Peace and Justice
  4. What should the EU do?
  5. People’s recommendations for the solutions of Peace and Security issues

Output: Concrete proposals and Workshop report. Full report for documentation and 1 page report summary for the AEPF People’s Vision Group.

 

Note: The Thematic Cluster 'Peace Building and Human Security' is being coordinated by Transparency International (Mongolia), Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation/Stop the War Coalition, and the Finnish AEPF Committee

By AEPF Working Group, Stiftung Asienhaus, May 2, 2016

A large number of refugees and migrants are moving across countries and continents in search of a life in peace, dignity and economic security. Europe faces dramatic humanitarian situations, which have been known till recently only in the Global South. In the past years, thousands have lost their lives on their way, particularly in the Mediterranean. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are forced to move under inhumane conditions along the transit roads, live in inadequate camps or overcrowded initial reception centres waiting for registration.

Failing to address the root causes of migration, most European states respond in an increasingly authoritarian, uncoordinated and often inhuman way: fences are erected, new border regimes and policies of securisation enforced, military and police forces deployed, asylum rights are being curtailed. Organised right-wing groups in Germany set fire to refugee shelters, abuse and attack asylum seekers, right-wing populism, xenophobia, racism and antifeminism are on the rise across Europe calling aggressively for a strong state defending national identities and new border governance. Right-wing parties and governments demand to tighten legal and security measures, further deterring and criminalising refugees.

Many EU member states are unwilling to live up to values of democracy, human rights and social welfare in the state-level negotiations transforming Europe without borders (Schengen) as a political project and a social model. At the same time, civil society groups and a large number of individuals practice a “welcome culture”. Based on solidarity and voluntary work. They have set up support structures from language classes to “autonomous” schools, from medical treatment to legal advice. Although there is little formal organisation and often also no formalised spokespersons, struggles against deportation and around a right to stay, for freedom of movement and right to citizenship are popping up in many places.

A distinctive phenomenon is the merging of diverse struggles, for example those over precarious labour by migrants, and shelter, over the right to the city and against gentrification, for the commons and free access to social and public infrastructure. Protests are further characterised by the fact that refugee activists raise their voices without intermediaries and speak for themselves unfolding complex dynamics between institutional mechanisms of control and the struggles over migration. The AEPF could be a space for CSOs from Europe and Asia to deepen and broaden their understanding of xenophobia, structural racism, and border regime on the basis of an international exchange of views and experiences, including partners from migrant and refugee movements. Thus they can build momentum toward a constructive criticism and political action in specific contexts.

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