Introduction PAX in 2018
PAX means peace
We are happy to share a selection of significant successes of our work in 2018!
Local peacebuilding in (post) conflict countries
Our work worldwide
Together with more than one hundred community-based and non-governmental organisations, churches and peace activists in these countries, we take steps, big and small, towards a more peaceful world.
Four Freedoms Award
Paride Taban received the award for his extraordinary efforts toward bringing peace to war-torn South Sudan. As a laureate of this prestigious award he follows in the footsteps of people like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and Malala Yousafzai.
PAX helped establish Kuron Peace Village and remains active in supporting local peace committees. Click herefor more stories about the exceptional work of emeritus-bishop Paride Taban.
Two peace conferences brought Nuer and Dinka communities, who are living on either side of the frontline in Greater Upper Nile region, together in 2018. It was the first time since the outbreak of violence in 2013, which has cost 380,000 lives. Both communities signed to reopen their territories and markets for each other, let cattle graze and drink across tribal boundaries, and return stolen animals.
Our local partners brokered this milestone peace agreement. The Human Security Survey contributed to the bottom-up and inclusive process. The agreement is proof once again that the chances for durable peace in South Sudan lie with ordinary women and men who have the courage to reconcile and look to the future.
For the first time in ten years, perpetrators and victims of violence together attended a large commemoration. The results of our truth finding efforts together with local partners will support people’s courageous yet painful search for justice and reconciliation.
Against all odds, the peace activists of our partner Kesh Malek have started new schools, where more than 1600 children are catching up on a missed childhood.
The schools practice a new pedagogy: children are taught not only to read and write, but also the skills to become tolerant, active and free citizens. Teachers engage in open conversation with their pupils, to inspire values of respect and reconciliation for Syria’s future.
Click to see the full storyof our Lessons in Peace project.
September: The Assad regime threatens to launch an offensive to reclaim Idlib province. Three million people are trapped. A humanitarian tragedy is imminent. At the last moment, Russia and Turkey impose a demilitarised zone between government forces and armed opposition groups.
In Saraqeb town, PAX supports theatre producer Ahmed. His plays and puppet shows give children an occasion to come together and enjoy in safety. There are many courageous Syrians like Ahmed. Their work matters. It shows that resisting hatred and injustice is possible.
We speak with Ahmednearly every week. He says it makes him and his friends feel they have not been entirely forgotten.
Listen to a Skype call with Ahmed.
"I have received many threats against my life, but I feel strengthened by those who believe in our work. The new generation of female leaders will bring the change in values and behaviour that Iraq needs more than anything."
Surood heads the Kirkuk office of our partner, the Al-Amal Association. PAX awarded her with a Peace Dove in 2018.
In September, the CEO of mining company Prodeco spoke of truth finding and reconciliation at the commemoration of the 1997 massacre in the village of Estados Unidos. By reaching out to the victims, Prodeco is taking important steps to contribute to regional peacebuilding in a divided country.
In November, the Colombian public prosecutor opened a criminal investigation into the alleged ties between mining company Drummond and paramilitary forces that operated in Cesar. Drummond has been the focus of our 'Stop Blood Coal'campaign since 2014.
2016: A historic peace agreement ended 50 years of armed struggle in Colombia.
2018: 226 social leaders were murdered, including trade unionists, human rights defenders and environmental activists.
In November, Dutch prime minister Rutte headed a trade mission to Colombia. PAX asked him to use this opportunity to champion not only the interests of Dutch business, but also the safety of human rights defenders in Colombia.
Our campaign #GraciasMarkRuttepaid off. Deputy prime minister Schouten spoke with victim leaders and Rutte raised the importance of protecting human rights defenders at the official press conference after meeting with Colombian president Duque.
"The trip reinforced my view that resolving the conflict through military action is unacceptable. On both sides, there are people who want change and, most importantly, are creating this change already."
Bosnia and Iraq
"The Yezidi women are at the beginning of an extremely difficult journey. They are determined to find the mortal remains of their loved ones. Like us, they want a memorial centre as proof of the crimes committed. We feel united in our pain and will support them in their search for justice and reparation."
Advija Ibrahimovic, member of 'Women of Srebrenica'
International lobby and advocacy
Lobby and advocacy
We target governments, businesses and financial institutions as well as international and multilateral organisations such as the European Union and United Nations.
We increase our impact by working in internationals coalitions with like-minded organisations, activists, researchers and survivors.
The Dutch ABP, one of the five largest pension funds in the world and one of the biggest investors in nuclear weapon producers in the Netherlands, decided to end these investments. Years of campaigning by PAX contributed to this historic decision.
Successes like these strengthen our ongoing campaigns to urge pension funds, banks and companies to stop investing in weapons that are a threat to humanity.
• The Campaign grew to 88 members in 50 countries, increasing our impact around the world;
• Our lobby and campaigning contributed to the Belgian and the European Parliament calling for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons;
• PAX took part in two 5-day UN meetings in Geneva where we launched our report Crunch Timeon Europe and killer robots.
Technology is developing at a rapid pace. We urge the UN to start negotiating a ban on lethal autonomous weapon systems.
Protection of Civilians
The UN/NATO PoC course will be part of the curriculum for officers of NATO and NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. Participating countries provide about half of the troops for UN peacekeeping missions. For PAX, this training marks a milestone towards better Protection of Civilians.
Our Siege Watchproject documented the killings, chemical attacks, destruction and forced displacement that defined the regime’s military strategy. These records may one day help to do justice to the victims and hold the perpetrators of war crimes in Syria accountable.
More than one million siege survivors are in urgent need of support to recover and restart their lives. The international community, which utterly failed to protect them, should step up and take responsibility within and outside Syria.
The Swedish criminal investigation followed the 2010 Unpaid Debtreport that was written by PAX for the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan. Ever since, PAX has worked to seek justice for the tens of thousands of victims of Sudan’s oil war.
In early December, we cautioned investors to blacklist the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems because of its acquisition in November of known cluster munitions producer IMI Systems.
Within just weeks, major players in the global financial sector stated they would divest from Elbit Systems. Before the year closed, Elbit Systems announced that its new subsidiary IMI Systems will stop producing cluster munitions. This success is clearly linked to the persistent Stop Explosive Investments campaign, led by PAX in cooperation with the Cluster Munition Coalition.
Peace activism in the Netherlands
Peace activism in the Netherlands
Thousands of people in the Netherlands actively express their solidarity with people in conflict areas and support our national and international campaigns.
The story of a refugee
“We shouldn’t underestimate young people. During my guest lessons, 16-year-olds ask complex questions about the political situation in Syria. This touches me every time.”
Aiham is among the 30 Syrians involved in the project Story of a Refugee, which has also trained 360 teachers to deal with sensitive subjects in class.
People organised hundreds of activities in their towns and neighbourhoods. 2500 people participated in 31 Peace Walks across the country. They enjoyed unexpected encounters and were welcomed in mosques, churches and synagogues.
In Srebrenica, families, students, survivors of the genocide, local politicians and the Dutch ambassador for the first time joined in their own Walk of Peace.