Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage education campaigner shot on school bus in 2012 by a Taliban gunman, has won the 2014 Nobel peace prize.
Malala wins along with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist. Full story »
by Rawan Alkhatib, WAND Arlington, MA Intern
For the past few weeks, I’ve been utterly horrified by ISIL’s monstrosity. Relentless and unchecked violence is the norm for these combatants in pursuing their dangerous ambition of creating an “Islamic State” that knows only religious borders. The United States is leading the charge against the militant group, enacting aggressive military measures to deter ISIL’s continued expansion.
But a militarized response in not the answer. Aimless bombing campaigns and further escalation of war ignores one pivotal element in ending this crisis: post-war Iraqi society will be worse off if we don’t take sustainable steps to combat ISIL. There’s another way to stop ISIL. Cutting off their funding and diminishing their credibility on the ground is one way. Empowering women to end support for ISIL is another.
Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spine-tingling spoken-word pieces: “What I Will” and “break (clustered)” — meditations on war and peace, on women and power. Wait for the astonishing line: “Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded.”
Check out this TED talk on Suheir Hammad’s poems on war, peace, women, and power.
Both government forces and Maoist combatants raped and sexually harassed women and girls during Nepal’s decade-long armed conflict.
HRW documented sexual violence by both government forces and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) combatants during the conflict, which ended with a peace agreement in 2006. Many of these crimes remain unreported, with survivors isolated and unable to find ways to access justice and redress. The Nepali government should take immediate measures to encourage women to report these crimes and seek justice, and develop a reparation program to address critical needs of survivors of sexual violence and torture, including long term health care and livelihood support.
Photo: Sexual violence during Nepal’s 10 year conflict between Maoists and government forces has remained largely undisclosed. ©2014 Arantxa Cedillo for Human Rights Watch.
Image Credit: Castle Bravo nuclear test explosion, via Wiki Commons.
by Pia Furkan, WAND Intern Washington, DC
On September 24, I am celebrating two occasions: my birthday and the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by the United Sates. While I turn 20, the pre-ratified CTBT is turning 18, and as an adult, the CTBT should be given more authority and full influence by having it entered into force.
Despite strong U.S. support for the CTBT through international negotiations in the 1990’s; in 1999, the U.S. Senate could not reach the 67 votes needed to for ratification.
History tells us that the Senate failed to ratify the CTBT for three primary reasons:
- Uncertainty about ability to maintain a reliable nuclear stockpile without explosive testing,
- Uncertainty about the ability to detect any cheaters (i.e., countries who might conduct covert nuclear tests), and
- Uncertainty about its nonproliferation benefits.
After 15 years, it is time to revisit these questions.
Stockpile reliability not in question
The United States has not conducted any explosive nuclear testing since 1992, and this has not compromised the nuclear stockpile’s safety or reliability. As the Andy Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs said recently,
“There is absolutely no need for the US to conduct nuclear weapons tests.”
|—||Secretary Kerry at an Equal Futures Partnership event on the margins of UNGA, September 22, 2014 (via statedept)|
by Kathy Crandall Robinson, WAND Senior Public Policy Director
In the last weeks the horrors of war and terrorism in Iraq and Syria have been heartbreaking. And what seems to be the United States marching towards another protracted war in the Middle East is appalling. On Wednesday, September 17, the House voted to arm Syrian rebels - and as expected - the Senate also approved the measure on September 18 (that was then part of the Continuing Resolution funding government operations through December 11). After that, Congress promptly evacuated Washington, D.C., to hit the campaign trail.
Thank you very much to those of you who made calls urging your Members of Congress to vote against this step leading down the road to war. Although we are disappointed by the vote, it must be noted that our efforts have begun to stir the debate. We joined with over two dozen organizations taking action this last week generating tens of thousands of calls to Congress as well as other messages. We have begun to raise important questions, including: How does this end? What will the financial costs be? How do we begin to create political solutions and peace?
Image: From left to right: Denis Stevens, Canada’s Deputy Head of Mission to the U.S.; Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association; Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; and Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz (Ret.), Administrator for the National Nuclear Security. Photo by WAND staff.
On September 15, 2014 The Embassy of Kazakhstan, The Embassy of Canada, The Arms Control Association, Green Cross International, and The ATOM Project hosted a forum commemorating the United Nations International Day Against Nuclear Tests. Since 2009, the international community has commemorated UN Day Against Nuclear Tests on or about August 29, the anniversary of the 1991 closing of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site where the then-Soviet Union conducted 456 atmospheric and underground nuclear weapons tests. (On the same date in 1949 the Soviets conducted their first nuclear explosive test; the bomb yielded 20 kilitons.)
A large portion of the event was devoted to discussing U.S. Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Senate failed to ratify that treaty in 1999, but as many of the conference speakers pointed out, times are different now. For instance, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Head of the CTBT Organization, CTBTO, explained that in 1999, only small progress had been made in developing the international monitoring and verification systems. Today, there are 337 monitoring stations around the world that can detect most nuclear tests. Given current policy prohibiting new nuclear weapons development – and given that the United States stopped explosive testing in 1992 — full entry into force can only serve to benefit the U.S.
Throwback Thursday: Remember when the Mujahideen became Al Qaeda after the US armed them? When has violence ever bred anything but more violence? Tell us, how does this end?