The millennium development goals were surpassed by sustainable development goals wherein 17 goals across the socio-economic-environmental domain were designed and 2030 was delimited as the target year for achieving results out of all the designated goals.
Amongst these 17 goals peace and justice also find its spot at 16. The goal is about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
If we gaze into the retrospective aspects of peace process and movements across the globe we could find numerous examples which are result oriented.
Maintenance of domestic and international peace is imperative today. The two World War shave taken the toll of humanity, ensuring a genuine and stable peace is the major challenge facing the nation states today. However, since the end of the Cold War, efforts to establish world without arms and Armed Conflict have in-fact failed. There have been numerous intra-state and inter-state conflicts across states.
The most affected being the states in Asia,Latin America and Africa. The long drawn conflict in West Asia, between Israel and the states backing the Palestinian, the India-Pakistan conflict have resulted in perennial tension and uncertainty pervading not only within the affected states, region but also the international arena.
It is in this light that the establishment of Peace and Peace Movements attain relevance and significance. The historical perspective of peace movements can be figured out here as:
- Peace movements under Cold War: During and in the aftermath of World War II, peace activism and movements continued to flourish within a changed context. This is the context of the Cold War, where the Soviet Union and the U.S. engaged in a tug of war largely based on the nuclear arms race. As a result, peace activism in this period has often focused on nuclear disarmament not only in the U.S., but in Europe as well. At the same time, a peace coalition was formed during World War II around the United Nations ideal, thus continuing the strong internationalist perspective of peace movements. In this context, peace issue and human rights issues were put together in a broader effort to promote peace.
- The greatest Peace Movement in the World was led by the apostle of Peace M.K.Gandhi to rid India of British Colonial Rule. India attained independence from British rule by a peaceful and non-violent movement of the people. Gandhi’s technique of Ahimsa and Satyagraha caught the imagination of mankind and has been and is replicated in several protest movements across the world. Infact the mighty British were forced to grant independence in 1947, due to the power of peaceful protests of the people of India transcending region, caste and religion. Though there were a few aberrations, the non-cooperation and civil disobedience methods adopted by Gandhi were basically peaceful techniques. The British did leave India but left it divided by partitioning it and creating Pakistan. Over the past decades there has been conflict and a trust deficit between the two countries. However, for peace to prevail in the region it is important that the people, civil society and champions for peace compel the governments of both the countries to work out a peaceful solution to all outstanding problems, in the interest of stable peace in the South Asian Region.
- There have been numerous other examples of peace movements across the globe such as in Germany Green Parties and related political associations were formed in many democratic countries near the end of the 20th century. The peace movement has a very strong influence in some countries’ Green Parties’. The struggle of the Palestinian people that witnessed decades of violence and suffering has ultimately led to the establishment of the Palestine State. However, the belligerent stance of Israel, its occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands, its regular establishment of Settlements in occupied Palestine has rendered the region sans stable peace. The mainstream peace movement in Israel is Peace Now. Peace Now was founded in the aftermath of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem, when many people felt that the chance for peace might be missed. Canada has a diverse peace movement, with coalitions and networks in many cities, towns and regions. The National Peace Council (NPC) was founded in 1908 after the 17th Universal Peace Congress in London (July/August 1908). It brought together representatives of a considerable number of national voluntary organizations with a common interest in peace, disarmament and international and race relations. The peace movement in the 1960’s in the US succeeded in bringing an end to the Vietnam War.
The above mentioned examples of peace movements have considerable contribution to end ceaseless violence to some extent and this argument draws a conclusion that violence is never good or bad violence is violence with no boundaries and distinctions.
The peace movement to end the ceaseless violence requires that governments, civil society and communities work together to implement lasting solutions to reduce violence, deliver justice, combat corruption and ensure inclusive participation at all times.
Freedom to express views, in private and in public, must be guaranteed. People must be able to contribute to decisions that affect their lives. Laws and policies must be applied without any form of discrimination.
Disputes need to be resolved through functioning political and justice systems. Armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development, affecting economic growth and often resulting in long-standing grievances among communities.
Violence, in all its forms, has a pervasive impact on societies. It causes trauma and weakens social inclusion.
Thus we need to promote inclusion and respect towards people of different backgrounds, ethnic origins, religions, gender, sexual orientations or different opinions. Together, we can help to improve conditions for a peaceful and violence free life of dignity for all.
Author is a research scholar at Deakin University, Melbourne Australia