The Charter of the United Nations, premised in the name of "we, the peoples", established the UN with the aim of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
The United Nations Association of New Zealand, committed to realising the vision of the charter, seeks to promote international peace and security. We are committed to promoting such through the UN principles of dialogue, multilateralism, and collective security.
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Special Officer for Peace and Security
Helena was elected during the May 2012 National Council Meeting.
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UN Agencies for Peace and Security Issues
► United Nations Peace and Security Agencies
► UN GA First Committee: Disarmament and International Security
► UN Security Council
► UN Peacebuilding Commission
► United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs
► UN University for Peace and Conflict Studies
► The International Day of Peace
► Report on the Panel of United Nations Peace Operations
UN Recruitment for Peace Operations
► United Nations Peace Operations Recruitment
► UN Volunteers
New Zealand Organisations for Peace and Security
► The Peace Foundation
► Aotearoa Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust
► National Consultative Committee on Disarmament (UNANZ Affiliated Organisation)
► Operation Peace Through Unity (UNANZ Affiliated Organisation)
► Peace Movement Aotearoa
► Pan Pacific South East Asian Women's Association (UNANZ Affiliated Organisation)
► International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Aotearoa New Zealand
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Reports from the Special Officer for Peace and Security
National Council Report - February 2012
CENTRAL AFRICA: A GLOBAL DISASTER ZONE IN NEED OF OUR URGENT ASSISTANCE
Bearing in mind New Zealand troops returning from Afghanistan and the prudence of keeping our military and civil defence forces trained, active and helping, it seems Central Africa is the next place to be.
Al Qaeda is spreading in West Africa, linking with local Islamic extremist groups. Mali is unstable. France has deployed 1,700 men to assist the Mali government and more men are being armed locally. Belgium has sent dozens of soldiers, as well as fully staffed medical helicopters. Millions of people already suffering are at increased risk. It has also put 75% of world cocoa supply and a significant amount of gold mined in the region at risk.
n East Africa, Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), remains at large despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant issued for his arrest in 2005. Kony is responsible for the displacement of more than two million people. This monster has kidnapped more than 66,000 children, killed countless of their parents and family, and forced the children into slavery, often as child soldiers sent to maim and kill. Kony’s extensive deliberate cruelty to children goes beyond what the mind can imagine. The cost to Africa’s peoples is enormous, they are already struggling. Yet Kony is still at large.
In October 2011, US President Obama authorised the deployment of 100 military personnel into Central Africa to assist the African Union initiative of 5,000 men to find Kony. He has still not been found. It is clear additional assistance is needed and we are able to help. Bearing in mind our commitments to the ICC and to protect children, perhaps New Zealand can contribute to a peace-keeping and aid initiative to help track down and arrest Kony?
The problem is more complex than war crimes and crimes against humanity. Central Africa is a red flag in terms of terrorism, global peace and security. With Al Qaeda increasing its hold in West Africa, Kony dominates in East Africa. With their extreme Islamic fundamentalist approaches (Kony partly bases his god rule on fundamentalist Islam) an alliance between the two is not impossible. This would make Central Africa one of the most dangerous global terrorist breeding grounds. It potentially already is. Between these two extremist groups, they could take control of Central Africa; a continent descending into war. This when Africa is a nation of nations already underprivileged and unstable in many respects.
We have a commitment to protect children, we have a commitment to the ICC and we have a commitment to advance human rights globally. Now we need to help Africa. In 2012, Save the Children reported that one third of children under the age of five die from starvation. In East Africa alone, 6.5 million children suffer. Of the 80% of children stunted due to malnutrition, the majority are in Africa.
New Zealand is working to help our children here at home. Internationally, we can no longer ignore the atrocities in Africa. We need to assign more resources to help Africa’s peoples find peace so they can prosper. Africa now also suffers from growing extremist terrorism. This is a threat to global peace and security. To further global peace and justice, we can and must offer urgent assistance to the African peoples.
National Council Report - February 2011
Peace and Security Developments to Note:
• The New Zealand Defence White Paper 2010 is a good starting point to generate dialogue on the future of New Zealand’s defence forces. The report outlined the role of the New Zealand Defence forces in the next 25 years, Government's policy objectives, the strategic outlook, and the fiscal context. While New Zealand is unlikely to face direct military threat, the paper states that:
“(T)he rules-based international order is under pressure. Key international institutions are struggling to forge consensus on a range of trans-boundary issues. New military technologies are emerging and the threat of proliferation is growing. Terrorism is a continuing challenge to state authority.”
Future discussion on this subject should consider the expanding role of our defence forces in maritime and border security, the contribution our forces can make in overseas deployment, our capacity to be a ‘credible’ partner in international security cooperation (particularly that which involves the UN), Pacific regional security and funding priorities including the need for a highly skilled, educated, well trained, flexible defence force that can respond equally to bio-security threats, marine security, terrorism, transnational crime, natural disasters, and peacekeeping/ reconstruction (here or overseas). Such a dialogue should challenge traditional thinking about the role of the military in society.
• With nearly 99% of the vote counted, the referendum in Southern Sudan has confirmed the succession of a new state in the South. This provides an opportunity for the people to begin to address the genocide and other human rights abuses. President al-Bashir has announced that the North will respect the election results. Nonetheless, support will be needed to maintain stability and security in this war torn region which struggles with a tenuous peace maintained since 2005. The new state has not yet been recognised with a seat in the UN General Assembly, but such a relatively peaceful succession is testament to the role of international organisations and international attention paid to the issues in Sudan.
• President Obama’s nuclear agenda received a boost with the ratification of the New START treaty at the end of December 2010. This ratification was announced as part of a package of concessions extracted from the Republican Party. This treaty is the beginning of what is envisioned to become a series of agreements which address a broad spectrum of nuclear security issues including non-strategic nuclear weapons and future reductions.
• Recent events in the Middle East including the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, the mass protests in Egypt culminating in the resignation of President Mubarak in Egypt. This has had an influence in the wider region including catalysing unrest in Syria and the dismissal of the Jordanian government by effort by King Abdulla. These are separate but related events that demonstrate a changing relationship between Middle Eastern governments and their citizens. Middle Eastern governments now face the prospect of civil unrest and increasing international pressure to comply with citizen expectations and demands. The reaction of the Obama Administration demonstrates a shift in US foreign policy, as the Administration balances the twin demands of maintaining stability in a regional ally while simultaneously recognising the democratic aspiration of the peoples.
Cyber activism through Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr etc) was a primary factor in mobilising citizens, acting as the public voice of the protests, updating and communicating with international supporters. The spread of mobile communications technology has changed the nature and awareness of public protests in these states, in a manner similar to the recent protests in Iran. Questions have been raised as to the true nature of the influence of social media, particularly the impact on domestic audiences given that the targeted audience is predominantly external. This impact can been seen where the Egyptian government restricted access to information technology and the media (in particular the internet, Al Jazera and Twitter). The cooperation Google, Youtube and Twitter to relay information through their networks (‘Speak to Tweet’) should be development of interest for future policy making.
Lastly, the Egyptian situation raises a number of concerns: the conspicuous absence of women and the hand over to the military without any statement or commitment as to how the transition will be managed.
• Alongside the continuing Wikileaks developments (including the November 28, 2010 release of US diplomatic cables also aptly described as cyber activism), cyber terrorism and cyber warfare are emerging as international issues. Industry experts suggest that instances of cyber-sabotage and cyber-espionage are on the increase. The most startling example of this is the Stuxnet attack on the Iranian nuclear program. This very sophisticated worm was most likely had to be developed by governments given the resource expenditure required. The issue of cyber warfare was recently on the agenda of the UK-NZ diplomatic discussions and is a situation that should be watched with interest.
Relevant activity and upcoming events:
• International Network for Emerging Nuclear Specialists (INENS) was established by a group of young policy specialists (including myself as Co-Director) concerned that constructive dialogue was largely absence from the 'nuclear' debate, be it at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May or between civil society and those involved in nuclear-related policy-making and the nuclear industry. We are the only group of young professionals that seeks to include parties from across these fields. We are concerned that safety, security and forward-looking decision-making in the area of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy suffers greatly because policy makers, scientific and technical experts, and civil society are not successful in their communications with each other. We have created a network to facilitate this dialogue which is driven by the emerging specialists we seek to connect. We believe that people who are new to this field have an important role to play in ensuring a safer and more sustainable future, particularly through information sharing. We hope that this network will facilitate a wide variety of projects and partnerships. We remain entirely independent and seek to engage with a wide variety of participants.
Please see the website at www.inens.org. We are currently working towards hosting a seminar in the days before the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington, DC Sunday 27th March.
• International workshop on Nuclear Security in Southeast Asia, February 16/17, 2011. Hosted by Dr Tanya Ogilvie-White, University of Canterbury, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and the Defence Threat Reduction Agency. Held in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Natasha Barnes - SO for Peace and Security
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