New York – Leaders of peace networks from all over the world have joined the burgeoning campaign for peace in the Philippines. This, amidst vociferous calls for an “all-out war” in Mindanao following the debacle in Basilan where 19 soldiers were killed two weeks ago in what independent observers see as a “mis-encounter”.
In a conference on human security in New York last week, several prominent peace activists signed the petition of the One Million Voices for Peace in the Philippines which seeks a peaceful negotiated settlement to the armed conflicts in the Philippines.
Emmanuel Bombande, Chair of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), said that “the increasing proximity of our global community and our understanding of peace in GPPAC makes peace in the Philippines peace in West Africa”. Bombande hails from Ghana.
Other leaders who attended the conference that also tackled the impact of counter terrorism measures on civil society work including the Director of Permanent Peace Movement in the Middle East Fadi Abi Allam said that the One Million Voices campaign reflects that “Peace is indivisible. How can I be for peace in Lebanon and not for peace in the Philippines? War starts with mutual defeat and ends by counting losses and victims. Nobody wins in war”.
Colombian Jesuit priest Mauricio Garcia-Duran and Director of the Centro de Investigacion y Educacion Popular simply said “Because we also want peace in Colombia”.
?The One Million Voices for Peace in the Philippines
Indonesian Professor and a leading member of the Nahadatul Ulama (NU) Amir Rana said “It’s important to have peace in Mindanao for peace to be achieved in the region. It is an essential right of the Mindanao peoples to have a peaceful life and as an Indonesian and neighbor we very much want to see peace as it affects us in the ASEAN”. NU is a member of the International Contact Group (ICG) that is accompanying the peace talks between the government and the MILF.
Lisa Schirch, head of the influential American 3P Human Security network and Professor at the Eastern Mennonite University said that the One Million campaign must be supported as “history tells us that peace talks are the only way to secure a sustainable peace”.