The Swedish Peace- and Arbitration Society has established contact with an Afghan organization called CPAU, Cooperation for Peace And Unity. CPAU was founded in October 1996 and works for the promotion of knowledge and awareness of peace, social justice and human rights as the foundation upon which the nation building efforts in Afghanistan should be based. They work with local communities by establishing peace councils and give educational programs and training on how to solve conflicts peacefully. Together we are establishing a partnership for closer cooperation in the future where we i.e are looking at funding for joint projects to be able to support CPAU’s local peace councils and their peace building activities.
When reporting from Afghanistan, one mostly hears tragic stories about the conflicts and wars, negative developments and poverty. Positive stories of successful examples of peaceful conflict resolutions are seldom told. One of these stories is the one of CPAU’s peace building programme which is a major success. Ever since it started running in 1996, CPAU’s approach to peaceful conflict resolution at local levels has been very effective. Read more about the positive effects of the works of CPAU in our Peace Monitor report here.
SPAP has also been working with a network of international NGO’s coordinated by Crisis Action in different projects concerning Afghanistan. We think it’s time for a new approach that focuses on what Afghans need to build a better future and what the international community needs to do to support them. Learn more about the collaboration here.
In 2005 the Swedish Peace and Arbitrations Society established cooperation with the Chechen human rights organization Mothers of Chechnya (MoC). The non-governmental organization was founded in 1995 as a response to the enormous amount of enforced disappearances during the first Chechen conflict. The main goal for MoC is peace and stability in Chechnya and Northern Caucasus and they are trying to achieve that through tolerance, dialogue and cooperation.
One of two main priorities for the organization is the work on disappearances. People searching for missing relatives or friends are offered assistance free of charge. MoC helps the applicants throughout the whole chain of actions, from filling out a form with data on the missing person to taking a case to trial. Throughout this process the applicants get psychological support from MoC.
The second priority for MoC is to give voice to the Chechen civilian population on an international level. The head of the organization is travelling constantly, mostly within the European Union, to put the spotlights on Chechnya and to bring cases of disappearances to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
In 1994 the Swedish Peace and Arbitrations Society launched an extensive cooperation with one of the largest grassroots organizations in Russia, Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia. The organization is perhaps the broadest popular movement to date in Russia. They have regional committees in 47 locations in the country where they, among many things, help military conscripts who are victims of oppression, assist families in obtaining information about missing and dead, and work for a humanization of the army. Oppression and bullying in the Russian army is widespread and there are reports that about 80 percent of all conscripts in Russia are victims of abuse. Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia states that each year as many as 2000 people die in different regiments in Russia.
SPAS has arranged courses in organizational development, created a handbook for the soldier mothers and helped them to improve internal communications within the organization by allowing them to create their own website. An important part of our project is to enable the soldier mothers from different areas and regions of Russia to come together to meet and exchange experiences in the seminars.
In 2008 SPAS initiated cooperation with organizations in India working for disarmament. We want to focus on the relationship between security and development. In India, military funding is prioritized instead of the availability of food and water. In 2006 India spent $ 3.5 billion on arms meanwhile one third of the world’s one billion poor live in India. 80 percent of the population lives on less than $ 2 a day. One of the organizations we have worked with is CAFI (Control Arms Foundation of India). CAFI was established in New Delhi 2004 and works to find solutions to end ongoing armed violence caused by small arms and light weapons that is going on in the region. They propose new ideas for security thinking and works to bring together security, disarmament and development in order to put human security first.
Together with CAFI, SPAS have arranged disarmament conferences in Bangalore 2009 (Disarmament for Peace and Development – Warfare or Welfare?) and in New Delhi 2010 (Delhi Disarmament Conference and Events) to strengthen the Indian peace- and disarmament movement. The conferences on disarmament have taken place at the same time as major arms fairs were being held in the country. In 2009 one of the world’s largest air force fairs took place in Bangalore and in 2010 a huge arms fair was held in the capital New Delhi. SPAS has been present at both fairs to protest against the fact that Sweden is trying to sell weapons to India even though it is so obvious that the money is needed for other things.
Since the end of 2010 SPAS conducts a joint project with the Burmese democracy movement in exile on the border between Thailand and Burma. Together with different civil society groups, representatives of ethnic parties and ethnic armed groups, the project aims to discuss future security in Burma from a broad perspective, including issues related to human security, reform of the traditional security sector (army, police etc), a democratic governance of the security sector and issues related to disarmament and reintegration into society of figting parties.The project is carried out as a series of seminars with local and international experts and concerned Burmese groups and will lead to a proposec a plan for security sector reform in Burma.