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Let us see what Peace can do

Let us see what Peace can do

A shared statement by peacebuilding organizations
International Day of Peace, 21 September 2021

The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute was a signatory to this statement. Click here for more information and to see a full list of the signatories. Visit the UN 2021 International Day of Peace website here.

Without peace, development will falter

Without justice, hope will wither

Without inclusion, we will all be left behind.

Can we find our way back? 18 months into a global pandemic, our hearts go out to those who are suffering. We are in awe of the extraordinary efforts by so many to save lives and offer comfort. Yet, in too many ways, humanity has fallen short. COVID-19 has shown us the fragility of our institutions and the fault lines in international cooperation, just as the need for unified action is more urgent than ever in the face of the expanding climate emergency.

In 1945, the United Nations was founded to ‘promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom’. But the steady progress that has been made is now at risk, not only from the challenges we face but also from the way we respond to them. Responses to crises that increase violence, injustice, and exclusion will exacerbate development losses and human suffering, leaving many behind.

As we face the stark human-made realities of a warming planet, we must redouble our peace efforts, to help mediate and navigate the immense shifts in power and resources that will be needed to forestall further avoidable temperature rise, to prevent and resolve the conflicts that may be exacerbated or precipitated by environmental destruction; and to prepare the path to a more sustainable, peaceful, and equitable future. We must re-dedicate ourselves to the 2030 Agenda vision of a global partnership of all stakeholders to foster peace, justice, and inclusion, not just in development, but as a goal to unite all efforts to transform our world and respond to the challenges we face. Peace is not an add-on: peace is the way.

As organizations devoted to building peace and justice around the world, we call on the international community to:

  • Refocus on peace, justice, and inclusion, in development, in crisis response, and in addressing the climate emergency. The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs show that development gains are only sustainable if accompanied by efforts by all governments to foster peace, justice, and inclusion. We know that for crisis response to be effective, it needs to be transformative, rooted in the needs of affected communities, and tied to long-term efforts to further peace, development, and human rights. Now we need to embed these lessons in all our actions to address the climate emergency and its root causes. As governments come together this year, we urge delegates to recall that no technical or political solutions will be sustainable unless they are inclusive and equitable, foster trust, include mechanisms to address grievances and promote resilience, respect human rights, and leave no one behind.
  • Mainstream and step up investment in peace. Meeting the challenges that the world now faces will require significant resources. These investments will have a more sustainable impact when they are crafted to foster peace, justice, and inclusion as an integral part of their health, humanitarian, economic, or security objectives. We call on member states to mainstream conflict-sensitive and risk-informed approaches that are people-centered and promote long-term sustainable peace in all funding for crisis response and development, and in that spirit to support the upcoming UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Financing for Peacebuilding.
  • Prioritize inclusion and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The inclusion and participation of all people is vital, including women, youth, minorities, indigenous peoples, and those with disabilities. This year has been witness to a deeper focus on entrenched and systemic patterns of intersectional exclusion, including racism, as highlighted in the establishment of a Permanent Forum on People of African Descent. We support OHCHR’s Agenda Towards Transformative Change for Racial Justice and Equality. The bedrock of sustainable development is inclusion, and it is just as important amid crisis where engaging endogenous capacities and perspectives is critical.
  • Step away from securitized responses. This month marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The horror of that moment stays with us, and we continue to grieve. And we also grieve for all the lives lost since then. The preoccupation with counterterrorism has not made the world any safer. We have seen increasingly militarized and violent reactions to political dissent, the normalization of torture and extrajudicial killing, and international relations determined more by the perceived security needs of a few, rather than the right to peace and development of the many. Violence is never the answer. As our communities are ever more buffeted by change, governments must protect civic space, become more accountable and inclusive, and respect international humanitarian and human rights law.
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Open Letter in Support of Continuing Recognition of Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun as Myanmar’s Permanent Representative at the UN General Assembly

Open Letter in Support of Continuing Recognition of Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun as Myanmar’s Permanent Representative at the UN General Assembly

MPI joined 358 CSOs urging UN Member States to ensure that Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun retains his position as Myanmar’s representative to the UN for the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Read the full letter below.

Statement of the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. on the Situation in Myanmar

March 22, 2021

We, the undersigned Board of Trustees, staff, alumni, facilitators, and volunteers of the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. (MPI) from Asia-Pacific and other parts of the world, express our full support to our fellow alumni from Myanmar and their people in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. We strongly condemn the escalation of violent repression of peaceful protesters across the country.

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We dared because you had our backs!

We dared because you had our backs!

Fr Jun Mercado with microphoneHow does one write a tribute to a great man whose void no one can fill, not because of his size but because of the many things he has done? But I will try.

You were one of the seven priests who advised Archbishop Philip Smith on the new Justice and Peace Ministry of the Archdiocese of Cotabato, and I was hired as its first lay coordinator in 1986. During the first meeting, which you hosted at the Notre Dame University (NDU) faculty house, I was sorting out the documents for distribution when you came in and asked, “Where’s coffee?” I remember there was silence, and I looked up, and everybody was looking at me. I panicked! You left the room, and there was small talk going around, but I was really feeling so bad! You returned to the room with another person who had a huge coffee maker full of coffee, and the bishop and the priests started lining up for their coffee. After the meeting, you jokingly told me, “Next time, be sure to prepare coffee and snacks during our meetings.” I remember answering back, “Not part of my job description!” But really, I was truly grateful to you.

Statement on the Arrest of Saw Phoe Kwar, MPI Alumnus

Statement on the Arrest of Saw Phoe Kwar, MPI Alumnus

The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) calls for the immediate release of Saw Phoe Kwar, an MPI alumnus, who was arrested in Myanmar after the military coup d’état that took place on 1 February 2021, and for all who have been detained due to their involvement in national protests and civil disobedience, seeking a return to the rule of law and democratic governance.

Saw Phoe Kwar in classSaw Phoe Kwar participated in MPI’s 2016 Annual Peacebuilding Training where he joined other peace advocates and practitioners in a training to hone their skills in conflict transformation and peacebuilding. When applying for the Annual Peacebuilding Training, Saw wrote, “My work and my wish is to serve the community, nation and all people from the whole world through peace messages from my reggae music. I have two simple messages: ‘Stop the hate’ and ‘Love one another,’ inspiration for which I distilled down from my reading of the Bible.” Saw joined the Annual Peacebuilding training so that he could develop strategic approaches to peacebuilding through music and football in conflict-prone regions in Myanmar. His goal has been to create an “artists’ community for peace” and unite artists and celebrities to work for peace.

MPI urges peacebuilders from around the world and in particular its alumni, network partners, colleagues, and friends to sign the petition demanding the release of Saw Phoe Kwar, and to support other campaigns and efforts calling for the release of all of those detained since 1 February 2021 and a return to the rule of law and democratic governance that can be found at these links:

Let us show our solidarity and concern for the people of Myanmar at this critical time in its history!

MPI provides a space for community development workers, academics, humanitarian relief workers, social workers, teachers, indigenous peoples, police and military officers, and others from diverse backgrounds and faith traditions to learn together in an open and safe environment to respect differences, embrace diversity and seek justice and peace for their communities through nonviolent means.

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