Members of Women Building Peace march on the United States
Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia calling for an end to the violence
in Liberia. International peace organizations like Women Building
Peace are part of the groundswell of justice and peace organizations
uniting people across borders and changing global politics.
The United States
is often referred to as a superpower, but a growing number of
people are calling global movements for peace and justice another
superpower. Some refer to it as "transnational civil society"
or the "Third Force" or nongovernmental organization
(NGO) power. Whatever we call it, these justice and peace movements
make it possible to move mountains by joining global efforts
Here are some examples:
In July 2001, the International Criminal Court was created
to deal with individuals responsible for genocide, crimes against
humanity and war crimes. After years of negotiations in the United
Nations (UN), this world court was established in spite of resistance
from several countries, including the United States. Advocates
worked with governments to draft statutes, ensuring the court
would be strong and could exist independent of the UN. Networks
were organized in nearly every country around the world to achieve
government support and educate communities about various crimes
To join these efforts, contact the American
Nongovernmental Organizations Coalition for the International
Criminal Court (AMICC), 801 Second Ave., 2nd floor, New York,
NY 10017-4706; www.amicc.org
In March 1999, the Mine Ban Treaty came into effect. Nearly
three- quarters of the world's nations have signed the treaty.
More than 15,000 people are maimed or killed by landmines each
year and millions more suffer the agricultural and economic impact
of these weapons. Most of the victims are civilians-women, children
and the elderly. The Mine Ban Treaty has reduced the numbers
and use of landmines in spite of opposition from countries, including
the United States, that use and manufacture landmines. Nongovernmental
organizations initiated the campaign and worked to make it succeed
all over the world.
To join the United States campaign against
landmines and learn what you can do, contact the U.S. Campaign
to Ban Landmines, 100 Boylston St., Suite 702, Boston, MA 02116;
In October 2000, the UN Security Council passed the first
resolution on the impact of war on women and women's contributions
to conflict resolution and peace building. This resolution urges
countries to increase representation of women at all decision-making
levels and the UN Secretary General to appoint more women as
special representatives and envoys in field operations. It also
addresses rape and violence against women during wartime. Now
a coalition called Peace Women is working to implement this resolution
in conflict situations around the world.
To learn more about Peace Women, contact
Peace Women, UN Office, 777 United Nations Plaza, 6th Floor,
New York, NY 10017; 212/682-1265; www.peacewomen.org.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) participates in all of these
efforts through General Assembly actions, by educating churches
and by working at the United Nations to advance these issues.
Read more about the PC(USA)'s efforts; visit www.pcusa.org/peacemaking/UN.
Jennifer Butler is associate for global issues at the Presbyterian
United Nations Office.
For more information, contact the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington,
DC 20002; 202/543-1126; fax 202/543-7755; www.pcusa.org.