WPC European Regional Meeting held in Almada, Portugal

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Peoples of Europe for Peace
No to NATO

The Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation (CPPC) host the World Peace Council European Regional Meeting, held in Almada, Portugal, on 19 and 20 March.
The WPC Regional Meeting was attended by the: German Peace Council; International Action for Liberation – Belgium; Civic Association Soldiers Against War – Czech Republic; Cyprus Peace Council; Peace and Neutrality Alliance – Ireland; Finnish Peace Committee; Movement for Peace – France; Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace; and Peace Association of Turkey. Also participating were the President of WPC, Socorro Gomes, from CEBRAPAZ, and the Executive Secretary from GCIDP.

The planing of convergent actions against NATO – considering NATO summit, to be held on July 8-9, 2016, em Warsaw, Poland – was a central issue in the meeting. The organizations aproved an "Appeal to the organizations and activists in Europe that defend the cause of Peace – Yes to Peace! No to NATO!" and planned common actions against NATO.

Under the slogan «Peoples of Europe for Peace – No to NATO», the two day important meeting also addressed other issues like the: central aspects of the evolution of the situation in Europe and worldwide and the intervention of each organization; the end of the arms race; the elimination of foreign military bases; the abolition of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction; against the rising presence of USA/NATO in northern Europe as part of the strategy to encircle the Russian Federation; solidarity with the peoples victim of imperialist aggression; activities in representation of the WPC in UN institutions in Europe; preparation of the World Peace Assembly, in Brazil, in November 2016; and the preparation of the WPC secretariat meeting, in Greece, in May 28-29, 2016.

The meeting adopted several decisions for the development of diversified initiatives aiming at the strengthening of the peace movement in Europe, and issued several documents, namely:
- No to War! Solidarity with the refugees!
- For the Abolition of all Nuclear Weapons
- Solidarity with the Sahrawi prisoners on hunger strike
- Solidarity with Brazil
- Solidarity with Cuba

During their stay in Almada, the organizations attending the regional meeting, had the opportunity to participate in the «Seminar on the timeliness of the struggle for Peace», a CPPC initiative in collaboration with the Almada Town Hall with the participation of WPC President, where the Mayor of Almada, Joaquim Judas and the Chairperson of CPPC, Ilda Figueiredo, were also part of the panel.

No to War!
Solidarity with the refugees!

The continued and prolonged encroachments and wars of aggression led by the US, NATO and their allies, in the Middle East, in Africa, in Central Asia and in Europe provoked an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, also expressed as dozens of millions of displaced and refugees, hundreds of thousands of which seek asylum in European Union countries.
The action of the European Union and its member States regarding refugees is a grave attack upon human rights and represents an unacceptable setback: with the construction of effective "walls" on its borders; with the confiscation of the assets of refugees; with the creation of camps without the minimal conditions of for housing; with the refusal of providing the more elementary care, without respect for the dignity of of hundreds of thousands of children, women and men, many of which are victims of criminal networks.
This violent and inhumane escalation has worsened with the decision taken by the European Union, under the pretext of "protection of the external borders of the UE, reinforcing the repressive measures, of administrative, police and military character, including the grave agreement between the EU and Turkey, attempting to stop the entry and promoting the expulsion of refugees, and highlighting the "fortress europe" nature of the EU.
Equal gravity assumes the decision of the European Union of attributing to NATO, in collaboration with the FRONTEX Agency, the control and policing of the Aegean
Sea and the borders of countries that integrate the EU, using the dramatic situation of the refugees to reinforce the presence of NATO in the Mediterranean, increasingly militarizing the region.
We consider that these actions represent the continuation of our policy of aggression against peoples that, with intrusions and war, created the chaos in the countries of origin of refugees, which demonstrates the real nature of the European Union policies.
The EU policies are responsible for the promotion and the growth racism and xenophobia and the reactionary and extreme-right forces that give them expression.
The policies and actions will increase the humanitarian crisis, which will only having solution when the intrusions and wars of aggression end, when the principles of the UN charter are respected, namely the sovereign right of peoples to decide their destiny and live in peace.
Given the dramatic situation of million of refugees, the WPC European Regional Meeting, held in Almada, Portugal on 19 and 20 of March:
1. Condemns the policies and practices of encroachment and war by the US, NATO and their allies that destroyed sovereign States and are the origin of such a high number of refugees, reaffirming that it is urgent and imperative to end the wars of aggression in the Middle East and Africa, promote political negotiations that find solutions to conflicts, and the cooperation, supporting the economic and social development so that refugees have conditions to return to their countries of origin;
2. Repudiates the inhumane measures of the European Union aiming the creation of a fortress Europe, reject the intervention of NATO in the Aegean Sea, the creation of walls, securitarian measures that attack fundamental rights, liberties and guarantees, and demands that all countries respect the United Nations charter and the international legislation that protects the right of refugees;
3. Appeals to the realization of actions that give public expression to the repudiation of wars of aggression in the Middle East and in Africa, and the demand for the end of repressive and militarist measures against refugees, defending solidarity, the support and respect for their rights and human dignity.

Appeal to the organizations and activists in Europe that defend the cause of Peace
Yes to Peace! No to NATO!
Protest NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit!

The North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the largest and most dangerous military organization in the World. NATO is an instrument of the US foreign and economic policies, and has in the European Union its European pillar. Its broadening in Eastern Europe and of amplification of its multiple «strategic partnerships», since the last decade of the previous century, and reinforced the military presence of the US and NATO in Europe and projected the action of the political-military block to, practically, all continents and regions of the world.
The vast network of foreign military bases, the naval squadrons, the anti-missile systems and the systems of global vigilance, that the US and its allies in NATO have spread through Europe and the world are instruments of its strategy of imperialist domination – its objectives today are openly offensive and its area of intervention is the whole planet.
NATO does not cease increasing its military activities and expanding its bases - including the installation of US anti-missile system -- from the Caspian Sea to the Artic, increasingly near the borders of the Russian Federation.
NATO member countries, in particular the US, are responsible for the overwhelming majority of military spending in the world and for the race to ever more sophisticated armaments, including nuclear weapons.
NATO pressures its members to increase their military budgets. For NATO there is never lack of money for war, while in the meantime policies against the rights and incomes of workers and peoples are promoted in its member countries.
NATO intervened directly or supported military interventions in countries of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. NATO bombed Yugoslavia and is responsible for the destabilization, violence and war that today mark the reality in the Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan. In none of the cases was the objective or the result democracy or Peace - the only legacy was death and destruction, and an increased dominion over resources and profits by big companies from NATO member countries.
NATO is responsible for the drama of millions of displaced and refugees that seek to escape from the horror of war.
This militarist action feeds an escalation of tensions, imperialist aggression and the real threat of a generalized war and the danger of a nuclear confrontation that would mean the destruction of civilization throughout the planet.
NATO is the main threat to Peace in Europe and the world.
War is not inevitable! The forces of Peace, the peoples have a word to say!
The World Peace Council appeals to all organizations and activists in Europe that defend the cause of Peace to promote actions against NATO, for the dissolution of this political-military block, for the respect of the right of each people to decide to remove its country from this military organization.
In this framework, the WPC appeals to the development of a broad “Yes to Peace! No to NATO!” campaign and a global mobilization against NATO on July 8-9th, 2016, during the NATO Summit in Warsaw.
Denouncing the aggressive nature of NATO and the warmongering objectives of its Warsaw Summit, the World Peace Council appeals for the affirmation of:
• The withdrawal of all NATO forces involved in military aggressions;
• The end of blackmail, destabilization and wars of aggression against sovereign states;
• The support to refugees, war victims that NATO promotes and supports;
• The closing of military bases in foreign territory and the dismantling of USA and NATO
anti missile system;
• The general disarmament and abolition of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction;
• The dissolution of NATO;
• The respect of the principles of the founding charter of the UN and of the sovereignty and equality of peoples and States.
On July 8-9, Europe say
Yes to Peace! No to NATO!

For the Abolition of all Nuclear Weapons

The increase of international tension and the militarization of international relations have as particularly grave and dangerous aspects the arms race, the increase of military spending and the strategic investment in the maintenance and development of powerful nuclear arsenals and of other weapons of mass destruction. This tendency, that is worsening year after year, increases the risks of a generalized military conflagration and its consequences.

Regarding nuclear weapons, there continues to be no advance towards their abolition, on the contrary: the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is not only not respected but is used, in a truncated and unilateral form, as an instrument of pressure and blackmail against several countries, while main holders of this type of armament maintain and renew their arsenals -- in clear violation of the spirit of the Treaty, which stipulates the dismantlement of the existing nuclear weapons.

The current nuclear arsenals, with a level of destruction incomparably higher than the US bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 1945, are a disquieting motive of concern for humanity, for their use would be the end of civilization as we know it.

Particularly grave is the recent modernization of tactical nuclear weapons that the US maintain in Europe, particularly as the US deployed to this continent fighters that can transport them. In the US military doctrine remains the possibility of using these nuclear weapons in a first strike.

Founding cause of the global Peace movement, in the dawn of the 1950s, expressed in the Stockholm Appeal, the abolition of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction and general, simultaneous and controlled disarmament is still one of the central demands of our time and one of the fundamental issues towards the maintenance of peace and the survival of humankind itself.

The organizations affirm their will and appeal to:

- initiatives on August 6th and 9th of 2016, in memory of the victims of the US nuclear bombings against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in 1945 - so that the nuclear horror is never forgotten:

- The reinforcement of the struggle for the abolition of all nuclear and mass destruction weapons, towards the end of the arms race and for a process of general and controlled disarmament

So that the nuclear holocaust is never repeated.

Solidarity with the Sahrawi prisoners on hunger strike

On March 1st, 13 Sahrawi political prisoners initiated a hunger strike, for an undetermined period, claiming the right to their freedom and calling attention of the international community to a detention the United Nations considers arbitrary (2014 Report by the Special Rapporteur for arbitrary detention).
The European Regional meeting of the World Peace Council, held on March 19th 2016 in Almada, Portugal, manifests its support and solidarity with the Gdeim Izik Sahrawi prisoners, in captivity for more than five years.
The condemnation of these men by the royal Moroccan Armed Forces Court to sentences that very between 20 years to life in prison demonstrates the Moroccan State's oppression against the peaceful struggle of the Sahrawi people for their independence.
This was a condemnation of civilians by a military court. The trial was considered null due to procedural violations and lack of evidence. In fact, the 40 international observers present, including portugueses, were unanimous in denouncing not only the illegality of the trial but also the continued pressures and threats exerted during the whole process by the Moroccan authorities over the observers themselves and their translators.
The detentions of Gdeim Izik occurred in the end of 2010, when the forces of Moroccan occupation violently dismantled the Dignity Camp, where dozens of thousands of Sahrawis were concentrating to claim the respect for their fundamental rights and liberties.
The attending organizations of the Regional Meeting reaffirmed the solidarity with the Sahrawi political prisoners, demanding their unconditional release, and with all the Sahrawi people, for their right for self-determination and demand the immediate withdrawal of the Kingdom of Morocco, including its military, police and auxiliary forces and colonists, from the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
Almada, March 20th 2016

Solidarity with Brazil

Gathered in Almada, Portugal, on 19 and 20 of March 2016, the WPC European Region member organizations state their solidarity with the Brazilian people, that has been the target of attacks against democracy, freedom and the Rue of Law, organized by anti-democratic and profoundly backward sectors.
Recent times have been marked by grave actions that search to destabilize and subvert Brazilian constitutional order, this has been supported by forces of financial capital that seek to achieve what they could not achieve through elections: Remove from office the legitimate president and revert the progressive conquests of the Brazilian people.
Reactionary forces count with sectors of the judiciary power that, straying from their duty to defend, comply with and uphold the constitution, guaranteeing the Rule of Law, have transformed some judicial institutions in trenches of the forces that attack freedom and democracy.
The WPC European Regional Meeting expresses its confidence that the Brazilian people will defend a way forward that ensures their rights, democracy, freedom and Peace.

Almada, 20 of March 2016.

Solidarity with Cuba

On the occasion of the visit of the President of the US to Cuba, on March 20-22, the organizations bellow decide to:

-Demonstrate their solidarity with Cuba and its heroic people that for more than 50 years resist the inadmissible economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US, which still stands, including its extra-territorial reach, and demand its immediate end.
- Express their support with Cuba's struggle for the end of the US naval base installed in Guantanamo, that is installed there against the will of the people of Cuba for more than 100 years, and reaffirm the demand that the jurisdiction to Cuba be respected over this territory, returning it to Cuba;
- Reaffirm the demand that the sovereign will of the Cuban people and the sovereignty and independence of Cuba be respected and all the pressures and form of intrusion by the US against Cuba cease, ending the policy of "regime change".
- Salute the solidarity of Cuba with threatened peoples and countries threatened by the imperialist intrusions and aggressions, like the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Venezuelan people, who defend their sovereignty in the face of the destabilization by the US.
- Salute, once more, the persistent role of Cuba in the defense of Peace, including the recent example their commitment in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of Peace realized by the CELAC countries held in Havana, Cuba on January 28-29, 2014, that includes the absolute respect for independence and sovereignty, the inalienable right of any State to decide their political, economic, social and cultural system without any intrusion; and equality and reciprocity.
- Salute the resistance, courage and coherence of Cuba and its people in defense of their patriotic and internationalist cause, their Revolution, element of hope for the struggle of peoples for freedom, human rights, sovereignty, justice and social progress, for Peace.

Brazilian Centre of Solidarity with the Peoples and Struggle for Peace
Civic Association Soldiers Against War – Czech Republic
Cyprus Peace Council
Finnish Peace Committee
German Peace Council
Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace
International Action for Liberation – Belgium
Movement for Peace - France
Peace and Neutrality Alliance - Ireland
Peace Association of Turkey
Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation
Swiss Peace Movement