WPC Secretariat and Asia-Pacific Regional Meetings held in Laos
Press Release from the Secretariat Meeting held in Vientiane/Lao PDR 25-26 November 2019
The Secretariat meeting of the World Peace Council took place successfully in the capital of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Vientiane on 25th and 26th November 2019, hosted by the Lao Committee for Peace and Solidarity (LCPS) in excellent conditions. It was after more than 35 years that the WPC held constitutional meetings in the Lao PDR.
The Meeting was attended by eleven (11) out of thirteen (13) Secretariat members, namely by the
Brazilian Center for the Solidarity of the peoples and Struggle for Peace (CEBRAPAZ),
Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace (EEDYE)
Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples (MOVPAZ)
US Peace Council (USPC)
Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation (CPPC)
Cyprus Peace Council (CPC)
Palestinian Committee for Peace and Solidarity (PCPS)
Syrian National Peace Council (SNPC)
South African Peace Initiative (SAPI)
All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO)
Nepal Peace and Solidarity Council (NPSC)
The WPC meetings were welcomed by the President of LCPS Somphan Phanegkhamy and the Vice-President Alounxay Sounalath in the respective meetings.
The WPC Secretariat attended, as guests, the WPC members from Asia &Pacific region, besides the Organisations from India and Nepal, also the ones from Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, DPR Korea, Vietnam and the host Organisation from Laos, who held their regional meeting on 24th November in Vientiane. A separate regional communiqué has been issued on this occasion.
The President of WPC Socorro Gomes held a speech at the beginning of the meeting while the General Secretary Thanassis Pafilis presented his Report to the Secretariat. Both documents will be published as introductory documents of the meeting.
The Meeting discussed as well the reports of the five Regional Coordinators from Africa (SAPI), Americas & Caribbean (MOVPAZ), Asia &Pacific (NPSC), Europe (CPPC) and Middle East (PCPS) along with special reports on the WPC website and the work of the WPC at the UN offices in New York and Geneva.
During the meeting the participants had the chance to visit important historical and political sites in Vientiane and were received, during a Courtesy Call visit, by H.E. Xaysomphone Phomvihan, President of the Lao Front for National Development and Member of the Political Bureau of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
An important session was held during the WPC meeting when the LCPS informed about the consequences of the Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) from the 3 millions tons of bombs which the USA had dropped on Laos during their dirty war against Vietnam. Laos with approximately 3 million population at that time was the most heavily bombed country in the world.
The Secretariat decided to hold its next Executive Committee Meeting in Cyprus on 30th and 31st March 2020, where amongst other topics also the venue and date of the next World Assembly of the WPC will be discussed and decided. In a first discussion the participants of the meeting welcomed the preliminary readiness of the Vietnam Peace Committee to host the next WPC Assembly tentatively in the first months of the year 2021 in Vietnam.
The WPC Secretariat discussed organizational and financial matters and concluded successfully with the adoption of the following Plan of Actions for the coming period.
Plan of Actions
To support and participate in the anti-NATO rally in London on the occasion of the NATO summit and 70th anniversary under the WPC campaign «Yes to Peace-No to NATO»
To observe the birth centenary of the historical leader of the WPC Romesh Chandra in January 2020 in Raipur/India, organized by AIPSO India
To support the International Conference for Peace, Friendship and Cooperation to be held on 27th-28th February 2020 in Kathmandu and organized by NPSC Nepal
To organize together with the US coalition against US foreign Military Bases the Cyprus International Conference against Imperialism (https://antiimperialistconferencecyprus.org/) on 28th and 29th March 2020 in Larnaca/Cyprus, hosted by the Cyprus Peace Council
To hold the Executive Committee of the WPC in Cyprus on 30th and 31st March 2020
To support the 9th Trilateral Meeting of Cyprus Peace Council, Greek Committee for Peace and Deténte and Peace Committee of Turkey, under the auspices of WPC,to be held in Cyprus on 1 April 2020
To support the International Conference for the challenges of the proclamation of Latin America& Caribbean as one of Peace, in Havana/Cuba from 27-29 April 2020, organized by MOVPAZ Cuba
To hold the African Regional Meeting in Johannesburg/South Africa in May 2020
To endorse the event commemorating the 47th anniversary of the WPC Juliot Currie award to Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 23rd May 2020
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the WPC (Warsaw 1950) in Dhaka/Bangladesh hosted by the BPC on 24th -25th May 2020
To explore with the Japan Peace Committee the holding of a WPC/JPC event in Hiroshima during the events of 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki
To hold the European regional Meeting of the WPC in Lisbon/Portugal in October/November 2020
To explore the possibility for an international solidarity mission to Palestine
Furthermore the WPC shall observe the following important issues and anniversaries:
To observe the 70th anniversary of the Stockholm Appeal (March 1950)
The Global day of Action in solidarity with the people of Venezuela on 19th April 2020
The 75th anniversary of the anti-fascist victory of the Peoples on 9th May 2020
To observe the 75th anniversary of the UN Founding Charter (26th June 1945)
The 6th& 9th August as Hiroshima-Nagasaki day and spread the demand for the total abolition of all Nuclear Weapons and closure of all Foreign Military Bases
To observe the International Day in solidarity with the victims of Agent Orange (10th August)
The Secretariat of the WPC adopted as well special resolutions in solidarity with the peoples of Palestine, Syria, Cyprus and Korea which shall be published and disseminated along with the Press Release, the Regional Communiqué and the introductory documents of the meeting.
Final Communiqué of the Asia Pacific Regional Meeting of the World Peace Council Vientiane / Lao PDR 24th November 2019
The Asia Pacific Regional Meeting of World Peace Council took place successfully in Vientiane Lao PDR on 24th November 2019, hosted by the Lao Committee for Peace and Solidarity (LCPS). The regional meeting was combined with the WPC Secretariat meeting on 25th and 26th November and in total participated by 31 delegates from eighteen (18) countries (Laos, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, DPR Korea, Philippines, Australia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam from the region along with delegates from Brazil, Greece, USA, Portugal, Cyprus, Palestine, Syria, Cuba and South Africa).
The meeting was warmly welcomed by the President of LCPS Somphane Phengkhamy with the presence of the WPC Secretariat and in particular of the WPC President Socorro Gomes, the General Secretary Thanassis Pafilis, the Executive Secretary Iraklis Tsavdaridis and other prominent leaders of the WPC.
The meeting expressed deep concern over the continuing and growing imperialist aggressiveness internationally as well as in the region. Asia&Pacific has as region the second largest contingent of Nuclear weapons deployed, after Europe and after the withdrawal of the US from the INF treaty, the dangers for new arms race and new threats to peace and security are on the rise. Additionally the WPC expresses its serious concern for the bilateral military agreements of the US with almost all countries from South Asia, to South East Asia, Far East Asia and Australia.
We stressed the importance of continued peaceful dialogue amongst all concerned parties in order to realize lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by all concerned parties and the complete denuclearization of the Peninsula. We urged the US and South Korean authorities to take a proper stand and attitude on the Panmunjon, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the DPRK-US Joint Statement and continue working towards the realization of lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. We welcomed, although being cautious, the recent dialogues with the aim to reach a peace accod in replacement of the Armistice agreement of 1953. We support the Korean people in their just cause for peaceful and independent reunification of their fatherland. The participants of the meeting stated clearly their demand for the end of the military exercises of USA and its allies on and around the peninsula and for the withdrawal of the US-troops and their weapons from Korean soil.
The participants of the meeting expressed their deep concern about the growing religious fundamentalism, extremism and all kinds of terrorism in the region. These dangerous developments are influenced by sectarian and fundamentalist ideologies which are weakening and undermining the unity of the people and thereby hindering the united struggle of the peoples against imperialism.
The meeting expresses serious concern about the more than one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, which constitute a humanitarian crisis which has to be dealt by the International community and the UN with adequate humanitarian help and with respect to their rights to decent life and repatriation to their homes with civil and political rights. At the same time we object any efforts to instrumantalize the crisis for religious purpose and geostrategical aims by imperialist forces and their allies.
The WPC is following with concern the developments in the South China Sea, particularly about the territorial and maritime disputes between several neighboring countries. We support the peaceful settlement of differences bilaterally and multilaterally between all involved parties. Meanwhile, we reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea and recognized the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. We reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS. We emphasized the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea. We underline our objection to the military presence of non-regional powers in the region, namely the USA, which have their own agenda.
The meeting observed that despite the economic development of many countries in significant level there also exists immense poverty, illiteracy, curable deceases, malnutrition and underdevelopment resulting in the sharpening of social and economic contradictions in this most populated area of the world.
The enlarged Regional meeting of Asia&Pacific of the WPC condemned the recent massacre of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza strip and expressed its solidarity with the people of Palestine in its desire and right for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine in the borders of pre-4th June 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the right for the return of the refugees and the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
Likewise the meeting expressed its solidarity to the Syrian people, who are suffering for more than 8 years an imperialist aggression with hundreds of thousands of victims and millions of refugees. We note with concern that despite the significant victories of the Syrian people and its army, the situation has not been normalized fully. We denounce the invasion of the foreign army into the North of Syria and the violation of the sovereignty of Syria. We demand the withdrawal of all foreign occupation forces from Syria along with their mercenaries.
The meeting underlined its strong condemnation to the recent Coup d’ Etat in Bolivia and the fascist attacks and assassination of leaders of political and social movements which took place after the legitimate re-election of President Evo Morales and the military/police Coup which was clearly sponsored by the USA and the EU. We express our full hearted solidarity also to the people of Venezuela who are defending their achievements and fighting back the imperialist maneuvers of the USA, the EU and the Organisation of American States which are aiming with the local oligarchy at the control of the rich energy resources of the country. We salute the brave people of Cuba which is serving for more than 60 years as symbol of inspiration for the peoples of the world and demand the end of the US blockade along with the sanctions and the efforts to impose new obstacles in trade and tourism.
The regional meeting expressed its solidarity with the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, for the end of the Turkish occupation and for the reunification of their country and the closure of the British Bases on the island.
Last but not least the WPC meeting expressed its respect to the brave Lao people for their resistance during the US aggressive War in the Indochina and the suffering from the bombing of 3 million tons by the USA on the Lao people which were not more than 3 million people at that time. The Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) are causing till today heavy injuries to peasants and children in Laos. We demand the appropriate compensation and measures to end the cause to this problem by the ones who have created it.
The meeting emphasized that all the above developments make it incumbent on WPC member’s organisations to realize the multi dimensional, comprehensive and interconnected nature of these challenges which threatens not only world peace but the very survival of the planet. The peace movements in our region cannot proceed in any meaningful way without assimilating the seriousness of these challenges and without evolving appropriate responses to them. After detailed discussions the meeting identified areas where the Peace movements in this region have to strengthen their activities.
Future activities for the coming period:
• To observe the centenary of birth of the historical leader of the WPC Romesh Chandra in Raipur/India in January 2020
• To endorse and support the "Kathmandu Conference for Peace, Friendship and Co-operation" on 27-28 Feb 2020 in Kathmandu, Nepal.
• To support and participate in the International Anti-imperialist Conference against the global imperialist war machine to be held in Cyprus on 28-29 March 2020
• To support the 9th Trilateral Meeting of Cyprus Peace Council, Greek Committee for Peace and Deténte and Peace Committee of Turkey, under the auspices of WPC,to be held in Cyprus on 1 April 2020
• To explore the possibility of holding an international event commemorating the 70th anniversary of WPC (1950 Warsaw) in Dhaka/Bangladesh along with the 47th anniversary of the “Joliot Curie WPC Award” to the founder of the country Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for May 2020
• To observe 6th and 9th August 2020 as Hiroshima and Nagasaki day and to popularize the demands for total abolition of nuclear weapons in Asia free of all foreign military bases
• To explore with the Japanese Peace Committee to hold a WPC event in Hiroshima on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the martyr cities.
• To observe international day of solidarity with the people of Palestine on 29th November in appropriate manner.
Finally, the meeting extended sincere thanks to the people of Laos and the Lao Committee for Peace and Solidarity (LCPS) for hosting the meeting and providing warm hospitality.
Speech of the WPC President Socorro Gomes
Dear comrades of the World Peace Council’s Secretariat,
Dear friends of the Lao Peace and Solidarity Committee, whom very hospitably, and for which we really thank you, welcomes us in Vientiane, giving us the opportunity of observing the WPC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting and getting to know more about the Lao people’s struggle.
It is a huge challenge, but also a great inspiration to be here with you in the current conjuncture. We see clear signs of the strength of popular resistance in many regions of the world, facing the very grave threats that imperialists and their allies continue to pose us.
At this point we usually introduce what we have been discussing, promoting or rejecting in our many actions all over the world, in constant mobilization, activities that comrade Thanassis Pafilis, our Secretary-General, the Regional Coordinators of our organization, and the national members, will address. Hence, we can draw a general evaluation of the state of our struggle and our challenges to identify our goals, which includes, today, in an organizational sense, the preliminary discussion of the next World Peace Assembly.
Comrades, we are aware of the urgency and the strategic importance of broadening our front of struggle against imperialism. I start with this call, one that each one of us repeatedly make, because our obstacles and challenges are indeed ever more serious. The peoples’ struggles all over the world converge towards the key of our denunciations: the failure of an international system under the dominance, hegemony, and subdued by US imperialism, by the empire of war, exploitation and oppression.
Each passing day we observe how international law, the principles contained in the United Nations Charter, and the very international institutions presented as the promoters of democracy and social justice are the first to be manipulated, distorted by the empire when it suits it or when the generalized threat of the use of force, aggression and war does not suffice. That is why we continue committed with those principles, which are the peoples’ and nations’ instruments in their struggle for liberation and defense of their sovereignties, and whose manipulation by the United States, the European Union and their most vile allies, such as Israel, we do not accept.
We observe what happens today in the region and the country which we have the great opportunity to visit. The Lao comrades tell us about how the effects of the US war against Laos were serious and are still felt. The US war of 1964-1973 was an aggressive interference, in the form of a criminal military offensive, in the country’s revolutionary process —which thanks to the Lao people’s bravery and that of their leadership, and to international solidarity, has victoriously consolidated into the establishment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. As always, the US had its plans and supported the counter-revolutionary forces. It is estimated that in the so-called Second War in Indochina about three million tons of explosives were dropped in 580,000 bombing missions over Laos, the second most bombarded country in the world. Such an atrocious record! There are also estimates that over one third of the bombs have not exploded; with the war’s end, these unexploded ordinances are still making victims: 20,000 people died or were injured, suffering the consequences to this day.
This is the factual reality of the imperialist policies, which change in form, but not in content nor vision, according to the conjuncture. The United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in this and in so many other occasions, such as the wars against Vietnam, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many more, show that they are war criminals, perpetrating the most heinous crimes against humanity. And they continue being that even when they are not dropping bombs, but imposing sanctions, blockades and siege, or directly supporting their allies who indeed do the dirty work, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the putschists and fascists proliferating all over the world.
In Asia, we remain vigilant regarding the interference in situations such as Hong Kong’s, the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula. With war drills, offensive alliances and the support granted to suspicious protests, the US and their allies continue to impose their plans. For a long time, we have been denouncing what is called the Pivot to Asia unveiled in Barack Obama’s Government, but Donald Trump’s moves, now presented in the form of a “commercial war” against China, besides militarization, are still very grave.
As was pointed out in the 2018 WPC Regional Meeting in Nepal, there is significant interference and ever more US soldiers and numerous military bases in Asia-Pacific, also the second region with the greatest number of active nuclear weapons. All that exacerbate conflicts that could be solved peacefully and sovereignly amongst neighbors who share serious challenges which they can solve together, such as the intensification of religious fundamentalism, terrorism, poverty, endemics and so many others, which are interconnected and require peace and stability so they can be solved.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the peoples also face a very dire situation with growing attacks against their countries’ sovereignties. Whereas many had proclaimed the end of the historical progress towards emancipation, social justice and regional integration with sovereignty and solidarity, we see signs and concrete deeds that inspire us in continuing to rebel against neoliberalism, conservatism, reactionarism and even the proto-fascism emerging in many countries as obstacles to historical progress, offensives that always count on the support of US imperialism.
The peoples in the region struggle with their votes and on the streets against neoliberalism, for democracy, national sovereignty and social justice in Argentina and México, where the democratic forces won Presidential elections; and in Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia, where the masses on the streets rise in popular rebellions. The struggle also progresses with the very brave resistance of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela against the coup plotters and the threats of aggression. One of our struggles’ priorities is still the unwavering support to the Venezuelan people targeted with a criminal siege that has cost so much to the nation. We denounce the maneuvers of the United States and its puppets in the so-called Lima Group and that of the Organization of American States, the US “ministry of colonies”.
We hail the victories of the Cuban Revolution, in its glorious 60 years building socialism, despite the US criminal blockade, one that is more intense each day, since the activation of the third and fourth points in the Helms-Burton Act, which aims to strangulate the Cuban people, seeking to kill their resolve in continuing to defend their sovereignty and consolidating their revolution.
We must also denounce the seriousness of the most recent coup d’état in the region, in Bolivia, again to overthrow a legitimate government elected by its people. The putschist, racist and fascist forces promote, besides the violation of the Constitution, acts of street violence that are horrific due to their brutality against the supporters of the legitimate government of President Evo Morales. We salute the Bolivian people on the streets, in mass protests, to resist the coup. They will not surrender!
If in the past the US organized direct interventions, with “boots on the ground”, as it did in Nicaragua, to subdue the people daring to face it, or less direct, with the support to bloody military coups of which so many people were victimized, but survived, now there are other methods besides those, methods that are also devastating due to the scope and depth of the effects of its “wars of new generation”, using mass media, social networks and all sorts of support to more than suspicious groups in different countries.
The peoples continue mobilized in all parts of the world when the conditions before us are hard, when the anti-democratic forces, allied to the US imperialism, do so much to knock us down and end the peoples’ confidence in that it is possible to defeat this system of exploitation, domination and oppression.
But we have reasons to trust the peoples’ struggles. Evidence of that is the daily, heroic and persistent resistance of the valiant Palestinian people under Israel’s bloody, criminal and colonial military occupation, whose leaders’ heinous crimes against humanity are still not held accountable; likewise, the resilience and resistance of the martyred Sahrawi people, in the refugee camps under harsh conditions in the desert or under the brutal Moroccan military occupation, while demanding the realization of the decolonization promise; another evidence is the Puerto-Ricans’ struggle for their liberation from US colonization; the Japanese struggle to expel from their country the numerous and aggressive US military bases; the People’s Korea, which remains committed to diplomacy, peace and the Peninsula’s stabilization, for the reunification with its other half, while responding to imperialist provocations; the Syrians, who also sustain a glorious resistance to US aggression, and that of neighbors such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, fighting the terrorism of groups armed by them and also their invasions, while the country’s government and its people remain determined to recover all their territory and defend the nation’s sovereignty; amongst many others.
In these struggles is where the peoples’ unity is built, in internationalist solidarity and in the realization that it is possible to defeat the system of domination under the US control.
It was also in that direction that in Baku, Azerbaijan, the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement made its statement, a movement born from the commitment with the peoples’ liberation. The Baku Declaration recovers the power of the struggle against colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, all forms of foreign intervention, aggression, foreign occupation, domination or hegemony, and also the movement’s intention of “of becoming a balancing factor in the international relations, outside of the military alliances of the centers of power, remain concrete expressions of the policy of non-alignment”.
The World Peace Council participated in the event with a delegation. There, we heard from the leaders of the nations present their commitment with the Bandung Principles and with the Movement’s Declaration of Goals and Principles in the current conjuncture of “reaching a world of peace, equality, cooperation and well-being for all”. We made our denunciation of the effects of imperialism and neoliberalism on the peoples and strengthened our own determination to resist.
We reinforced the denunciation of the United States’ total lack of respect for international law and the right of peoples to self-determination, including the right to decide over their political systems.
We denounce the imperialist manipulation of the banner of human rights to justify interference and aggression; and the disrespect towards multilateralism and international law.
But the planet’s militarization runs ever faster, bringing renewed suffering to the peoples and determining a path towards a war of unpredictable consequences, which could even jeopardize the very survival of humankind.
It is no exaggeration to raise the alarm about the almost 1,000 military bases run by the US and NATO all over the world, the US naval fleet spread throughout all oceans, the war drills, the dispersion of nuclear weapons, while it is said that the number of warheads is decreasing even though they are being “modernized” to have greater reach and cause more, or less, damage, according to specific intentions, banalizing its use; and the military expenditure that already reached USD 1,822 billion, or 2.1% of the world’s GDP, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This is an unacceptable affront to everything the peoples aspire to.
This year, the WPC celebrates its 70 years of struggle and we must always raise our banners, the highest possible, of resistance to oppression and exploitation, to the threats against the nations’ sovereignty and war. To impose their plans, plunder the peoples’ resources, control strategic routes and subdue nations to its agenda of full dominance, the US and its NATO allies go to any lengths. Their victims are the peoples and their aspirations.
We know that, together, we can defeat imperialism and build a world of social justice and peace, solidarity and cooperation. The powerful are also aware of that, therefore they react the only way they know how, with violence, aggression and war.
We always make reiterated calls for the broadening of our front of struggle and seek to move forward with concrete measures, but we know that we must reinforce this effort, starting with strengthening our own unity through our collective work and intelligence.
The world’s state is ever graver and, therefore, the struggle, which we make in the everyday, which is still alive, is ever more difficult. This is exactly why we must strengthen the strategy, and we know how.
End imperialist wars!
For justice, peace and solidarity between the peoples!
We continue struggling!
Long live the World Peace Council!
Report of the General Secretary Thanassis Pafilis to the WPC Secretariat
Vientiane/Lao PDR, 25-26 November 2019
Distinguished comrades and friends of the Lao Committee for Peace and Solidarity!
Dear comrades of the Secretariat and the Asia & Pacific members of WPC!
It is with immense pleasure to be these days her in the capital of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, in the beautiful city of Vientiane and in such excellent conditions and hospitality by the Lao Committee for Peace and Solidarity (LCPS). We thank the LCPS and salute the peace loving people of Laos and its leadership, the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
We took the decision to hold this joint meetings of Asia & Pacific and of the Secretariat, based on the good practice we have but also in order to allow us all from the Secretariat to participate in the regional meeting and the members from the region to enrich with their presence the Secretariat meeting itself. The region has its special importance, taking into account that almost half of the world’s population lives here, with dozens of countries and cultures and a rich history of national liberation struggles, social struggles and revolutions with important achievements and victories.
In particular we would like to underline the achievements and progress of the People of Laos, a country with a rich history and culture in centuries and a rare natural beauty. We acknowledge the brave stand of the Lao people who have suffered during the US war against Vietnam between 1964 and 1973 heavy losses and destruction. The U.S. dropped three million tons of bombs on Laos, more than the bombs the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history relative to the size of its population, which was then 3 Millions. It is like one ton per citizen of Laos. All this years the country is facing the consequences of Unexploded Ordinances (UOX) with farmers and children being injured and handicapped from the “Baby Bombs” of the US. We express our solidarity with the people of Laos and add our voice to the demand for just compensation and for alleviation of the victims by the ones who committed these crimes.
The WPC has completed this year 70 years of struggle and service to the Poor and Oppressed. Under the slogan “World Peace Council, 70 years of service for the struggle and in solidarity of the peoples, against imperialist exploitation and wars”, we have commemorated our anniversary in various moments and places this year, such as in Caracas in April 2019, in Guantanamo in May 2019, in Basel in September 2019 and so do we underline at the end of this year this important anniversary here in Vientiane.
We would like furthermore to highlight and commemorate from this meeting in Vientiane the 100 years from the birth of our beloved and historical leader Romesh Chandra, who served and guided the WPC for 40 years and contributed decisively to the maintaining of its character throughout the time. Already a special event was held in Hanoi last September by VPC and AIPSO and our comrades from India will honor Romesh Chandra also in their forthcoming National Conference in Raipur/India in January 2020.
The situation in the world regarding the peace and security and the peoples’ rights and demands is complicated and characterized by the growing aggressiveness of imperialism in many forms and expressions. The imperialist aggressions and threats have increased, while the US, NATO and the EU governments are increasing their military budgets in order to realize their plans in all corners of the world.
The slight recovery of the world economy in comparison to the previous 10 years is actually leading again to a new circle of capitalist economic crisis, as the indications in many industrialized capitalist countries show. The root causes of the economic crisis are the same and the victims of it again the workers, peasants youth and unemployed masses. Likewise the same are also the ones who benefit from the crisis e.g. the big capital, Multinationals and Monopolies who are increasing even in these times their profits.
At the same time we note with concern the extremely negative developments around the withdrawal of the USA from the INF agreement, which will open the ways for already existing plans of deployment of new nuclear arsenals by the US in the Balkans and Middle East, which will cause a new arms race internationally. Such developments are opposed strongly by the WPC, while we insist and strive for the global abolition of nuclear weapons and tests in the world. We can already observe the increase of the military budgets and a new arms race, weapons export with lucrative profits for the war industry worldwide.
Without underestimating other cases allow me to refer to some only areas and countries, where we have escalating negative developments.
The general situation in the Middle East continues being explosive. The situation in Syria, despite the significant victories of the Syrian people and army, remains under tension, with the recent military invasion of Turkey in the Northeastern part of the country and their plans to actually remain and de facto annex sovereign Syrian territory. The pretext of “security” is cynical and cannot hide the aims of Turkey for change of the demographic composition (against the Kurdish population) in the northern part of Syria along with the geo-strategical expansion of Turkey. The partial withdrawal of US-troops from this area opened the way for Turkey’s incursion and is accompanied openly by statements of US President D. Trump, that the USA will maintain the control of the Syrian oil in the same area. All the above constitute once more the ongoing violation of the sovereignty of Syria and of every sense of International Law. We observe with deep concern the agreements between involved parties (USA, Turkey, Russia etc.) which actually neglect the right of the Syrian people to exercise fully their sovereign rights over the land. As WPC we demand the withdrawal of the foreign military occupation forces in Syria and support the right of the Syrian people to decide alone upon their destiny and future.
We saluted the recent popular mass mobilizations in Lebanon for social, economical and political demands and reiterate our solidarity with the Lebanese people for the end of its territories by Israel (Shebaa Farms). Likewise we express our solidarity with the people of Yemen against the ongoing aggression by the Saudi led coalition which has the full support of the US and its allies.
A key issue continues being the struggle of the Palestinian people, which is struggling for the end of the Israeli occupation. We denounce the slaughter of Palestinian by the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, as well as expansion of the settlements and land robbing, which continue along with the Judaization of Jerusalem and the deprivation of political rights for Non-Jewish citizens in Israel. As WPC we reiterate our full support to the struggle of the Palestinian people to end the occupation and for their right to establish an independent and viable State within the borders of pre 4th June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. We call upon and struggle for the recognition of such State by governments and the UN and reject the imperialist maneuvers and hypocrisy towards Palestine by equating victims and aggressors. We demand the release of all Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli jails and the right for the return of the Palestinians to their lands, according to the UN Resolution 194.
The situation in Latin America is of great concern.
The most recent Coup d’ Etat in Bolivia (10th November) against the legitimately re-elected President Evo Morales on 20th October, constitutes an open intervention of the US, its loyal mechanism of the Organisation of American States (OAS), well coordinated with the local oligarchy. We condemn the Coup and demand the respect to the expressed will of the Bolivian people. The subversive and destabilizing actions and the interference in the army and police are a repetition of what the imperialists and their allies tried in the case of Venezuela. They remind us of the darkest days in the recent history of Latin America (dictatorships, military interventions etc.) and are directly linked with the imperialist plans against Cuba, Nicaragua and other countries. The WPC expresses its deep concern with the negative developments in the region where the US administration and the EU (and its governments) are playing a major role in the support of reactionary forces and the “violent regime change”.
In Venezuela, the forces of the local oligarchy tried to overthrow the legitimately elected President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in close cooperation with the USA, the European Union and reactionary governments of the “Lima Group” in order to take over the rich mineral resources of Venezuela. The ideological and political attack on Venezuela and Cuba is accompanied by heavy sanctions against the peoples, aiming in the asphyxiation of the peoples. Nicaragua is being targeted also with the same methods as in Bolivia and Venezuela. As WPC we expressed our strong opposition to the above plans with statements, protests and demonstrations of our member Organisations in dozens of countries. It is self-understanding to underline our sincere and deep solidarity with the other peoples in Latin America and their struggles, and against the new threats and dangers and in the framework of the new regimes in Brazil, Colombia etc.
We express our solidarity with the massive popular protests in Chile and condemn the repression and authoritarian policies of the police and state apparatus.
The WPC expressed its solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and the struggles of the peoples of Latin America in various recent occasions. We participated, amongst others, in the International Solidarity Mission with the people of Venezuela (April 2019), in the events commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution (July 2019) but also in the International Anti-imperialist Gathering held in November in Cuba (organized by ICAP and MOVPAZ). The WPC participated in the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baku (October 2019) where we had the chance to speak and express our principle positions.
Allow us to refer also to the developments of the region of Asia&Pacific, which held yesterday its meeting here in Vientiane in the framework of the WPC. The US-administration is not hiding its priorities and aims to contain the emerging role of China both economically and politically. The so-called trade war is an expression of the fierce competition between US-EU- Russia, China and others on the distribution of markets and spheres of influence. The US is shifting major contingent of their Navy and Army to the region, where they maintain tens of thousands of troops and more than 200 Military Bases. Through their allies (Japan, South Korea, Australia etc.) they are building “Missile Defense Shields” and deploy rapid intervention forces in many countries. The “picture” is being completed by the “Bilateral Military Agreements” which the US has signed with almost all countries of the region, supposedly on mutual basis,having China as a main target.
The WPC EC expresses its serious concern about the growing religious strive and fundamentalism in South Asia which are used to divide the peoples’ struggles. We call upon the social organizations to be alerted about this explosive situation and to mobilize against such divisive agenda and the growing nationalist tendencies as it was observed recently with the War rhetoric between India and Pakistan.
We observe with deep concern the increasing alignment of the government of India with the imperialist plans in the region and in particular its joint military naval exercises with the US-Japan-Australia in the Pacific Ocean with the clear plan to contain China. Likewise we are troubled with the increase of the military budget of India by 3.1% bringing the country 4th biggest military spender after USA, China and Saudi Arabia.
On the developments on the Korean Peninsula we observe with caution the situation and support the Inter-Korean talks with the perspective of the independent and peaceful reunification of the peninsula, along with our demands for the end of the military exercises of USA-Japan and South Korea and the withdrawal of the US troops and their THAAD umbrella from the Korean soil. In this light we support the efforts for the signing of a peace accord between the DPR Korea and the USA in substitution to the armistice agreement of 1953 and the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We express our solidarity with the Korean National Peace Committee (KNPC) for their noble struggle of the reunification of their fatherland.
The WPC is following with concern the developments in the South China Sea, particularly about the territorial and maritime disputes between several neighboring countries. We support the peaceful settlement of differences bilaterally and multilaterally between all involved parties. We call upon all sides to refrain from any unilateral actions which may further complicate the situation; we reaffirm our principled position for the respect and implementation of International law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which guarantees the sovereign rights of all countries. We are strongly against the militarization of the area as well as the military presence and actions of non-regional powers, notably the US, which has clearly its own motives and interests. We demand their withdrawal from the region and call upon all sides to de-escalate militarily the situation.
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima&Nagasaki in 2020, we reiterate our firm position for the complete abolition of all Nuclear weapons and the ban of all Nuclear weapons’ tests. At the same time we underline the fact that the USA is the only country which has used such weapons in history. Moreover it does not refrain from a first nuclear strike option, on the contrary it has introduced it also to NATO, which has adopted it in its Warsaw summit in 2016.
The WPC reiterates its firm position against NATO, as an instrument of the imperialist domination and the armed wing of the US and EU imperialists. The NATO expansion to the east, its encirclement of Russia along its borders, with the deployment of troops from the Baltic Sea to Bulgaria and the installation of the Missile Defense Shield” in Poland and Romania, is aggressively and deliberately escalating the tension. This goes hand in hand with the sanctions of the US and EU against Russia. NATO is developing and increasing its arsenal aiming at nuclear first strike capacity against its opponents. It has decided to increase its military expenditure of all members to the 2% of the annual GDP of each. We struggle for and demand the dissolution of NATO on global scale, while supporting the struggle of the peoples in each member state to disengage from it. The European Union, alone and/or with NATO, is acting against its peoples. Its Common Security and Defense policy and the creation of the EU army, along with the ‘Permanent Structural Cooperation (PESCO) constitute dangerous tools for foreign intervention and imperialist aggression in many parts of the world.
We are proud for having organized this year, during the 70th anniversary celebrations of NATO in Washington D.C., for the first time in history a WPC event, in form of an Anti-NATO conference on US soil in March 2019, hosted by the US Peace Council. We shall continue with our campaign “Yes to Peace-No to NATO”.
The WPC has increased its actions and initiatives the last years; we have reached new venues for our constitutional meetings on regional and global level, which shows the commitment and readiness of our member organisations to serve as host for WPC meetings. The meetings here in Laos but also the regional European meeting in Switzerland held in September is such evidence, whereas the WPC organized in both cases after 35 years again its meetings. The WPC members and the WPC as a whole, have strong presence in actions, events and protests on the burning issues and the plan of action defined by the Executive Committee and the Secretariat.
From the last Secretariat meeting held end of March in Belgrade, where we co-organized with the “Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals” the international conference denouncing the aggression and crimes of NATO 20 years ago, the WPC is consolidating its presence and enlarging its ranks. We note with satisfaction the requests for affiliation with the WPC in several cases, which shall be consulted in the region and approved by the coming Executive Committee.
We have in front of us a period, where will head towards the next Assembly of the WPC, an issue we shall discuss in our Secretariat meeting these days. The WPC has all the conditions and capacity to reach the next Assembly stronger in members, firm in its principles and militant in its anti-imperialist approach, honoring our 70 years long, glorious history.
These successful Vientiane meetings of the WPC are an encouraging message to the WPC membership and to the global peace movement.
We thank once more the Lao Committee for Peace and Solidarity for their warm reception and hospitality and congratulate all leaders, members and staff for their hard work.
Resolution in Solidarity with the Korean people
The WPC Secretariat adopted a resolution of Solidarity with the Korean People for its desire for the Peaceful and Independent Re-unification of the Korean Peninsula.
The Secretariat stressed the importance of continued peaceful dialogue amongst all concerned parties in order to realize lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by all concerned parties and the complete denuclearization of the Peninsula. The WPC urges the US and South Korean authorities to take a proper stand and attitude on the Panmunjon, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the DPRK-US Joint Statement and continue working towards the realization of lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The Secretariat welcomed, although being cautious, the recent dialogues with the aim to reach a peace accord in replacement of the Armistice agreement of 1953. We support the Korean people in their just cause for peaceful and independent reunification of their fatherland. The participants of the meeting stated clearly their demand for the end of the military exercises of USA and its allies on and around the peninsula and for the withdrawal of the US-troops and their weapons from Korean soil.
Vientiane 26th November 2019
Resolution in Solidarity with the People of Syria
The WPC Secretariat adopted in its meeting in Vientiane/Laos the following resolution in Solidarity with the people of Syria expressing its support to the efforts of the people of Syria to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity against the imperialist aggressions of US, NATO and the EU with the fundamentalist mercenaries who spread death, terror and destruction since 8 years in Syria. Despite the significant victories of the Syrian people, its army and its leadership, we denounce the ongoing occupation of Syrian land and in particular the recent invasion and occupation of sovereign Syrian territory by Turkey in the Northeastern part. We demand the withdrawal of all foreign occupation forces from Syria, including the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan and the lifting of the sanctions by the US and EU so that the Syrian people can decide freely for their future and destiny.
Vientiane 26th November 2019
Resolution in Solidarity with Palestine adopted by the Secretariat of the WPC
On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (29th of November) ,we affirm that the key to peace and stability in the Middle East is the end of the Israeli occupation, and the implementation of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State within the borders of June 4, 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the resolution of the refugee issue in accordance with UN Resolution 194.
The WPC Secretariat denounces to the peace loving people of the world the recent and ongoing crimes of the Israeli army in the Palestinian Gaza Strip which attacked unarmed civilians which protest the Israeli occupation with dozens of dead and hundreds of injured.
The World Peace Council Secretariat condemns the policy of the United States of America, led by the Trump administration, which is based on its absolute support for Israel's annexation and settlement policies, a denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, and a total disregard for the international treaties and foundations of a just peace based on UN resolutions adopted by most of the countries of the world and the overwhelming majority of its peoples.
This US policy, which comes amidst the resounding failure of imperialist plans in Syria and Yemen, seeks to give Israel an international umbrella and political compensation for America's strategic withdrawal from the region. This is a policy bound to fail due the insistence of the Palestinian people to be liberated from the Israeli occupation, to achieve their national independence and to exercise their historical rights, supported by the positions and struggles of revolutionary and progressive and peace loving forces in the region and throughout the world.
We call for the promotion of international solidarity with the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights by all legitimate means, and for a just and comprehensive peace in the region based on respect for the right of peoples to freedom and independence.
Vientiane 26th November 2019
Resolution for Cyprus Issue
The World Peace Council Secretariat Meeting that took place in Vientiane at 25th to 26th of November 2019 discussed among other crucial issues that effects and undermine peace in Asia and in the Word, the developments regarding Cyprus as well.
The WPC Secretariat acknowledges the region of Eastern Mediterranean, as one of the most desired areas for the imperialists because here, gas, petrol, their transport routes and transitional stations, coexist. Turkey considers Cyprus important for its interests. NATO wants to use Cyprus in its plans. Hence, we should especially now keep this in mind.
We, the anti-imperialist peace loving forces condemn the ongoing for 45 years illegal Turkish Occupation of the 37% of Cyprus. We denounce the division of Cyprus and clearly state that for us permanent division of the Island is a catastrophe. We denounce Turkey's recent illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) and Famagusta, which create new fait accompli and threaten with permanent partition. We will not stop expressing in all possible ways our solidarity to the Cyprus Peace Council and the anti-imperialist struggle of the people of Cyprus, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, against occupation for a really just and viable solution, that will reunite the Country and the People of Cyprus and will set the People of Cyprus total masters of their land and their wealth.
We do underline that the only way for solving the Cyprus issue is through a peaceful process. The bi- communal negotiations between Cypriots must be fully respected by everybody and be let proceed without any interference and interventions with complete respect to the International Law and the UN Resolutions for Cyprus.
The WPC Secretariat stands in solidarity with the people of Cyprus who struggle for a reunited Country and People in a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation with a single Sovereignty, single citizenship, and single international representation and with political equality. We support a solution that can be reached outside suffocating deadlines and free from custodians and Guarantors, a solution that will set free Cyprus from all armies and military bases.
We support the struggle of the Cyprus Peace Council for the dismantling of the British Bases in Cyprus and against their use in military operations against the peoples of the region.
Lasting Peace with justice for Cyprus!