Welcome to the Servas Britain peace page!
Servas is unique among travel networks because it is rooted in a tradition of peace activities. It grew out of a ‘peace-builders’ movement after the Second World War, whose members wanted to work for peace, to make contact with other peace movements, and to create a work-study-travel programme so that young people could ‘learn the ways of peace’. This tradition continues today, and you will find that members of Servas are involved in a wide range of activities that can be described as ‘peace-building’.
For 20 years various groups world-wide, which formed the Control Arms Coalition, have campaigned for a treaty that will stop the flow of guns, bombs, tanks and bullets to countries where they could be used to commit acts of genocide and other atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights abuses. A year ago, after the Servas Britain AGM, I raised the issue of the draft of a new Arms Trade Treaty, which it was hoped would save thousands of lives across the globe. In July 2012 it seemed that it was the last chance to get the Arms Trade Treaty passed by the UN, only for it to fall at the final hurdle, when the last few wavering states did not support it.
Now, however, we can celebrate, because on 2nd April 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted a historic treaty to control the sale of conventional arms, voting it through by a huge majority. 155 countries voted in favour, including the US, who had had doubts about it on the previous occasion. Russia and China, who are amongst the world’s biggest exporters of arms, abstained. Only three countries – Iran, Syria and North Korea – voted against.
We still need to monitor the passage of the treaty to makes sure that it is implemented, but this is a real victory for all who campaigned, including those in the UK who wrote to their MPs asking them to raise the matter at Ministerial level to ensure our support. It just shows what can be done. Keep it up!!
Margaret Seelig, Servas Britain Peace Secretary
Anyone in Servas Britain can contribute to this peace page, with news of events and happenings. This goes for any Servas travellers who visit this page too! There is a wealth of experience and service amongst our members, which we need to share and build on. Please add your thoughts and suggestions to the page. Contact Jenny Sturt, the website editor (host 162) or Margaret Seelig (204), the Servas Britain Peace Secretary.
|Many hosts in Servas Britain are involved in activities concerned with refugees, and help to publicise the problems faced by refugees during Refugee Week, which in 2012 will be from 18th-24th June. Activities in 2010 included football matches between refugee teams to mark the World Cup in South Africa. The ‘Simple Acts’ Campaign, launched in 2009, continues – it can include anything from finding out information about a refugee community to cooking a meal from a country from which refugees come. You can get more information from the Refugee Council.||‘Women to Women for Peace‘ is a network of women whose work is about bridge-building between people from countries which have contrasting, and often conflicting, political, philosophical, cultural and religious approaches.
We develop and maintain friendships across cultural divides, creating opportunities for communication and educational exchanges. We believe that by building friendships between women, we learn to understand one another and value our differences. We arrange reciprocal visits between people from the United Kingdom and around the world.
Contact Ruth Davies (host 10367) who will give you more information, or see the Women to Women for Peace website
|Jeffrey Gale (host 10129) is involved in the World Peace Gardens network. He says: “Would any Servas Member like to designate a garden or potential garden as a World Peace Garden with our special logo? Any garden is eligible for designation, but we’re particularly interested in school or college gardens or public parks. The idea of the network is to combine permacultural design principles of perennial biodiverse horticulture, orchards and woodlands with peace activism.”
To find out more and to see the logo, go to the World Peace Gardens website.
|Many Servas members are also members of the human rights organisation Amnesty International, and will know of the excellent events, including exhibitions, films and lectures, which take place regularly at the Human Rights Action Centre in London and at other venues. Many of these events are free and open to non-members. See the Amnesty web-site events page for more information.|
|What do you do in Servas?Let us know and we’ll publish it on this page…|