Unarmed Civilian Protection Advances in Congress
By Mel Duncan
Did you hear about the good thing happening in Washington? Sound like the lead line of a cynical joke? Not really. Amid all of the racism, divisions and dysfunction surging through DC, unarmed civilian protection is advancing in the Appropriation Bills for State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs.
In June, the House passed their appropriations bill with language urging the Secretary of State to consider the future use of unarmed civilian protection organizations and evaluate the potential use of such organizations to provide direct physical protection to civilian populations, to strengthen the local non-violent peacekeeping capacity of communities included in the accompanying report. See Mel Duncan’s testimony before the Appropriations Subcommittee here.
What You Can Do
The Senate will take up their appropriations bill when they return in September from recess. Language advocating UCP will be considered by the Subcommittee on Appropriation Bills for State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. For those of you living in the United States, August is the best time to get to your Senator while they are at home. Please call your Senators at their state offices and urge them:
Specifically include financial support for Unarmed Civilian Protection in the FY2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill.
You can get their home office numbers here.
You Keep Us on Course
The issue of whether or not to seek money from government sources was hotly contested during NP’s formation. During one late night debate a representative of the European Green Party said, “Perhaps some of you, especially the Americans, have given up on the idea of democracies doing good things for people, we haven’t!”
At that early stage we decided that if we were ever going to go to the scale required to meet the need and, also provide living wages for our staff, we would have to seek money from governments as well as the UN and the European Union. To counteract undue influence, we would have to seek funds from multiple sources and rely heavily on individual donations. Indeed, your gifts continue to provide our rudder assuring that we do not stray off course.
You are Key to Growing Success
- We have had growing success at gaining institutional support with funding coming from 11 national governments, 7 UN agencies as well as the EU.
- The UN General Assembly and Security Council have recommended UCP in resolutions.
- The German government’s guidelines on Preventing Crises, Resolving Conflicts and Building Peace commit to prioritizing nonviolent and civilian approaches.
NP continues to be an international civil society organization working with local civil society organizations in areas of violent conflict. And we will continue to advocate and share our experience with governments and multi-lateral organizations so they can devote an increasing amount of revenue to nonviolent approaches to protect civilians.