On 6 December 2013 at the United Nations in Geneva, delegates attending a preparatory meeting for the Mine Ban Treaty’s 3rd Review Conference stood in silence at Mozambique’s request to mark Nelson Mandela’s death the night before. Many nations described Mandela’s contributions to freedom and democracy, while South Africa acknowledged the condolences received and said “we shared him with the world.” Less discussed, but also of significance is Mandela’s support for the ban on antipersonnel landmines, which was as much practical as it was inspirational. (more…)

“Peace isn’t ‘Kumbaya’ or a dove and a rainbow,” as Jody Williams illustrates so clearly in her new book on life as “a grassroots activist to the core.”

It’s hard to believe that Jody has not published her auto-biography until now, 15 years after receiving the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Yet it’s not surprising given the intense pace at which she continues to advocate for peace and justice, both in the US and around the world. It can be hard for activists to find time to reflect and write about their own lives when there is so much to do, but recording how we work is just as necessary as doing it. (more…)

Lately I’ve been spending some time exploring and explaining the concept of humanitarian disarmament, including what it means in practice. This was spurred in part by a December 2011 decision by the New Zealand government to disband the longstanding position of Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control and provide the portfolio responsibility to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Murray McCully. It also follows concerns over the lack of effective resourcing for disarmament work by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. But this work has not been restricted to New Zealand – I’m also working to bring together a ’summit’ later in the year for campaigners working internationally in humanitarian disarmament to discuss at our work and future collaboration. Hence this logo and variations on it, which you may be seeing more of…

Women have been appointed to head both the disarmament and mine action sections of the United Nations (UN). This is the first time that women have served as chief of either of these UN agencies. (more…)