Humanitarian disarmament in 2016

The host and conveners of the 2016 Humanitarian Disarmament Forum

The host and conveners of the 2016 Humanitarian Disarmament Forum

Five years on, the umbrella term “humanitarian disarmament” is still the appropriate title for the small community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups working to protect civilians and humanity from the harmful effects of indiscriminate weapons and armed violence. This was one finding of the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum convened by Handicap International, Mines Action Canada, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) at PACE University in New York’s Lower Manhattan on 15-16 October 2016.

More than 100 activists participated in this fifth annual gathering organized under the theme of “Higher, Faster, Stronger.” The 2016 forum focused on our community and how we can be even more effective in working for higher standards, faster progress and stronger campaigns. It featured updates from global NGO coalitions working to advance humanitarian disarmament, remarks by invited diplomats on their experiences cooperating with humanitarian disarmament campaigns, and numerous exchanges to discuss key questions such as how to better acknowledge and address marginalized voices in our movement.

South African writer Andrew Feinstein addressed the Forum, and participants watched his feature-length documentary film “The Shadow World” on corruption in arms deals, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016. The Campaign to Stop Killers Robots hosted a closing reception for participants on October 16.

Previous humanitarian disarmament forums were convened in New York in October 2015 by Oxfam and Save the Children, in October 2014 by Control Arms and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, in October 2013 by Article 36 and PAX (then IKV Pax Christi), and  the initial Humanitarian Disarmament Summit was convened by Human Rights Watch in October 2012 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). WILPF’s Reaching Critical Will Project brought women working to advance humanitarian disarmament together for a social event on 13 October.

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