Solidarity 2020 & Beyond holds historic gathering of nonviolent activists in Nepal
From March 15 to 19th, 2023, NVI Director, Michael Beer joined 75 nonviolent activists from 40 countries in Nepal to strengthen global solidarity, particularly in the global south. We compared stories of organizing campaigns, prisons, and social movements. A child soldier shared stories of organizing for their rights in Nepal, Latin America activists shared the stories of women organizing to find and remember their disappeared loved ones, and African and Myanmar activists shared their struggles against dictators. To learn more about this new transnational network that NVI is fiscally sponsoring, please read more below.
Organized by Solidarity 2020 and Beyond Director, Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh in honor of her recently deceased son, we re-discovered our common challenges and need to support each other despite our diverse problems and contexts.
We spent days sharing our stories about fighting corruption, organizing for disability rights, empowering women to mobilize for their needs. I was fortunate to share highlights from my book, Civil Resistance Tactics of the 21st Century and database. Many asked for the book to be translated in more languages.
Here is a chart of nonviolent tactics that I shared. This maps the universe of nonviolent tactics which are driven by manipulating resources through saying, doing and not doing things and doing them in constructive or confrontational ways. People were excited to see the emphasis on positive/constructive actions since most media attention is on confrontational tactics.
If you'd like to learn more about the universe of nonviolent action, please read my book and spend time looking through our database of nonviolent tactics.
Isabella Piccone, an activist and trainer from Venezuela, offered to help host a webinar introducing the book in Spanish language. Simon Basp is working with NVI to produce a popular history of NV action in Uganda. NVI-Ukraine Director shared his experience in Ukraine and his efforts to support the anti-war movement in Russia. He called for global support and asked people not to get caught in the big power contestation, but to focus on the little people of Ukraine and Russia.
Michael Beer, & Zahra Hayder Ibrahim (Sudan)
Reem Ghunaim, Solidarity 2020 and Beyond staff (US/Palestine) & Simon Basp (Uganda)
Stephen Zunes, (US), Michael Beer, and Janet Cherry (South Africa)
Andre Kamenshikov, (NVI-Ukraine) Ali Ahmed Palh, (Pakistan)
Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh, Founder, Solidarity 2020 and Beyond,
Here is another article by Bekele Woyecha about his experience at the international gathering. He is a long time community organizer and advocate for refugee rights.
Here is the declaration that we issued at the end of the gathering.
Solidarity 2020 and Beyond
International Activists Convening of Global Grassroots Activists Network
15-19 March 2023, Kathmandu, Nepal
“Kathmandu Declaration on People’s Resistance, Grassroots Activism, and Global Movements"
How do we learn from each other and mobilize in joint struggles more effectively amidst escalating repression, climate catastrophe, systematic exploitation, and new challenges after the COVID pandemic? This is the question addressed by 80+ grassroots activists and community
leaders from every region of the world (44 countries) who gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal on 15-19 March 2023 under the umbrella of Solidarity 2020 and Beyond. This Declaration summarizes our core values and what we committed to advance in our communities and globally.
We, grassroots activists and leaders of movements from across the globe, reaffirm our solidarity and our responsibility to future generations to sustain worldwide grassroots movements for freedom, dignity, peace, equity and justice. Working as individuals, organizations, and
movements, we hold our governments and power holders accountable to the people. We believe all humans have a responsibility to act to defend their rights and protect our planet. From the Himalayas to the Dead Sea, from the Sahara Desert to the great rivers and oceans, our planet is ailing. We live in what may be the most fragile and critical time of world history. Our movements enable us to make a difference and together we can do much more to build a sustainable planet for people and nature.
1. We acknowledge that indigenous people are guardians of the world’s ecosystems and believe that they should be protected, supported, and given the breathing space necessary to lead us into our intertwined future.
2. We acknowledge the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and other conventions in
humanitarian and human rights law making up the body of international law. However, we also acknowledge that these laws are violated or only partially implemented by many governments, including those that signed them.
3. Gathered here in Kathmandu, we express our concerns for, and solidarity with, the people of Nepal and grassroots movements around the country. We call for the unacceptably lengthy transitional justice process, currently controlled by political elites and external
actors, to be victim-centered prioritizing their needs and demands and strengthening human rights, rule of law, reconciliation, and non-recurrence. We stand in solidarity with ongoing women’s rights, indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ rights movements.
4. We stand against the myriad of systems and “isms” that are being used to oppress people and mother earth in various parts of the world, including neoliberalism/extreme capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, fascism, autocratic communism, and consumerist development
paradigms that are sources of corruption, kleptocracy, land grabs, environmental catastrophes, and violent conflicts. We will act to promote governance and economic systems that put the interests of people and nature ahead of corporate and elite interests.
5. We are committed to protect each other. Human Rights Defenders, including grassroots nonviolent activists around the world, are under pressure and we must support these selfless people who act for their communities, countries and the world. We call for added
resources and additional protection mechanisms to allow their work to continue.
6. We live in a time of rampant militarism with huge amounts of money and resources wasted on weapons and arms (both nuclear and traditional) that cause more violence, death, suffering, and diversion of resources away from human needs. We support ongoing efforts
to address this major issue. We will work for an end to all wars including the war in Ukraine based on territorial integrity and respect of human rights of all people and the extreme violence in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Syria.
7. We affirm our commitment to protecting the rights of children from child labour, conscription as child soldiers, trafficking, and abuse. We reiterate the need to ensure their rights to education, good health, and security.
8. We call on the media to support civil liberties, human rights, and transparency. We encourage the media to report from the peoples’ perspective as we also commit to sharing information, evidence, and documentation with them to continuously inform the public
about what is happening around the globe on these issues, utilizing all available tools including fundraising and digital media to effect change in our societies.
9. Patriarchal norms are suppressing the rights of women and LGBTIQ+ lives the world over, while also distancing men from their fullest humanity. This causes rampant gender based violence, systematic oppression of queer people, exploitation of children, lack of resources
and education for girls, and obstruction to health care and education. We strongly support efforts to ensure equal rights and equal access for all.
10. We strongly stand for freedom from discrimination of all kinds, including racial justice and equality, which is enshrined in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a principle of both the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and addressed directly in the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
11. Ongoing occupations and settler colonial activities across the world are unjust and against international law. The occupation and colonization of all peoples and lands must end now, including in Palestine, Western Sahara, West Papua, Kashmir, and Tibet.
12. Authoritarian regimes that don’t follow the will of the people should come to an end. We pledge to use the strength of people power and nonviolent resistance to accomplish these objectives and ensure peace with justice, equity, rights, and dignity for all. We are proactively
seeking worldwide alliances and cooperation and ask all people to join us to build and strengthen this grassroots network. We call for an immediate end to violations of people's rights and all forms of oppression around the world. We call for respect for mother earth and a shift from violence and “power over” to nonviolent action and “power with.” This can catalyze transformative change worldwide.