4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner
Civil Peace Service Switzerland – state of the art
Update on current situation, June 14, 2001
Due to a very hot voting campaign on the Swiss participation in “peace keeping” and “peace enforcement”, we did not provide you information on the developments on our referendum for a Civil Peace Service for longer time. Now the campaign and the vote are over – we lost with 49:51 percent unfortunately. So Switzerland will get more involved in the militaristic way of “Peace Services”, but we will now focuss even more on the civil ways of doing so. Let me show you where we are at the moment.
The Swiss Coalition for Civil Peace Service (IG-ZFD)
Swiss citizens will have a chance to vote on the Civil Peace Service included by an amendment in the constitution. This is possible due to the rights of direct democracy. More then 120’000 valid signatures of Swiss citizens were collected demanding this. This initiative was brought forward to the citizens and the authorities by a broad coalition of organisations, headed by the Swiss NGO “Group for a Switzerland without an Army” GSoA.
Even if almost all signatures were collected in the streets by GSoA, the Swiss Coalition since then got stronger and stronger. Recently for example the Women organisation of the Catholic church unanomously decided to support the constitutional amendment. Looking forward the vote on this initiative, we do feel the issue winning ground also outside the traditional pacifist movement and circles.
The governments point of view
The initiative for a voluntary Civil Peace Services was going through the institutional proceedures: The commission on security and defence as well as the commission on foreign affairs of both chambers of parlament were treating the request. Members of the Coalition had the possibility to present the initiative there.
While social-democrat and green members in the commissions as well as some independent MPs supported the demand, the majority rejected it. The commissions therefore will suggest the parlament to come forward with a NO-position for the voting. On June 19 now the parlament will treat the initiative and speak out about it. We do expect again having the request supported by the green, the social-democrat and some independent MPs. But as it looks a majority of the parlament will not use this chance to give the civil and nonviolent work for peace the same support they gave the armed “peace-keeping”…
Voting on CPS
We expect the governement to set the voting day for December 2001, with a certain chance to have it only in spring 2002. However, the Swiss Coalition for Civil Peace Service is preparing for the voting campaign during the summer time to be ready in time.
We all know how difficult it is to get a majority of citizens without having the means to really do a big campaign. While the army and the government has hundreds of people full time employed working for them and their propaganda, we can only rely on the high dedication of our activists. But from the past we also know that you can win a vote even without getting a majority of votes. We see already now lots of things being done by the government that are going straight at what we ask for with our initiative. Campaigning against our demand, they are just these weeks and months building up the civil capacities for peace-work. Let them do the ideological campaigning against the anti-militarist movement, as long as in reality they go the right way we can be satisfied with the way our ideas are going.
What we hope to get at the vote is maybe a majority, but for sure a discussion bringing the idea and reality of voluntary Civil Peace Services closer to the citizens and the politics. And we are confident to succeed.
Information on the Swiss Coalition for Civil Peace Service, on the ongoing campaign and on the constitutional amendment you may find on the website www.zfd.ch
4your questions and contacts: rbr(at)4u2.ch