It’s time for a Ministry of Peace

by Megen Elson ~ July 6th, 2017. Filed under: News.

We do not have a Ministry of Peace and Disarmament, yet we are the 41st most peaceful country in the world. We have a 5 out of 5 score for possession of Nuclear and heavy weapons according to the Global Peace Index, but they have never been deployed. We choose to fund a programme that will most likely never be used. We choose to disregard the fact that those so-called ‘deterrents’ are much less likely to provide the protection that would be unnecessary if we had a Ministry of Peace. We consistently choose to use violence over reconciliation.

Iceland has been named the most peaceful country in the world for ten years running. They do not have an army. They only employ 805 police officers throughout the country. They even had a peace festival in Reykjavik in 2016. So how can we adopt these ideas to suit our country and its needs?

On the 2017 Global Peace Index (a measure of a country’s policies contributing to global violence), Iceland had a score of 1 out of 5 for Weapons Exports, whereas the UK had a score of 3.8 out of 5. Is this because we have not had the chance to implement the meaningful strategy to reduce armed conflict? Or is it because we don’t know how to do this?

There’s a saying “if all you have is a hammer, all you see are nails.” This is especially true of international conflict. We spend approximately £17 billion per year on all of development and diplomacy. We spend £37 billion on defence. Is it any surprise that the military solutions are first thought of every time a conflict escalates?

Shadow Minister for Peace & Disarmament – Fabian Hamilton MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP has said that he will appoint a Minister of Peace if he is elected as Prime Minister. Britain’s last Disarmament minister was appointed in the 1960s. Fabian Hamilton MP, a veteran of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and a Parliamentarian with a deep knowledge of international affairs has already been tapped for the role.

There would be no need for any weapons to be used if every country could agree that peace should always be the first resort, and violence the very last.

There would be no need for world leaders to constantly debate over whether or not they are going to approve air strikes in Syria, or if they’ll condone spying on the enemy, because it would not be need to be discussed. The only thing that would ever be debated about is how peaceful reconciliation is going to be achieved with the country or group in question.

Peace is a process that acknowledges the complexity of the root causes of conflict. Almost all wars can be traced back smaller disagreements over land, resources or power sharing. Conflict is magnified by the amount of small arms available. A lack of food, water and housing is often a major boon to any extremist group that offers these things as a recruitment incentive. By sharing resources, reducing arms and increasing access to essential services we can create a sustainable frame work for peace.

Venezuela, South Sudan and Nepal not only all have Peace Ministers, but Peace Ministries. Venezuela’s was formed as far back as 1832.

If we take after such countries, then maybe we can collectively decide that war is not the answer to world problems. Peaceful resolutions of the conflict would be a much better way to spend our taxes.

It’s time for a Ministry of Peace.


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