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Meeting of military in Santiago de Chile, October 2005: the begining of an alliance process
The dialogue between military and the civil society is indispensable to build peace.
The meeting of military organized by Corporacion AYUN and the Center of Strategic Studies of ARCIS university, Chile, the Ecole de la Paix de Grenoble (school of Peace of Grenoble), France, and the Foundation Charles Léopold Mayer for the Progress of Human being was an outstanding event in Chile and constituted a meaningful step to start up an international Alliance of military for peace and democracy.
The meeting gathered about thirty military, active and retired, but all actively involved in the institutions of the army, the ministries of Defence, the centers of military and strategic studies of their respective countries.
Main topics: ethics and army, army and democracy, security and regional integration.
These two meetings have been particularly strong and intense. In the beginning, the leaders of the organizations for Human Rights and the organizations of youth openly showed their distrust, or even their doubts on the legitimacy of the army to speak of democracy and peace. Their questions were, for example: what right do you have, members of the army, to speak of peace and democracy while you are responsible for the coups d’etat and the systematic violations of rights? The most impressive in these exchanges was to note how the army representatives gradually managed to change their interlocutors opinion. They recognized that some military and military institutions as such, in particular in Latin America, had violated the rights and imposed dictatorships, but that this represented an illegitimate abuse of power and an usurpation of the people’s determination to live in democracy. However, they asserted with strength that some military were opposed to the coups d’Etat and had refused to serve as instruments of torture or violation of the basic rights. A meaningful fact was that among the present military some had been prisoners and were tortured because they had opposed the coup d’Etat.
All participants showed their determination to follow this process, to create an international Alliance of military for peace and to create means of communication in order to keep the links made in Santiago. A new international meeting should take place in India for Asia and another one, of continental level for Latin America, in Colombia. The aim is to follow this impetus during several years, given that all participants are conscious that this initiative can represent an important contribution to draw up a new contract between the army and the civil society, an indispensable link for the construction of peace.
A process on the way: follow-up
The Ecole de la Paix of Grenoble and the Corporacion AYUN of Santiago are going to gather the documents presented during the meeting in order to prepare a publication.
Activities organized along with the seminars
A meeting with the organizations of human rights in the township of San Miguel in the south suburb of Santiago.
List of participants