World BEYOND Wars has just announced the four winners of its third annual Abolition of War Awards, which aim to honour and encourage support for individuals or organisations working from different angles on the mammoth task of ridding the world of war.

This year’s Individual Award has been given to Sultana Khaya, a Sahrawi non-violent human rights activist from Western Sahara.

Khaya has been an extraordinarily courageous leader in resisting the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and in raising awareness of the occupation in the rest of the world.

In the award video, Sultana Khaya said: “Thank you, and please accept my heartfelt gratitude to the World BEYOND War organisation, as well as to all international civil society who support the Saharawi people in their just cause and their belief in peace and justice for all.”

“I accept this honour on behalf of all Saharawis, in particular the Saharawi women who are continuously targeted by the Moroccan occupying forces! I also dedicate this award to the oppressed Palestinian people. Tell them that we support them and that we share the same occupation”.

“Finally, I urge you and all those who advocate for human rights and freedom to redouble our efforts and demand the release of all Sahrawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails. I thank you once again for your efforts to create a better world, free from oppression, injustice and devastating weapons of humanity.”

The War Abolisher 2023 award for organisations this year goes to Wage Peace Australia.

This organisation is one of the world’s leading inspirers of many peace-related campaigns, including those working to close giant arms fairs. Wage Peace Australia accurately describes its approach: “We jump over tanks, blockade arms factories, occupy arms dealers’ offices and reclaim military bases, as well as engaging in public speeches and other more conventional campaigning methods”.

Receiving the award, Margie Pistorius of Wage Peace Australia said: “We see people-driven disruptive action as key to changing the value base and engaging ordinary people in discourses on militarism, defence, war, international relations and foreign affairs.

Another award went to Australian filmmaker David Bradbury, creator of 28 documentaries that contribute to a better understanding of war, peace, international relations and non-violent activism. Bradbury’s films have been broadcast worldwide on the BBC, PBS, ZDF (Germany) and TF1-France, as well as on ABC, SBS and commercial television stations in Australia.

His films have received awards at numerous international festivals, as well as five Australian film industry awards and two Oscar nominations.

Bradbury is the recipient of the David Hartsough Award for Lifetime Achievement in War Abolition, named after the co-founder of World BEYOND War, executive director of PeaceWorkers and co-founder of Non-Violent Peaceforce.

Finally, World Beyond Wars honoured the work of the Argentina-based Fundación Mil Milenios de Paz for its persistent commitment to ending wars. This non-profit organisation was founded in 1995 and for 28 years has contributed, through its creativity and work, to developing a culture of peace in Argentina, Latin America and around the world.

Among other actions, the Mil Milenios group successfully promoted the legalisation in Argentina of the International Day of Peace every 21 September and has worked with 30 municipalities to establish them as Cities of Peace dedicated to promoting a culture of peace.

In the award acceptance video, the protagonists emphasised that “Peace is possible, it is the foundation of humanity, it is within each one of us. It is a state of consciousness that we have to cultivate and develop every day with positive thoughts, harmonious words and constructive actions.

“We thank the organisers and promoters of this distinction that exalts all of Latin America and especially the Ambassadors for Peace who are in 21 countries and are the vital energy of our foundation.”

World BEYOND War is a global non-violent movement, founded in 2014, to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace.

(with information, provided by World Beyond Wars)