Last May, the Social Forum to drive the peace process, an initiative of Bake Bidea and Lokarri, presented a document with useful recommendations to overcome the obstacles that the route to peace and coexistence is facing at present.
Following the involvement of 700 people, contributions by 12 international experts and more than 500 specific proposals, both organisations presented their recommendations on the decommissioning of weapons and the dismantling of ETA’s military structures, the reinsertion into society of prisoners and people on the run, the guarantee of human rights and the principles needed to deal with everything that had happened in the past. The core idea revolves around dialogue, citizens’ participation and consensus as the way to establish a solid basis for coexistence in the future.
With the aim of extending spaces for dialogue and collaboration, managing the content of the recommendations of the Social Forum and achieving solid progress in the peace process, Bake Bidea and Lokarri have promoted the creation of a group of key figures in different areas of society who represent a wide range of citizens’ opinions: the Committee to drive the peace process, created with the basic aim of managing the implementation of the Social Forum’s recommendations with the institutions, parties and other stakeholders involved in the peace process. The Committee is made up of Anne Marie Bordes, Henri Labayle, Michele Tubiana, Maite Pérez Larumbe, Fernando Armendariz, Garbiñe Biurrun, Nazario Oleaga and Jordi Armadans, and its mandate consists of:
1- Working to ensure that the recommendations made by the Social Forum to drive the peace process are given the attention they deserve.
2- Facilitating, encouraging and driving a wide-ranging, active participation by the institutions, political parties and civil society in the peace process.
3- Presenting the recommendations to the main institutions and stakeholders involved in the peace process.
4- Opening up channels of dialogue and debate on the recommendations with the main institutions and stakeholders involved in the peace process.
In the face of the difficulties and obstacles, society has the responsibility −and the opportunity − to make progress towards a just and lasting peace in their own manner. We need to assume this responsibility and make the most of the opportunity. We cannot wait for someone else to take on the task in our name; it would not be legitimate or democratic. We should, and we can. As the recently departed Nelson Mandela, to whom we would like to pay tribute to here, once said: “Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail …”