Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Uganda Condemns Genocide in Palestine

After more than six decades, 120 nations of the Global South remain steadfast in the struggle to end the vestiges of colonialism and all imperialist wars

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By Abayomi Azikiwe

The 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit was held in the East African state of Uganda on January 19-20.

This event was organized under the theme: “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence.” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni assumed the leadership of the NAM taking over from the Republic of Azerbaijan.

This gathering took place amid worldwide outrage over the State of Israel’s present siege on the Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip. Over 25,000 people have been killed since October 7 leaving tens of thousands more injured and wounded. As a result of the blanket bombing, shelling and ground invasion, the overwhelming majority of people living in Gaza have been displaced.

The Republic of Cuba, a founding member of the NAM in 1961 at their inaugural meeting in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, during the most recent summit put forward a plan for resolving the security situation in Gaza. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, a political bureau member of the ruling Communist Party (PCC), called for an international team to be deployed to Gaza.

Cuba also reiterated its support for the lawsuit filed by the Republic of South Africa against Tel Aviv at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) claiming that the settler-colonial state is in violation of the Genocide Convention of 1948. The Caribbean socialist state has been under a blockade by the United States since 1960 despite annual votes by the United Nations General Assembly demanding that the blockade led by Washington and Wall Street be lifted against the people of Cuba. Even though the Cuban people have been consistently targeted by the dominant imperialist country in the world, the government has excelled in numerous international solidarity projects in Latin America, Africa, Asia and other geopolitical regions.

A report published by Granma International, the Official Voice of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, says:

“Cuba proposed that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) support the urgent dispatch to the Gaza Strip of an international protection mission, authorized by the United Nations General Assembly, with the mandate to guarantee the security and protection of the civilian population and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and food…. Its purpose would be to contribute to the protection of the rights of the Palestinian people, establishing the sovereign State of Palestine and the early entry of that State as a member of the United Nations, said the Cuban Foreign Minister in his speech, published on the Minrex website…. Also during the day, Rodríguez Parrilla participated in the Ministerial Preparatory Meeting of the XIX Summit of the NAM, in which he reiterated his unchanging solidarity with the Palestinian cause, and thanked the valuable support of the Movement to the just demand for the end of the illegal U.S. blockade of Cuba, as well as the united position against the infamous inclusion of the Island in the spurious unilateral list of State sponsors of terrorism, a fallacy that has a suffocating impact on our economy.”

In addition, the Cuban Foreign Minister proposed the convening of an international peace conference noting the real threats of broader global conflicts. Rodriguez also emphasized his government’s ongoing support for the right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara still under the occupation of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The African Union (AU) and the NAM

Most African governments are members of the NAM constituting the largest bloc of states, 53, within the broader grouping. The AU, the 55 member-state continental organization, continues to emphasize the necessity of South-South unity.

With the presidency being in the hands of Uganda for the next three years, issues related to the AU will undoubtedly receive significant attention. African states have expressed their concern over the ongoing war in Ukraine and are demanding an immediate ceasefire along with a negotiated conclusion to the conflict between the Russian Federation and the government in Kiev.

Another international crisis prompted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) escalating war against the people in Gaza and the West Bank, has been a huge focus of the peoples of the globe. Millions have gone into the streets throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific to demonstrate their solidarity with Palestine.

AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned the IDF war being waged in Gaza while stressing the need for a ceasefire. The U.S., the main defenders and funders of Tel Aviv, has on repeated occasions voted in the UN Security Council and General Assembly against resolutions for a ceasefire.

An article published by the Associated Press on the NAM Summit in Uganda, reported that:

“Speaking during the meeting of heads of state at the week-long gathering, Mahamat asked the 120 member countries to demand international justice for the Palestinians. His remarks were echoed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who called for the release of all the hostages and ‘the resumption of talks on a just solution that will end the suffering of the Palestinian people.’ Ramaphosa further called for unhindered and expanded humanitarian access to allow for vital aid and basic services to meet the needs of everyone living in Gaza…. ‘This is necessary to protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people,’ Ramaphosa said. At the start of the conference, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N. called on the members of the Non-Aligned Movement to put pressure on Israel to implement a cease-fire in Gaza after 100 days of war with Hamas.”

The concluding document known as the Kampala Declaration addressed numerous issues impacting the world today. There was the stated support for the cause of the Palestinians and the condemnation of Israel and its actions in Palestine.

Other points addressed in the final statement also included an endorsement of the lawsuit filed by the African National Congress (ANC) government in South Africa against the State of Israel; the demand that the UN Security Council be reformed to include African states as permanent members; the need to address public health concerns such as COVID-19, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), Influenza strains, etc.; nuclear disarmament; gender equality; anti-racism; climate change; the unfairness of the international system of finance and trade; among other concerns.

 History of the NAM

The Non-Aligned Movement grew out of the anti-colonial struggles for independence during the post-World War II period. The Afro-Asia summit held in Indonesia in 1955, known as the Bandung Conference, laid the groundwork for the eventual formation of the NAM in 1961.

Since the period between 1955-1961, there have been many more states which gained political independence from colonialism. However, despite these gains in the number of independent states in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, the economic dominance of imperialist states continues well into the third decade of the 21st century.

On the official website for the NAM there is a section on the history of the organization which emphasizes:

“Today, the work of NAM has been guided by the Bandung Principles – which caters mostly for the Movement’s political agenda. Over the years, however, economic cooperation and social and humanitarian issues have become central to the work of NAM. Since its founding, in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter, NAM has been instrumental in championing international peace and security. Its members have been a strong voice in the calls for: nuclear disarmament and the establishment of nuclear free zones; condemning and fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; and supporting United Nations’ efforts towards peacekeeping and peacebuilding. NAM also played an important role in leading international efforts towards addressing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for a steady global recovery. Unlike other regional and international organizations, such as the United Nations or the African Union, NAM neither has a formal founding Charter, Act or Treaty, nor a permanent secretariat. Coordinating and managing the affairs of the Movement, therefore, is the responsibility of the country holding the Chairmanship.”

This summit was significant considering the international movement away from the unipolar foreign policy approach of the U.S. and other imperialist states. Uganda also hosted the Group of 77 Plus China in the immediate aftermath of the 19th NAM Summit. Uganda will also serve in the capacity of chair of the organization whose governments represent 80 percent of the global population.

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