Each month, we will feature a different WRI affiliate. This month it is Bund für Soziale Verteidigung (Federation for Social Defence).
The Federation for Social Defence (BSV) was founded in 1989 by a number of organisations including Pax Christi and German FOR, involving personalities of the peace movement like Petra K. Kelly, Prof. Dr. Theodor Ebert and Roland Vogt. There are close relationships with the WRI-sections DFG-VK and IFGK. The BSV is a professional association for nonviolent politics and constructive transformation of conflict. The concepts of social defence and nonviolent action constitute the quintessential core of our peace work. The BSV understands the concept of social defence as the protection of the institutions and values of the civil society by nonviolent methods.
Some milestones in the development of the BSV were
- Balkan Peace Team (1994-2001),
- Nonviolence training campaign "Paths Out of Violence” (1996-2001).
- Establishment of the Civil Peace Service in 2001;
- “Constructive Conflict Resolution in the Communal Environment in NRW1” (2002-2006)
- Working Group on Nonviolent Peaceforce (since 2005, now integrated in Working Group on the recent campaign on "Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping")
- Support of civil rights movement "Our house" in Belarus (2005-)
- Working Group on "Gender and Peace" (2012-)
The BSV each year organizes a larger conference in spring and a smaller symposium in autumn. Our publications comprise a quarterly paper newsletter, a monthly e-newsletter, info papers and background papers on various issues, for example Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping or Nonviolent Alternatives to Fighting Terror.
Since 2013 BSV is a section of WRI and took actively part in the conferences in Cape Town in July 2014 (with a working group presenting Nonviolent Peaceforce) and Seoul in October 2015 (presenting the German Campaign against Arms Trade and participating in nonviolent action against arms fair ADEX).
- Participation in the WRI task force on Turkey. We took part in the WRI delegation going to Eastern Turkey in April 2016 and are now participating in the next steps of this WRI-led work.
- Peace education project with a video, short comic, workshops etc. on nonviolent conflict resolution (see www.think-peace.de)
- developingD workshops for the protection of refugees in Germany against right-wing and other violence (building a local network for protection of refugees, where needed)
- Love Storm - a project against hate speech in social media (developed by our former executive officer Björn Kunter, building grassroots' groups that counter hate speech, workshops for journalists and providers.
1 North-Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous federal state of Germany. Here, BSV has its office.