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Association for Peace in the Basque Country

Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 1993

The Association for Peace in the Basque Country (Coordinadora Gesto por la Paz de Euskal Herria / Euskal Herriko Bakearen Aldeko Koordinakundea) was a pacifist, civic, unitary, pluralist and independent platform. This organization came into being in 1986 as a means of expression for the people of the Basque Country and Navarre to condemn violence. In that respect, from its inception it was known for its silent actions and demonstrations in many towns in the Basque Country and Navarre each time a death occurred as a result of the violence related to the Basque situation.

The Association for Peace in the Basque Country comprised more than 150 groups working at a local level. The association’s governing body –a sort of executive board– was its Standing Committee of twelve members, who acted as spokespersons for the group and shared the tasks of leadership, management and coordination of the organization’s activities between them.

The aim of the Association for Peace in the Basque Country was to unite the whole of society –regardless of ideology– against violence and in favour of respect for human life as a fundamental right and the basis of all other human rights. During its existence, this pacifist organization adopted a stance of its own regarding different issues related to the situation in the Basque Country, such as victims, education for peace, human rights for prisoners and groups, the harmful influence of violence on politics, and so on.

To carry out its activities, this Association for Peace received the economic support of a number of different institutions, primarily the Basque Government, in addition to voluntary contributions from hundreds of citizens (which respectively accounted for 30 and 70% of its overall income).

Besides having achieved a significant level of recognition in Basque society, the work of the Association for Peace was distinguished on various occasions by the media, as well as by the Basque Parliament, which put forward its nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, and the Manuel Broseta Foundation, which awarded it its Tolerance Prize in 1993. Among other distinctions, it received the 1998 Westphalia Peace Prize, the 1999 Tierno Galvan National Award for Solidarity and Human Values, and the 2001 Jesus Maria Pedrosa Award in defence of freedom and democratic values.

The legitimacy achieved by the organization throughout its existence was based upon the constant and rigorous denunciation of violence, wherever it may come from, and in the demonstration of its total independence from any political or social organization that might distort or condition its message.

Gesto por la Paz was dissolved following the announcement of the cessation of violence by ETA in 2013.

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