EBCO honours the memory of Gerd Greune, one year after

Brussels, 29 August 2013

One year after his sudden death, EBCO honours the memory of Gerd Greune, co-founder of EBCO, and a prominent figure in the fields of pacifism, conscientious objection to military service, and human rights.

EBCO has uploaded a memorial video tribute here:

Gerd Greune (15 March 1949 - 24 August 2012) has always been a key person in EBCO: one of its founders and one of its pillars during all these years (President, Vice-President, Secretary General). The right to conscientious objection was actually Gerd Greune's first political issue, developing into a general involvement in the German and international Peace movement and campaigning against the stationing of nuclear weapons in Europe and nuclear arms in general. His interests also included anti-militarisation, conflict resolution, freedom of media, and human rights in general.

In 1979 Gerd Greune co-founded EBCO as an umbrella structure for national associations of conscientious objectors in the European countries to promote the right to conscientious objection to preparations for, and participation in, war and any other type of military activity as a fundamental human right. He was also a former Executive Board Member and Secretary General (1979-1981) of the International Peace Bureau (IPB), and a board member and co-chairman of the German Peace Society - United War Resisters (the largest German peace organization) during the 1970s and 1980s. He became one of the speakers of the Coordination Committee of the German Peace Movement opposing new NATO missles and played a significant role in the European networks against nulears arms in the early 1980s (e.g. END). He always promoted an active East-West dailogue looking for common disarmament goals and possibilities for joint actions which finally led to the Olof Palme Peace March in 1987. From 1986 to 1997 he worked as a political advisor to the Executive Board of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. He then founded the Institute for International Assistance and Solidarity (IFIAS) in Brussels (1997). From 1986 until his death he was its President and Secretary General. He ran projects in several countries, including Western Balkans (1997-1999), Bulgaria (2005-2007), Syria (2005-2007), Palestine (2006-2008), and Belarus (2011). Finally, from 2008 until his death he was the Development Director of the Arab Media Internet Network.

“Gerd Greune was an inspiring conscientious objector, a dedicated pacifist and a passionate human rights activist. EBCO will gratefully bear in remembrance his convincing commitment for international peace and understanding. We commemorate him as a person of integrity, as a networker and unifying figure for peace who motivated pacifists of different traditions and contexts to cooperate for the realisation of the human right of conscientious objection to military service. We will continue to work for the ideas and the causes to which he has been committed all his life.", Friedhelm Schneider, EBCO’s President, said today.

Left photo: Gerd Greune in Nicosia on 29/09/2011 for the trial of Turkish-Cypriot conscientious objector Murat Kanatli.
Right photo: Gerd Greune in Berlin on 14/05/2011 for the end of conscription in Germany.

EBCO press contacts: Friedhelm Schneider, EBCO’s President, +49 152 044 776 75, friedhelm.schneider@gmx.de
Sam Biesemans, EBCO’s Vice-President, +32 477 268 893, sambiesemans@skynet.be