Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Faber, Mient Jan (1940–)

Secretary-general of the largest Dutch peace organization, the Interchurch Peace Council (IKV). Born on 14 December 1940 in Coevorden, Mient Faber studied mathematics and physics at the Free University of Amsterdam and graduated in 1968. In 1974 he obtained a doctorate from the same university. Also in 1974, Faber became secretary-general of the Interchurch Peace Council, a peace organization founded in 1966 by the Roman Catholic Church and mainstream Protestant churches.

In 1977 the IKV began a campaign for multilateral nuclear disarmament. Two years later, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) decided to deploy Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe. The IKV succeeded in mobilizing huge demonstrations against nuclear weapons in general and the deployment of cruise missiles in the Netherlands in particular. As a consequence, the Dutch government was forced to postpone the deployment decision in December 1979. Faber addressed a gathering of an estimated 400,000 people in Amsterdam in 1981 and a demonstration of 550,000 in The Hague in 1983.

Faber not only inspired anti-NATO protests but also declared solidarity with East European dissidents. In 1981, after martial law was declared in Poland, the IKV grew into a lobbying organization for freedom and human rights in Eastern Europe. This approach was called Détente from Below. Because of his advocacy activities, Faber was banned from the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and Czechoslovakia, and he was viewed with misgivings by many Western peace activists.

After 1989, Faber's involvement in human rights activities became even stronger. Together with Charter 77 and European Nuclear Disarmament (END), the IKV founded the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (HCA), a human rights organization. The HCA campaigned for safe havens in Bosnia (1992–1993) and supported humanitarian intervention in Kosovo. Faber retired as secretary-general of the HCA in 2003.

Beatrice de Graaf


Further Reading
Graaf, Beatrice de. "Détente from Below: The Stasi and the Dutch Peace Movement." Journal of Intelligence History 3(3) (Winter 2003): 9–20.
 

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