UNITED NATIONS WORLD SPACE WEEK:

Did you know that the UN sponsors a World Space Week every year at roughly the same time as our Keep Space for Peace events? And that the co-sponsor is an NGO called Spaceweek International Association (SIA), and that many of SIA's affiliated organizations are major aerospace corporations like Lockheed and Raytheon, involved in space militarization for profit? Explore the site, including the curriculum for schools which features science fiction and conflict/adventure.

This year WILPF and Global Network will report Space for Peace Week events to SIA and to the United Nations organizations sponsoring the week. Download and print the flier (Word document) which summarizes the whole process in primer form: Keep Space for Peace Week, UN World Space Week, SIA, the existing UN space treaties, and the problems blocking negotiation of a new treaty banning weapons and war in space.

Read the 2005 report of events around the world. The theme suggested for the 2006 UN World Space week is Space for Saving Lives. Of course WILPF supports such peaceful uses of space, but we strongly oppose the use of space for destruction of life and the environment. Many thousands of lives have already been lost, and whole nations ravaged, by the uses of space to wage "hi tech" wars and bombing campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Read the 2006 international WILPF resolution supporting the alternative of demilitarizing space through the UN disarmament treaty system. We oppose the militarization of space and insist that space be kept for the peaceful uses and the benefit of all humankind as provided in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

The UN office sponsoring the week is the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), which serves as the Secretariat for the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). These are the two bodies that monitor the 1967 Outer Space treaty. We want officials in these UN organizations to know that we support both that treaty and negotiation of a new treaty or protocol to Prevent an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) This should include a ban on use of weapons and nuclear power there. We also believe that both missile defense and intercontinental ballistic weapons must be abolished along with the nuclear warheads they are designed to carry.

WILPF strongly supports the call of the Blix Commission on WMD for a Review Conference on the Outer Space Treaty in 2007, the 50th anniversary of this important treaty. (See pages 140 to 149 of the Blix report, and especially Recommendation 46 on page 149.) WILPF also supports utilizing such a conference to move forward on the necessary demilitarization of space.

Indeed, it is time to fulfill the visions of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, build peace and end war as an instrument of foreign policy by any nation.