WILPF Peace and Security
E-NEWS June, 2008
This month let's see if we can make some progress on the tasks we have been given. Felicity Hill has sent us the URL for current program priorities as listed on the WILPF Geneva web site. You can find the complete program document at http://www.wilpf.int.ch/programme/2007-2010.htm.
Let's look first evaluate what we've all accomplished tas a working group in Disarmament and Demilitarization since the Bolivia Congress, begin to ponder priorities until the next Congress and also consider if there are resolutions we wish to propose at the November International Board meeting. (Next month we can do the same for Human Rights and Globalization). Please share your own thoughts and information on any of these categories with the list serve at or with me directly at email@example.com .
A. Send Fact Finding Missions to countries in conflict. Issue reports and recommendations:
1. Take up opportunities to publicise the findings of the Colombia mission, at the Commission on the Status of Women and others. Follow up the recommendations of the mission to Colombia.
This presentation at the CSW by the Columbian delegation took place, given in Spanish and translated into English. There was an overflow crowd and it was enthusiasticaly received. Where is the report on Peace Women (I have not been able to find it) and what has been the follow up? Congratulations to Adriana Gonzales and the Columbian Section for a side event well done!
Mary Day Kent, who joined in the WILPF delegation to Columbia, has written a report on the conflicts and life situations in Columbia available from the American Friends Service Committee.
What else has been done on follow-up?
2. Undertake additional missions to the Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Cuba if finances allow.
B. Oppose military security structures and policies, support alternatives:
Heidi Meinzolt-Zepner (German Section) made a fact finding visit to Israel and Palestine. We sent the report to the Peace and Security list serve and until recently it was on the WILPF website
The Middle East Committee now has a home on the international WILPF web site with its own web pages here . It is still in formation and committee members and their priorities presented in Bolivia are not yet listed. The resolution submitted by the committee in Bolivia does not appear anywhere, but the call in that resolution for support of a Nuclear and WMD free zone in the Middle East should be of particular interest to this working group. Hanan Awaad wants to help us form an Iraqi WILPF Section and the Middle East Committee is also working on forming a Jordanian Section.
What other conflict situations would you like WILPF to consider? What about occupations of Iraq and Afghanstan?
1. Participate in the Abolition of Military Bases Network for closure of such bases around the world, holding the base occupier fully responsible for follow up cleaning and for refunding the population for health problems due to the destructive effects of their military presence;
Three attended the No Bases Network meeting in Ecuador. Mary Day Kent has since left the WILPF staff (U.S. Section) but is still a WILPF member and reported on the Ecuadorian intent to shut down Manta, the major U.S. base there. Tell us, Kozue Akibayashi (Japan Section) and Irene Eckert (German Section) about any follow-up by you or your Section and how you are currently involved. In the U.S. we have formed a supporting No Bases Network with AFSC at the core as enabler and funder and Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space as a key participant. Eight WILPF members (from British, Norwegian, German and U.S. Sections ) participated in a demonstration a U.S. cyber spy base in Germany. Read Regina Hagen's (German Section) report on celebration of the base shut down and encounter with U.S. military police. Are other Sections involved in anti-military base work?
2. Disclose military spending, publicise figures, show the alternatives, utilize gender budgeting to compare mil itary R&D compared to peace research budgets, Nordic Battle Group costs compared to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
European Sections please report on your research on the Nordic Battle Group, etc. Would it be helpful to compare percentages spent on human needs and on military budgets in our various countries. There is quite a difference between Costa Rica and the U.S.A., for instance.U.S. DISARM and members of the Swedish Section (including co-President Kerstin Greback ) joined Sam Cook of Peace Women and Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will in a side event on women, military spending and gender budgeting at the Commission on the Status of Women. WILPF member Mary Beth Sullivan (Outreach Coordinator for our partner Global Network) spoke powerfully about the trillions sought for U.S. space militarization (the extreme of male dominance) and the need for conversion to peace economies.
3. Support the anti-NATO efforts of some sections in the build up to the April 2008 Summit in Bucharest, and continue the linkage WILPF has always made with anti-NATO work to the need for the OSCE to be supported;
European Sections -- please report what you did on this.
4. Support efforts by the European sections to oppose the militarized security concept in the EU European Reform Treaty and the European Defence Agency which has implications for all conflict zones in which EU troops will be deployed in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere;
Again, members of European Sectins please report.
5. Increase the number of conflicts on which international WILPF is engaged. Currently WILPF is actively working on the conflicts in the Middle East, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and DRC. If Sections want International WILPF to expand this list, then expertise, guidance and strategic advice is required;
Ferial, (Lebanon), Hanan (Palestine), Dulcy and Indra (Sri Lanka). Marie-Claire (Congo). and Adrianna (Columbia) have WILPF sisters been able to assist you in anyway in your own situations? Do you want to report on your own work and situation, and what more can be done to help? What other conflicts should be addressing and how can we be of use? What about the U.S. occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq?
6. Continue to monitor and advocate for disarmament through multilateral processes, including the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the Conference on Disarmament
In what ways have Sections been able to engage in important workon nuclear weapons abolition?
What about WILPF work in Lebanon, Norway, Sweden, Britain and Geneva on the new Cluster Bombs treaty? Can we oooperate more widely in support of Prevention of An Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) and preventing weapons in space? In the U.S. our Disarmament committee is increasingly concerned about the dangers of bioweapons research and threats to the Bioweapons Convention. Costa Rica is now on the Security Council and the Costa Rican WILPF Section is supporting their government's continuing efforts to achieve a treaty controlling the small arms trade. Can we work more together on these issues?
7.Continue to participate in the International week to protest militarization of space. (October 2008).
In 2007 WILPF Sections in Australia, Geneva WILPF, Germany, Norway the United Kingdom and the United States participated in Keep Space for Peace Week, October 4 to 13. Read the statement delivered by WILPF to UN delegations during that week.
This year all WILPF and Global Network reports were included in the United Nations World Space Week publication ( 5 megabytes -- not for older computers). It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Sputnik launch, and the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty meant to ensure the peaceful uses of space for the benefit of all humankind.Global Network and WILPF have found the annual UN World Space Week, which is organized by an NGO co-sponsored by aerospace corporations, devoted to arousing the enthusiasm of young people for space exploration. It avoids any mention of space militarization and problems which must be resolved if space is to remain a shared commons, and kept for peaceful uses. -- not destruction of the environment, earth's life forms and the human race. This year WILPF and Global Network reports dominate U.S., U.K. and Indian sections. Many reports were cut and few of our photos were used, but at least we begin to open dialogue on the issues.
- Hunger strikes continue in protest of US plans for a "missile defence" system in Europe
Learn more from the RCW E-News, 30 May and 13 June. Also take a moment to sign the online petition against the development of this system - help the campaigners reach 200,000 signatures by 10 July.
C. To Support Section’s Political lobbying, the Secretariat will:
(Has your Section been able to take advantage of any of the following services and resources from our international office?)
- Draft lobbying letters, talking points and background information to enable Sections to ask questions of their governments and parliaments about military spending, and the reporting of it to the UN Arms and Military Spending register.
- Draft lobbying letters, talking points and background information to enable Sections to pressure for the Security Council to implement Article 26 of the UN Charter
- Create backgrounders on i) military spending, compare military spending to gender equality spending, opportunity cost disarmament and development ii) the so-called “War on Terror” and iii) deterrence (“Security for Whom?”);
- Support increased Section linkage with International WILPF projects on disarmament (Reaching Critical Will) and 1325 (PeaceWomen), by providing copies of statements made by the governments directly to Sections, continue monitoring and reporting on activities of the NPT, CD and General Assembly, highlight actions taken by WILPF sections on disarmament and 1325 in the regular newsletters going to thousands of NGOs, government representatives and UN officials.
That is a lot to think about!
And what about PRIORITIES between now and the next Congress? What issues will you concentrate on in your Section and what can we do and achieve together?
What resolutions re disarmament/demilitarization is your Section planning to propose to the International Board (meeting in Geneva this November). Do we want to propose any resolution(s) or statements from this working group?
Next month we will look at human rights (including indigineous rights and racial justice) and global governance.
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