Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Statement for WILPF’s 94th Anniversary
28 April 2009
On 28 April 1915 while war raged in Europe, over one thousand women from a diversity of cultures and languages came together to study, make known and eliminate the causes of war.
The organisation they formed, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom continues to assert the right and the responsibility of women to participate in decision-making on all aspects of peace and security.
Celebrating its 94 year history on 28 April, the organisation continues to empower women and work towards the elimination of war, racism, discrimination and violation of women’s rights.. WILPF women have contributed with other non-governmental organisations to see human rights recognised and codified, landmines banned, and an end to apartheid in South Africa, detailed in an exhibition being launched around the world as part of the festivities.
While WILPF has witnessed progress over its 94 years, we live in a tense world of increasing military expenditure, of increasing investment in war, and still using war. Gaza and the West Bank are occupied, burn and bleed, the violence in Democratic Republic of Congo continues, on and on, deaths in Afghanistan go on and on and the burkhaas in Afghanistan stay on and on. The killing in Iraq continues, on and on, and so does the corporate welfare of Halliburton, Parsons Corp, Bechtel to name but a few of the profiteers in Iraq who have perfected organised crime.
While words such as ‘security’ and ‘terrorism’ are manipulated to leverage a reduction in civil and political rights, and the draining of human and financial resources from delivering economic, social and cultural rights and security for all, three interlocking crises are faced: climate change, peak oil and an economic depression.
Military security concepts and weapons profiteers bear enormous responsibility in killing our planet, impoverishing its people and changing our climate. The US Pentagon is the biggest single user of oil in the world (320,000 barrels per day), and generates 750 million tons of toxic waste per year.
While more people become impoverished, governments are wasting enormous resources on weapons and preparation for war. During a so-called financial crisis, governments are spending 1339 billion, the equivalent of 600 years of the UN’s budget, on military. Bombs, guns and landmines cannot be eaten, will not hinder a Tsunami, a hurricane, a flood, a virus, or a water shortage. These are our real security threats. We can face and address them, but only if we organize, cooperate and put the human and economic resources currently going into weapons and war into human needs