WILPF Statement on the Situation in Georgia

15 August 2008

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Statement on the situation in Georgia

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) deplores the violent conflict in Georgia, and welcomes the ceasefire agreement negotiated by the European Union. In all negotiations we urge that parties respect United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

The international community and international organizations have neglected to support the civilian rebuilding of Georgia after the hostilities in early 1990. These current hostilities have destroyed infrastructure needed for people to survive. There are hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people in the region already, and this conflict has and will continue to displace even more.

Instead the continued sale of military goods and technologies in the region is causing people to raise their arms and not their voices. WILPF calls for an immediate halt to all arms transfers in the region. According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, Georgia ranks within the top ten spenders per capita on the military. (SIPRI Yearbook 2007, Table 8A.4., page 317) The ongoing military buildup inflames local tensions and encourages military responses as opposed to dialogue.

According to Human Rights Watch, there is a great likelihood that cluster munitions have been used in this conflict. The use of these indiscriminate weapons will increase the number of casualties if and when displaced people return. WILPF urges that an independent UN assessment be made of the area, and that the Georgians and Russians take full responsibility for cleaning up any explosive remnants of war.

The Georgian population is suffering from the ongoing geopolitical struggle in the Caucuses region. Therefore, WILPF recognizes that resource control, especially of the British Petroleum oil pipeline that runs between the Black Sea and Caspian oil fields, is a possible underlying cause of the current conflict, and that negotiations for a peace agreement must include settlement agreements regarding the future of the pipeline.

WILPF recognizes the countless women’s organizations in the region, including women from Abkhazia, Georgia, Ossetia, and Russia have been working to educate the public on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the Beijing Platform for Action. WILPF calls on the governments of Georgia and Russia to include these groups as full and equal participants in the negotiations on a long term sustainable peace plan.