Category Archives : CONVOCATIONS IN ENGLISH 2013


CONVOCATION 24 NOVEMBER 2013: 25 november Against immunity of members of peacekeeping missions of the UN!


AGAINST IMPUNITY!

For the abolition of the immunity of members of peacekeeping missions of the UN!

Initiating the global campaign of the International Network of Women in Black on the 13th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace and Security”

On the 31st of October, 2000, the Security Council (SC) of the UN passed Resolution 1325 (R1325), “Women, Peace and Security”. It was the first time that the UN Security Council called for the inclusion of women in peace processes and in the implementation of peace agreements. At least, those were the ideas behind the R1325, for which many peace activists all around the world have been working tirelessly.

The R1325 focuses on four major points: (1) participation of women in peace processes and decision-making on peace. (2) Incorporate gender in peace processes and training on gender perspective in what we call “peacekeeping missions”. (3) Protection of women in armed conflict and post-conflict situations. (4) Incorporation of gender perspective in the UN reports and in the mechanisms used in the implementation of peace agreements.

However, the implementation of the R1325 is far from reaching expectations. A large number of feminist-antimilitarist activists and regional and global experts in security, whose points of view we share, insist on the fact that the problem is not just the application of R1325, but the problem itself is the military character of the resolution.

- The patriarchal and militaristic character of Resolution 1325 is reflected in the fact that it deals almost exclusively with the theme of war and military conflict as a permanent state of affairs, natural and inevitable, which is contradictory with the role of the UN to maintain peace and security in the world. We believe that with this Resolution, the UN is attempting to glamorize war as the sole remedy for conflict and at the same time give it the role of alternative for the resolution of conflicts and wars. That is why we will continue to strive for the demilitarization of R1325. We maintain that war and the militarism that it generates are the main enemy of civil society, of women and children, with the result that war will always be their principal enemy.

- Resolution 1325 presents militarization of feminism and feminist demands through the introduction of a gender perspective in this way: a more numerous participation of women in the security sector and militaristic structures reduces the demands of equal access to power solely to the participation of women in patriarchal authoritarian structures in the military power and militaristic conception of security, while the most important point of concern for women, human security, is given a secondary importance in the R1325. Human security goes beyond military intervention. As recognized by the UN itself, speaking about security one must also speak about security regarding food, the environment, community, economy, etc. In family and work environments, women also live an existence conditioned by the violence exercised on them. A woman is killed or mistreated for not fulfilling the results expected of her. While governments consider that this sort of violence belongs to the private sector, it will always be present in our societies. Security is absence of violence against women, equality of access to power (political, economic and social). The struggle against violence towards women must be incorporated into the national security strategies.

- The colonial and hegemonic spirit: R1325 is mainly applied in the poor southern countries in post-conflict areas, in the so-called transition countries. Not even all members of the UN Security Council have adopted national action plans for the implementation of R1325. This Resolution is increasingly a concern of states or NGO elites, who are far from the major sectors of the population, especially women. That is why R1325 has a very limited impact on the situation of poor women and punishment of violence and crime. Based on reports compiled over 10 years of existence of R1325, it appears that little progress has been made in reducing the number of sexual offenses in war zones. After cease fire in a war, the UN sends in the Blue Berets, humanitarian armies, to the conflict zones. Instead of protecting the women, in many parts of the world these forces abuse women and young girls sexually, taking advantage of the prostitution to which they feel doomed by the extreme poverty in which they live, or by taking advantage of female sex slaves forcibly retained by mafias that exploit them, sometimes raping them, which the women on only rare occasion dare to denounce, rapes that remain in impunity because of the protection afforded to the soldiers.

In the XVI International Meeting of Women in Black in Montevideo, Uruguay, held between 19 and 24 August 2013, it was decided that Women in Black, as an international feminist antimilitarist movement, would start a global action for the abolition of the immunity of the members of the “peace missions” of the United Nations, the so-called “blue helmets”.

Remembering the 13th anniversary of Resolution 1325 this past 30 October, and on 25 November, International Day of Violence Against Women, we begin with the global mobilization campaign, in order to:

♀ abolish the immunity of the members of UN missions for peace, as well as place sanctions on sexual and other offenses, putting an end to impunity.

We will keep up our struggle for de demilitarization and against war through nonviolence. We consider that all wars are illegal and illegitimate and a burden for the ecosystem. We will continue to press to designate military expenditures instead for social, expenditures, education, health, culture, cooperation and the security of women.

In this way, we start a global campaign to abolish the immunity of peace missions. As part of the campaign, we will carry out multiple activities — to be decided.

Women in Black Belgrade, Women in Black Madrid, and
Bay Area Women in Black (San Francisco), Women in Black London (UK), Women in Black Leuven (Belgium), No Dal Molin di Vicenza (Italia), Colectivo Mujeres Libres Yazirat, Alternativa Antimilitarista. MOC las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), Montserrat Fenosa Choclán (Catalunya), Grupo Jaima, amigas y amigos de la RASD (Saharawi friends, Spain), Brigadas Feministas MZC – Córdoba (Spain).

Translation: Eva Aneiros and Trisha Novak


CONVOCATION 29 SEPTEMBER 2013: Against military intervention in Syria

Against military intervention in Syria

Once again the guardians of democracy rise up as saviors, in this case, saviors of Syria. But when they speak of helping the Syrians, they speak of military support to the insurgents in order to defend their own interests in the area. While peaceful protests lasted, the international community looked aside. When Asad crushed them harshly: the uprising of the children of Deraa, the sit-ins and demonstrations of the young people and the country folks, there was no great echo in the conventional media.

The conflict in Syria is not a conflict between good people and bad people. Al Asad is a lay dictator, but a dictator who has previously violated human rights with the tacit approval of all world leaders, and during this war he is carrying out a massacre of his citizens. On the other hand, the insurgents are a group of religious fanatics, foreign mercenaries, financed in large part by third countries and one and another rebel – one more conflict in which the civilian population is being quashed.

Al Asad was repressing his fellow citizens and destroying the homeland at the same time that those who sold weapons (with tacit approval of the governments) continued with their transactions, despite being aware of the fact that these weapons were being used against the civilian population.

They propose to bomb Syria but have no plans to help the millions of refugees, nor to protect the civil population trapped between two military forces (the army of Al Asad and the insurgents) and that suffers the consequences of a conflict that has little do with them and a lot to do with the strategic geographical interests in Syria on the part of the great world powers (gas pipes, proximity to the Middle East…).

Women in Black request:

♀ That there be international political intervention to end the conflict.

♀ A peaceful resolution to the conflict through consensus on political alternatives, which includes all the civilian voices involved.

♀ That they stop selling weapons to the government of Syria and cease giving them to the rebels.

♀ That the officials who have influence cease seeking their own personal interests and defend those of the Syrian people.

♀ That the civil population be protected both from military aggression and hunger, poverty, forced emigration, etc.

♀ That there be no impunity and that Al Asad and the rebels be accountable in court for their crimes against the population.

♀ That the government of Spain, instead of rescuing the banks, take part in humanitarian assistance for the Syrian refugees (up until now, they have given them zero euros, while the military expenditure in 2012 was 18,671.79 million euros).

Let us remove war from history and from our lives

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA


CONVOCATION 30 JUNE 2013: What we want to defend


The army cannot defend What we want to defend

Women in Black of Madrid consider that the army as an institution (we distinguish the military from the individual) does not defend what we want to defend. We want and we defend a society in which the State provides the conditions to ensure that all persons have the same rights and opportunities.

We are experiencing an economic crisis in which those who govern develop policies that protect those who are responsible for the crisis and encumber the citizens with its consequences; they shield the financial structures and protect the large companies, which continue earning profits, while the situation for workers is more and more precarious and poverty increases. They want the structures of the State to be coffers for making money for the few and privatize education, public health, the justice system…They reduce social rights obtained through the years, such as workers’ rights or abortion, and give more power to the Catholic Church; they have squandered our resources with bad management and at the same time they have favored the creation of corrupt networks and have usurped with impunity large quantities of money, without returning what was stolen.

Two years ago, the citizen group 15M took indignation to the streets, took over the plazas and converted them into agoras. Such assemblies have been repeated in the hospitals and in the universities sharing sentiments, analysis and nonviolent alternatives – a strategy through which all persons, from the elderly to children, have been able to participate in the discussions, demonstrations or sit-ins. Listening to one another, we have respected and learned from each other; we have been more imaginative upon uniting our efforts; we have demonstrated that they are not fooling us, that things can be done in another way. We engage in activities that empower us and make us participants in our present and future, that help us to overcome fear and despair and preclude our feeling guilty because of the precariousness of our situation.

We know that violent reactions favor and reinforce those who are in power and have the weapons and that civil society, the weakest persons, always loses.

Women in Black have participated and will continue to participate:

♀ In nonviolent actions against housing evictions, defense of public schools, universal and quality public health; in the peaceful protests against banks and political entities; against labor reforms; against the criminalization of undocumented immigrants; in Fiscal Objection to military expenditures….

♀ In the denouncement of social militarization to which we are subjected.

♀ In the denouncement of the military expenditures of Spain, which have exceeded 18,000 million Euros.

We request:

♀ That there be no more impunity and that all that has been stolen be returned.

♀ That military expenditures be directed towards social needs: education, health, housing, justice, culture, solidarity, development…

We want the response of society to continue to be nonviolent, so that every one of us emerges from this crisis strengthened.

We know that what has been destroyed over a period of years cannot be recovered overnight, but we say to those who govern that they are not defending our interests, rather the interests of those who have provoked the crisis.

THEY ARE NOT ACTING IN OUR NAME. YES WE CAN.

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA


CONVOCATION 26 MAY 2013: I declare myself an objector


Commemorating May 24th International Day of Women for Peace and Disarmament

I declare myself an objector

“From my position as a woman, and with the difficulty to be a woman, I declare myself a conscientious objector, not only refusing the existence of armies, but I also object to this economic, social and cultural model” (Milena Romero, Colombia).

Ever since 1982 the 24th of May has been celebrated as The International Day of Women for Peace and Disarmament, a commemoration stemming from the numerous protests of feminist and pacifist women against the installation by NATO of nuclear missiles and opposition to wars and all militarist policies.

Today, within the vast movement of feminist and pacifist women, we want to remember the women who are conscientious objectors to militarism.

As Cynthia Enloe has stated, “when we think about conscientious objection, at first we think about men. We make that assumption”. In fact, it is only in two countries that women have the obligation to perform military service, Israel and Eritrea. In both countries, there are women’s movements refusing conscription into the army.

However, the fact that women declare themselves objectors to militarism occurs all over the world, and it is precisely women who have contributed the most to giving a wider dimension to being a conscientious objector.

Some examples of women who objected to actively participate in the Second World War, or in the armed defense of their country, can be found in the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and in other European countries. Later, declarations of women as conscientious objectors occurred in countries like France, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, South Korea, Paraguay and Colombia, to cite a few examples. In the case of Spain, we can point out the campaigns opposing women in the army (Con nosotras que no cuenten) and the women who are fiscal objectors to military expenditures.

Analysis and thoughts that have emerged from feminist and anti-militarist groups show that women object to militarism for various reasons:
- Objection to recruitment by the Army (in times of peace as in time of war)
- Objection to buildup of arms (from the objection to not contribute with one’s taxes to an objection to working for weapons industries)
- Objection to armed intervention in other countries
- Objection to the militaristic culture
- Objection to the militarization of society
- Objection to the patriarchy and its hierarchies

Hilal Demir, a Turkish objector, summarizes these reasons: “When I thought about what to put in my public declaration, it was very clear what point I wanted to explore in my text: the causes of wars, how people are used in wars, how militarism present in daily life prepares us psychologically for war and violence, how this system perpetuates a social life structured around gender roles. In my declaration, I wanted to reject all these points”.

As this is the time to file income tax forms in Spain, Women in Black against War invite you, men and women alike, to be objectors to military expenditures. Please visit the following web pages (in Spanish) and take action:
http://www.educarueca.org
http://www.nodo50.org/objecionfiscal/

Recommended reading (in English):
“Objectors of conscience. Anthology”.
Publication of the International Resistors to War. December 2012.
Or on the page http://www.wri-irg.org:
Objectors of conscience. Anthology

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA


CONVOCATION 28 APRIL 2013: Facing the situation of unemployment or exile of the young people because of the economic crisis


Facing the situation of unemployment or exile of the young people because of the economic crisis

Women in Black of Madrid think that the crisis is the pretext of our government to make budgetary cuts that oblige our young people to seek exile. Unemployment in this sector of the population has reached 57%.

At the same time, the conflicts that are now taking place in other countries oblige their citizens to leave their respective countries in search of a living. Being uprooted is a factor in both cases, as well as frustration at not seeing their expectations fulfilled. The budgetary cuts result in increased restrictions in immigration laws of the wealthiest countries; deny social services to the migrants, who are at the same time criminalized; close welcoming institutions; and abolish subsidies to some NGOs, who find it necessary to close down.

On the other hand, our country continues to export armaments, which is the same as exporting war, feeding this cycle of displacement and exile of the population. How many research projects; how much housing; how many training programs, improvements in health and education could become reality with the money that is spent on armaments? YES, IT CAN BE DONE. (SI SE PUEDE.)

We should demand of our politicians that they echo these requirements and not put the business of weapons before social needs. If they really want to represent us, they should stop this vicious cycle that impoverishes all of us, and boost investment in goods that redound to the well-being of the population, responding to the social needs and giving an example of honesty.

YES, THERE IS A SOLUTION. What is lacking is the will to carry out the necessary measures to change the direction of our economy and the policies dependent on it. We know that the business of war does not create employment, except for perhaps a few jobs locally. The benefit is only for the big enterprises that make weapons, an absolutely despicable business that could be converted into jobs that signify a real benefit for the world population. Wars not only terminate the lives of people but will also end the life of the planet because of its negative impact on the environment and because of the nature of existing weapons: nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Even so, the only budget items that are not subject to cuts are the military. In our country the military expenditures have not only not experienced the announced 8% cut but also don’t correspond to the 6,316 million euros budgeted for the Ministry of Defense. It is calculated that it is at least 18,000 million euros, of which more than 12,000 million are hidden in sundry items of other ministries and organizations. If we invested that amount in reducing or canceling the cuts, surely our young people would have a future in their own country, because it is for sure that they are not leaving voluntarily, rather, with the pretext of the crisis, THEY ARE BEING EXPELLED.

“When the people refuse to cooperate, refuse to give help and persist in this disobedience and challenging position , they are denying their adversary the support and basic human cooperation that any government or hierarchical system requires. If enough people do it and do it for a sufficiently long time, that government or hierarchy will lose its power.”
Gene Sharp
(Translated from Spanish)

Data on military expenditure of Spain:
- www.nuevatribuna.es: Gasto militar en 2012 y Gasto militar oculto
- Comunicado de la campaña Recortemos el gasto militar, invirtamos en gasto social el Día de Acción Global sobre el Gasto Militar (GDAMS)

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA


CONVOCATION 27 JANUARY 2013: COLOMBIA, OPEN LETTER TO THE PARTICIPANTS AT THE NEGOTIATION TABLE 1


Commemorating January 30th School Day for Nonviolence
The women of the International Network of Women in Black join the petitions of all the Colombian Mujeres por la Paz

Colombia: Open letter to the participants at the Negotiation Table

Numerous women belonging to organizations and groups from very varied spheres and coming from all the regions of Colombia have united their voices in the collective Mujeres por la Paz (Women for Peace). In this way, they wish to be heard more forcefully because despite their constant mobilizations in favor of a negotiated outcome to the conflict, they have not seen their analysis reflected in the peace processes.

Once again, they reaffirm their ethical and political commitment to the building of peace and a resolution to the social and armed conflict. They urge the government and the guerillas to not leave the Mesa de Dialogo (Dialogue Table) without reaching an agreement that will put an end to the Colombian conflict. They demand to be protagonists in the dialogue, in the decisions that are made and in the building of peace; they ask to be heard so that questions relating to the rights of women are included in the agenda. A transformation is necessary in the relationships of oppression and subordination that they now experience: desiring to become political agents, recognized interlocutors to facilitate the discontinuance of the patriarchal pact. It is equally essential that the problem of land ownership be discussed in order to overcome the injustices experienced in the rural sector, as well as to guarantee respect for the lands of the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. A focus on the rights of women will facilitate the use, ownership and restitution of the land and can correct decades of insecurity and violence.

We, the women of the International Network of Women in Black, join the petitions of all the Colombian Mujeres por la Paz; we are aware of their efforts over many years for the construction of peace amidst very difficult circumstances and admire their courage and perseverance. A just peace will not be reached without including the participation of women.


It is time to stop war

The key to peace is ours also.

(Communiqué of 5 September 2012)

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA