International Women's Summit to Redefine Security: Final Statement

Social Justice, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

International Women's Summit to Redefine Security: Final Statement


East Asia-U.S. Women's Network Against Militarism

Naha, Okinawa, Japan, June 22 to 25, 2000

ON THE EVE OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE G-8 LEADERS, TO BE HELD IN Okinawa between the 21st and 23rd of July, 2000,91 members of the East Asia-U.S. Women's Network Against Militarism, coming from the Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Japan, the U.S., mainland Japan, and Okinawa, convened the International Women's Summit to Redefine Security. We are activists, teachers, students, researchers, elected officials, and survivors of physical, sexual, and emotional violence; we are daughters, mothers, and wives. The purpose of this meeting was to challenge the principle of "national security" on which the economic policies of the G-8 are based. These economic policies can never achieve genuine security. Rather, they generate gross insecurity for most peoples of the world and devastate the natural environment. These economic policies are inextricably linked to increasing militarization throughout the world. Militaries reap enormous profits for multinational corporations and stockholders through the development, production, and sale of weapons of destruction. Moreover, militaries maintain control of local populations and repress those who oppose the fundamental principles on which the world economic system is based. The current economic system depends on deep-seated attitudes and relationships that are characterized by greed, fear, domination, and the objectification of "others" and expressed through racism, sexism, imperialism, and the desire to control the physical environment. Vested interests, routine ways of thinking, prejudice, ignorance, and inertia also play their part in maintaining entrenched systems of economic, social, and political inequality.

This Women's Summit builds on the earlier meetings of the East Asia-U.S. Women's Network in Naha, Okinawa (1997) and Washington, D.C. (1998), which sought to build a strong international network of women who oppose militarism and are working to define an agenda for true global security and peace. Throughout our four-day gathering, we affirmed that genuine security is based on the following four key tenets:

* The environment in which we live must be able to sustain human and natural life;

* People's basic survival needs for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education must be met;

* People's fundamental human dignity and respect for cultural identities must be honored; and

* People and the natural environment must be protected from avoidable harm.

By these standards, there are no truly secure societies in the world and none that are fully committed to achieving genuine security. Yet many detailed alternative proposals to creating and maintaining true security have been developed by international peace and human rights organizations. These include specific proposals for nonviolent conflict resolution, early-warning procedures, mediation services, and the restoration and rebuilding of devastated lands and communities. Development for genuine security must be economically and environmentally sustainable.

Participants in the International Women's Summit shared our experiences of the impact of this militarized economy on our lives. We see demilitarization as a process of incremental steps by which governments must reduce military operations, expenditures, and cultures while simultaneously expanding nonmilitary alternatives. …

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