by The Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women
The Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women, leaders from many nations, including Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Nicaragua, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine and the United States, is deeply concerned about the growing militarism that dominates world affairs.
War and conflict adversely affect all people, but disproportionately hurt women and children. Women are at high risk of falling victim to rape as a weapon of war and to forced displacement that robs them and their families of shelter, clean water and food.
The US military and its allies, which bombed significant parts of Afghanistan to rubble, are again bombing Iraqi cities and towns at a huge cost to human life. Iraqi civilians constitute over 60% of war fatalities and young US soldiers from the working poor, especially minorities, are sacrificing their lives in an "unwinnable" war with no sense of purpose. Meanwhile, the Middle East peace process has completely broken down while daily violence claims the lives of Palestinians and Israelis. In other parts of the world, equally pressing and urgent political, economic, or humanitarian crises are unable to gain the attention or access to the resources provided for the aftermath of the Iraq war.
As a democracy, based on the fundamental principles of liberty, justice, equality and human rights, and as the most powerful and wealthiest nation in the world, the United States bears a special responsibility to act in accordance with its stated values.
As leaders of an international women's fund that supports women and children in over 160 countries, we make the following demands:
We urge the government of the United States to cease military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and enter into multilateral negotiations with all parties concerned under the leadership of the United Nations.
We urge the United Nations, in accordance with UN Resolution 1325, to actively support efforts that bring a critical mass of women to the negotiating table in regions of current conflict to participate in building a lasting and sustainable peace.
We call on all civil society and citizen-led organizations across the globe to hold their governments and the world community accountable for ensuring true human security. We reject the cynical exploitation of "the so called war against terror," as an excuse to avoid desperately needed public investments in public education, human rights, health and the environmental restoration of the world.
For 17 years, the Global Fund for Women, an international grantmaking foundation, has supported thousands of women's groups committed to realizing their vision of a world that is premised on the ideals of justice, peace and equality for all. From Israel and Palestine, to Colombia, Rwanda and Kosovo they have provided leadership in peace movements and persevered in reconciliation efforts that value the sanctity of all life. Women have always understood that peace requires building a broad consensus that is rooted in respect for diversity.