East Asia-U.S.-Puerto Rico
WOMEN’S NETWORK AGAINST MILITARISM
August 15-19, 2002
This international gathering of women takes place in the midst of heated controversy of the deaths of two young girls killed by a U.S. Army military tank in Hyochon-ri, Kyonggi Province, South Korea. Their deaths continue to represent the human cost of the unfolding War on Terrorism led by the U.S. government. This increased militarism in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001, represents a heightened state of violence against women, children, and our communities that is rooted in U.S. economic and military dominance around the world.
The U.S. government has coerced other nations into adopting policies and laws that have created fear, insecurity, violence, and repression in South Korea, Vieques, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Okinawa, Japan, and also in the United States. The U.S. Patriot and Homeland Securities Act and the Military Emergency Bill in Japan gives the U.S. government and the nations pressured to comply with its military policies, carte blanche, to take away civil liberties, violate human rights, ignore existing laws, and mask its economic interests as “national security”. These new policies also perpetuate inequalities based on race, class, gender, and nation, and deny basic rights for immigrants and poor people.
Pending bilateral agreements such as the Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement (MLSA) in the Philippines compound the negative effects of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) by giving the U.S. military unhampered access to areas in the Philippines. We oppose these policies that use the military as an excuse to push for expanding U.S. global economic and military influence, increasing global inequality, and the denial of democratic processes and self-determination for our communities and nations.
As women we fully recognize that the militarization created by the relationships between the global economy, U.S. military, and complicit nations is reflected in the past and current patterns of violence against women, children, and the environment. Our lives are fundamentally interconnected across national boundaries through the ways in which our communities are negatively affected by U.S. militarist policies and programs. We recognize our collective responsibility to oppose the practices and policies of our respective governments in supporting U.S. President Bush’s policy of war and to support women and women’s leadership in voicing our opposition and envisioning true security.
Women continue the struggle for reparations for past military crimes against women such as those women who were victimized by the Japanese military in sexual slavery during World War II, and the massacre of whole communities in the Philippines, Vietnam and Korean Wars and the Battle of Okinawa. We claim our histories and past memories and denounce the devastation the U.S. military has caused in our lives, our communities and our environment, despite hypocritical policies such as Good Neighbor Policies that try to cover up the real nature of military operations and current expansion. We as women carry the scars of militarism’s injustices and atrocities and we keep firm our vision for true security that guarantees the safety, well-being and long-term sustainability of our communities.
We issue the following demands to the leaders of the U.S. and the countries that host the U.S. military:
Stop the War on Terrorism and policies that threaten genuine global security
We demand that the U.S. government stop coercing and promoting policies to push the War on Terrorism on other nation states resulting in the denial of true democracy, security and human rights.
> We oppose the passage of all new policies that reinforce the War On Terrorism.
Guarantee Self-Determination and Genuine Security.
> We demand that the U.S. government immediately cease all types of military practices and fulfill its commitment of leaving Vieques, Puerto Rico by May 2003.
> We demand that the U.S. return all the land of Vieques specifically the east area and the area where the Rothr radar is located.
> We demand the rescinding of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the rejection of the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) in the Philippines.
Ensure a Safe, Clean Environment
> We demand revision of the unequal Status of Forces Agreements, particularly Article 4, in order to hold the U.S. government accountable for paying for and cleaning up all their former and current military bases in Okinawa, Japan, and Korea.
> We demand passage of the Host Committee Bill of Rights (adopted in the International Grassroots Summit for Military Toxics (October 1999, Washington D.C.) that provides guidelines for the clean-up of former U.S. bases and gives countries where these bases are located full negotiating and monitoring rights in base cleanup.
Hold the U.S. government and the nations that host the U.S. military
accountable for the human costs of militarization
> We demand that the U.S. government pay reparations to communities where there has been physical, social, emotional, and environmental damage because of the presence and operations of the U.S. military.
> We demand that the U.S. ratify, comply with and adhere to guidelines of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ensure that past crimes are also included within the scope of the ICC.
> We demand that the U.S. and governments that host the U.S. military provide reparations and social services to Amerasian children and allow them the freedom to claim citizenship.
> We demand health care and other necessary support services for women who are survivors of institutionalized and informal sex trafficking.
Halt the restructuring of the U.S. military that increases militarism in our communities.
> We demand the halting of the construction of new military bases in Okinawa and ensure the complete removal of military presence.
> We demand that the U.S. government stop forcing the development, sale, and resale of weapons and military equipment through its unequal relationships with other nations.
Stop the violence against women and children.
> We demand the closure of all clubs, venues, and activities that exploit women and promote military prostitution and the trafficking of women; instead, ensure opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and dignity for women.
> We oppose the promotion of war and violence in our everyday lives such as the use of toys that glorify and celebrate war and the military, as well the use of language that normalizes violence in our everyday lives.
Signed by the participants of the Fourth International Gathering of the East Asia – US – Puerto Rico Women’s Network Against Militarism.
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002