Declaration of Women in Solidarity
For Peace Against War
Hundreds of women from Palestine to the Americas, women from Venezuela to Argentina and from the various regions of Colombia met in Barrancabermeja to reflect on the impact of the armed conflict and socio-political violence in the lives of the people at large and, especially, the lives of women.
During the three days of the gathering, we have affirmed that:
a.. For the governments and monopolies that benefit from it economically, war has become an efficient way to enhance their profit and to appropriate resources and lands, converting the human being into merchandise that can be bought and sold, or hunted and killed, to be displayed as a trophy within the framework of the so-called war on terrorism.
a.. Hunger, the denial of basic rights such as health and education, along with the lack of public services and increasingly rare opportunities to dissent, to think and to act differently, that is to say, the negation of the possibility of generating liberty, identity and autonomy, are the norm within each of the groups and nationalities here represented, which makes for a socio-political violence that becomes a transnational policy against the resistance of the oppressed.
a.. Women, no matter what their race, beliefs, political outlook and economic level, must always be the messenger of peace, be it in her own private world or in her public life, because it is we who most experience and suffer from the impacts of violence promoted by a model based on ambition and exclusion.
a.. As for Colombia in particular, the powers-that-be, authoritarian and in control of the military, have propelled the armed political conflict to levels of degradation that obliterate minimal respect for the dignity of the human being, creating a conflict with no rules or regulations in which none of the actors recognizes the other as a valid interlocutor because of his ideas but only in relation to the enormity of his actions against individuals.
a.. Close to a century of political violence has served the State as an excuse to not guarantee political, economic social and cultural rights either to groups or to individuals, to keep communities in extreme poverty and permit corruption, illegal commerce in drugs and the growth of militarism, with the persons most impacted by all this being WOMEN.
In view of the above, the Seminar-International Gathering of “Women Building Peace” agrees to publicly and permanently declare itself in disagreement with the policy of war that multi-nationals, financial institutions and the imperialist States exercise against the people in the name of the free market and anti-terrorism for being indiscriminate, stigmatizing, sectarian and denigrating to human beings.
We delineate the urgent need to:
a.. Reject State policies that the Nation States impose on the poor, who, are daily growing in number across the width and breadth of the world, under the guise of global commerce and pre-emptive war.
a.. Exhort all women, whether members of organizations or not, and all the citizens of our respective countries to continue demonstrating against war and to continue sowing peace among families, in schools, universities, neighborhoods, the countryside, unions and factories and in their political and social organizations.
a.. Demand that the insurgents and the government of Colombia recognize one another and open a new dialogue to negotiate a political solution to the armed conflict, with decisive input from the Movimiento Social [of the people].
a.. Demand that the government of President Alvaro Uribe cease its warlike program for democratic security, that they prioritize their social and economic obligations, increasing investment in social well-being and reducing the military budget, permitting free exercise of public rights to the end that a Lawful Social State can be truly realized.
a.. Promote a process of integration of the Latin American peoples and other peoples struggling for peace, so that we can mobilize in solidarity against war in all its manifestations.
a.. Demand of the armed actors that they NOT use public spaces such as schools, universities, social meeting halls, public dining halls, hospital and sports venues.
a.. Exhort and promote in the Colombian woman her enthusiasm for organizing in the service of peace against war, which will be repeatedly demonstrated in public, one planned demonstration being the “National Vigil of 8 March 2005”.
Barrancabermeja – Magdalena Medio – Colombia
Translation from Spanish: Trisha Novak