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Women strongly opposed to war against Iraq
23 January 2003
Statement by Anna Karamanou, Chairperson of European Parliament Committee on Women´s Rights and Equal Opportunities
Strong opposition to any prospect of a possible war against Iraq was expressed by Members of the Committee on Women´s Rights and Equal Opportunities when it met on 22 and 23 January. The Committee has repeatedly during the years emphasised the need to solve conflicts by peaceful means such as dialogue, reconciliation and negotiations. Strong commitment has been expressed by women to play a role in creating peace and security worldwide.
Wars and conflicts have always been a male domain, but the majority of victims are civilians, especially women and children. Women and girls are exposed to special forms of atrocity during war, such as rapes and sexual abuse which are often used as weapons of war. Furthermore, women are often alone responsible for their children and old family members, and also for their family survival while husbands and fathers are absent.
A war in Iraq is not the solution but would be a disaster for all men, women and children in Iraq who already suffer from the embargo.
In a resolution by the European Parliament on participation of women in peaceful conflict resolution (2000/2025(INI)) all form of violence against of women during warfare is condemned. References are made to numerous UN and other international resolutions and declarations on protection of women and children in armed conflicts against violence and degrading treatment, on increasing women´s representation in peace-building efforts etc.
A war in Iraq would be an admission of failure of diplomacy and the worst of all solutions. Governments should use their powers to press for and pursue negotiations in favour of a peaceful solution. Member States and Candidate Countries should implement all the commitments in the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women´s role in conflict resolution and sustainable peace.
The Committee hopes that women in other parts of the world, as well as women in the Arab world join in this protest against a possible war and in favour of a peaceful settlement of the escalating conflict between United States and Iraq.