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Policy Statement by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (US Section) regarding the bombing of Yugoslavia

Peace Movement Aotearoa

PO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173,

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MARCH 26, 1999

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) calls on its branches and other allied organizations in the United States to organize protests at Federal Buildings, Court Houses, and Congressional district offices nationwide on April 2nd, Good Friday, and/or on April 15 (tax day) to notify President Clinton and members of Congress that we oppose this ill-conceived and illegal bombing in Yugoslavia.

Ethnic cleansing is wrong. The U.S. military action in response to ethnic cleansing is wrong. In Yugoslavia, United States policy has again offered massive bombings as its solution to a complex situation.. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have left their homes rather than remain in harm's way. Massive bombings do not provide a lasting peace. Constructive U.S. policy for sustainable security is needed in the region.

Republican and Democratic members of Congress are correct in their criticism of this action as a simplistic response to a complex conflict situation. WILPF admires and thanks Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the only House member who finally voted against this aggression.

The interests of U.S. arms manufacturers are intimately tied to the expansion of NATO as the policeman of the European continent and beyond. Therefore, the world's citizens are treated to advertisements for U.S. stealth bombers and other weapons displayed minute by minute on the international billboard supplied by CNN. We deplore the use of space satellites to direct bombs to their targets that is accelerating the militarization of space.

The United States is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on advanced weaponry in this bombing campaign. For example, sixteen B2 Stealth bombers at $2 billion each for a total of $32 billion are being used in combat for the first time.

This money would be better spent on economic development and humanitarian aid to help Yugoslavia ease its transition into the dialogue of commerce and trade in this new economic period. More than 200,000 people have been displaced. Escort protection and humanitarian aid are needed. Refugees Assistance is needed to help refugees return and rebuild their homes and communities. This requires the participation of all of civil society especially women who have already been engaged in meeting across borders.

The diplomatic and humanitarian efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union and United Nations agencies should be encouraged and utilized more fully in the effort to reach lasting and non-military solutions to this tragic situation.

Statement adopted at Women's International League for Peace and Freedom US Section board meeting, March 26, 1999.

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom was formed during World War I and is the largest women's peace organization in the world with sections in 42 countries.


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