Global Women for Peace United Against NATO Challenge NATO’s War Policies

By U.S. Army Colonel (retired) Ann Wright

Global Women for Peace United Against NATO representing women in 35 countries met July 6-9, 2023 for three days of discussions about the dangers of NATO to world security in Brussels, Belgium prior to the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. 

Global Women Meet Members of the European Parliament

On July 6, 2023, twenty Global Women delegates met with members of the European Parliament to express their concern about the war-making role of NATO. Irish member of the European Parliament Clare Daly and German member of the European Parliament Özlem Demirel spoke to the Global Women delegation about their concerns about NATO. The delegation gave a copy of the founding statement of Global Women to the members of the European Parliament.

MEP Clare Daly forcefully said that war and militarism are anathema to feminism and equality and stressed that equality, justice and peace are the principles that underpin women’s struggle for freedom.  She emphasized that there is no place for militarism or the use of violence to achieve geopolitical goals. She underscored that NATO’s purpose is domination, not justice or the defense of human rights. MEP Daly emphasized that women must resist NATO’s policies, calling for its dismantling and the restoration of equality and peace and not allow NATO to co-opt the use of the term “Feminine Foreign Policy” and “Women, Gender and Equality.”

In her speech, MEP Özlem Demirel referred to the need for immediate demilitarization and obtaining peace only through peaceful means. She also stressed that the funds given for the purchase of arms and military equipment are at the expense of having funds for the strengthening of health, education and other services for the people worldwide.

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The twenty Global Women delegates took turns speaking, each emphasizing the problems faced in their countries because of NATO’s military actions and mandatory military expenditures. The need for world peace, demilitarization, for human services such as health and education and for strengthening the protection of human rights was emphasized by all delegates.

Five Geographic Webinars underscoring Threats of NATO to the Regions

The 3-day conference had five geographic panels each detailing the threats of NATO operations to their region:

– Europe -NATO/US Threats and Consequences

-Africa-Ending Military Operations of NATO and AFRICOM

Asia-Pacific Against Militarism

NATO’s Growing Presence in Latin America

-Stopping US and Canada’s Participation in NATO’s Wars 

Additionally, an evening Brussels community event was organized by “No to War No to NATO” & Vrede Belgian peace organization. 

DELEGATION TALKS WITH NATO HIGH OFFICIAL ABOUT DANGEROUS NATO OPERATIONS

On July 7, a ten-woman delegation composed of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, UK and the US went to NATO HEADQUARTERS outside of Brussels to deliver the Women’s Declaration for Peace and to express their concerns over NATO war actions.  The head of Engagements Section of the Public Diplomacy Division Nicola deSantis presented a 20-minute talk on NATO’s “defensive” role in peace.

Each of the ten-woman delegation made a two-minute response with each person’s view of NATO and NATO’s effect on her country. The womens’ responses highlighted the escalation of NATO’s intensifying aggression, the channeling, together with the European Union, of vast sums of money into investments in the war industry and technology, the development of the anti-missile shield and the establishment of a network of military bases around the world. Other issues covered were NATO’s attempt to globalize its activities, both through its constant expansion eastwards and through the creation of various regional partnerships and satellite programs. By involving as many states as possible in NATO raids and missions for operational needs NATO creates political cover for its interventions and undermines international law and the principles on which the UN was built.

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Vigil Against NATO’s Militarism in Downtown Brussels

Late in the afternoon of July 7, Global Women, as a side event to the conference, joined peace activists from Brussels for a spirited Rally For Peace in downtown Brussels with banners and an interactive play.

Belgian and international peace and woman organizations called for a protest action against NATO plans to further increase military spending at the upcoming Vilnius summit in July.

This vigil became part of the July 8-9, 2023 worldwide 24 Hour Peace Wave.

No to Cluster Bombs and Depleted Uranium Weapons

With the announcement of the United States and the United Kingdom that they were sending cluster bombs and depleted uranium weapons to Ukraine, Global Women issued the following statement on Sunday, July 9 denouncing sending cluster bombs and depleted uranium weapons and the use of these weapons.

The Global Women For Peace United Against NATO Conference was a Great Success!

Organized in less than four months through zoom calls with women in 35 countries, the conference attendees got their message of NO to NATO and its war policies directly to NATO Headquarters and to the European Parliament in Brussels through their in-person visits.

Six webinars provided opportunities for women and men worldwide to hear from community members who are concerned about the militarization of our world and wars that threaten the survival of the human race.

Global Women For Peace United Against NATO will continue to organize to strengthen international/global solidarity and plan for actions July 9-11, 2024 in Washington, DC for the 75th anniversary of NATO.

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A longer version of this article is available here.

About the Author: Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She resigned from the US government in March 2003 in opposition to the US war on Iraq.  Since then she has worked for peace with Veterans For Peace, CODEPINK: Women For Peace and many other peace organizations around the world.  She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

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