Report on No War 2016Published on October, 47 2016
Portion of No War 2016 poster. Credit: World Beyond War.
By Odile Hugonot Haber, Program Chair, Middle East Issue Committee
A large group of WILPF members and around 200 peace activists attended the World Beyond World conference in Washington, DC, that convened September 23-26, 2016.
“World Beyond War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace.”
Our US president, Mary Hanson Harrison, was present and our International WILPF president, Kozue Akibayashi, was invited to speak at the conference, before her visits to Detroit and Ann Arbor, where she also spoke. Kozue Akibayashi is a feminist scholar working on the issues of gender and peace. She has long protested US and Japanese militarism, together with the women on the Island of Okinawa, where there is a large US base that is only used by US military, due to a bilateral agreement between US and Japan.
The conference offered three days of speakers on many issues of peace and justice. It followed our Hague Centennial Anniversary, where Leah Bolger first distributed the booklet A Global Security System: An Alternative to War. At this conference, the 2016 edition was presented.
On the final day, the conference held an action in front of the Pentagon. Twenty-one activists attempted to deliver a petition, signed by more than 23,000 people, to President Obama, US Secretary of Defense Carter, and German Chancellor Merkel calling for the closing of a drone relay station at the US Air Force Base at Ramstein, Germany, which has been linked to the deaths of civilians. Activists in Germany also tried to deliver this petition to Merkel.
Then, on Tuesday, September 27, more than 130 female activists from 38 countries pressed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to lead a process of bringing North and South Korea to peace. The open letter was co-sponsored by Women Cross DMZ and WILPF.
We hope that many of our branches will follow this lead and demand the closing of the US bases of Okinawa, and all US bases; the end of wars and the creation of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (MW WMD-FZ); and nuclear abolition and the decrease of the US military budget, with the passing of the proposed legislation H.R. 1976 the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act of 2015 .