5 September 2013 – AT THE G20 SUMMIT IN ST. PETERSBURG – While leaders from the world’s richest countries have traveled to St. Petersburg to discuss quantitative easing, tax policies, commodity markets and other financial matters, the question of possible US military strikes against Syria is overshadowing the G20 Summit.
The Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the Feminist Task Force are opposed to having the G20, a self-appointed body calling itself “the premiere forum for international economic cooperation,” be the conduit to foster international support for the US to bomb Syria. Governments should refrain from endorsing any military intervention and focus instead on eliminating poverty and inequality, including the feminization of poverty and gender inequality. The G-193, the United Nations, should address the humanitarian crisis that violence in Syria has created and a political process to end the war. More than four million people have been displaced from their homes and some 110,000 individuals have died from conflict since the uprising against Syria’s dictatorship started two and a half years ago.
“A military attack will only add fire to fire and put the whole region in danger,” says Marta Benavides, co-chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, member of the Feminist Task Force and long-time peace and human rights activist from El Salvador. “Violence always begets violence; peace is key to a people and planet-centred development.”
Development is impossible without peace, just as peace is not possible without development, a fact that was recently affirmed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a report to the General Assembly.
“Ending poverty, a form of violence, should be the key message coming out of St. Petersburg,” says Rosa Lizarde, Global Director of the Feminist Task Force. “Supporting the women, peace, security and development agenda should be prioritized as it is women who bear the brunt of wars, violence and poverty.”
“We have had enough experience of war and their impact on people’s lives and livelihoods,” says Beckie Malay, a GCAP Global Council member from The Philippines. “The G20 can not even consider realistically talking about providing jobs or growth without talking of peace and sustaining life.”
“There are people – not seen or heard in public – who exploit situations like Syria to promote the multi-million dollar trade in military hardware,” adds Seth Abloso, a GCAP Global Council member from Ghana. “For them, destabilisation anywhere presents opportunities for business. Let’s say no to that!”
US military action in Syria will not end the civil war nor will it topple the Assad regime. However it is certain to aggravate the humanitarian crisis. Innocent people will be killed and families torn apart by bombings.
“Any military action will have a high risk of increasing tension, leading to more violence and division,” says Ziad Abdel Samad, of the Arab NGO Network for Development and a GCAP activist. “International actors should stop supporting both the Syrian regime and various Syrian groups with weapons. You can not stop a violation of international law by violating the international law.”
While we are opposed to military action by the US and other international actors in Syria, GCAP and the FTF equally condemn any use of chemical weapons. If the use of such weapons is verified, the UN Security Council should refer the issue to the International Criminal Court and those responsible must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Michael Switow at the G20 (firstname.lastname@example.org, +7 981 834 2985) or Rosa Lizarde in New York (email@example.com, +1 347 451 7794)