Peace, Not War
February 14, 2003
The Right Honorable Jean Chrétien, P.C., M.P.,
House of Commons,
Dear Mr. Chrétien,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) to commend you for the government’s steadfast support of the principle of working with, and in consultation with the United Nations, its agencies and institutions, and with its sanction when the use of armed force is being considered as a way to solve an international challenge or problem.
In September and in January, I wrote on behalf of NCWC members urging the government to work for peace, and to refrain from going to war unless authorized by a resolution passed by the Security Council. You will recall that in January, NCWC was concerned that Canada appeared to be considering joining the attack on Iraq without the authorization of a resolution from the UN Security Council. Members are gratified that to date, the process of debate is still being followed, with an apparent consensus that Iraq will not be invaded until there has been a second resolution confirming the need to use this ultimate solution. It is to be hoped that the present threat of force will be sufficient to enable the UN inspectors lead by Dr. Hans Blix to complete and verify the extent of the required disarmament in Iraq. Members have asked that the Government of Canada continue to follow this policy in spite of possible pressures from another state or states to act outside the authority of the United Nations.
To reiterate, in 1968, NCWC urged the Government “to continue to press for a more comprehensive programme of Peace Keeping Operations in the United Nations”. (NCWC Policy 68.5) In 1986, NCWC adopted the attached Statement on Peace. Further, in 1999, Council adopted a policy entitled WORKING TOWARDS PEACE, in which NCWC conveyed to the Government of Canada ” that its members deplore all outbreaks of armed conflict and the use of force to control them which have not been sanctioned by the United Nations.” NCWC, as a member of the International Council of Women (ICW), is committed to advocate and work for peace. Going to war should be the last option for settling disputes between states, or acting to eliminate a regime that threatens the safety and welfare of ordinary citizens. NCWC has also expressed concern that there should be a full disclosure of the reasons for the Security Council to adopt a resolution authorizing an attack on Iraq.
Lastly, NCWC hopes that the dispatch of Canadian troops to Afghanistan is an exercise in peace keeping, if not peace building, in a country that has suffered for too long from both internal and external armed conflict. Afghanistan is an example of the complete destruction of all the necessary state infrastructure due to prolonged warfare, and the use of modern weapons. What is lacking now is the political will of the states that joined together to liberate its people from the rule of the Taliban, to undertake to spend the necessary funds to assist in re-building a viable state. It is particularly painful to realize that due to this lack of will, Afghani women are still unable to enjoy the exercise of most of the basic human rights which are taken for granted by women in Canada.
The National Council of Women of Canada, a non-partisan non-governmental organization (NGO), is a federation of organizations and individual members, a member of the International Council of Women, holds Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations, and is a participating NGO with the Organization of American States.
With best wishes and for peace,
National Council of Women of Canada
c.c. Hon. John Manley
Hon. Bill Graham
Hon. Don Boudria
Hon. John McCallum
Hon. Jean Augustine
Mr. Stephen Harper
Mr. John Layton
Rt. Hon. Joe Clarke
M. Jean Duceppe