Statement from Okinawa Gathering, June 2017

Final Statement from Okinawa Gathering, June 2017
“Challenging Militarism and Creating a Sustainable Future”

International Women’s Network Against Militarism

9th Meeting — Okinawa, June 22-26, 2017

Final Statement

Twenty years ago, women from South Korea, the Philippines, Okinawa, Japan, and the United States gathered in Okinawa to form a network of solidarity against US militarism. The Network has since expanded to include Puerto Rico, Guam and Hawai’i. We have learned about the history and present problems caused by US military bases and operations in each area. We have identified military sexual violence, environmental destruction, and colonialism as common issues, and have worked towards demilitarization and decolonization of security from a gender perspective.

Women from these 8 countries met in Okinawa for the Network’s 9th meeting in June 2017 to reflect and strategize about our work together. We discussed sexual violence and the military, decolonization and economic autonomy, the impacts of militarization on daily life, and military destruction of the environment. We heard reports on the violation of the human rights of indigenous people, and the destruction of indigenous cultures and sacred lands by military operations.

In Okinawa, we witnessed the effects of the militarization of the Japanese police force and coast guard in Henoko (Okinawa), where a new US Marines base is under construction. Such militarization is a common phenomenon in other locations also. Militarization of the US-Mexico border and the US police force has intensified, and people of color are subject to disproportionate police brutality. Rising military budgets endanger people’s well-being and everyday security in all our communities.

As participants of the International Women’s Network Against Militarism we renew our commitment to creating a sustainable future with peace and justice, and cooperative economic systems. Militarism has no place in this.

Accordingly, we demand that the US government together with its allies, the elites in the Asia-Pacific region, stop the military build-up immediately in all our homelands by:

  • –Closing all military bases, installations, and joint operations;
  • –Cleaning up the environmental contamination of all lands used for military purposes;
  • –Stopping use of our homelands as training grounds for the projection of global violence, such as RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise)
  • –Ending military recruitment in schools;
  • –Slashing military budgets and allocating these funds to socially useful programs, especially the welfare of women and children, who are the future of our planet.

In specific countries, we demand the following changes:

  • –Cancel the plan to build Live Fire Training Range Complex near Litekyan, Guahan (Ritidian, Guam);
  • –Cease the Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT);
  • –Cancel THAAD Missile deployment system and close down the naval base on Jeju Island (South Korea);
  • –End the Korean War by signing a peace treaty to replace the Armistice Agreement;
  • –End the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and US governments;
  • –Assure full and ongoing implementation of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution that renounces war;
  • –Stop base construction in Henoko, the use of Osprey helipads in Takae (Okinawa), and the X-band Radar Facility in Kyoto (Japan);
  • –US and host nations apologize and pay reparations to the survivors of so-called “comfort women” system of Japanese Imperial Army’s sexual slavery during WWII;
  • –US Navy end the continued detonation of toxic materials in Vieques, Puerto Rico in direct violation of agreement reached in 2003, and insure complete clean-up of military toxics.

We call for an end to all wars and armed conflicts, which signifies or is presented to the public as “failed diplomacy.” We insist that, instead of the current practices of state-centered “diplomacy” that relies on conventional notions of winners and losers and often the use of coercive power, countries and warring parties utilize conflict mediation and peace negotiations rooted in women-centered and life-affirming principles and visions of justice, genuine security, and sustainability of all life on our planet.

We stand in solidarity with women worldwide who share similar struggles and vision and declare, “We shall not be moved!”