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WILPF women's sign-on letter for 28 April

16 March 2000

Dear Sisters,

This statement was launched on International Women's Day and is still open for signature. Please send your indication of support to or

The statement will be presented to the President of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on April 28, 2000 which marks the 85th anniversary of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Thank you for spreading it far and wide,

in peace

Felicity Hill

Director WILPF UN Office


We, the women of the world,

Gathered at the United Nations to celebrate the first International Women's Day of the 21st Century under the theme of Peace, call on the Secretary General of the United Nations, and all member states to make good the undertakings of the first resolution of this house.

The first resolution of the General Assembly unanimously called for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction."

Women call for the implementation of this resolution because:

* Nuclear weapons are suicidal, genocidal and ecocidal;

* Women were, and are, excluded from nuclear science and the institutions and practices it has inspired,

* Nuclear weapons were created under conditions of absolute secrecy;

* Nuclear weapons epitomize a most extreme form of militarism and the erroneous concept of security as the ability to destroy others;

* Nuclear weapons, due to the absolute nature of their destructive capacity, make conventional or "lesser wars" seem less horrific and therefore more justifiable;

* Nuclear Weapon States, due to their permanent war economies, are responsible for 80% of the trade in conventional arms;

* Nuclear weapons violate international law and the cannon of values the United Nations has evolved and enshrined through environmental, women's rights and human rights, labor as well as humanitarian conventions;

* Nuclear weapons have cost trillions of dollars and have caused massive contamination of our environment, the food we eat and the genes we pass on to the future generations.

* The nuclear weapon has become a symbol of power in the political structures and discourse of our world through the bestowing of prestige on those states that are capable of mass murder and environmental contamination.

We, the women of the world, reject this notion of power and we approach the international table in order to reset it.

The survival of this planet and all life on it requires a fundamental shift in the concept of peace and security. As we women pull up our chairs to finally sit at the international table, we will create such momentous change. Nuclear weapons and power through military force must no longer be at the head of the international table.

Secretary General Annan, and all member states of this house, we put you on notice that the women of the world approach the World Conference on Nuclear Weapons that will bring together 187 governments in April of 2000, with a determination that this meeting will be the turning point in the Nuclear Age.

The five nuclear weapon states must reject nuclear weapons as the corner stone of their security policies - a first step the majority of the worlds' governments and people have been waiting for since the dawn of the Nuclear Age. Our patience is running out as the opportunities presented by the end of the Cold War slip through our fingers. The danger is that our generation of leaders will be remembered as the ones who could have, but didn't, resolve the Cold War and learn its lessons, redefine human security, and put the nuclear threat behind us.

The Millennium Forum, Summit and Assembly will examine the future of the United Nations. For the UN to remain a revelant and effective body it must dispell, through structural change, the perception that power in the international community is determined by the possession of nuclear weapons.

We must all take heart and be emboldened by positive examples of change for peace through the new diplomacy wherein NGOs, governments and the UN system work in partnership such as: the advances in the recognition of women's human rights; the optional protocol to CEDAW; the end of apartheid in South Africa; the ban on landmines and the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

At times these shifts and changes might seem impossible. In English, the word "impossible" with the addition of just one apostrophe and one space, becomes "I'm possible". In any language, the inclusion of women is the missing apostrophe in the international sentence. The United Nations is the space, created by a generation that knew war and wished to abolish it, that recognized injustice on the grounds of race, sex and economic class and wished to abolish it. Let the women and men of the 21st century realize their vision at this Peace House, the United Nations, through the implementation of the promises made in the Charter, the treaties, the World Conference documents and the resolutions of the General Assembly, beginning with the very first.

Felicity Hill, Director UN Office, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

******* ******* ******* *******

Felicity Hill, Director

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

United Nations Office

New York,USA

******* ******* ******* *******

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