Peace laureates message to G8 leaders

Peace laureates message to G8 leaders

Female Nobel Peace Laureates have urged G8 world leaders to reduce military spending on weapons to encourage peace for future generations.

The six members of the Nobel Women's Initiative, were speaking on the final day of an international conference held in Northern Ireland.

They were discussing strategies for a non-violent world ahead of the G8 Summit in Co Fermanagh on 17 and 18 June.

The Nobel Women's Initiative is led by Nobel Peace laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman and Mairead Maguire.

In a statement released on Thursday, they called on the G8 leaders, who will be meeting at the summit in June, to reduce military spending.

"We strongly urge G8 states to decrease military spending," they said.

"Redirect the investment to education, training and social services that will improve livelihoods and address the root causes of violence."

Over 100 activists, academics, journalists, philanthropists, policymakers and community leaders have participated in the Nobel Women's Initiative biennial conference, "Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world" which was held this week at the Culloden Hotel near Holywood, Co Down.

The three-day conference has provided peacemakers with an opportunity to analyse governments' dependence on militarisation, including the 'war on terror' and 'war on drugs'.

It also offered peacemakers the chance to share the innovative tactics and strategies they employ for nonviolence and peace.

The Laureates welcomed that task of ending sexual violence in conflict has been made a priorit focus for the upcoming G8 meeting, but said that more commitment is needed by the leaders to support women's rights and women's security.

"We have seen significant progress on the awareness of how conflict impacts women around the world -- from the prevalence of rape to the destruction of land and increasingly unequal distribution of resources," said Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams.

"Our gathering this week was a critical opportunity for a different sharing of stories: what successful strategies are being implemented to end the violence.

"Over the past two days we have heard example after example of inspiring and creative tactics women are using to take nonviolent action. These are the people governments should be supporting if they are genuinely interested in ending conflict."

The Nobel Women's Initiative, established in 2006, aims to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace, justice and equality.


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