57 Organisations, Parliamentarians, Say No To War

November 4, 2001

57 Organisations, Parliamentarians, Say No To War

Australian Peace Committee
People For Nuclear Disarmament W..A.,
Friends Of The Earth Australia

57 Organizations and Parliamentarians have written to the Prime Minister John Howard and the leader of the opposition Kim Beazley , rejecting a military response to the September 11 attacks.

The letter has been signed by a wide variety of peace groups, environment groups, church organisations, Moslem organisations, and trade unions.

Signatories include the United Nations Association of Australia, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War,(MAPW), Women┬╣s Electoral Lobby, (WEL), National Union of Students, the Australian-Arabic Council, the Islamic Council of NSW, the Catholic Coalition for Justice and Peace and the Australian Education Union.(AEU).

According to those who coordinated the letter:

"The wide support for this letter shows that there is in fact no consensus amongst the Australian community in favor of war. An increasing number of people are convinced that bombing red cross warehouses, villages, and residential areas in Afghanistan is not the way to combat terrorism.

Finally, more and more people are deeply concerned over the possibility of a spreading conflict in which there are further terrorist attacks on the US and possibly Australia and in which more and more people die."

For further information contact:

John Hallam
Ph: (02) 9567 7533
Mob: 0410 558 838

Irene Gale
Ph: (08) 8364 2291

Jo Vallentine
Ph: (08) 9272 4252

Letter:

PRIME MINISTER JOHN HOWARD, 9251-5454, 6273-4100
KIM BEAZLEY 6277-8495, 08-9592-1361


CC
FOREIGN MINISTER THE HON. ALEXANDER DOWNER
6273-4112 08-8370-8166
DEFENCE MINISTER THE HON. PETER REITH
6273-4118, 03-5979-3034
LAURIE BRERETON 6277-8502, 9349-8089
STEVEN MARTIN 4285-1132, 6277-8596
DFAT 6261-2151
US EMBASSY 6214-5970, 6214-5930

Dear Prime Minister Howard and Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley,

The undersigned groups condemn unreservedly all forms of terrorism, and all acts of violence that place either political, financial or religious objectives over human life.

We are writing to you to express our extreme concern that US-led retaliation for the horrific attack on the World Trade Centre, will worsen the terrorism problem beyond measure. It could lead to a worsening spiral of ever- increasing violence, in which the use of biological and nuclear
weapons looms as a terrifying possibility.

In view of the commencement of hostilities, this concern is even more vital.

We wish to emphasise strongly that the measures currently envisaged to combat terrorism - in particular attacks against nations that rightly or wrongly are said to harbor terrorists, and specifically Afghanistan - will make the problem of terrorism worse not better.

Military action will inevitably involve massive civilian casualties - casualties amongst those who have had least to do with the events of Sept. 11th. Such casualties will only advance the cause of terrorism.

What is required instead on the part of the US and its allies of which Australia is one, is mature, and possibly painful, but absolutely necessary, reflection on the deeper reasons for which the US has attracted such deep hostility.

What is required is a change in US foreign policy away from global dominance as an overriding goal. Instead, the maintainance of a just international legal structure, and even more importantly, adressing the underlying inequities experienced by less affluent and less powerful groups and nations would remove many of the motives for terrorism.

Trying to eliminate terrorism without taking these steps will not work.Australia as a close ally of the US should be playing a vital role in encouraging such a realistic examination of the bases and direction of US global policy.

Responding to unjustifiable terror with unjustifiable terror, or merely without treating the underlying causes of terrorism, will merely maintain and amplify the cycle. An escalation to nuclear or biological warfare could well be the result of such policies.

Australia should be urging the US:


1)To use moderation and restraint in its response to the Sept. 11th attacks.
2)To avoid absolutely the targeting of civilian populations.
3) To use wherever possible, international judicial institutions and the United Nations structure to bring justice to those responsible for the attacks.
4) To urge the immediate establishment of the proposed International Criminal Court.

Such a course is in conformity with Article VI of the ANZUS treaty, according to which: "This treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the parties under the charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security".

We would urge the government to consider, and to urge upon the US, the method used to deal with the Lockerbie bombing as a possible way in which to respond to these events. The adoption of the Lockerbie model of a completely neutral court would facilitate movement toward a world order based on the rule of law, and ensure that those who died did not do so in vain.

In the light of the recent attacks, Australia and the US should ratify their support for the UN International Criminal Court, and this should be the means by which terrorist actions are dealt with on an ongoing basis.

We reiterate that should open ended and indiscriminate military force be the response to these events, the only winners will be the terrorists themselves.

We urge you to impress these points on the US administration, and we urge Australia not to give the US administration an open - ended invitation to do anything they see fit in response to what has taken place.

Signed:

John Hallam, Friends of the Earth Australia,
Dennis Doherty, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition,
Dr Sue Wareham, President, Dr Harry Cohen, Vice President, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW),
Margaret Reynolds, President, United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA),
Sandy Killick, National Chairperson, Womens Electoral Lobby (WEL),
Irene Gale AM, Australian Peace Committee (APC) SA,
Jack Forward, Australian Peace Committee (APC) Central Coast,
Dita and Howard Petersen, Australian Peace Committee Brisbane,
Joan Shears, Rally for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Brisbane,
Robin Taubenfeld, Everyone for a Nuclear-free Future (ENUFF), Brisbane,
Isabell Whyte, ENUFF-Lismore,
Wendy, Keepers of Lake Eyre, SA,
Natasha Stevens, People for Nuclear Disarmament (PND) NSW,
Jo Vallentine, People for Nuclear Disarmament (PND) W.A.,
Brenda Conochie, Community Anti-Nuclear Network of W.A., (CANNWA)
Pauline Mitchell, Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament, (CICD) Melb,
Jacob Grech, Secy, 'Earthworker', (Trade Union Environment Caucus), Melb,
Gareth Smith, Canberra Program for Peace Committee,
Michael Priceman,Tim O'Connor, People Against a Nuclear Reactor(PANR), NSW,
Mark Wakeham, Cooordinator, Environment Centre of the Northern Territory (ECNT) Darwin, NT,
Kathy Ridge, Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCCNSW),
Harry Van Moorst, Director, Western Region Environment Centre, Vic,
Amanda George, Womens Coalition Against Family Violence, Vic,
Rita Warleigh, International Volunteers for Peace (IVP), NSW,
Rev. Ray Richmond, Wayside Chapel of the Cross, Uniting Care, NSW,
Susan Sullivan, Sophia Justice Circle, Adelaide, SA,
Margaret Keyes, Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace(CCJP), Enfield, NSW,
John Petit, Catholic Worker Community, Peter Maurin Farm, Qld,
David Thawley Secretary, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship,
Leigh Hubbard, Secy, Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) (Pers Capy)
Andrew Ferguson, State Secy, CFMEU.
Julius Roe, National President, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) (Pers Capy)
Dave Oliver, Assistant Secy, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU)
Susan Hopgood, Acting Federal secy, Australian Education Union (AEU) Vic,
Chris White, Secy, United Trades and Labor Council of SA (UTLC-SA) (pers capy),
Stephen Spence, Chair, International Committee, United Trades and Labor Council of SA (UTLC-SA),
Brian Heath, President, National Union of Students (NUS), Melb,
Roland Jabbour, Australian-Arabic Council, Melb, Vic,
Ali Roude, Chair, Islamic Council of NSW, Chullora NSW,
Khalil Chami, Islamic Welfare Association, Lakemba, NSW,
Marwan Ali, Islamic Youth Movement, Lakemba, NSW,
Mohammed Safi, Lebanese Moslem Association,
Lilyana Theodossiou, Action for World Development (AWD), Sydney,
Nicole Preston, Newcastle City Council, NSW,
Rod Noble, National President, Progressive Labor Party,
Linda Gale, Secy, Progressive Labor Party Melbourne Branch,
Michael Denbrough, NSW Senate Candidate, Nuclear Disarmament Party,
Chris Chaplin, The Greens (Victoria) - Darebin Branch,
Lee Rhiannon MLC, The Greens, NSW,
Ian Cohen MLC, The Greens, NSW,
Jim Scott MLC, The Greens, W.A.,
Giz Watson MLC The Greens, W.A.,
Dee Margetts MLC The Greens W.A.,
Robin Chapple MLC The Greens W.A.,
Christine Sharp MLC The Greens W.A.,
Senator Bob Brown, The Greens, Tasmania,
Clover Moore MP (Independent) Bligh, NSW.