22/05/2020 | |

Colombia sets an example by shifting military spending towards healthcare.

Angelo Cardona, Council member of IPB

Bogotá, Colombia

On the occasion of the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) promoted by the International Peace Bureau from April 10 to May 9 of 2020, we celebrate the proposal made by the Colombian congressman and human rights defender Iván Cepeda Castro, alongside 27 other congressmen, to the government of the Republic of Colombia, of transferring 1 billion Colombian pesos allocated to arms purchases and the defense sector towards the health sector.

“I propose that a billion pesos that could go to buy weapons or other non-essential defense sector expenses goes to buy ICU equipment, diagnostic tests for coronavirus, biosecurity aspects or payment of health personnel’s delayed salaries,” stated Senator Cepeda.

On April 21, 2020, Colombia’s defense ministry accepted the proposal of the 27 Colombian congressmen and decided to invest US$25 million in the health sector to respond to the health crisis facing the South American country.   

We believe this is the time to prioritize human life and health over military spending, which according to the last SIPRI report amounted to 1.92 trillion in 2019, a historical figure in the investment of military spending which shows both the loss of opportunities involved in devoting enormous resources to armament and preparing for war, and the capacity of these resources to provide the sort of security and defense in which they are justified.

From the coordination of the Global Campaign on Military Spending, we believe the actions of Senator Ivan Cepeda and the other 27 Colombian congressmen create a hopeful outlook and set an example for other parliamentarians around the world to join their voices and demand reductions of military spending.