24/04/2024 |

Press releases April 22: Stop the War Coalition -Philippines, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy & Sydney Anti-Bases Campaign

Stop the War Coalition Philippines press release

Stop the War Coalition Philippines joins the call to demilitarize as global military spending rises for the ninth consecutive year 

Wars and military conflicts devastate entire portions of the planet. According to SIPRI estimates, global military spending climbed by 19% between 2013 and 2022 and has risen annually since 2015. Particularly for 2023, for the ninth year in a row, there has been a 6.8 percent increase in spending in real terms from 2022, with the world spending roughly $2443 billion US dollars. This is apparent in all five regions, with considerable rises in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. 

For the Philippines, military spending has been steadily on the rise in recent years with the latest figures showing that we spent USD 3.965 Million or around 35 dollars per capita (source: demilitarize.org). Around 500 million USD in Foreign Military Financing from the United States is earmarked for the country. This is part of the 8 billion USD emergency aid package for Indo-Pacific allies under the Indo-Pacific Supplemental Appropriations Act that was approved by the United States House of Representatives. This in turn was part of an even bigger 95B USD package that will send aid to other US allies like Israel and Ukraine.

However, from Gaza to Ukraine, the DRC, Sudan, Myanmar, and Manipur, such spending has done nothing to resolve ongoing conflicts or lessen global tensions. Instead, rising military spending and militarism have only exacerbated the instability of global peace and collaboration. 

Meanwhile, rising temperatures are altering climate patterns in fundamental and dramatic ways. Millions of people are already suffering from the devastating effects of climate change and environmental degradation, which are exacerbated by violent conflict. We must act now since every peso we spend on weapons is a peso less for our future and to address the very real impact of an ongoing climate emergency.   

These changing weather and climatic patterns have a direct impact on whether areas can stay habitable, as well as the future of decent and sustainable living circumstances for everyone.

When All You Have Is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail 

Even in this new era of multipolarity, global leaders are increasingly reliant on militarized solutions. We are made to believe that military spending is a requirement for preserving all aspects of security. Meanwhile, a vast network of interests and worldwide power has formed, dominated by a small number of supranational private actors who control corporations and exert influence over governments in an undemocratic manner. It is a global power network that connects military and fossil energy companies.

A network in which militarization not only kills hundreds of thousands of people but also plays an important role in environmental disasters by defending fossil fuel interests and predatory players. A network that works directly and indirectly to prevent steps that could help alleviate both the global environmental catastrophe and the misery of millions of people. A network that is not afraid to benefit from arms sales to genocidal actors, as seen by Israel’s continued military attacks on Gaza. We need to ensure democratic power around the world.

Military spending not only fuels wars and violent conflicts around the world, but it also diverts resources that could be used to address climate change, invest in global justice (including the UN Sustainable Development Goals), and promote peaceful conflict resolution and disarmament. Militaries are among the world’s largest fuel consumers, accounting for 5.5% of global emissions, and the usage of chemicals pollutes the soil surrounding military facilities, polluting it for centuries. The continuing use of mines, cluster munitions, and conventional weapons makes land unusable for years. The opportunity cost of military spending costs us the planet.

We understand that humanity’s contemporary challenges (wars and conflicts, climatic crises, social crises, democratic crises, pandemics, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and many others) are global and transboundary. These issues necessitate a collaborative and coordinated effort that can only be met by forming new alliances across a diverse range of players – from civil society to international institutions, nations, businesses, and peoples – to finance and establish justice, peace, and human rights for the world.

Together, we must advocate for global common or communal security, based on trust, cooperation, and solidarity. Reducing military spending is an essential first step and the finest opportunity to foster peace and establish a sustainable world with dignity for all.

To this end

We urge governments to minimize military spending and instead focus on serious global crises that demand all available resources. We must speak out against the military-industrial complex’s hidden interests and pressures.

We demand genuine efforts toward global disarmament, the abolition of the weapons trade, and the cessation of arms supplies to conflict zones. It is time for the UNGA to commit to a definite date and structure for the Fourth Special Session on Disarmament, emphasizing that the last session was 36 years ago and that nations have failed to fulfill their responsibility and duty to pursue disarmament through the United Nations framework.

We urge governments to prioritize justice over profits from arms sales; especially, we urge countries to stop supplying and purchasing armaments from Israel and to utilize all available methods to advocate for a ceasefire and an end to the genocide in Gaza.

We urge a real and active discussion on new and responsive international and regional security architectures based on the fundamental concepts of common security and UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ New Agenda for Peace. From Gaza to Sudan to Myanmar, conflicts will not be resolved through armed methods. We advocate for a global ceasefire; the logic of peace must triumph over the logic of war.

We advocate for new geopolitics that abandons war and violence in favor of global governance systems built on cooperation and conversation. A new post-violence period must emerge, built on a culture of peace, feminist ideals, and dialogue-based conflict resolution.

We urge countries to act now. A real decarbonization strategy is urgently required. We also condemn the major fossil-fuel corporations that have hijacked and co-opted global governments.

We urge civil society at the local, national, regional, and international levels to join forces in the campaign to combat the rising trend of military spending, strengthen the global movement for peace and justice, and challenge decision-makers who seek to justify perpetual militarism in the name of our security. 

About Solidarity to Oppose Wars Coalition-Philippines

Solidarity to Oppose Wars Coalition Philippines (Stop the War! Coalition-Philippines), is a multisectoral coalition of Philippines-based social movements, trade unions, women’s organizations, non-government organizations, political parties, student formations, people’s organizations, human rights organizations, faith-based groups, and other concerned organizations and individuals. 

It calls for an end to all wars of aggression, the escalating threats of militarization, and manifestations of military intervention. It also opposes any form of Philippine participation in these illegal and immoral activities.

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy press release

Press release: 2024 GDAMS : Military spending threaten everyone! Disarmament now for humans and the planet!

April 22, 2024 GDAMS Campaign photo by GDAMS campaign team

Amidst the clouds of war that have engulfed the world, militarism, which advocates “peace through strength,” is on the rise. The war that broke out with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been three years with no sign of a ceasefire. According to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), there have been at least 30,457 civilian casualties over the past two years, 1,885 of which are children. As the war has become more protracted and entrenched, the pain of the people in the war is growing. Israel’s genocide against Palestinians, which intensified last October, is even more devastating. Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment on Gaza has left 33,899 dead and 76,664 injured (as of April 17). Of these, 70% are women and children. Countless people are suffering from war and armed conflict. This tragedy must not continue or escalate any longer.

These wars which were waged by humans not only cause human suffering but impose devastating effects on all existences on the earth, accelerating the climate crisis. According to a report by the Initiative on GHG Accounting of War, the Russian-Ukrainian war generated 150 million tons of greenhouse gases in the roughly 18 months from the end of February 2022, when it broke out, to the end of August 2023. That’s more greenhouse gas emissions than that of Belgium in an entire year, and when its cost is counted, it is $9.6 billion. In the roughly 60 days since October 7th of last year, when the Israeli-Hamas armed conflict escalated, 281,315 tons of greenhouse gases were emitted – more than the annual emissions of 20 countries. The greenhouse gas emissions from the destruction of buildings and industrial facilities, fires caused by the war are also significant, and the resulting environmental pollution cannot be ignored. The massive greenhouse gas emissions would not have occurred if the war had not been started.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released today the Trends in World Military Expenditure 2023. According to the trends, the world spent $2.43 trillion on military expenditures last year, a 6.8% increase from the previous year. This translates to KRW 6.4 billion spent every minute and KRW 100 million spent every second. South Korea ranks 11th in the world in military spending, spent 2.8% of its gross domestic product (GDP), the fifth highest after Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the U.S. While the world is preoccupied with military buildup and increased militarism, it does nothing to prevent wars or resolve conflicts. Instead, it only accelerates the vicious cycle of mutual threats, arms races, military operations and armed conflicts.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is no different. The government of Yoon Seok-yul, which has emphasized “peace through strength,” has declared the DPRK as its “main enemy” and is moving toward an escalating military confrontation. All channels of dialogue between South and North Korea, including those between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(DPRK) and the United States(U.S.), have been cut off, and even the inter-Korean military agreement has been suspended. A large-scale ROK-U.S. combined military exercise and outdoor manoeuvres, including landing operation training, have resumed, and U.S. nuclear strategic assets are deployed on the Korean Peninsula at all times. The DPRK has also labelled the ROK as its “primary antagonist” and “unchanging enemy,” emphasizing the need to cut off and prepare for war. This uncompromising confrontation between the two Koreas is endlessly escalating the crisis. The reality we face now is such a dangerous situation that it would not be surprising if war broke out at any moment.

In 2024, the ROK’s defense budget is KRW 59.24 trillion, a 4.2% increase from the previous year, with KRW 17.6 trillion for defense improvements for weapons acquisition. The ROK’s defense budget is 1.6 times the DPRK gross domestic product (GDP). In the name of counting the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats, the ROK is investing vast amounts of money in the South Korean ‘Three-Axis System’, including securing preemptive strike capabilities such as Kill Chain. It is engaged in aggressive military strategies and military buildup plans, such as the early qualification of the ‘South Korean Iron Dome’, the introduction of additional F-35A stealth fighter jets, the acquisition of independent surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, the construction of AI-based unmanned and robotic combat systems, and the strengthening of the ROK-US. Extended Deterrence. According to the ROK’s <2024-2028 Defense Midterm Plan>, the government plans to invest 348.7 trillion won in the defense budget over the next five years. Meanwhile, the “two wars” pushed arms sales by defense companies to a record high last year, and one of the biggest profiteers of the “death business” was the ROK.

It’s time to prioritize our limited budgets and resources to address the climate crisis, reduce social inequality, and build peace, not military spending. The money the world has spent on war and war preparations is money that could have been used to save people and the planet. The ROK emits the thirteenth largest amount of greenhouse gases in the world but ranks 64th out of 67 in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which is the lowest of the low. Its budget for carbon neutrality for 2024 is only KRW 14.5181 trillion. According to the 2024 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Progress Report, the ROK has the least renewable energy costs and the lowest biodiversity index among OECD countries. It also ranks lowest in gender equality indicators.

The average temperature in the world has been observed to have exceeded 1.5℃. This year, the second hand of the “doomsday clock” is at “90 seconds to midnight”, meaning the fall of the world, which is very anxious. If we don’t act now, we will face ‘irreversible risks’ – real crises that threaten our lives and daily routines are the inescapable reality we face. We need to reprioritize the use of our budgets and resources towards ‘human security’, not ‘military security’, towards the coexistence of all life, not war and destruction.

On the Global Days of Action on Disarmament in 2024, we demand.

Let’s make every diplomatic effort to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine and Gaza.

Let’s cease all military actions and hostilities that threaten each other on the Korean Peninsula and restore channels of communication for crisis management. Both South and North Korea should return to the spirit of the September 19 inter-Korean Military Agreement and cease all military actions and threats that could lead to an accidental conflict, and establish minimum channels of dialogue to prevent armed conflict.

Let’s stop the arms race and military operation, and make peace through dialogue, cooperation, and peaceful means. Let’s work to improve relations through phased disarmament and resumption of dialogue, not through more weapons and military exercises.

Let’s stop arms exports to conflict countries to stop wars. Especially stop military cooperation and arms trade with Israel, which is committing genocide.

Let’s use our limited resources, human resources, and technology to solve problems that threaten lives and everyday lives, not to prepare for war. Let’s dramatically cut military spending to address social inequality, prevent disasters, build social safety nets, and address the climate crisis.

Sydney Anti-Bases Campaign press release

Reverse the massive increase in world military spending

“Figures supplied by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) indicate a worldwide large increase in military spending at a time when the world faces problems that cannot be resolved bymilitary action,” said Peter Murphy from the Sydney Anti-AUKUS-Coalition.

“In his recent address to the National Press Club, Australian Defence Minister Marles indicated that Australian military spending will rise to a whopping 2.4 per cent of GDP, up from the current

1.9 per cent,” said Denis Doherty from the Anti-Bases Campaign. “At present the Federal Government spends more on the military than it does on education while public health, housing and welfare are in desperate need.

“While our government loudly assert that Australia is sovereign, in fact US Marines, Navy and Airforce personnel are today able to launch attacks on China from Australian soil without the knowledge of the Australian government,” Denis Doherty said.

“The excessive military spending is forced on us by our relationship with the US. It is not about defending Australia, but to support US foreign policy which has led to catastrophic conflicts such as those in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now preparing for war with China,” said Pip Hinman from Stop the War Coalition and Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition.

“The AUKUS nuclear submarine deal alone is a massive increase in military spending, contributing to a rise to $53 billion in the next budget for 2023-24, and $100 billion for 2033-34.

“A US war with China could rapidly become nuclear, a war no one can win. Policy must change because the world faces a huge threat from climate catastrophe and all our energy is required to address that,” Ms Hinman said.

Senator David Shoebridge Greens Senator for NSW and Greens spokesperson on Defence Ms Pip Hinman of the Sydney peace movement representing Sydney Anti-AUKUS- Coalition and Australian Anti-Bases Campaign.

Youtube link of the event: https://youtu.be/WhOw9EcLwWE?si=8Pjy_Ts-weH4FIaB