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Less military spending, more human rights

September 12, 2014

In this 27th Human Rights Council session, one of the topics that are being discussed is the achievement of a democratic and equitable international order, including the necessity to reduce military spending.

WILPF’s Human Rights Programme attended the discussions on this topic, where we witnessed and participated in the dialogue. Check out our oral and written statements on military expenditures to know WILPF’s position.

A precarious international equilibrium

Mr. Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, which refers to the full realisation of human rights for all, addressed “the elephant in the room” by stating that governments are clearly more willing to invest increasingly in military activities rather than investing in development and human rights.

19th Session of the Human Rights CouncilMilitary budgets are elaborated in secrecy and with deep ambiguity. This promotes a lack of accountability for the production and trading of weapons, as well as human rights violations.

In addition, the independent expert expressed great concern over the constant danger that nuclear weapons pose for humanity, as they are, according to the expert’s words, a “sword of Damocles” that hangs over our heads.

What can be done?

Instead of investing in military and defence industries, States should reorient their budget priorities towards social and economic development, and the protection and promotion of human rights, including gender equality.

Moreover, the expert stressed the need for accountability and transparency in military budgets, and called for resolute political will to do so. Also, fostering civil society participation in this matter can help address the root causes of conflict, which is a more pressing need for attaining sustainable peace.

What is WILPF doing?Side event military spending

Regarding this topic, WILPF is organising a side event on military expenditures, on Tuesday 16 September, where we will also present our publication “You Get What You Pay For”. This side event will consist of a panel of experts, including Mr. Alfred de Zayas, who will discuss military expenditures, international peace and security, and gender-responsive budgets.

Stay tuned and follow what happens at the Human Rights Council by subscribing to our human rights newsletter.

For more specific information on military spending, you can also visit the Reaching Critical Will website.

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