President and members United Nations Security Council
We write to you on behalf of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) representing 450,000 social work practitioners in 78 countries across the globe.
The IFSW and it members opposes terrorism however and wherever it occurs. Neither do we support the use of weapons of mass destruction nor their stockpiling. We have long been opposed to the use of such weapons as a threat to civilised society, and support multinational efforts to eliminate them through the United Nations System.
However we are united in our opposition to pre-emptive military action by any nation state against another unless threat is immediate and only with the support and sanction of the United Nations.
As social workers across the globe we regularly assist people who have been affected by war, terrorism and civil strife. We see the connections between war and poverty and that those most significantly affected are those least able to fend for themselves. While we support actions to prevent and stop terrorism these must be broadly based and include social, economic and political strategies and not be based upon military action.
We fully support the opinions expressed by our colleagues in World Vision, CARE International, Oxfam International and others who have stated their concern to you that the grave humanitarian consequences of potential military intervention on civilians be a part of your deliberations.
They have focussed on less visible consequences of war, which include the diversion of funding from humanitarian aid towards military effort. The impact upon children is often less immediately evident but well recorded and long lasting. The report “Our Common Responsibility: The Impact of New War on Iraqi Children” prepared by the International Study Team (www.warchild.ca) represents a stark reminder of the facts.
The IFSW has a long-standing commitment to non-violent resolution of conflict. Social workers are committed to Peace. The right to life is the most basic of human rights. Peaceful solutions to conflict enable us to continue fighting against poverty, and thereby to counteract the social injustice which in itself is a main source of conflict and terrorism.
We recognise that the Council has before it a grave decision. We respect the role of the Council and the singular importance of the United Nations. We urge the Security Council members to consider the humanitarian impact of any decision which it takes when it meets today.
Sydney/Bern, 14 February 2003