OPEN LETTER TO
President George W Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington DC 20500
United States of America
The Hon Tony Blair
10 Downing St
The Hon John Howard
Sydney/ Berne, 18 October 2002
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. Over recent years our members in Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Kenya, Spain, Russia, The United States and most recently Australia have worked with the consequences of such actions upon the lives of many innocent people.
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 have become increasingly disturbed by a tendency to equate those who advocate a measured response with supporters of terrorism. Such a simple binary approach is ill-informed, inaccurate and dangerously divisive within our communities.
We urge you to exercise appropriate and wise leadership by ensuring that you neither lead nor support pre-emptive military action against Iraq or any other country. Further we urge you to honour the undertaking of your predecessors who established the United Nations with the express purpose to prevent the unnecessary and pre-emptive military force and instead to look to other more sustainable methods of conflict resolution.
Imelda Dodds, President
Tom Johannesen, Secretary General