Sunday, September 06, 2009

Family, human rights issues top forum agenda

Monday, 07 September 2009 03:09 by Jude Lizama | Variety News Staff

HUMAN rights and family issues as they relate to the presence of military bases are among the main issues that will be discussed at the 7th meeting of the International Network of Women Against Militarism from Sept. 14 to 19.

Hosted by the University of Guam in Mangilao and Carmel on the Hill Center, this year’s conference theme is “Resistance, Resilience and Respect for Human Rights.” Attending the conference are women from Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii, South Korea, Philippines, Australia, Republic of Belau, Marshall Islands, Guam, Saipan, United States, and Puerto Rico.

The International Network of Women Against Militarism has been meeting since 1997 to share information and strategize about the negative effects of U.S. military operations.

These effects include military violence against women and girls, the plight of mixed-race Amerasian children abandoned by U.S. military fathers, environmental contamination, cultural degradation and the distortion of local economies. They focus on how military institutions, values, policies and operations impact communities, especially women.

Women across the globe have endured tremendous struggles to protect their families and survive during times of war and unrest. It is from these struggles that women have gained the strength to fight for peace.

Workshops and public forums on human trafficking and prostitution, political arrangements with the U.S., rethinking peace and security, exploring alternatives for economic sustainability, environmental contamination and toxicity will be featured throughout.

A central focus of the gathering is the issue of the U.S. military presence on Guam. Referred to as the “tip of the spear,” Guam is immersed in an unprecedented military build-up as the U.S. plans to relocate thousands of Marines and their dependents from Okinawa. The conference comes at a critical time in island’s history, and aims to bring international attention to the concerns being raised about the proposed build-up.

Additionally, there will also be a historical tour of the island; a community vigil to honor the past and heal for the future; a public art event featuring local and international artists; and other networking opportunities.

Those interested in the conference may register until Thursday. For additional information, visit

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