We, women from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Liberia, the Netherlands, Rwanda, assembled during the Summer school of VTU, in Amsterdam, from 1-6 August, 2000 declare :
The situation of refugee women in this country is rather confusing and cynical. Like most western countries the Netherlands is not just a country that receives refugees, but is also a country that has a role in producing refugees.
- The production of refugees is the result of countless wars and civil wars that are fought with arms produced by western countries. The arms industry is not interested in human rights, in how many people are killed, in how many people have to flee their country. The arms industry is just interested in how much money it can make.
- Also other western industries, supported by their governments and military forces, are not very much interested in human rights, in how many people are killed, how many people have to flee their country. They do whatever they can to get to the natural resources, to the labour and the economic and military strategic points all over the so called Third World. They want to have the labour of children, women and men everywhere; rubber and a satellite base in Liberia; diamonds in Sierra Leone; diamonds and uranium in Democratic Congo; access to Congo through Rwanda; oil in Sudan, Iran, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries; oil pipelines in Afghanistan, et cetera, et cetera.
- The economic/military aggression of the West is, like all wars and civil wars, a men's affair. Different groups of men are fighting each other everywhere, with or without arms, in changing coalitions to gain power over each other, over women and over children. Meanwhile western countries are pretending that their men are very emancipated, peaceful and non-violent. And they do try to make us believe that the not-western men are the ones who are unemancipated, violent and anti-humanitarian.
- Lots of women all over the world are the victims of wars, of civil wars, of the fights between men, of the unrestricted expansion of the western economic system. This does not mean that women in general are victims. Women are strong; they fight for their rights, they fight to survive awful situations, they support each other. But there are also many women who support the continuous fighting of (their) men. Those women admire and stimulate in men the kind of violent behaviour that they disapprove of for themselves and other women.
Refugee women did not want to flee their country, they had to.
They do not really like to live in a country that maintains a double standard of both promoting and destroying human rights, but they have no choice.
But we do have the choice to speak out, as loudly as possible, as internationally as possible : :
- STOP PRODUCTION AND TRADE OF ARMS
- STOP MASCULINE DOMINANCE AND INDIFFERENCE
- VAN MANNEN STOP EXPLOITATION OF THE WORLD
- STOP ALL WARS
- BE GLAD AND GRATEFUL, IF AND WHEN WOMEN ARE PREPARED TO SOLVE THE CONFLICTS, THEY THEMSELVES DID NOT ORIGINATE.
Amsterdam, August 5th 2000
Alem Desta; Amena Amiri; Ashwaq Al Zouboidy; Carla Brünott; Dativa Uwayezu; Elmira Bagiryan; Elsa Simon; Farinaz Aryanfar; Florentine Mukasine; Hermine Linnebank; Louise Antoinette Mukasine; Lysta Mukemba; Magdalène Yanjbi; Marijke Ekelschot; Marina Kudova; Marjan Sax; Mieke Maassen; Nadia Jamel; Negeda Kumbi; Parvin Panahideh; Parvin Shabazi; Radmila Klinic; Régina Inarugo; Selma Cheragwandi; Sima Hagdari; Speciosa Nyirankuliza; Xavérine Nyirajyambere; Yoséphine Abahujinkindi.