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IPB STATEMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL – 10 SEPT 2014

Mr Vice-President, dear colleagues

I speak on behalf of the International Peace Bureau, NGO in consultative status and winner of the 1910 Nobel Peace Prize.

The torrent of bad news over the summer period from conflict zones in the Middle East, Ukraine and several parts of Africa has surely reinforced the widely-accepted view that militarism does little to solve human conflicts. Indeed it tends to aggravate them.

It was therefore with great satisfaction that I learned of the report being prepared by the Independent Expert and its focus on military spending. This is a subject which has been grossly under-studied and under-debated in the UN system and indeed in the media and society generally – in all regions.

The Independent Expert presents us in his report and his helpful introductory remarks a broad survey of the landscape in which we find ourselves. Governments are unable to fulfil their human rights and other legal obligations due to ‘unavailability of resources’. And yet the world community can spend 1700 billion dollars every year on the military system. Despite undoubted economic advances, millions still subsist without the basic decencies of life, while we somehow find the money for over 16,000 nuclear weapons and huge conventional arsenals. And this 25 years on from the end of the Cold War! Large sums of public money will be needed to fund the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Likewise, they will be needed to meet the challenge of climate change. Such sums exist – but they are allocated elsewhere.

It was for this reason that the IPB launched its programme Disarmament for Sustainable Development in 2004 and the Global Day of Action on Military Spending in 2011.

Today’s report is both an important tool and a significant landmark. It marks the beginning of a new chapter of engagement with the necessary transformation of our economies and of our political and budgetary priorities.

Colin Archer, Secretary-General

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