Subject: [fem-women2000 80] NGO Statement 28th Oct on Women and Armed Conflict
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 23:42:50 +0900
Seq: 80

Women and Armed Conflict
-- Foreign Military Bases as a Source of Violence against Women

( Item 5 (b) Rights-Based Approach )

Madam Chairperson,
Extinguished delegates,

It is my honor to be given an opportunity to speak to you on behalf of
women and children who are victimized by all forms of violence committed
by military personnel in foreign military bases. 

I would like to draw your attention to a major gap in the Beijing
Platform for Action   concering this issue  which was identified at the
Asia-Pacific Regional NGO Symposium  last month. 

The NGOs at the Symposium reviewed the Platform for Action and pointed
out  the Gap that, while "foreign military occupation" is included in
Section E. Women and Armed Conflict, there is no mention to  "the
effects of the long-term presence of foreign military bases".

It was recommended  that the scope of armed conflict should be broadened
to include the long-term presence of foreign military bases. The grave
violation of human rights of  women and children under such situtaion is
an urgent issue that needs to be clearly acknowledged as a part of the
Section E. of the Platform for Action.

The women and children living in areas where foreign military bases are
present have been and still are exposed to severe cases of rape and
other forms of violence by military personnel stationed in Okinawa,
Japan and in Korea. The long term presence of military forces in the
Philippines has also resulted in the same situation.

Madam Chairperson,
Distinguished delegates,

Let me explain the situation of Okinawa where 75% of the US  military
bases in Japan are concentrated , occupying 20% of its land where 
27,000 active duty military personnel are stationed under the Japan-US
Security Treaty.

A 12 year old school girl was gang raped by three military men in
Septermber 1995 during the fourth World Conference on Women. More than
70 Okinawa women who participated in the conference returned home to
learn of the incident. The shocked women quickly acted to expose the
brutal crime to the world, because the victimized girl courageously
raised her voice that such an outrage should never occur again. The
women in Okinawa mobilized a nation-wide campaign and also undertook a
reserach to uncover the chronology of the post-war military sexual
violence against women. 

The research resulted in a long growing list of  rape and murder of
women and children. This included young rape victims who were 9 years
old, 6 years old, and even 9 month old baby. There were extreme  gang
rape cases; where one victim  was raped by as many as 30 soldiers. Some
were killed.

The report also revealed that the incidents of sexual crime had surged
especially during the Viet-Nam War for which Okinawa was used as the key
base. This substantiated the fact that the presence of military bases is
in itself a source of threat to women and children living in sorrounding
areas even if the host country is not directly under war situation. 

Okinawa became the island of military bases since the end of the World
War II under US military rule. The same situation persisted after its
return to Japan in 1972, and even after the end of the Cold War. The
untold history of rape and murder in Okinawa is linked to this post-war

Now we are posed with a new threat to perpetuate this violence against
women associated with war. The new US-Japan Defence Guideline recently
agreed  will function to perpetuate the US military presence in Okinawa
under  Japan-US Security Treaty and require Japan to mobilize the whole
society for cooperation with US military operation .

The paradox here is that  the existance of the bases are meant to
provide security for  the country. However, women in Okinawa question
the concept of security. --  "Security for whom? when women and children
in Okinawa are deprived of their security in their daily lives?". --
They demand demilitarized women's security instead of militarized
state's security.

NGO Symposium urged women's NGOs and international civil society to 
lobby against the existence of military bases and defence cooperation
agreements that propell super-power military dominance.

Madam Chairperson,
Distinguished delegates,

In the context of review of the Platform for Action,  we are convinced
that it is necessary to include the longtime foreign military presence
in the scope of  Women and Armed Conflict(stated in Section E) .

By including, we'll be able address more effectively the issue of
protecting human rights of women and children in the next five years,
while we play a more important role in contributing to creating  a world
of  peace without violence against women for the 21st century. 

Yayori MATSUI, Director
Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center

presented on 28th October 1999

ESCAP High Level Intergovernmental Meeting to Review Regional
Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action

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