Over 100 women from 38 countries have signed onto the letter, including WILPF leaders and members, and including women from nations that participated in the Korean War. Thirty-seven major South Korean women’s and peace organizations have also signed on, including the largest umbrella organisation, Korean Association of Women United.
The women who have signed onto this letter are from academia, business, civil society and the military, and represent a diversity of ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and political views. They include renowned women such as Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee, feminist author Gloria Steinem, Senator Nancy Ruth from the Conservative Party of Canada, Journalist Naomi Klein, Singer and songwriter Ani DiFranco, author Alice Walker, playwright Eve Ensler, EU Member of Parliament Luisa Morgantini from Italy, former Covert CIA Operations officer Valerie Plame, and atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow. Several leading women scholars on Korea, including Elaine Kim, Meredith Woo Cummings and Hazel Smith, also signed on.
The women are united by the belief that diplomacy is the only way to end the Korean War. The very dangerous situation warrants immediate action by world leaders, including the head of the United Nations. In a 2007 speech, Mr. Ban stated, “beyond a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue with North Korea, we should aim to establish a peace mechanism, through transition from armistice to a permanent peace regimen.”
As women peacemakers, we have united to call on Mr. Ban to lead the process of bringing formal closure to the longest standing war before leaving his post in the United Nations. During his remaining time as Secretary-General, we urge him to:
1. Initiate a peace process, together with the UN Security Council President, to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a binding peace treaty to end the Korean War.
2. Aim to conclude this peace process by 2018, the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division into two separate states.
3. Ensure that women are significantly represented in the peace process in accordance with the spirit of UNSCR 1325
Read the New York Times article ‘Women petition UN leader to seek Korean peace treaty’.