Christian peacemakers join Global Day of Action on Military Spending

By Agencies
April 10, 2015

On Monday 13 April, Pax Christi and Quaker Peace and Social Witness will join the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS), in challenging the $1.75 trillion spent anually on the military and on war.

In London, Pax Christi will conduct a ‘people’s ballot’, inviting people to choose their priorities for a safer world. You can find a list of events here. There is also an on-line ballot

The members of GDAMS plan to use the results to deepen discussion on non-military approaches to security.

At £38 billion a year, the UK has the sixth highest military spending in the world. This is before the extra money from other budgets and departments which is often found at short notice to fund foreign wars and interventions, is taken into account

Despite recent cuts to social welfare budgets, military spending is still far higher in the UK than in a number of much bigger countries, such as Brazil or India. It also represents a far higher percentage of national GDP than that of any other European country, and of almost all NATO members.

The GDAMS Coalition wants to see military spending shifted towards meeting social and environmental needs. The greatest drivers of insecurity include climate change, inequality between people and the abuse of natural resources, it says.

In his message to the Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons in December 2015, Pope Francis said: "The security of our own future depends on guaranteeing the peaceful security of others, for if peace, security and stability are not established globally, they will not be enjoyed at all. Individually and collectively, we are responsible for the present and future wellbeing of our brothers and sisters."

GDAMS is supported by almost 50 campaign groups and organisations from across the UK; including Campaign Against Arms Trade, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Pax Christi, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, War on Want, Stop The War Coalition and others.

Explaining why campaigners are opposed to high military spending, they say: "We are always being told that high military spending is necessary to maintain peace, create jobs and combat terrorism. This myth is promoted by governments and by multinational arms companies who benefit from the global arms trade politically and economically.

"Military spending prevents the money from being used to tackle much greater challenges; such as relieving poverty, improving health and protecting the environment."

[Ekk/4]

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