African American Leaders & Africa advocacy groups call on African Members of UN Security Council to Vote Against War
Friday, March 7, 2003 (Washington, DC) Africa Action today joined with TransAfrica Forum and other key Africa advocacy organizations in sending letters to the Ambassadors of the African countries on the United Nations (UN) Security Council, urging them to oppose U.S.-led moves toward war against Iraq. Signatories to the letters also include such prominent individuals as Danny Glover, Mary Francis Berry, Joseph E. Lowery, Walter Mosley & Sylvia Hill.
The letters to the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of Guinea, Cameroon and Angola warn that a war in the Middle East will have devastating economic and political consequences for Africa. They urge the African states to stand firm against pressure from the U.S. and Britain, and to promote a course that will encourage a peaceful resolution of this international dispute.
In a letter initiated by Africa Action and TranAfrica Forum, signatories declared that war against Iraq would be “unwelcome and unwarranted.” They note that, “At least 81% of African-Americans oppose the planned war...(and) around the globe, millions of people have stood up in opposition to this planned aggression.”
The letter emphasizes that, “Africa, in particular, would suffer significantly from the global economic consequences of war at a time when Africans are facing the truly greatest global threat to human security, namely the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This should be the scourge receiving the attention and resources that have been devoted instead to debating and designing interventions against Iraq.”
In a separate letter initiated by the Advocacy Network for Africa (ADNA), a national network of more than 200 Africa-focused organizations of which Africa Action is a member, endorsers affirm their solidarity with the people of Guinea, Cameroon and Angola, asserting that “a policy of pre-emptive war violates the principles upon which the United Nations was founded, and it will create a dangerous precedent.”
The letter continues: “We are convinced that your governments’ having the courage to stand for peace will not only contribute to a peaceful resolution in this case, it will also strengthen African voices in international forums in the future.”
The letters were endorsed by dozens of organizations and activists from across the U.S. The text of the letters and the full list of signatories are included below.
March 7, 2003
To the Governments of Guinea, Cameroon and Angola
Dear President Lansana Conte, President Paul Biya, and President
José Eduardo do Santos:
As African-American leaders and activists we urgently call upon your governments to stand firm against the efforts by the United States, Britain and Spain to undermine the work of the United Nations’ weapons inspectors now working in Iraq and to initiate a war against Iraq.
We understand that your respective governments are under considerable pressure from the United States and Britain to support their resolution designed to authorize war with Iraq. We believe that this would be a terrible mistake. The USA and Britain are committed to commencing a war that breaks all international laws and precedent. It is a war that is not based on a real threat to Iraq’s neighbors or to other countries. Indeed none of Iraq’s neighbors have made a call for an international military mobilization against the Baathist regime in Iraq.
As you may know, there is considerable opposition within the USA to the planned war. At least 81% of African Americans oppose the planned war. Support within the rest of the country for war is extremely limited, with answers to polling questions varying
dramatically depending on how the questions are phrased. And, as you certainly know, around the globe, millions of people have stood up in opposition to this planned war.
We believe that the U.S. and British effort to initiate a world war in the Middle East is not only unwarranted and unwelcome, but also that it will have devastating economic and social consequences for the most impoverished and most vulnerable citizens and countries throughout the world. Africa, in particular, would suffer significantly from the global economic consequences of war at a time when Africans are facing the truly greatest global threat to human security, namely the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This should be the scourge receiving the attention and resources that have been devoted instead to debating and designing interventions against Iraq.
We hope that with Guinea taking over the Chairmanship of the Security Council this month, that the African members will provide the necessary leadership to avoid a war that will be especially antithetical to the interests of African and Arab peoples, and disastrous for the rest of the world.
We hope that in the consideration of this matter that you decline to support the US/British/Spanish initiative and will, instead, promote a course that encourages the peaceful resolution of this international dispute.
Respectfully submitted by,
Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania*
Salih Booker, Executive Director, Africa Action
Bill Fletcher, Jr., President, TransAfrica Forum
Patricia Ford, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union*
Danny Glover, Actor/Activist
Richard Gordon Hatcher, President of National Civil Rights Hall of Fame; Valparaiso University School of Law*
Sylvia Hill, University of the District of Columbia*
Jesse L. Jackson, Founder and President, Rainbow/Push Coalition
Joseph E. Lowery, Co-Founder and President Emeritus, SCLC;
Chairman Emeritus Black Leadership Forum
William Lucy, President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Julianne Malveaux, Economist/Author
Fred Mason, Maryland/DC AFL-CIO*
Walter Mosley, Author
Harold Rogers, International Affairs Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Executive Board Member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Damu Smith, Founder, Black Voices for Peace