TIME TO FOCUS ON HEALTHCARE, NOT WARFARE
MAPW endorses the UN Secretary-General's appeal for a global ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A global ceasefire is the first step towards lasting peace and a focus on health for all.
Wars destroy individuals, healthcare systems, health facilities and health workers. War-ravaged communities are already overwhelmed and are ill-placed to manage public health crises such as the COVID pandemic. A global ceasefire is essential.
Healthcare not warfare must be affirmed as a national and global goal, and resources committed to achieving it. Australia must take concrete action now:
1. CEASE INVOLVEMENT IN WARS OF CHOICE
The “war on terror” has had devastating impacts on the health of civilian people and made us less secure. It is time for Australia’s involvement to end.
2. REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING
Australia is massively ramping up its spending on war and its preparation, committing over $200 billion over the decade to 2028 -2029 on major arms acquisitions, in addition to $38.7 billion annually (nearly $106 million every day) for our military budget. These funds must be redirected to ensuring health for all.
3. STOP PROFITING FROM WAR
Australia exports arms to nations that are ravaged by armed violence or are contributing to war-induced humanitarian disasters, including the countries bombing Yemen. This must stop.
4. OPPOSE sanctions and blockades that impede healthcare
US-imposed sanctions are disrupting Iran’s capacity to respond to the COVID pandemic. Gaza continues to be subject to a blockade by Israel, which restricts its access to medical supplies. The Saudi-led blockade of Yemen adds to the immense human suffering in that country. These blocks to public health responses to the pandemic should be lifted immediately.
5. Restore overseas aid
Poverty reduces a community’s capacity to manage health crises. Australia’s aid to help poverty-stricken communities has never been lower. This is a national disgrace, which must be reversed.
6. Restore funding for diplomacy
Australia’s funding of diplomacy, to enable engagement with other nations, has plummeted in recent years. Cooperation, which can only be achieved through negotiations, must be prioritised over confrontation. Australia must consistently uphold human rights as a further step towards health for all.
7. Support the Uluru Statement
Aboriginal Australians continue to suffer the deep-seated health and other impacts of the dispossession of their land. The Uluru Statement is the most promising initiative towards creating a healthier future for First Australians.
8. ELIMINATE NUCLEAR WEAPONS & TAKE ACTION ON CLIMATE
Our true security is derived from health, equity, solidarity and self-determination. Nuclear weapons must be abolished to ensure a safer, healthier world for all; climate action is imperative.