International Human Rights Day

Tuesday, December 10 – International Human Rights Day
Location: Congressman John Conyer’s office, 2426 Rayburn House Office Building
Purpose: Cut Runaway Military Spending to Meet Dire Domestic Needs

Peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups will gather in the nation’s Capitol on Tuesday December 10 to observe International Human Rights Day by calling upon Congress to slash runaway, dangerous military spending and meet critical domestic needs instead.

The groups will hold a news conference and media availability at 10 AM. They will then deliver letters and petitions signed by more than one hundred organization and 7,000 individuals to Cong. Ryan and Sen. Murray, the Co-Chairs of the Congressional budget committee charged with passing a budget resolution by December 13. The Committee is seeking to reduce the nominal defense cuts presently required under the sequestration agreement.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950. In 2006 the UN focused on the issue of poverty, declaring the poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. The massive expenditures on the military is a significant factor in poverty and income inequality in America. Human rights also includes the right to be free from the threat of violence and war.

72 years after the nation was propelled into World War II by the attack on Pearl Harbor, the groups say it is time for the country to end its obsolete wartime budget – as it had done after every prior major conflict. The country’s failure to heed President Eisenhower’s warning about the growth in power of the Congressional Military Industrial complex has resulted in a massive military budget that bears no relation to the country’s legitimate defense needs.

Consuming more than half of all discretionary federal spending, the US military budget is roughly equal to the rest of the world combined. The groups charge that the military budget has become primarily corporate welfare and a tool to further the interests of multinational corporations. A hundred billion dollars is spent to maintain more than one thousand military bases in 130 countries, including Europe, Japan and Korea. Much of the Pentagon spending is wasted, with high levels of graft, overhead, outside consultants, and duplicative and unnecessary weapon systems. Rather than having an energy policy creating resource wars and climate chaos, the US should invest in renewable energy to create jobs, avert climate disaster, and make wars for oil obsolete.

Groups initiating the campaign include the Backbone Campaign; Coalition Against Nukes; Code Pink; Fellowship of Reconciliation, Freepress.org; Hunger Action Network of NYS; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Green Shadow Cabinet; Green Party of NY; Hip Hop Congress; Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution; No FEAR Coalition; Organic Consumers Association; Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign; PopularResistance.org; Roots Action; and US Labor Against War.

Speakers at the news conference will include: Jill Stein, Green Shadow Cabinet; Cheri Honkala, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign; David Swanson, Roots Action; Mark Dunlea, Hunger Action Network of New York State; Dr. David Schwartzman, Professor Emeritus Howard University and community activist.

The groups want Congress to cut military spending by 25 to 50%, using the savings to :

– Adequately funding critical social needs, including food stamps, Social Security, improved and expanded Medicare for all, and public education including college,

·- Creating a full employment public jobs program to jump start the green economy (a Green New Deal) ,

– Rebuilding vital infrastructure.