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General News    H2'ed 3/10/15

International Peacemakers Announce Women's Walk for Peace and Reunification of Korea

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Original published at Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 10:30am

International Women's Delegation


Christine Ahn, Women De-Militarize the Zone: (310) 482-9333 (in English)

Hyun-Kyung Chung: (347) 622-1014 (in Korean)

Women Walk for Peace
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NEW YORK, NY - During the 59th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting, leading global women peacemakers will announce their plans for a women's peace walk calling for an end to the Korean War, which is technically unresolved without a peace treaty. Millions of Korean families remain separated as both Koreas live in a state of war. Gloria Steinem, Abigail Disney, Ann Wright, Suzy Kim, Keum-ok Kim, Hyun-Kyung Chung and Christine Ahn will speak.

What: Announcement of International Peacemakers' Walk for Peace in Korea

When: Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 at 11:00am

Where: U.N. Correspondents Association Meeting Room S-310, U.N. Secretariat

In May 2015, international women peacemakers will travel to Korea to meet with women leaders to embark upon a peace-building initiative to formally end the Korean War, including the launch of a global petition urging signatories of the 1953 armistice agreement to replace the cease-fire with a permanent peace treaty.

The delegation includes two Nobel Peace Laureates, Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland and Leymah Gbowee from Liberia, and women leaders from over a dozen countries, many of which participated in the 1950-53 Korean War. At the press briefing, representatives of the women's peace delegation will give an update on the governments' approval to cross the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ, that separates the two Koreas) on May 24th, International Disarmament Day.

Gloria Steinem, renowned American author and Honorary Co-Chair of the international delegation, says "If this division can be healed even briefly by women, it will be inspiring in the way that women brought peace out of war in Northern Ireland or Liberia. In Northern Ireland women crossed the boundary of religion and region, and said, 'No more'. For generations, the divisions seemed inevitable but women managed to cross it and now Ireland is a peaceful country."

Suzy Kim, professor of Korean history at Rutgers University, explains, "Known as the Forgotten War, the Korean War claimed 4 million lives, mostly Korean civilians. The brinkmanship we witness today, from war games to nuclear weapons, stem from that historic fact that a peace treaty was never signed."

"American women have a very important role to play in this, not as people who dictate the solutions, but because of the role our country played in drawing the line and now very aggressively plays in enforcing it," says the award-winning American filmmaker and philanthropist, Abigail Disney.

According to retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright, "My government should support the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas by de-escalating military tensions. Although both sides claim defense, when there is no communication and just a show of force, the chances for "miscalculation" are unimaginably high and very dangerous. We need to de-escalate tensions, engage North Korea in talks, and sign a peace treaty."

"We are collaborating with the international women to mobilize Korean women," says Keum-ok Kim, Standing Representative of Korean Women's Association United, the largest umbrella organization of South Korean women's NGOs.

Christine Ahn, one of the organizers, says, "We are walking to unite Korean families tragically separated by an artificial, man-made division, and to re-direct government investment away from the military towards improving the welfare of the people, in particular women, children and the elderly."

International Women's Delegation

Honorary Co-Chairs
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate 1976, Northern Ireland
Gloria Steinem, Author and Founder of Ms. Magazine, USA

Executive Committee
Christine Ahn, Women De-Militarize the Zone, USA
Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder Code Pink, USA
Hyun-Kyung Chung PhD, Professor, Union Theological Seminary, ROK/USA
Gay Dillingham, Filmmaker & Environmental Advisor to Governor Bill Richardson, USA
Suzy Kim, PhD, Professor, Rutgers University, USA
Vana Kim PhD, Spiritual Teacher, Canada/USA
Gwyn Kirk, Co-founder Women for Genuine Security, USA/United Kingdom
Sung-ok Lee, United Methodist Women, USA
Cora Weiss, President, Hague Appeal for Peace, USA
Ann Wright, Former U.S. Army Colonel, USA
Aiyoung Choi, Korean American Family Service Center, USA
Jean Chung, Co-Founder Action for One Korea, USA
Abigail Disney, Filmmaker, USA
Jodie Evans, Co-Founder Code Pink, USA
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate 2012, Liberia
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director, Amnesty International, USA/Mexico/United Kingdom
Patricia Guerrero, League of Displaced Women, Colombia
Meri Joyce, Peace Boat, Australia/Japan
Jane Jin Kaisen, Artist, Denmark
Deann Borshay Liem, Filmmaker, USA
Brinton Lykes, Professor, Boston College, USA
Liza Mazza, Gabriella Network, Philippines
Ann Patterson, Peace People, Northern Ireland
Suzuyo Takazato, Okinawan Women Against Military Violence, Japan
Katharina Zellweger, former Swiss Development Corporation DPRK, Switzerland

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