To the President of the Republic of France, Mr Emmanuel Macron
We request that you initiate within the organizations that you represent, an in-depth ethical reflection on the production and sale of weapons in France, in Switzerland and in the European Union. Indeed, from an ethical standpoint, the sale and distribution of weapons, and especially the use of those weapons, is incompatible with the most basic principles of human rights.
We reject the axiom that the sale of arms contributes to long term security. Instead, it generates an arms race and more insecurity: enormous military expenditure, and therefore fewer means to support development programs, and a ratio of civilian to military deaths which continues to increase. Security in the long term depends on the principles of justice and equity, applied on the national and international level. It is therefore misleading to speak of Eurosatory as an “international defense and security” exposition.
We reject the axiom so often repeated that the weapons industry is necessary for creating employment and wealth. On the contrary, the continued existence of the military industry depends essentially on political decisions to award enormous government subsidies. We maintain that the State could and should allocate monies toward other more peaceful ends.
We are fundamentally opposed to war. We are opposed to war and all that prepares it – to be distinguished from maintaining peace through police action. We believe that there are better ways of resolving conflict than through building up arsenals. We reject the maxim which states that “if you want peace, prepare for war.” With Christians all over the world, we say that the only fight worth fighting is against the very forces of destruction.
We commit our support to those who labor to develop better materials and techniques for defusing antipersonnel mines, and our funds to efforts to aid those populations who are touched by the plague of war in various parts of our planet. We continue to welcome refugees fleeing war and we work to promote non-violent conflict transformation and education about peace.
Rather than promote the disastrous arms trade at events such as Eurosatory, we encourage France and other European countries to strive for a more just and humane future.
Montbéliard, France, May 13th, 2018
Leaders of Mennonite Conferences in Europe