US ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST CINDY SHEEHAN, MAJOR FLORIAN PFAFF AND EUROPEAN WAR RESISTERS TO GIVE EVIDENCE AT STRASBOURG HEARING

NEWS RELEASE From the office of MEP Tobias Pflüger (GUE/NGL), March 8th, 2006

US ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST CINDY SHEEHAN, MAJOR FLORIAN PFAFF AND EUROPEAN WAR RESISTERS TO GIVE EVIDENCE AT STRASBOURG HEARING

Event: Press conference with Caroline Lucas MEP, Tobias Pflüger MEP, US anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and Major Florian Pfaff: the right of soldiers to refuse to participate in wars violating international law

Place: European Parliament, Strasbourg, Press Room
Time: Tuesday, March 14th, 3pm

US anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and European War Resisters are to meet MEPs from the European Parliament’s cross-party Peace Initiatives group during a visit to Brussels next month.

Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey is one of the over 2300 US and UK soldiers killed in Iraq, will join Caroline Lucas and other Euro-MPs at a hearing on the right of soldiers to refuse to take part in military action of questionable legality.

Tobias Pflüger, Co-President of the Peace Initiatives Intergroup, emphasizes the German support of the War on Iraq: “The case of Major Pfaff clearly shows that Germany, despite of the decision not to sent German soldiers to Iraq, did take part in the War on Iraq."

"The military bases in Germany which where used to fight this war should be closed in order to prevent the ongoing violation of international law.”

Dr Lucas, Co-President of the Peace Initiatives Intergroup, will argue that we can’t blame soldiers for ‘simply following unlawful orders’ if we don’t respect their right to refuse them.

She said: “The invasion of Iraq directly contravened the UN Charter, which prohibits military action in the absence of a clear Security Council conflict resolution or peacekeeping mandate."

“Yet individual servicemen and women – thousands of whom have lost their lives in the deadly quagmire of Iraq – have not been permitted to refuse to participate."

“The path to international peace and justice lies in respect for the UN and the rule of law: this must include honouring the right of individuals to opt out of conflicts which violate these principles, and the EU and its member nations must ensure this right is protected by legislation without delay.”

The hearing, which is open to all MEPs, will address the issues surrounding individual participation in armed conflicts which are contrary to international law or raise serious questions of conscience for those involved.

Alongside Mrs Sheehan, the hearing will take evidence from George Solomou of the UK’s Royal Army Medical Corps, Major Florian Pfaff of the German Army, US serviceman Hart Viges, and German peace activist Rudi Friedrich of Connection E.V.

Cindy Sheehan said: “Not only do we not have to love our government’s policies. When they are evil, we have a patriotic obligation to oppose them with all our strength."

“When the Bush administration uses white phosphorous on innocent men, women, children and babies, when it uses illegal imprisonment and immoral torture on fellow members of the human race, when it invades and occupies another country that is no threat to the USA, we must say ‘No’.”

The hearing will be preceded by a press conference at 3pm.
For more information please contact Martin 0032 2 284 5555 / 0032 479 60 5353 or tpflueger@europarl.eu.int
German Support of the War Against Iraq - Comment by Tobias Pflüger (MEP) in the hearing:
US ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST CINDY SHEEHAN, MAJOR FLORIAN PFAFF AND EUROPEAN WAR RESISTERS Strasbourg, 14th March 2006

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