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Feminist Consortium Releases Five Principles for a Meaningful Ceasefire

Today, five prominent feminist organisations have released a set of feminist principles for a meaningful ceasefire. The principles are a direct response to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who on the 23 March, issued an appeal for a global ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
22 April 2020

Today, five prominent feminist organisations have released a set of feminist principles for a meaningful ceasefire. The principles are a direct response to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who on the 23 March, issued an appeal for a global ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The global ceasefire represents an important means to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate its impacts. More than that, it presents an important opportunity to create sustainable peace in conflict-affected regions. To succeed in that ambition, the global ceasefire must take into account a feminist perspective,” state the members of the feminist collective comprised of Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, MADRE, medica mondiale, Nobel Women’s Initiative and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

The five organisations have recently formed the consortium FIRE, an acronym for “Feminist Impact for Rights and Equality.”

Image showing text of Five Feminist Principles for a Meaningful Ceasefire. ENSURE the full, effective and consequential participation of women and civil society groups. HEAR and act on social, economic, and humanitarian priorities. PRIORITIZE full and non-discriminatory urgent access to services for survivors. COMMIT to developing practical measures to ensure the sustainability of the ceasefire. REALLOCATE military expenditure to fund local civil society-led efforts to lead the way in recovery, reconciliation and reconstruction. At the bottom of the image, there are the logos of the organisations: Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, MADRE, medica mondiale, Nobel Women’s Initiative and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

“FIRE has developed five feminist principles to serve as the foundation for the negotiation, design and implementation of meaningful ceasefires. FIRE will continue to build on these principles and support the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire as part of its collective response to COVID-19. There is more to come,” states the consortium and refers to the fact that António Guterres reiterated in his call that the UN is calling on “all those that can make a difference, to make that difference.” FIRE is committed to making that difference.

FACTS:

The Feminist Impact for Rights and Equality Consortium (FIRE) is a new feminist collective comprised of the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, MADRE, medica mondiale, the Nobel Women’s Initiative and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). FIRE formed to act as an accelerator for the realisation of a feminist vision of peace and security. COVID-19 has exposed the urgent need for this vision: for exposing the fault lines, for a radical reimagining of our future, for transformative – and lasting – change.

Connect with FIRE members on social media to keep up with our work.

Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation

MADRE

medica mondiale

Nobel Women’s Initiative

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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