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2016 in Review: Global to Local Efforts Move Ahead, Connecting Antimilitarism and Disarmament Movements around the World

23 December 2016

In September and October 2016, antiwar activists from across Australia gathered near the centre of the country to demand the government close the secretive Pine Gap military base, 50 years after its establishment. Pine Gap is a central part of the US war-fighting machine. It facilitates the operation of nuclear weapons and armed drones, as well as mass surveillance and military communications. It is a prominent node in the global network of militarism created by the United States and sustained by its allies.

The director of WILPF’s disarmament programme, Ray Acheson, participated in direct actions at the gates of Pine Gap with WILPF Australia and ICAN Australia members, and spoke at the Independent and Peace Australia Network National Conference. She brought news of progress towards negotiations of a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons, as well as information about drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia that are launched from Djibouti – which are targeted from Pine Gap. At the same time, activists campaigning for the end of the US military base on Diego Garcia also gathered in Mauritius. WILPF issued a statement of support for their conference and spoke about their efforts at events in Australia, helping to create a sense of solidarity around antimilitarism efforts.

What’s next?

We’ll continue to engage with campaigns against military bases and military spending, focusing on the intersections between nuclear weapons, armed drones, and gender perspectives of foreign military operations. We’ll be coordinating a study on the humanitarian impacts of armed drones in 2017, and releasing a big research report on foreign militaries and sexual violence in Djibouti. We’ll also keep engaging with our WILPF Sections and partners around the world to enhance the local to global and global to local connections that WILPF finds imperative to achieving feminist peace!

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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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