Dear WILPF Women,
My best wishes to all with hope that we will continue to find joy in our work. As some say, “Activism is the price we pay for being here”. And, I would add, activism is a way of life that not only connects us with one another, but also with ourselves and with our earth.
This past year, we have witnessed that despite the United Nations’ many efforts to create instruments to prevent genocide and to make States accountable before the Human Rights Council and various Committees, horrific wars continue in many parts of our world. Unfortunately, the economy of militarism remains unchanged.
Under the committed leadership of our Secretary General and a good team of women, WILPF has been able to reach out and coordinate with Syrian women to have their voices heard in the peace negotiations expected to happen by the end of this month. If, as is often the case in the past, these negotiations do not happen, new challenges will arise in stopping this horrific war and in supporting the women and civilian population in Syria.
I take this opportunity to stress that importance that Sections allow space to discuss the Manifesto draft, together with the observations by some members of ExCom who did not participate on its drafting, like myself, and the introductory letter written by Cynthia Cockburn. Please remember that the I. B. member of each section must send comments about it in February.
As agreed in the International Board meeting in Madrid, an ad hoc committee has prepared a number of proposals meant to adjust the organization according to new, developing needs. Some of these alterations might eventually require changes in our Constitution. It is very important that Section members read and comment on the proposals before our next International Board meeting and before the deadline to receive proposals by the Constitutional Committee expires (deadline shall be announced by the Constitutional Committee).
The amount of material to read and the amount of political work in our countries is demanding, therefore, these documents have been sent on time. So please ensure your Section allocates enough time to discuss these documents, they are very important for the future of WILPF after its 100th years
Last, but not least, I want to congratulate our enthusiastic and committed staff for all the good work they have accomplished this past year. I am confident they will continue their professional work to support the organization. The annual report and supporting materials including alerts and reminders regarding upcoming relevant events at the UN and Human Rights Council and other committees are all very helpful.
Yet, we must not be complacent. There is still a lot of work that must be done to strengthen our Sections so that they can successfully lobby their governments to ensure peace in many militarily intervened regions and bring the international agreements in UN and other bodies into practice at local level. In the meantime, we celebrate all the good work achieved this past year. As a result of your efforts, WILPF is better positioned today to continue its mission work to stop wars and make positive peace.