WILPF Advocacy Documents

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Second Report of the Seven Special Rapporteurs on the Dominican Republic of the Congo

Human Rights | Militarisation | Sexual and Gender-Based Violence | Women and Girls’ Human Rights
Date/month:
18 November 2010
Document type:
Statement
Body submitted to:
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Thank you, Chairperson.

I speak on behalf of the section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Local conflict and 400 years of harmful international interference have led to human insecurity, underdevelopment, poverty and human rights abuses in the DRC.
Sexual violence is not cultural or traditional in the DRC, but a consequence and a strategy of war. It has been used as a tool to humiliate, destabilize and displace communities. We cannot combat sexual violence without addressing the war and its roots causes. Statistics show that since 1997, the rate of sexual violence and other human rights atrocities such as mutilation, decapitation, live burials, and mass murders have increased proportionally due to the armed violence. The barbarity suffered by Congolese women will negatively affect future generations of Congolese in terms of fertility and food security.

The command of the army is dictated by the interest of multinational corporations active in the DRC. A lack of attention is paid to the psychological condition of soldiers, which leads to their perpetually violent behaviour. WILPF denounces this inhuman treatment of soldiers and emphasizes that they must be rehabilitated and properly reintegrated into normal society. WILPF denounces the strategy of some international interests to legitimate armed violence in the DRC and provoke a low intensity war. This has prolonged human insecurity, humanitarian disaster and the displacement of the population.

In order for change to occur in the DRC and to end sexual violence, WILPF calls for the restoration of the rule of law and the respect of human rights. WILPF calls on the international community to demonstrate a political will to end the conflict. WILPF is calling on you to de-legitimize armed violence, militarization and the support of oppressive regimes in the region. Furthermore, WILPF calls on the U.K. and U.S. governments to apply OECD guidelines and urges for effective inter-Rwandan and inter-Ugandan dialogues necessary for peace, security, good governance, economic development and regional stability in eastern DRC.

The second report of the Seven Special Rapporteurs adds to the list of resolutions, reports and recommendations from which the follow-up, implementation and accountability is far over due.
Thank you, Chairperson.

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Thank you!

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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