WILPF Advocacy Documents


WILPF’s 24th Triennial Congress Resolution on Genetic Engineering, Reproduction Technologies, Human Genetics and Population Policies

Human Rights | Women and Girls’ Human Rights
24 July 1989
Document type:
Body submitted to:

The 24th Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 14-25 July 1989 in Sydney, Australia:

“Human dignity is inviolable”.  Most developments in natural science, however, tend towards a dismemberment of men and nature into smaller components.  In all industrial nations, we find large projects which are feverish at work analysing men’s genes to make them available in the industry, population planning, and social control.

While human genetics today is mainly concerned with the selection and eradication of life allegedly unworthy to exist, genetic engineering is intended to produce the instruments to render possible a correcting interference in the human gene. In addition, reproduction medicine ensures the disposability of the human hereditary material, which in the last resort reduces women and men to donors of ovum and sperm.  By transferring insemination into a receptacle, the parents lose any chance of control.

Human genetics works in its various sectors to register the human genes, to define the individual gene as “good” or “bad”, to apply such definition to select people, e.g. by the screening of work applicants, and eugenics in pre-natal diagnosis (see National Socialist Program).

It is not by accident that it has been primarily women who have resisted the new technologies in their various forms. Even though the planners have not explicitly named them, women are in most fields exclusively concerned.

Women are the objects in the whole field of prenatal diagnosis; they must submit to the results of the human genetic examination and in-vitro fertilisation. Women supply the uteruses for surrogate motherhood and the ovaries for the production of embryos for embryonic research.

Women are the objects of the programs for population planning which have, at first sight, humane goals but aim at the comprehensive organisation of human societies according to the criteria of efficiency and utilise the ability.

Self-determination, human dignity and the fundamental right to life are taken from women. But this also means that scientists, medical men, social planners, economic strategists and political leaders depend on women’s readiness to participate or at least to keep quiet.

This development has just such an explosive effect as has the development of new weapon technologies. Men and nature are endangered in their bare existence in a way never known before.

Congress is asked to resolve:

  • that WILPF declare its opposition in principle to the development, application and justification of genetics and reproduction technologies and advocates their prohibition and abolition;
  • that WILPF also rejects all national and international programs of population planning and human genetics when they are based on these technologies;
  • WILPF should develop concrete ways of action against the new technologies and cooperate in this with women groups and organisations which have already critically engaged in the issues of genetic and reproduction technologies and have offered resistance to them in public (e.g. Feminist International Network of Resistance against Reproduction and Genetic Technologies FINRRAGE, Groningen, The Netherlands, founded 1984)
  • WILPF turns against criminalising women and women’s groups that advocate challenging points of view on genetic and reproduction technologies.
  • that the officers and the International Office in Geneva present this subject to the commissions and bodies on international and intercontinental levels and ask the sections to do the same on national levels to press for the abolition and proscription of genetic engineering and reproduction technologies and their effects–or at least for a comprehensive control with the participation of critical women.

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Melissa Torres


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


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


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. 

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