WILPF Advocacy Documents


Joint oral statement to the HRC Special Session on Afghanistan

Human Rights | Human Rights Defenders | Human Rights Violations | Women’s Human Rights
24 August 2021
Document type:
Body submitted to:
Human Rights Council

31st Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan 

Joint oral statement by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), MADRE, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

The United Nations and its member states have let the people of Afghanistan down. You have encouraged and supported women human rights defenders, journalists, and other civil society actors to build a new Afghanistan. But then you ignored their analysis and calls to action. In engaging with the UN and other processes, these women have put their lives and the lives of family members at risk. They are now understandably angry and feel betrayed by the international system. They are right.

The unfolding human rights and humanitarian crises in the country demand a robust response from the Human Rights Council. The rights of women and girls and their future participation in Afghan society must be protected. The very least this Council can do is to secure accountability, redress and prevention. It must establish without delay a robust investigative mechanism into all violations and abuses by all parties, including the Taliban. The mechanism must be mandated to investigate any gendered dimensions of such violations and abuses. It must be mandated to report regularly, including intersessionally, and be adequately resourced.

See also A strong credible outcome from the HRC Special Session on Afghanistan is imperative, Written Statement by WILPF to the HRC Special Session

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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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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