WILPF Advocacy Documents

Israel, Palestine

Statement by WILPF Israel on the Free Gaza Flotilla

Human Rights
2 June 2010
Document type:
Body submitted to:

We, the women of WILPF, Israel Section, are outraged by the tragic actions of the Israeli navy in the early morning hours of Monday. May 31,2010.  Our armed forces hijacked unarmed, civilian vessels in international waters – an act of piracy. They boarded the first one by force, killing 10 passengers and wounding numerous others in the process. All of this was to stop the boats from breaking the illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Strip has been under siege by land, sea and air, enforced by the Israeli armed forces since 2006 when the Hamas party gained control in the area through democratic elections. Israel objects to Hamas control, claiming that it is a terrorist organization. After those elections Israel categorically refused to negotiate with the Hamas government, convinced the USA and EU to also boycott Hamas, and imposed the siege hoping in that way to topple Hamas from power. As this tactic did not succeed, Israel embarked on a cruel military bombardment and invasion into the Gaza Strip in December, 2008. In the 22 days of military action against the civilian population 1,420 Gazans were killed,(most of them civilians) 446 of them children, 5,320 people were injured, 1,855 of them children, and approximately 20,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed. Schools, hospitals, the sewage processing plant and the central electric generator were all heavily damaged in the bombardment. Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip has not allowed the population there to rebuild and, at the same time, they suffer severe deprivation – 3/4 of the damage has not been repaired and 60% of the families are dependent on the UN food program in order to eat.

If the aim of Israel’s policy was to weaken Hamas and loosen its control, it has failed. And Israel is not alone in its failure; the entire international community is complicit in this policy that is morally appalling and politically self-defeating. There is a need for a comprehensive review and re-examination of the entire issue. Neither Israel nor the international community has taken into consideration that the Hamas leaders have signed on to the comprehensive  peace plan, offered first by Saudi Arabia in 2002, and endorsed by the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The time has come to negotiate with Hamas. After the tragic events of May, 31, it is imperative on the international community, especially the USA and the EU, to revamp their policies toward Israel. The Israeli peace camp is active, but we cannot go it alone; we must have the help of our sisters and allies all over the world. We must convince governments that it is in the interests of the entire world to bring about a comprehensive peace for our region. The sooner, the better.


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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. 

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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