WILPF Advocacy Documents

Italy, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Statement: CEDAW Committee 67th session, Review of Italy

Arm Transfers | Extraterritorial Obligations | Gender-Based Violence | Human Rights Violations | Women’s Human Rights
3 July 2017
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At the 67th Session of the of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), WILPF International and WILPF Italy delivered the following oral statement during the Committee’s meeting with NGOs.

Thank you Madam Chair,

Our submission is about the impact of Italy’s arms transfers on the rights and safety of women in importing countries. It provides some examples of transfers that undermine Italy’s international legal obligations, including under CEDAW. These are transfers to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, countries that have been involved in the conflict in Yemen.

Italy is a party to the Arms Trade Treaty. In spite of what is required by the Treaty and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, Italy has not established a specific mechanism to prevent arms sales from having an impact on gender-based violence in the recipient countries.

There are also issues with the transparency of the information provided in the governments’ annual report to the Parliament. This undermines the ability of the Parliament and civil society to exercise scrutiny of the government’s decisions to authorize arms transfers and the reasons for doing so.

Furthermore, it is particularly troubling that the government has expressed satisfaction with regard to the steep increase of arms transfers in recent years. This highlights the problematic role taken up by the National Authority for the Armament Licensing and Controls (UAMA) and the government, which appear to be more of a “sponsor” of the Italian military industry rather than an authority controlling the strict adherence and implementation of the requirements of the national legislation regulating arms transfers.

Download the statement as PDF: WILPF’s Oral Statement at the CEDAW Committee 67th Session, Review of Italy

Read the SUMMARY of the shadow report to CEDAW 67th Session:  The impact of Italy’s arms transfers on women – Italy’s extraterritorial obligations under CEDAW

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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