WILPF Advocacy Documents

West Papua

West Papua

Arms Trade and Industry | Economic, Social and Cultural Rights | Human Rights | Justice and Accountability | Migration and Displacement | Racism | Sexual and Gender-Based Violence | Slavery and Forced Labour | Women and Girls’ Human Rights | Women’s Participation
3 August 2001
Document type:
Body submitted to:

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom IEC held in lieu of the 27th Triennial Congress, July 27-August 3, 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland:

The present conflict in West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) is rooted in the so-called “Act of Free Choice” of 1969, which delivered West Papua to Indonesia after the departure of the former Dutch colonizers. This Act was a manipulated process involving only a small portion of the West Papuan population under duress and grave threat if they had voted for independence from Indonesia.

Since 1969, horrific human rights abuses, including rape, long term imprisonment, murder and bloody conflict have taken place and that more than 100,000 West Papuans have died as a result and that human rights violations are increasing.

WILPF International Executive Committee Meeting 2001 supports the political independence for the West Papuan people, and their call for an East Timorese-style ballot in their pursuit of self-determination followed by democratic elections to inaugurate a representative parliament.

Recognizing that profits from the rich resource extraction in West Papua have not gone to the indigenous people, and that extraction processes have destroyed much of the environment of the indigenous people, WILPF calls for

economic independence for the West Papuan people and for the development of an economic system in West Papua that is beneficial to the majority of the West Papuan people;

immediate and adequate international assistance for the Wet Papuan people in order to ensure the continuation of their full access to services such as education, health and housing services;

in all development projects a guarantee of protection for the environment of West Papua;

Being aware that

the territorial integrity and human rights of the West Papuan people have been consistently violated by the TNI over successive Indonesian governments;

trials are being carried out and independent observers from outside West Papua have not been permitted to witness them;

transmigration and militarization of West Papuan territory has been purposely and forcibly carried out in order to subdue the indigenous people,

WILPF condemns the atrocities and human rights violations that have been perpetrated against the West Papuan people and Indonesia’s policies of transmigration.

WILPF calls for

the immediate withdrawal from West Papua of all Indonesian military and their militias;

that a just peace be brokered using methods of conflict resolution acceptable to the West Papuan people;

that all forms of military support for and ties with the Indonesian military should cease;

that the governments of the world should stop the export of military goods, technology and training to the Indonesian military, cease issuing export permits for military material and refuse to participate in joint military exercises with Indonesia until all Indonesian military atrocities have ceased and those guilty of crimes against humanity have been tried;

that the perpetrators of crimes of violence, including crimes of rape of women and children, be brought to justice through a UN supervised mechanism;

that those West Papuan refugees, sheltering in Papua New Guinea, be assisted to return to their homeland without fear of intimidation;

that all Indonesian nationals presently living in West Papua wishing to return to their homelands be assisted with their repatriation;

that the United Nations monitor and assist with all these processes.

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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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