WILPF Advocacy Documents

WILPF Resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty

Arms Trade and Industry | Disarmament
5 August 2011
Document type:
Body submitted to:

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), meeting at the Quadrennial Congress in San José, Costa Rica in August 2011,

Noting with distress that the global arms trade is valued at over 50 billion USD per year and that global military spending as a whole reached 1.6 trillion USD in 2010,

Understanding that weapons are principally tools of violence and repression by those that use them and tools of financial gain by those who make and sell them,

Deploring both the legal and illegal arms trade of “conventional” weapon systems and ammunition,

Recognizing that conventional weapons, especially small arms and light weapons, are often used to perpetrate acts of sexual or gender-based violence as a tactic of war in order to deliberately target civilians,

Recognizing further that arms transferred without regulation continue to kill or maim civilians; obstruct economic and social development, including through the loss of livelihood; impede post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction; delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons; negatively impact on national and international peace-building and humanitarian assistance efforts; negatively impact local and global ecosystems; and have other severe consequences that can persist for many years,

Welcoming the initiation of the process in the United Nations to negotiate an international, legally-binding arms trade treaty (ATT) in July 2012,

Appreciating the discussions that have occurred thus far at the ATT preparatory committees held in July 2010, February 2011, and July 2011,

Recognizing that to be effective, an ATT must be comprehensive, and that to be comprehensive it must cover not just weapon platforms and systems but also their ammunition and components, arms and ammunition production equipment, and related materials, and that it must cover all aspects of the arms trade;

Believing that an ATT should not merely be used as a procedural authorization of arms transfers, but that it should be able to help prevent armed conflict, prevent the violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, and significantly reduce the culture and economy of militarism,

Believing further that the ATT should help build the foundations for not just the regulation but also the reduction of the arms trade, along with the reduction of military spending and the redirection of economic resources to meet human and environmental needs, including the Millennium Development Goals,

1. Insists that an ATT not be limited to proscribing procedures to authorize arms transfers, nor be used to legitimize the arms trade;

2. Calls for an ATT to include comprehensive prohibitions on the transfer of arms that are, among other things, likely to be used to violate international humanitarian law or human rights or to commit acts of genocide or crimes against humanity; that will have a negative impact on sustainable socioeconomic development or destroy the environment; that will provoke or exacerbate armed conflict or facilitate sexual- and gender-based violence;

3. Calls for an ATT to include all conventional weapon systems and armaments as well as small arms and light weapons, ammunition, components, and equipment, including not only those specifically designed for offensive combat operations but all types of military, security, and police weaponry, military data-processing and communication systems, and military equipment for transport and other purposes;

4. Calls for an ATT to cover all types of arms transfer transactions and processes including, inter alia, import, export, shipment, and brokering;

5. Calls for an ATT to require all state parties, with respect to victims of the arms regulated in this treaty in areas under its jurisdiction or control, to, in accordance with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law, adequately provide age- and gender-sensitive assistance, including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, as well as provide for their social and economic inclusion;

6. Calls for an ATT to include specific implementation requirements for all state parties, including among other things obligations on marking weapons and ammunition; on keeping records of all transfer transactions and on making these records publically available for monitoring and verification purposes; and on international cooperation and assistance; and

7. Urges that once the treaty is negotiated, any assistance from the United Nations to facilitate implementation of the ATT should by no means detract from the UN’s core role in promoting disarmament and the effective regulation of armaments and that any ATT must not be used as an excuse to limit or curtail the UN’s advocacy for more effective regulation and the strengthened application of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

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Thank you!

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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