WILPF Advocacy Documents


WILPF Statement in support of Keep Space for Peace Week

8 October 2008
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WILPF Statement in support of Keep Space for Peace Week

The first United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Outer Space, issued in 1958, recognizes that outer space should be used only for peaceful purposes for the benefit of all humankind. In October 1967, WILPF welcomed the entry into force of the Outer Space Treaty and continues to reaffirm its goals by promoting and supporting efforts to prevent the weaponization of outer space and by calling for its demilitarization. One aspect of that support is WILPF co-sponsorship each year of Keep Space for Peace Week in cooperation with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Dozens of other citizens groups around the world participate actively in the week of protest, action, and education. Our groups initiated Keep Space for Peace Week in response to UN World Space Week, in order to raise awareness of the need to prevent an arms race in outer space in order to achieve the goals of the Outer Space Treaty.

The overwhelming majority of United Nations member states are concerned that the weaponization of outer space will lead to an arms race. They insist that a multilateral treaty is the only way to prevent such an arms race. Each year in the General Assembly, member states adopt a resolution on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) by an overwhelming majority. In fact, every country in the world votes in favor of negotiating a treaty on PAROS—except for the United States, which has voted against it for the past three years, and Israel, which has abstained. The US administration argues that the existing multilateral arms control regime is sufficient, and that there is no need to address a “non-existent” threat.

Meanwhile, the United States and some of its allies—including Japan, South Korea, Israel, and NATO—continue to research, design, test, and deploy “missile defense” and small satellite technologies with dual-use capabilities. The United States invests millions of dollars into space technology aimed at dominating outer space and rejects resolutions and proposed treaties that it views will limit its actions.

In February this year, the United States shot down a failed satellite with a Standard Missile-3, whose primary vocation is interceptor for the US Navy’s “missile defense” system. This action could be considered an anti-satellite test, and is similar to the test that China conducted in 2007, for which the United States condemned the Chinese government. Both the Chinese and American tests created even more space debris, which already poses a considerable hazard for space objects. Potentially, such debris can prevent future stationing of satellites in space and limit or entirely prevent space access.

In August 2008, the United States signed an agreement with Poland to station US ground-based interceptors on Polish soil. In September, the Czech Republic agreed to a deal with the United States that will allow the US to build a “missile defense” radar based near Prague. The Russian government has responded angrily to both agreements, arguing that these elements of the US “missile defense” system upset the strategic balance in Europe. Russia has already begun developing “advanced” missiles that can “out-smart” the system.

WILPF believes that such actions and agreements by the United States will instigate a new arms race and increase geopolitical tensions and international insecurity. WILPF calls on the governments of the Czech Republic and Poland to not ratify the signed agreements.

WILPF welcomes the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) presented to the Conference on Disarmament in February this year by China and the Russian Federation. Although the draft treaty does not address all the questions raised by governments and NGOs over the past years, WILPF views the draft treaty as a positive step and maintains that multilateral, verifiable, non-discriminatory, legally-binding instruments are the key to ensuring international peace and security.

WILPF believes that arms control measures such as a treaty preventing the weaponization of outer space will not limit any state’s right to use outer space for peaceful purposes but rather will ensure that such use is possible. WILPF calls on the members of the Conference on Disarmament to end their twelve year deadlock and to begin serious discussions on that draft and/or other draft texts with a view to establishing an ad hoc committee to negotiate such a treaty within the CD.

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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