WILPF Advocacy Documents


WILPF Statement on the Situation in Fiji

24 April 2009
Document type:
Body submitted to:

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Statement on the situation in Fiji

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom extends solidarity and support to the people of Fiji who endure fear, anxiety, a deteriorating economic situation and media censorship under a military dictatorship.  As the majority of the impoverished, women and their dependents bear the brunt of the economic insecurities.

In the December 2006 coup d’etat, Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced he had taken control of Fiji, placing elected leaders under house arrest, dissolving parliament and taking over the public service.  In the economic downturn that has followed, due to a decrease in tourism and reluctance to trade with an unstable military regime, the unrepresented people have suffered.  The coup leaders promised elections and a constitutional review process, for which Fijians and the international community have waited impatiently.

In April 2009, Fiji’s Court of Appeal rightly ruled that Commodore Bainimarama’s regime was illegal under the country’s 1997 constitution. In response, the judiciary were removed from office, the constitution formally dissolved, an election ruled out for five years and a 30-day state of emergency declared on 10 April under which criticism of the military regime was outlawed, international media coverage censored and reporters expelled from the country.

Military regimes are inherently violent; the threat and use of force replaces legitimate representation and the possibility of civil society engagement with government in an open and honest democratic dialogue. Military regimes repress the universally recognised rights to assemble, associate, freely move, express, receive and impart information freely.

Military regimes are illegitimate and unrepresentative of the population.  Fiji’s membership of all regional and economic groups should be suspended immediately and the credentials of the delegations rejected by the United Nations.  The United Nations must cease to accept Fiji’s troops in peacekeeping operations as they are clearly unqualified to keep peace, and misuse the funds accrued.

The situation in Fiji must remain on the agenda on the Pacific Forum, the Commonwealth and the United Nations, with robust and energetic efforts of the international community turned towards moving the country towards elections.  The United Nations Security Council should remain seized of the situation, and the Secretary General should use his good offices to send mediators and appoint an Envoy. He should also ensure gender responsive humanitarian assistance, the effective participation of women in mediation teams and in the resolution of the crisis.  Part of any political solution in Fiji must include genuine security sector reform to restore the military to its appropriate role.

WILPF women in over 40 countries are concerned about the safety of women working for peace and human rights. The skills and talents of the women of Fiji will be vital in restoring legitimate governance, a free media and an independent judiciary to that beautiful island.


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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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