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Anniversary of Second Nuclear Attack a Reminder for States to Work Towards a Ban

9 August 2016

On this day in 1945, around 80,000 people died as a result of the detonation of a single bomb. Many more died from radiation-related illnesses in the weeks, months and decades that followed. The bomb, codenamed Fat Man, was the second of only two nuclear weapons to be used in warfare. The United States dropped the bomb on the Japanese city, Nagasaki.

Now, 71 years later, nine countries possess approximately 15, 800 nuclear weapons – 15, 800 ticking time bombs – and are investing billions of dollars in modernisation programmes, threatening the world’s population for many years to come.

Never again

Next week, at the final session of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations in Geneva, states may finally agree to start negotiations on a treaty banning these horrific weapons of mass destruction.

The chair of the OEWG officially presented his zero draft report on 5 August and the group will reconvene on 16, 17 and 19 of August to finalise and adopt the report.

If the OEWG agrees to recommend to the UN General Assembly in October that negotiations should begin on a ban treaty, negotiations could start as early as 2017. The vast majority of states support a legally-binding prohibition on nuclear weapons, due to the catastrophic humanitarian impact witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and as a result of nuclear testing.

The nuclear-armed states have refused to participate in the OEWG, demonstrating that they are nervous the process will succeed.

WILPF’s disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will has attended the first two OEWG sessions in February and May 2016, and will be there again next week, as states debate the OEWG draft report and recommendations to take to the UN General Assembly in October. To keep up to date on the third and final session of the OEWG, subscribe to the First Committee mailing list.

A nuclear weapon free world: 71 years in the making – is there an end in sight?

WILPF has been a strong advocate for a ban on nuclear weapons and has argued for the elimination of nuclear weapons since they were used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On 5 August 2016, on the eve of the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, WILPF hosted a webinar featuring key anti-nuclear campaigners, Ray Acheson, Director of Reaching Critical Will, Helen Caldicott, veteran anti-nuclear campaigner and WILPF Peace Women Laureate, and Daniel Högsta, International Network Coordinator of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

In this webinar, the anti-nuclear campaigners assessed the state of play of nuclear disarmament and discussed how the humanitarian approach to nuclear disarmament might be just what we need to move closer to a nuclear weapon-free world. The discussion was facilitated by Chris Henderson, Communications Coordinator of WILPF Australia. You can find a recording of the webinar here.


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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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