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WILPF Nigeria Says #Bring Back Our Girls!

8 May 2014

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Nigeria strongly condemns the abduction of Nigerian girls from Government school Chibok Borno State on the 14th of April 2014.This has been very trying times for the relatives of the abducted Chibok girls and indeed for all of us as concerned citizens of Nigeria and the world. It brings to the forefront the issues once more of the exploitation of women and girls in times of conflict. This very ugly incident offers a clear picture of the gender dynamics of conflict, militarism and lack of inclusive policies. 

We are not satisfied with the role the government has played to date. It raises the questions: why didn’t the Federal Government go in pursuit immediately it was learnt that these girls were abducted? Why where they busy playing number games? Why has it taken three weeks and lots of rallying to force them into some sort of action? It doesn’t matter if it was one girl or two, every human life deserves to be protected regardless of gender or status in the society. This calls to mind UNSCR 1325 and the subsequent Security Council Resolutions, as well as CEDAW, on the right of women and girls to be recognized and protected. It is the responsibility and accountability of the state to ensure that this is a reality as well as the great and urgent need to ensure women’s participation in peace processes and to sit at the decision-making tables.

It is very evident that we need to look beyond the incident and have a holistic perspective of the conflict situation in Nigeria and in the North Eastern part of Nigeria in particular. We need to ask critical questions: who and what is fuelling the conflict in these zones? What are the interests in the conflict in Nigeria? What role does arms trade and arms producing countries have in all of the challenges being faced? As well as international multinationals present in the country? We need to be very mindful of the market in wars and conflicts and the greed and lack of respect for human life which sustains these markets and economy.

WILPF Nigeria is very wary of the western “big brothers” that have all decided to rush in and “save the day”. We need to take a walk down memory lane and look at countries where we have seen such military or security assistance take. What has been the resultant effect especially on the situation of women in those countries? In what ways do they overlook and undermine women citizens ‘own efforts to stop violence and question military imperatives? It is very clear to us as WILPF Nigeria that in a highly militarized society, women’s rights suffer.

We are tired of these games, we have had enough of muscle plays. It is high time the government and the international community stop playing games with words, women’s bodies and lives and the well-being of all humans in Nigeria.

Written by WILPF Nigeria

>> Read more about WILPF Nigeria


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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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