Action

#Ukraine

Call To Action: No more wars! Not now, not ever again!

We the people, the activists, those that care, no longer have time to wait for those in power to come to their senses. We all must act now, with utmost urgency, to protect our planet and ourselves from the destruction brought upon us by the hands of a corrupt, privileged, militarised elite, that thrives on the destruction of all the living things on this planet.  

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
14 February 2022

Global peace is under threat. It has been for a long time now. But recent developments, culminating with the crisis over Ukraine, have led to rapid deterioration of our human security, at levels reminiscent of those in 1914. The deployments and movement of troops, not just along the Ukrainian border but all around the globe; the current stand-of between Russia and NATO; the proxy-wars, the occupations and aggressions; the rise in fascist governments; the backlash against human rights, and in particular women’s rights; the race for economic hegemony; as well as the economic violence perpetrated against us through austerity policies and exploitation of our lives, labour, and planetary resources—all of this has been chipping away at global peace, and we have reached a point of no return. 

With each conflict, the situation has gotten worse. Instead of visionary political leadership, the elites have brought us to the brink of an all-out war. Again! 

We should not really be surprised, as violence, war and destruction are legitimate means to an end for the elites in power. The capitalist political economy, supported by a patriarchal, militarised, and racialised world order, is where they thrive the best.  

The elites manufacture conflicts as if on a production line. Their political messages and “diplomacy” sound more like overexcited promotion of yet another war than anything else. They rattle their weapons, flex their muscles, and incite each other to ever more violence, pulling us all into an endless cycle of destruction, death, and despair.  

Instead of learning lessons from our not-so-distant past, this privileged group of white men feel entitled not only to repeat the mistakes of history, but to double down on them. Our history is littered with their war games and schemes. All that matters are the interests and needs of the privileged elites in power.  

The so-called democratic leadership has failed us. So too have those supra-national bodies, like the United Nations, that we collectively have entrusted to build and safeguard global peace. Their failure to act on our behalf has brought the planet to its most dangerous moment.  

The space to envision and build peace that is sustainable, just, and feminist seems to disappear with every hour that passes. With today’s military technologies, weapons, and nuclear arsenals, there is little to hope for unless all of us who stand to lose from war and violence collectively stand up and, in a united voice, denounce war and militarism, as a solution to anything.  

Dear feminists, peace activists, human rights defenders, land and water protectors, antinuclear activists, those organising for demilitarisation—everyone who understands that peace is our only choice—the red line has been crossed, and we all need to rally around one common message. 

No more wars! Not now, not ever again! 

It is time to face the fact that we no longer have the luxury to engage with each individual issue or conflict separately, as if they are not pieces of the same puzzle. If we allow militarism to triumph it will lead to the annihilation of all life.  

The moment is now. And if we don’t find ways how to bring our different struggles into a coherent voice, soon we will not have a voice at all. We no longer have the luxury to stand by and wait for reactions from those that have lost themselves to power and greed. We must act now. And we must do so in solidarity with all those who face an immediate threat to their lives. In Ukraine and elsewhere. 

We can all see that something is terribly wrong. And people living in areas that are on the front lines of these destructive policies not only see it but also acutely feel it on their bodies. We are being told that the war in Ukraine is inevitable. That the invasion of Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban take-over, was necessary. That the Arab spring had no other direction but full-scale wars. We are being told that each time war was chosen over peace was an unavoidable path—the only choices we apparently ever had was between how “much” and what “kind” of violence would be used.  

We have failed to collectively withstand this gaslighting tactic. It is time for us to face the fact that the strategies we as activists have used have not been effective enough and have all too often been co-opted into the dirty games of the elites, which ultimately have led this planet to its destruction. We have been too quiet, too divided. Too apolitical. 

But what has been must not always be.  

The most common-sense thing to do at this moment is also the most subversive to those in power. It is to start creating bridges over the artificial divides they have created between our struggles. It is to start channelling our individual voices into one collective, clear, loud and decisive voice that demands a stop to the madness, stop to war rhetoric, to militarisation. 

The solution lies not in more militarised security and neoliberal peacebuilding, but in forging a new path for human security, based on environmental sustainability, solidarity, cooperation, non-violence, and a redistributive feminist political economy that is centered on equality, social justice, degrowth, and ecological sustainability.  

This is a call to all of us to find ways to come together.  

Let us meet in our communities, across borders, in small and big groups, on social media and any other platforms available to create a new vision of global peace, grounded in the intersectional experiences of people and the needs of the entire planet.  

Let us build mechanisms for true international solidarity. 

Let us connect our various progressive movementsconnecting the feminist, the environmental, the anti-austerity, the anti-militaristic, the anti-racist and the anti-capitalist struggles together into one new vision of what peace is on a local, regional, and global level. 

Let us reclaim human rights.  

Let us use the activities we have planned in the coming days, weeks, and months to reiterate our message over and over again. Let us plan small and big actions. Let us call for a global march for peace, let us use one and every opportunity we have to send one simple but pivotal message: No more wars. Not in our names. 

Let’s call upon the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council to either do what they have been given a mandate to do or move over and let us, the activists and organisers, build a new global peace infrastructure.  

Let’s demand from the governments in our countries to denounce the militarised ways, or risk losing their positions of power.

Let us do this for the sake of all those at an immediate risk of military violence and destruction as well as for the sake of our planet and all of us 

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Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

PRESIDENT

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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Demilitarisation

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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