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Clear off the Shadows of Nuclear Weapons

A year after the signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the treaty can boast 69 signatories has 69 signatures and 19 ratifications. It is thereby the fastest rate of ratification of any weapon of mass destruction treaty.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
16 October 2018

We are all looking for a safe world where our children can grow safely. Where nuclear weapons would only be part of history books.

A year after the signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the treaty can boast 69 signatories has 69 signatures and 19 ratifications. It is thereby the fastest rate of ratification of any weapon of mass destruction treaty.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

[ICAN logo - a nuke broken inside the peace symbol]

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted on 7 July 2017 by 122 nation states. The Treaty, put forth by ICAN, prohibits the development, testing, use, transfer and possession of nuclear weapons. The treaty will come into legal force once 50 states have signed an ratified it (after which they are known as State Parties). 
Currently there are 69 signatories and 19 State Parties.

WILPF participated in bringing the treaty to fruition as part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Since the signing in 2017, we are ensuring the Treaty’s rapid entry into force and effective implementation. In March 2018,  we released our resource guide The Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty: A Resource Guide for WILPF to support local activists and WILPF Sections’ actions toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

WILPF Sections all over the world have been working towards this goal throughout the past year. WILPF Sweden Section has, in collaboration with the Swedish Section of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Weapons, developed a shadow report, entitled “In the Shadows of Power,” in response to the Swedish government’s inquiry on whether Sweden should join the TPNW.

“In the Shadows of Power”

The report includes twelve articles by activists and experts in the field, eight of which are in English (which will be looked at briefly below), and the remaining four in Swedish and Norwegian.

It brings a distinctly human aspect to the question of nuclear weapons and delves into the importance morally, politically, legally and historically of the TPNW. Moreover, it ensures accessibility to a wider audience, as the articles are concise and are mostly free of complicated jargon.

A Flip Through the Report

  • The Reason Why We Need to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
    Setsuko Thurlow, a leading figure in ICAN and a survivor of Hiroshima, explains how the risk associated with brandishing nuclear warfare as a threat is too high, and that the treaty is the best way to avoid the shadow cast by the threat of nuclear weapons.

Shadow Reports

A shadow report is a method used by non-government organisations (NGOs) to supplement or present alternative positions and information, usually after and in response to official government reports, regarding human rights situations.

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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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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