Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace

Conference Participants Head off to Embassies in The Hague to Call for the End of Military Action in Yemen

29 April 2015

At the end of the Women’s Congress in The Hague in 1915, delegations of women went to the embassies of different countries at war, demanding an end to all hostilities. Today, as we round off the Women’s Power to Stop War conference marking our 100th anniversary, we decided to do just like our foremothers did, this time in the light of the rapidly escalating conflict in Yemen.

On the third and last day of the Conference, eleven delegations made up of conference participants left the World Forum to go to embassies across The Hague with a letter in their hands. The action was inspired by Amal Basha from Yemen, who during a Q&A session in one of the conference plenaries stood up and talked about how much she had looked forward to the conference and how excited she was to be here, but that she had not expected “to participate as a refugee”.

Mairead Maguire handed over the letter at the representation of the Commission of the European Union. Photo by Ann Patterson
Mairead Maguire handed over the letter at the representation of the Commission of the European Union. Photo by Ann Patterson

The letter, which was handed over today to the embassies of the United Kingdom, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Russia, China, Germany, France and Egypt as well as the Representation of the European Commission in the Netherlands, calls for the cessation of the transfer of arms to Yemen and all military actions by all actors inside and outside the country. It also calls for the initiation of an inclusive peace negotiation.

“The world is failing in Yemen. The world cannot be complicit. Yemen has been betrayed by the international community. The peaceful transfer of power has been undermined by external interests. Violence and war has been unleashed and fuelled from the outside. The human cost is incalculable.”

Read the letter.

The following people went to the embassies:

UK: Caroline Freeman – UK WILPF, Clare Walker – UK WILPF

Clare Walker with the letter at the British Embassy. Photo by Caroline Freeman
Clare Walker with the letter at the British Embassy. Photo by Caroline Freeman
Caroline Freeman at the British Embassy in The Hague. Photo by Clare Walker
Caroline Freeman at the British Embassy in The Hague. Photo by Clare Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US: Jodie Evans – Code Pink, Joan Ecklein – WILPF US Boston branch

Germany: Dr. Judith Baessler – GIZ

Egypt: June Norman – WILPF Australia, Emma Anthony –  UK WILPF

June Norman from WILPF Australia and Emma Anthony from UK WILPF before going to the Egyptian Embassy. Photo by Li Grebäck
June Norman from WILPF Australia and Emma Anthony from UK WILPF before going to the Egyptian Embassy. Photo by Li Grebäck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China: Cristina Martinez – WILPF US Boston branch, Carmen Duran Martinez – WILPF Spain

Iran: Tahira Jabeen – WILPF Pakistan, Rehana Hashmi – WILPF Pakistan

Saudi Arabia: Helen Kay – UK WILPF, Anne Scott – UK WILPF

Russia: Cristina Stünzi, Sarah Diack – CFD Bern

Cristina Stünzi and Sarah Diack with the letter going to the Russian Embassy. Photo by Li Grebäck
Cristina Stünzi and Sarah Diack with the letter going to the Russian Embassy. Photo by Li Grebäck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yemen: Jeanette Wesseling, Leander Schülz

France: Sarah Belpedio, Pauline Westerbarkey

Commission of the European Union: Ann Patterson – Peace People Ireland, Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace prize laureate

 

 

 

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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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