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”.
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.”
The following people went to the embassies:
UK: Caroline Freeman – UK WILPF, Clare Walker – UK WILPF
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
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
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