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First International Conference to Close US/NATO Military Bases

The United States is present in 145 countries with about 1000 military bases. Having foreign military bases, and being allies to these forces comes at a dear cost for the civilians. Yet no one is held accountable.

Image credit: WILPF
Anne Atambo; Nancy Price; Giovanna Pagani
19 December 2018

The United States is present in 145 countries with about 1000 military bases. Having foreign military bases, and being allies to these forces comes at a dear cost for the civilians. Yet no one is held accountable.

The first International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases wanted to build a global movement to challenge this architecture of war. On 16–18 November 2018, some 300 peace activists representing over 35 countries around the world gathered at the Liberty Hall in Dublin, Ireland.  42 speakers representing countries from all continents made presentations at this historic conference.

A historic step towards a safe, peaceful and sustainable world

What brought everyone together was the agreement with the principles outlined in the Global Unity Statement, which was endorsed by the Conference Participants. The statement’s goal is to raise public awareness and organise non-violent mass resistance throughout the world against all US, NATO and EU military bases, and their military missions around the world.
Please read the entire statement and consider signing the “Global Unity Statement”.

The statement and this conference were the results of the first organised effort by the newly formed Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases, created by over 35 peace, justice, and environmental organisations and endorsed by over 700 other organisations and activists from around the world.

The full Press Communiqué makes clear the importance of this first historic step toward creating a vital global peace movement respectful of local and national efforts to create a safe, peaceful, and sustainable world, free of the threat of nuclear war.

WILPF at the conference

WILPF members from Chad, Kenya, Italy, Norway, Scotland, and the United States attended the conference. Thanks to a generous donor Anne Atambo, founder and president of WILPF Kenya, was a panellist on the Africa/AFRICOM panel. Her presentation helped the conference participants to better understand the issue of militarism from the perspective of the African continent.

“We the civilians are subjected to undue trauma and terror, for fighting battles that are not even ours to start with”, said Anne Atambo, WILPF Kenya President.

Anne Atambo, WILPF Kenya President, speaking with a microphone in front of her.
“We the civilians are subjected to undue trauma and terror, for fighting battles that are not even ours to start with”, said Anne Atambo, WILPF Kenya President. Photo Credits: Ellen Davidson

Other inspiring speakers included Mairead Maguire, Nobel Prize winner; Dr. Aleida Guevara, Member of the Cuban National Assembly and daughter of Che Guevara; Clare Daly TD,  a member of Dail Eireann, the National Parliament of Ireland; and many others.

Mairead Maguire reminded us that peace is possible and urgent, but we need to believe in the strength of dialogue and the promotion of a culture for peace and non-violence. Others highlighted the dangers of the environmental impacts of military bases, explaining that these bases, besides being instruments of wars, also represent a constant threat to territorial security and populations’ health.

In addition to the conference, several side events were organised including a rally and a protest at Shannon Airport, where US military flights, often for renditions, violate Irish Neutrality. Photographer Ellen Davidson has been covering the entire conference and is sharing her pictures on her website.

Mobilise in 2019 and join the global peace movement

WILPF members will mobilise on two dates in 2019 to raise awareness about the Global Unity Campaign.

  1. On 4 April 2019, NATO foreign ministers will meet in Washington, DC, to mark 70th NATO Anniversary. Our members will organise respective protests in NATO member states and worldwide.
  2. On 22 March 2019, World Water Day, our members will raise awareness on the connection between water access and the anti-bases movement. WILPF US’ Earth Democracy Issue Committee will be working with Pat Elder and Patricia Hynes to prepare materials for World Water Day including an Infographic Card on water contamination by military bases.

Check regularly the Global Campaign Against US/NATO military bases website to stay updated and join the campaign.

By Anne Atambo, WILPF Kenya; Nancy Price, WILPF US; and Giovanna Pagani, WILPF Italy

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Anne Atambo; Nancy Price; Giovanna Pagani

Anne Atambo is the founder and president of WILPF Kenya. Nancy Price is a member of the US Section of WILPF as well as a member of WILPF’s Earth Democracy Committee. Giovanna Pagani is a member of WILPF Italy.

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Thank you!

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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