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Press Release: First United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women to Join International Conference on Women’s Power to Stop War

11 March 2015

Radhika Coomaraswamy is joining 1,300 peace activists, academics and civil society members in The Hague from 27 – 29 April to mobilise the world against war and militarisation.

Sri Lankan lawyer, academic and lead author of the United Nations Global Study on Women, Peace and Security Radhika Coomaraswamy is participating in the Women’s Power to Stop War Conference, an event hosted by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – the oldest women’s peace organisation.

Coomaraswamy is an internationally known human rights advocate who worked as the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women from 1994 to 2003. Previously, she was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, and the Chairperson of the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission.

As the lead author on the UN Global Study on Women, Peace and Security, which is currently reviewing 15 years of UN Security Council resolution 1325, Coomaraswamy will be taking in grassroots and civil society perspectives, as well as contributing theoretical and practical frameworks at the conference.

“WILPF is perhaps my favourite international women’s organisation because it is the oldest and because it brought women onto the international stage in the 1920s to fight for peace and against militarisation,” says Coomaraswamy.

“The original message of WILPF is the message we need to pick up again,” she remarks, “as we need a global movement against war and militarization for this era.”

The Conference is supported by organisations like Code Pink and Peace is Loud, and is aimed at coming up with a new, holistic peacebuilding agenda for the 21st century.

Registration for the Conference is now open at

Pictures of Radhika Coomaraswamy can be downloaded at –

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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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