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From Cameroon's Ground to the UN Meeting Rooms and Back

27 July 2016

WILPF works on the premise that in order to ensure real and lasting peace and freedom, it is fundamental for us to look at the realities on the ground and in communities to learn what is needed. Therefore WILPF encourages all Sections to have a lively exchange, although it is always special when members come to visit the International Secretariat in Geneva.

One of the most recent visitors was WILPF Cameroon communicator and activist Guy Feugap. He came to Geneva for the first time in June thanks to our project of empowering African sections funded by Channel Foundation. Guy was here to speak about the possession of firearms by civilians and the impact on women’s human lives, at a WILPF-organised side event for the 32nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. His presentation highlighted the gendered impact of firearms in the hands of civilians.

Meeting the International Secretariat

Guy_CameroonDuring his visit, Feugap gained a greater understanding of the organisation’s work and really enjoyed visiting WILPF International Office in Geneva.

“From a personal point of view,” explained Feugap “it was great to see how the work is organised among the different programmes and this is something I can share with our section in Cameroon.”

WILPF voices from the ground

This is a great example of how the local-global-local loop works within WILPF. Local activists, such as Guy Feugap, enter the international arena and contribute with their experience to ongoing reunions at the UN, while at the same time they bring home what they have learnt to later share with their Sections.

In Geneva, Feugap shared the work WILPF Cameroon is doing on promoting the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to reduce gender-based violence. He also spoke at the Conference on Disarmament Civil Society Forum, particularly on the links between disarmament and development.

Visits like this one help to bring the unique WILPF perspective to the UN conference rooms that tend to be slightly disconnected from the out side world. Feugap was able to share WILPF Cameroon’s actual experience on the ground, which both strengthens WILPF’s international work as it ties together the different levels of engagement and, at the same time, makes multilateral fora, such as UN disarmament meetings which are more accountable and relevant.

 

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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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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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