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Learn and Debate Human Rights… While Watching Films!

28 February 2013

We believe that information and discussion over human rights abuses worldwide is a cornerstone to learn more and raise awareness on important issues. But developing an inquisitive mind and learning can be good fun, too. Especially if you do so while watching films!

WILPF International will be attending the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) in Geneva from tomorrow 1st March until 10th March and provide you with suggestions on films to watch and inputs for human rights discussions.

A difficult time for human rights

The past year has been especially daunting for human rights: the crisis in Syria, Mali, Palestine, the Sahel region, the difficult political transition in Tunisia and the protests in Russia are just a few critical points.

The FIFDH deals with these and more topics, ranging from the often neglected dictatorship in Uzbekistan, to the use of drones in the so-called “surgical wars” and again, urban violence in Central America and conflicts over the access to water resources.

Many of these topics are being discussed, right now, at the UN Human Rights Council here in Geneva; so, it is especially relevant, for us, to participate in both fora to identify the main point of convergence and current challenges. If you are interested, you can follow the latest news and info from the Human Rights Council by subscribing to WILPF Human Rights Council Newsletters.

2013 International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights
Human rights and art go hand in hand

This year’s edition of the FIFDH is dedicated to dissident artists, who challenge and denounce human rights violations. “Is the artistic creation a way to resist human rights violations?” was a tricky question raised during the press conference on the FIFDH we attended last week here in Geneva.

The fact that this edition is dedicated to the currently imprisoned Chinese poet and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiabo, and to the dissident contemporary art star, Ai Weiwei, demonstrates that art and culture can be a powerful tool to influence the world opinion on thorny human rights issues.

Educate yourself

But this year’s edition is also dedicated to a brave Pakistani young woman, Malala Yousafzai, brutally attacked by the Talibans because she dared to speak up for women’s right to education.

We firmly believe that education is quintessential to human rights and we would like, on the occasion of the FIFDH and Human Rights Council, to prompt a debate among our members, friends and supporters on some of the most critical human rights issues.

Follow our blog in the upcoming days, get inspired, educate yourself and participate in the debate!


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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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