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Let’s Unite for a Peaceful Europe in a Peaceful World

3 April 2017

Declaration of WILPF European women who met in Rome on the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome

Europe is on a crossroad in 2017 – cooperation and benefits are at stake. 60 years after the Treaty of Rome, the EU has lost credit for women believing in peace and justice, welfare and safety, participation, and inclusion.

Our feminist vision has always been and is inclusive, equal, democratic, just, sustainable and peaceful. This is a commitment to pluralism, diversity and the guarantee of rights. This is the link from WILPF’s past to the future.

Of course, we were not naive and thought that the EU would bring about big progress for women’s rights and freedoms.

We Believed and Still Believe

  • In the necessity to overcome together nationalisms and traumata from the war, to strengthen cross-border cooperation and networking, to promote mutual trust and solidarity in an open and secular society.
  • That the EU is not just a space for money and markets and that Europe is more than the EU. Europe is the home of its citizens and those who have found and find refuge and home here because they had to leave their countries and environments.
  • That it is part of our cultural heritage that people were capable to destroy walls and to ensure fundamental freedoms and democratic rules on the basis of equal participation of women and men.
  • That most Europeans have understood lessons from the colonial past to respect universal human rights and – as part of a global responsibility – to contribute to a healthy natural environment without harming the planet and without exploiting people.
  • That in the women’s analysis of the root causes of war, the economy must serve the needs of the people and not those of profit and interests of a few. In the sense of Human Security, a strong investment in conflict prevention is the only way to avoid violence and to protect women.

Challenges that Urge Women in 2017 to Stand Up for a Peaceful and Just Future

The EU is at the core of an economic model, which has widened inequalities and injustice all over the world. The gap between rich and poor is growing globally and within our societies. The dominance of corporate interests, austerity measures, unjust tax systems, lack of and dismantling of social and health services – including reproductive rights – are threatening the basis of our commons, women’s rights, participation and independent living.

The EU is turning into a space for exclusion where governments build new walls, organise “efficient” pushbacks for refugees, make deals with undemocratic leaders to create new “secure” countries of origin and continue to militarise the fortress Europe. These policies are often in contradiction to international law and human rights obligations.

The EU is full of fear pushed by “populist/nationalist” politicians and right wing media. They confront women – not only with old forms of patriarchy – but allow new forms of discrimination, “othering”, “anti-gendering”, open racism and hate. Many people are looking for authoritarian leaders who sell “easy” solutions to complex problems.

The level of consumption and production in the EU and Europe accelerates climate change and is the source of conflict, hunger, and forced migration.

The EU is faced with an on-going militarisation through the implementation of the new EU “Global Strategy”, the outsourcing of the security business and border management to NATO. The increase of military budgets in the member states, the equipment with new generations of weapons and a nuclear revival where the logic of deterrence is extremely dangerous.

WILPF Women Work for Changes

WILPF is the oldest women’s peace organisation. In the spirit of our foremothers and aware of actual dangerous developments, we are convinced that it is urgent to advocate for another Europe, peaceful and just. We met in Rome to reaffirm our role of agents of change. We affirm our courage to express complex answers to complex and globalised issues. We are working cross-border with our Sections in Europe and neighbouring regions, in multiple networks and a global responsibility. We continue to address root causes of war and violence with a gender lens and mobilise for non-violent action.

We Appeal to Our Governments and to the EU Institutions

  • Move the money from war to peace. Invest the money where it is needed for the people: in social security, education, health, and equality.
  • Stop arms trade to conflict regions and globally (CEDAW in relationship to GBV) and reduce the production of arms (SALW and of mass-destruction).
  • Participate actively in the nuclear disarmament negotiations that start now.
  • Dismantle NATO, denuclearize Europe and stop the logic of deterrence.
  • Invest in a Global Strategy, which gives priority to prevention, and avoid further militarisation of our societies.
  • Implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with specific attention to goal 17.
  • Create an asylum law respecting not only human rights and international law but giving priority to protection, specific needs and shelters for women and girls against patriarchal structures and gender-based violence in their countries, on the move and in the countries of arrival. Refugee women must be integral part of NAPs 1325.
  • Respect the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda while implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 without using it for military purposes.
  • Support women’s projects, cooperation, feminist research, and peace education as part of a culture of peace.
  • Promote new models of consumption and production, “degrowth” and commons.
  • Respect the importance of gender equality and care economy in our societies as part of an early warning mechanism for a peaceful and just society.
  • Ratify the Istanbul Convention and implement adequate protection measures against sexualised violence.
  • Contribute actively to measures to stop climate change through the full implementation of the Paris Agreements with a gender-just agenda.
  • Promote 1000 ideas and visions to support a Europe of its citizens: European days in schools, institutions, European civil services, more Erasmus and other exchange programs, cheap “Interrail,” cross border festivals, the creation of European media.

WILPF women meeting in Rome 24 – 26 March 2017,

Representatives from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Serbia, UK, Scotland and Poland.

Download the Declaration in PDF format (English)

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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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