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One Year of War against Ukraine: When does it end?

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. Today marks a full year of catastrophic events laid bare in the country; thousands of civilians have been killed and millions of people have been forced to flee their homes. Up to this day, two important questions still remain unanswered: When will it end and will justice ever be served?

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
24 February 2023

The escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, as a result of the illegitimate and unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and its people, has resulted in multiple violent outbreaks, including gender-based abuses. Gender-based violence, such as domestic violence, conflict-related sexual violence, human trafficking, and sexual exploitation, has increased as a consequence. 

Since the conflict in Ukraine began, one year ago from now, WILPF has worked with Ukrainian women activists to call attention to the hardships they are facing. This has helped to elevate their voices, experiences, expertises, and demands for change and peaceful resolution to the conflict. Women activists play a crucial role in providing humanitarian assistance on the ground, yet their voices have been largely excluded from the formal peace processes.

In spite of being disproportionately affected by the conflict, women in Ukraine have shown outstanding leadership and courage in supporting and assisting those in need, while they continue to work tirelessly to create conditions for women’s participation in peacebuilding. 

The greatest act of resistance for the Ukrainian people is surviving the Russian government’s imperialist war, as every individual killed is a victory for the war machine. We must not forget that Russian missile attacks directed at civilians are war crimes, and they should continue to be referred to as such. The Russian government was not only waging an aggressive war, but it was also waging it in the most brutal manner possible. And these offences will not stop in Ukraine. 

During this year, we have also witnessed Ukrainians’ unwavering resistance and solidarity. Not only are they surviving the war, but they are firmly standing up to it; they are organising in their communities to help each other, providing shelter and food for internally displaced individuals; they are documenting the war crimes and the displacement they have experienced; they engage in non-violent resistance by altering street signs or encircling tanks to oppose the war machine. There have also been a number of Ukrainians who have taken up weapons, both men and women. Some chose to do so voluntarily, and some were forced to do so. 


“A year of war is one year too long.”

There can no longer be a continuation of this cataclysm. A year of war is one year too long. The moment to put a stop to it is now. WILPF is committed to amplifying voices for peace, in Ukraine and around the world, and ensuring there will be “No more wars! Not now, never again!”

For more information about WILPF’s efforts and stand on Ukraine, you can visit our Ukraine Resource Page.

You may also check out the Russia, Ukraine and Nuclear Dangers resource page on nuclear weapons and current nuclear threats and risks, which includes key messages for talking with media or friends and family; an FAQ for details; links to resources that you can share to spread the word about the dangers of nuclear weapons; and ideas for how you can get engaged in the work to abolish nuclear weapons and prevent nuclear catastrophes.

To learn more, read our articles: 
And open letters and statements: 
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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

PRESIDENT

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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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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