Latest News

Open Letter to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

12 July 2013

We would like to share the following open letter to newly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The letter, penned by WILPF Australia, Young WILPF Australia and the Women Peace and Security Academic Collective, encourages the Australian government to lead the charge in advocating for the country’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Download the letter here or read below:

Cc Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob Carr
Dear Hon. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd,

We would like to extend our belated congratulations on your successful bid to the leadership of the Australian Labour Party.

As a network of women led civil society and academics, we have a strong interest in the role of the Australian government in the domestic and international advancement of women’s rights, disarmament, human rights, and peace and security. In particular, we have engaged with interest in the Australian non-permanent seat on UN Security Council and the Australian responses to the Women Peace and Security Agenda.

We recognise the Australian government’s strong commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda and that this commitment was leveraged as part of the government’s successful bid or a non-permanent seat. We also recognise that this important opportunity to shape international responses to peace and security within the UN system has come to fruition in large due to your leadership on the ultimately successful bid.

We warmly welcomed the announcement by Senator Bob Carr on 26 June 2013 that Australia will hold a thematic focus on “the Role of Women in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding” during the presidency of the Security Council in September. This announcement has been particularly well received, as within civil society and acedemia there have been expressed concerns that certain aspects of the Women Peace and Security agenda are emphasised (such as preventing sexual violence) over others (such as women’s leadership, and participation in formal peace processes), which risks ignoring the root causes of gender inequality, and utilising the resolutions as a holistic tool for the prevention of armed conflict. As such, Australia’s announcement of a thematic focus on women’s agency in post-conflict reconstructions and peacebuilding is a much needed positive step towards a more holistic approach, and one which we strongly encourage the Australian government under your leadership to continue advancing.

The need for a repositioning of the holistic intention of the WPS agenda cannot be overstated. Analysis by WILPF’s PeaceWomen project has found that when dealing with country-situations the Security Council has been inconsistent, and to date there is no country-situation resolution that have dealt with Women Peace and Security comprehensively. Particular aspects of the agenda, namely Participation, Peace Processes, and Conflict Prevention overwhelmingly neglected. The NGO Working Group Report, has also demonstrated a similar lack of a systematic and comprehensive approach in Security Council reports, missions, briefings, and presidential statements.

We can see this lack of leadership and comprehensive implementation within the Security Council has direct impact on the ground. For instance, we know that from recent data women are still consistently excluded from peace negotiations, and there has been little change since the Resolution 1325 was adopted in 2000. UNWomen reports that, in of 31 major peace processes undertaken between 1992 and 2011, only 9% of negotiators 4% of signatories and 2.4% of chief mediators were women. We also know that approximately half of all peace agreements fail within five years of signing, and that failure to utilise the expertise or consider the differential needs of the female population are contributing factors to such failure.

We also know that in political transitions, including those of the Arab Spring, women are being marginalized from the transitional processes, despite being integrally involved in the revolutions and deeply invested in the social and political future of their nations. It is with regret we note that there has been insufficient high-level leadership on this issue, and the international mechanisms and instruments that would ensure women’s full participation are resolutely ignored. The full and effective participation of women in crisis management and post-conflict planning in contexts such as Eastern DRC, Haiti, and the escalating crisis in Syria must also be prioritized in the Security Council’s work.

The recent adoption of the first Arms Trade Treaty is a significant achievement, one which the Australian government has demonstrated strong leadership. The ATT is the first treaty to recognize the links between the international arms trade and gender-based violence, and we strongly urge the Australian government to make these linkages with Women Peace and Security agenda, namely women’s leadership and full participation in disarmament, as well as demobilization and reintegration processes.

Taking a lead on enhancing women’s participation in peacebuilding is consistent with the 2010 Secretary-General’s Report which lays out a 7 point plan to address some of these shortfalls, including engaging women in substantive roles in peace talks, and post-conflict planning processes, and promotion of women’s political participation and leadership, (including through temporary special measures). Enhancing women’s meaningful participation and peacebuilding is fundamental to the objectives of the Women Peace and Security Agenda, and to the attainment of sustainable peace.

We believe that Australia’s decision to take leadership on this issue during the September presidency of the Council is an important opportunity to highlight this, and to move forward with holistic intention. We wish to formal convey our full support for the thematic focus, and to encourage the Australian government to also use this important opportunity to take a strong lead, raise awareness of, and advocate for the effective implementation of Women Peace and Security Agenda here in Australia.

With Warm Regards,

Barbara O’Dwyer, Coordinator WILPF Australia

Laura J. Shepherd, Women Peace and Security Academic Collective

Sharna de Lacy, Young WILPF Australia



Share the post

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

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

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


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.

Skip to content