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Pacifist Feminism: The Case of Colombia

6 June 2016

Colombia has been experiencing an on-going armed conflict for over 50 years between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), one of the largest guerilla armies in the entire Latin American region. Since 2012, the light of peace was first seen when the start of negotiations for the end of the armed conflict between these two actors was officially announced. Despite the many criticisms of the process, such as the place for talks outside Colombian territory (in Havana, Cuba), the incessant bilateral fire during negotiations and the non-participation of civil society at the negotiating table, the negotiations to end the conflict are about to reach the signing of a final agreement.

In the midst of this process, the role of women in civil society has been fundamental, not only in demanding the participation of women on both sides of the table but also in the inclusion of proposals from women in the same agreements. Different local, national and even international initiatives have been carried out in order to make the views and political stake of women visible vis-a-vis the ending of the conflict, and with regard to the challenges that are to be faced in the soon to come post-conflict scenario. Despite these achievements, a women’s agenda remains absent from the national political agenda, and they are faced with many challenges at the local level, especially those women who have been victims of armed conflict, who have experienced forced displacement and sexual violence.

Recently, multiple threats against women who defend human rights and promote peace have been creating an atmosphere of fear and terror. It is necessary now more than ever to come together and think about the enemies of peace and the resistance of the military patriarchy in envisioning its own end.

Our next webinar seeks to share the gains made by women in the conflict negotiating process in Colombia and, at the same time, create a space for reflection vis-a-vis the challenges that the peace process brings to Colombia and the rest of the Latin American region, and even more importantly to the work of women and WILPF in general.

Join our upcoming webinar on 10 June at 5 p.m. (CEST). The event is free but registration is required. Use this link to register:

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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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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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