Growing the Movement for Feminist Peace

For over 70 years, Palestinians living under Israeli occupation have been subject to human rights violations that have disproportionately affected women and girls. Palestinian women regularly face violence, threats, intimidation, restrictions on movement, and discrimination as a result of Israeli polices that violate international humanitarian and human rights law.

Our joint work with partners in Palestine aims to address the causes and consequences of gender-based violence within the Palestinian community as well as the gender-specific effects of increasing militarisation associated with the Israeli occupation. We seek to promote Palestinian women’s participation in the decision-making process and advance a gender-sensitive peace and security agenda.

WILPF also has a Section in Palestine, which was founded in 1988 and is today represented by female activists from various cities, small towns, villages, and refugee camps.

Randa Siniora: “Palestinian women who have grown up under the occupation have been on the frontlines defending our lands, our homes, and our families.”

“Palestinian women who have grown up under the occupation have been on the frontlines defending our lands, our homes, and our families.”

 Randa Siniora,
General Director of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)

WILPF Partners

WILPF works closely with our partners in Palestine: Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC).

WILPF and WCLAC’s ongoing work includes investing in women activists from marginalised areas to help them advocate for women, peace, and security through extensive capacity training, documenting Israeli violations to be submitted to different UN mechanisms, and advocating for the rights of Palestinian women at the EU and the UN.

In 2021, WILPF also worked closely with the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), providing them with support in international advocacy activities aimed at advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Palestine.

Gendered Impacts of Occupation Violence and The Challenges to WPS Agenda

Twenty-one years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325, Palestinian women remain the most affected by the conflict, and are still largely excluded from any efforts or processes to end the occupation. Moreover, gender-sensitive perspectives remain overlooked in the efforts to end one of the world’s longest-running and most contentious conflicts.

WILPF and GUPW held two joint webinars in February and October 2021, seeking to shed light on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda under the occupation. The panels sought to inform the Human Rights Council’s 46th session on the gendered impacts of the Israeli occupation in Palestine, and addressed the challenges to implementing UNSC Resolution 1325 on WPS in Palestine.

Learn more about the situation of women in Palestine and the challenges to the WPS Agenda in this interview with feminist activist Sawsan Al Shunnar: WPS 21 Years On: What Are Palestinian Women’s Challenges And Aspirations?

In an earlier joint submission to assist the process of the Universal Periodic Review on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2017, WCLAC, Community Action Center (CAC) – Al-Quds University, and the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), along with WILPF, addressed human rights violations inflicted on Palestinian women by the State of Israel and recommended immediate measures that must be taken by all UN member states and by Israel. Read the submission: Palestinian Women Under Prolonged Israeli Occupation: The Gendered Impact of Occupation Violence

WILPF Stands in Solidarity with Palestine

WILPF Stands with Palestine

Following the escalating agressions in the occupied Palestinian Territories in May 2021, and the attempts to forcibly displace Palestinian families from their homes in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, WILPF International Secretariat and MENA Sections released a Statement on the Ongoing and Escalating Violence in Palestine on 14 May. The statement addresses the Israeli authorities, the international community, international organisations, activists and activist organisations.

On 27 May, a joint statement by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) was submitted to the Human Rights Council Special Session on the Grave Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The statement urged the council to ensure that gendered impacts are investigated and addressed, to recommend an arms embargo, and to call on parties to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
WILPF also launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #WILPFStandsWithPalestine, to raise awareness about the situation and denounce apartheid, ethnic cleansing and settler colonialism in Palestine.

Call for Action to Stop the Israeli Annexation Plan of the West Bank

Photo of six Arab women demonstrating, one holding a megaphone, and one holding a sign saying "Raise you voices against oppression", one raising her fist up

The decision of the Israeli government to annex large parts of the occupied Palestinian territory in 2020 is a significant violation of international law and must be unequivocally opposed and stopped by the international community and by individuals and groups around the world.

People around the world must use their voices, their vote, and their spaces to ensure that their governments go beyond condemnation and non-recognition of annexation into taking concrete actions.

Here is what you can do.

On-the-Ground Support for Gender Based Violence Survivors

WCLAC emergency response numbers - West Bank and Gaza: 1800807060/Jerusalem: 026281497

Living under a military occupation contributes to high rates of physical, sexual, and psychological violence against women in Palestine, which further increased during COVID-19.

As a leading resource for women experiencing violence, WILPF’s partner WCLAC developed an emergency response plan to meet the increasing needs of women victims of gender-based violence, including providing 24/7 free legal and social aid services to victims of violence through helplines and online resources. Read more about WCLAC’s around the clock support to GBV survivors.

Political Is Personal Podcast: Women of Palestine: Life under Occupation and Decades of Feminist Movement

In yet another escalation of unabating colonial violence that has persisted for seventy-three years, the occupied Palestinian territories witnessed last May bloody events and new violations drawing the world’s attention, albeit momentarily, to the Palestinian cause.

The hashtag #SaveSheikhJarrah became a trend on social media, and the Palestinian cause once again occupied societal and political debate regionally and internationally. But as is the case with every trend, it was not long until the event was forgotten and the interest in the longstanding Palestinian struggle against colonialism lost momentum.

 

This episode of ‘Political Is Personal’ seeks to underline the continuous violations carried out by the colonial powers for decades, violating the human rights of the Palestinian people in general, and Palestinian women in particular.

Listen to our podcast. And help us promote it by sharing our social media posts with the hashtags #political_is_personal  #السياسي_شخصي #WILPF_Podcast

Latest Updates

Latest Publications

Palestinian Women Under Prolonged Israeli Occupation

Advocacy Documents

 

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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