Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace

Press Release: Historical Day for Colombia

30 June 2017

Press release from WILPF Colombia.

(Versión en español abajo)

Press Release: Historical Day for Colombia: Transcending the Armed Conflict, Conferring Power to the People, and Abandoning Arms

The Colombian section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF Colombia) acknowledges the efforts that have been carried out toward the abandonment of arms by FARC-EP before the United Nations, in compliance with the 3rd point of the Final Accord. Today, 7.132 arms cease to circulate in the hands of the FARC.

For WILPF Colombia, as an organization that favors world disarmament and demilitarization of civilian life, this is one of the most important days in the implementation process of the Accord. For us, the latter implies not only the formal surrender of arms, but also the progressive dismantling of terror, of armed violence, and of militarized and warring conducts, which particularly affect women all over the country.

Amidst difficulties, this step is part of a long process that undoubtedly will spare many lives. This day gives us the opportunity of transcending conflict, and to start a process that implies the control and regulation of arms that produce violence on the ground, and open pathways toward democracy, where women participate as protagonists.

Ever since peace talks in Havana (Cuba) started in 2012, Colombia has observed a decrease in production and imports of both arms and ammunition, first by military industry (CESJUL, 2017) and the decrease of armed conflict-related casualties (CERAC, 2017) at the national level.

There is still a great deal of history in need of resignification, many stereotypes to deconstruct, but today more than ever we restate our unrestricted commitment with feminist peacebuilding, thus with a human security approach that reclaims the central place of the communities and their territories; with an anti-militaristic approach as a political wager to reduce and control arms impact upon bodies and people’s lives, particularly those of women and children.

We call upon today to be a day when new history is written. Therefore, we make a call upon the Colombian State to open a broad national dialogue about the spread of armed violence that has impacted civilian population, about arms controls at the national level, about budgets aimed at government armed forces, about the dismantling of paramilitarism, and other forms of violence that have a differentiated impact on women.

As pacifist, antimilitarist, feminist women we commit to enable actions that are separate from anchoring armed conflict, to disarming language to empower the ways in which we communicate. We commit to encourage our daily practices of recognizing difference, and to continue our role as witnesses in fulfilling the Final Agreement.

WILPF is all in for disarmament.


Día histórico para Colombia: trascendiendo el conflicto armado, confiriendo el poder a los pueblos y la dejación de las armas

Limpal Colombia reconoce los esfuerzos realizados para el avance del proceso de dejación de armas de las FARC-EP ante las Naciones Unidas, en cumplimiento al punto 3 del Acuerdo Final. Hoy 7.132 armas dejaran de circular en manos de las FARC.

Para Limpal, como organización que propende por el desarme mundial y la desmilitarización de la vida civil, este es uno de los días más importantes del proceso de implementación del Acuerdo que implica, para nosotras, no sólo la entrega formal del armamento, sino también el progresivo desmonte del terror, de la violencia armada y de las conductas militaristas y guerreristas que se reproducen en las vidas de las personas y que afectan de manera particular a las mujeres, no solo en los territorios afectados por este conflicto, sino en todo el país.

Este paso, en medio de las dificultades, hace parte de un largo proceso en el que sin duda se salvaran muchas vidas de hombres y mujeres. Este día nos brinda la posibilidad de trascender el conflicto, de iniciar un proceso que implique el control y la regulación de las armas que producen violencia en los territorios y de abrir paso a nuevos caminos que amplíen la democracia, en donde las mujeres tengamos un rol protagonista.

Desde el 2012 cuando se dio inicio al dialogo en la Habana (Cuba), Colombia ha constatado la disminución en la producción e importación de armas y municiones, por parte de la industria militar (CESJUL, 2017) y la disminución de las muertes que aportaba el conflicto armado (CERAC, 2017) al acumulado nacional.

Tenemos aún mucha historia por resignificar, muchos estereotipos por deconstruir, pero hoy más que nunca reafirmamos nuestro compromiso irrestricto con la construcción de paz desde una mirada feminista; desde un enfoque de seguridad humana que reivindique el lugar central de los territorios y de las comunidades; desde el antimilitarismo como apuesta política para reducir y controlar el impacto de las armas en los cuerpos y vidas de las personas, especialmente de las mujeres, las niñas y los niños.

Llamamos a hacer de este día, el inicio de una nueva historia. Para ello exhortamos al Estado Colombiano a abrir un amplio dialogo nacional sobre la extensión de la violencia armada que ha impactado a la población civil, sobre el control de las armas a nivel nacional, sobre los presupuestos destinados para las fuerzas armadas del Estado, sobre el desmonte del paramilitarismo y otras formas de violencia que impactan de manera diferencial a las mujeres.

Como mujeres, feministas, pacifistas y antimilitaristas, nos comprometemos a posibilitar acciones distintas al anclaje del conflicto armado, al desarme del lenguaje para potenciar nuestras formas de comunicarnos, a incentivar en nuestro cotidiano prácticas consientes de reconocimiento por la diferencia y a continuar nuestro papel de veedoras para el cumplimiento total de lo pactado en el Acuerdo Final.

LIMPAL se la juega por el desarme.



Works cited:

Sierra, Alexander. Centro de Estudios Socio Jurídicos Latinoamericanos (CESJUL). (2017) Foro Armas en Colombia. Más allá del proceso de Paz. 19 de mayo de 2017 [http://cesjul.com/armas/].
Centro de Recursos para el Análisis de Conflictos (CERAC). (2017). Monitor del Cese el Fuego Bilateral y de Hostilidades. Página web visitada el 14 de junio de 2017 [http://blog.cerac.org.co/monitor-del-cese-el-fuego-bilateral-y-de-hostilidades-9].

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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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