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Press Release: More Life Less Arms

27 February 2018


Press Release: Monday February 26th, 2018

On February 14, Nikolas Cruz (19 years old) murdered 17 people with an AR-15 rifle at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in the United States. Less than two weeks later in the region of Valle, Colombia, Christian Garcés, a Colombian congressional candidate for the Democratic Center Party for the upcoming 11 March 2018 elections, proposed arming civilian population for their own “protection” as a central part of his campaign platform.

La Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad (LIMPAL), the Colombian section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) denounces this call to arms. “We need more life and less arms,” said Katherine Ronderos, President of LIMPAL. “This is the wrong lesson from history.”

The 2017 report by LIMPAL, “Women for Disarmament: More life, less arms” shows that guns do not provide security. Instead they increase risks of gendered violence, especially violence against women. In Colombia, there are approximately 800,000 legal weapons and between 2 and 4 million illegal weapons in the country. In 2016, of the 2,626 homicides reported in the region of Valle, 80% were committed with firearms. In Colombia, during the 2014-2016 period, 16,665 crimes were committed with weapons that had legal permit. According to the Legal Medicine Institute data, the most used mechanism for homicides against women in 2016 was the firearm, with 527 cases.

LIMPAL has brought attention to how the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the civilian population increases violence. It leads to the death of girls and women, magnifies sexual and psychological violence and trafficking in persons, and augments other crimes.

LIMPAL rejects political campaigns that propose arming the civilian population. This is not the solution to the problem of violence. The US armed culture of violence is not one for Colombia to follow. Garcés’s proposal also runs counter to the 2016 Peace Agreement with the FARC-EP, undermines the Colombian Constitution’s commitment for the State only to have a monopoly of weapons, and ignores the true situation of the proliferation of arms in the country. LIMPAL reaffirms the need for strict control over the carrying and holding of small arms and light weapons for the prevention of armed violence and the escalation of new local conflicts.

As part of the National Summit of Women and Peace and the Collective of Thinking and Action “Women, Peace and Security”, LIMPAL defends the policy on human security, that do not focus on the use of weapons but on the guarantee and respect of all rights. As part of the global WILPF network, LIMPAL calls for the Colombian government to take responsibility in guaranteeing the life and security of all people living in the territory, and calls for the Colombian State to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which has been already signed before the United Nations, to regulate the commercialization of weapons, which present a risk, especially for women. #WomenForDisarmament #GunControlNow

For more information, please contact comunicaciones (a)

Download the press release as PDF: More Life Less Arms

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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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