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Press Release: New Report Shows How Effective Implementation of Arms Control Treaties Can Prevent Gender-Based Violence

6 June 2016

On the 6th June, the international NGO and two-time Nobel Peace Prize winner, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), launched a report showing how effective implementation of arms control treaties can prevent gender-based violence.

preventing-gbv-coverThe detailed report, authored by Rebecca Gerome, was launched inside the UN Headquarters in New York, where hundreds of diplomats and States are gathered this week to discuss how to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons.

“All conventional weapons can – and have been – used to inflict violence on people based on discriminating norms and practices relating to their specific sex or gender role in society. This gendered impact of arms transfers is often neglected when States discuss arms trade,” said Ray Acheson, Programme Director of WILPF’s Disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will, after the well attended launch.

A case study of Sweden, one of the worlds 15 largest arms exporters, was also presented during the launch. In 2015, the Swedish Government declared it was developing a feminist foreign policy and in 2016, one focus is to combat gender-based and sexual violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations and impunity for such crimes. Yet, “there are many recent cases of arms exports that undermine Sweden’s feminist foreign policy objectives and its national and international legal obligations specifically related to gender-based violence,” said Mia Gandenberger, Programme Manager of Reaching Critical Will.

WILPF has, since its inception in 1915, been challenging militarism by encouraging states to invest in peace rather than arms, and the new report provides State officials with the relevant questions, resources and tools necessary to fulfil their obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and UN Programme of Action. This report is the first of its kind, linking risk assessment and implementation to the gendered impact of the legal and illicit trade in arms. 

The report calls for an integrated approach to prevent gender-based violence with implementation of both the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons (UNPoA) forming part of the solution. 

Useful resources:

>> Read the fact sheet and the executive summary

>> Download the entire report Preventing gender-based violence through arms control: tools and guidelines to implement the Arms Trade Treaty and UN Programme of Action 

>> Get the report cover in jpg

For media enquiries, contact Nina Hansen, WILPF Communications Manager, nhansen(a) +41 22 919 70 80 or Mia Gandenberger, Programme Manager of Reaching Critical Will, mia(a)

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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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