Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace

The Delegation of Syrian Women Civil Society Leaders is Here!

14 June 2016

In connection with the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council, WILPF International is hosting a delegation of Syrian women human rights activists with a vast range of expertise in women’s rights, law and justice, civil society and peace building, and humanitarian and crisis response.

The 32nd session will adopt resolutions and host several events relevant to the context Syrian conflict. The questions addressed aims to feed into the discussion around gender based violence and gender discrimination, firearms, and the resolution on Syria. In addition it will seek to strengthen the integration of a holistic perspective to women peace and security in the context of the human rights council.

WILPF will facilitate for a number of complementary events:

Closed roundtable meeting with member states on June 14th:

On the 14th of June, the Permanent mission of Sweden to the United Nations in Geneva will host a closed roundtable for member states to address urgent human rights dimensions of the Syrian conflict and the disproportionate impact on women. It also seeks to strengthen a holistic perspective to the women, peace and security agenda in the context of the HRC and its upcoming resolutions.

Open Side-Event on June 15th:

WILPF is organising an open side-event to the Human Rights Council on the 15th of June from 5 until 6 PM in Room IX. Any person with access to the Human Rights Council can freely attend. The main objective of the side-event it to present the gendered analysis of the human rights situation in Syria, put forward the carefully developed recommendations. It will examine the roles of the different stakeholders in reinforcing protection of civilians. We hope to see you in the Council!

Public event at the Geneva Center for Security Policy on June 16th:

WILPF and the GCSP are organising a public event with the Syrian women delegation on June 16th at Maison de la Paix in Geneva from 4 until 5.30 PM. Any person in Geneva can attend, as attendance is open to the public. This discussion will address the impact of the conflict on women, the role they play on the ground today, the need for their real and effective participation in peace negotiations and decision-making, as well as how the general public in Europe and beyond can provide direct support. Please register here!

Commitment of WILPF to the Syrian cause

Hosting this delegation constitutes one part of a long-term commitment by WILPF to the Syrian cause and to the work of our Syrian partners. What WILPF is seeking to achieve through these numerous advocacy activities with the delegation is to form a constructive discussion with high-level officials, INGOs and other actors and to lobby states for more gendered and civilian-centered policies and strategies in both humanitarian and political aspects. Bearing in mind that not everyone in Geneva can access the Human Rights Council or is involved in the political and human rights realms in Geneva, WILPF believes it is crucial to inform the public about the diverse experiences of Syrian women and their demands and recommendations, as well as to advocate publicly for the recent report on the disproportionate impact of the conflict on women and girls in Syria. It is equally important to note that this report is prepared to feed into the universal periodic review of the Syrian state, and therefore does not cover violations against women committed by other warring parties to the conflict in Syria. 


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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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