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#NuclearWeapons

To Mark the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we Support the Nuclear Ban Treaty

On 6 and 9 August 1945, the United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This killed hundreds of thousands of people, decimated the cities, and left thousands more wounded and dying of radiation sickness—which has continued on to current generations.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
6 August 2018

On 6 and 9 August 1945, the United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This killed hundreds of thousands of people, decimated the cities, and left thousands more wounded and dying of radiation sickness—which has continued on to current generations.

Motivated by the horrific human suffering caused by nuclear weapons, the world has taken action. Just over one year ago, on 7 July 2017, 122 governments voted to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons—a new legally binding instrument outlawing the worst weapon of mass destruction for all time.

As a leader in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), WILPF contributed to the development of this treaty by preparing advocacy materials for governments, promoting discussions on nuclear weapon impacts and the need for legal action, and participating in treaty negotiations. We even organised a mass public demonstration, the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb, which helped mobilise people around the world in support of the nuclear ban treaty! In March, we released a guide for WILPF Sections about the treaty.

Now, we are continuing to work for this treaty’s entry into force. So far, 13 countries have ratified the treaty. Fifty are needed for it to come into force. WILPF staff and members are part of the team of campaigners urging governments to join the treaty. We are also actively opposing nuclear weapons in the countries where they exist, working for economic divestment at municipal and national levels, blockading relevant facilities, and calling on parliamentarians to support the treaty.

The nuclear ban is the best tool we have to confront the nuclear threat. Unfortunately, while most of the world is eager to achieve a nuclear weapon free world, the nine countries that possess these weapons of terror are continuing to invest billions of dollars into their “modernisation”. About 14,000 nuclear weapons still exist, most of them in the arsenals of the United States and Russia. The arms race is back in news headlines; tensions between nuclear-armed states are on the rise. There are countless cases in which misperception, miscalculation, or mistakes almost resulted in the use of nuclear weapons. There have been accidents surrounding the handling, transfer, and deployment of nuclear weapons.

73 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States, we have prohibited nuclear weapons and we are agitating globally for a nuclear weapon free world. All governments should join the nuclear ban treaty now, to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used, tested, or threatened again. The money spent on nuclear weapons should be redirected to meeting human needs, and more peaceful, cooperative solutions to conflict and tension must be sought.

WILPF has always been at the leading edge of opposition to the bomb, and 2018 is time to double down on our work for the abolition of nuclear weapons! Some ideas are:

  • Hold a training about the nuclear ban treaty using our WILPF resource guide (available in in EnglishFrench, and Spanish)
  • Call or write to your foreign ministry or your prime minister’s/president’s office to ask your government to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
  • Call or write your Member of Parliament and ask them to sign the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge
  • Call your bank or financial investment institution and ask them to divest from nuclear weapons
  • Encourage your city councilors to divest city pension funds from nuclear weapons
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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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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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