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United for Change: WILPF’s Unyielding Commitment to LGBTQI+ Rights and Peace


Welcome to Pride month, a time when we celebrate and advocate for LGBTQI+ rights. This article highlights some of WILPF’s engagement in LGBTQI+ rights and underscore their significance as a feminist and peace issue.

Image credit: FEH
WILPF International Secretariat
16 June 2023

Did you know that 64 countries still have laws that criminalise homosexuality, and in some regions, LGBTQI+ individuals are outlawed and face severe punishment solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity? These statistics should alarm anyone working for gender justice. Safeguarding the rights and safety of LGBTQI+ individuals is a feminist issue, and collective action is urgent! 

For over 108 years, WILPF has been at the forefront of promoting gender equality and advocating for peaceful resolutions to conflicts. Our feminist and peace-oriented approach naturally extends to supporting LGBTQI+ rights, recognising the interconnectedness of these struggles. 

At the heart of our work is a commitment to advance the enjoyment of freedom, human rights, and justice for all without discrimination based on gender or any other grounds

From WILPF International Programme 

The challenges faced by LGBTQI+ people within patriarchal systems resonate with the gendered forms of oppression and discrimination experienced by women and girls. This is why the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer people should be integral parts of the feminist movement and recognises the unique obstacles on their path to equality. 

Addressing LGBTQI+ issues from a rights-based perspective is absolutely essential. Human rights are universal; every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to healthcare, protection from violence and discrimination, and legal recognition of their gender identity. These rights form the cornerstone of a just and inclusive society that respects and values the inherent dignity of all individuals.

Discrimination and violence against LGBTQI+ individuals not only inflicts direct harm , but also undermines the social fabric of our communities, eroding cohesion and stability. By embracing inclusivity and acceptance, we foster peaceful coexistence throughmeaningful dialogue and understanding , allowing conflicts to be resolved through empathy and mutual respect.

WILPF’s commitment to LGBTQI+ rights goes beyond rhetoric and we’re proud to continue challenging systems and structures of oppression. Our efforts encompass raising awareness about the unique impacts of arms transfers on LGBTQI+ persons, urging states continue to pressure the Taliban to respect, protect and promote human rights without discrimination, and spearheading important discussions within the Human Rights Council, shedding light on the vulnerabilities faced by LGBTQI+ individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

Feminist solidarity has a pivotal role to play in advancing LGBTQI+ rights. WILPF urges everyone to become allies by educating themselves, challenging biases, and actively advocating for LGBTQI+ rights. Through our unified voices, actions, and unwavering determination, we become a powerful force capable of transforming the world and fostering a future of equality, justice, and acceptance.

Together, we have the power to make a lasting impact and inspire a better tomorrow for all.

Additional Resources

Explore WILPF and like-minded partners’ resources on LGBTQI+ efforts! Take a look at the list below to access informative publications, reports, and articles that shed light on our commitment to advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer individuals: 

Outright International: 
The Centre for Gender in Politics:
IWRAW Asia Pacific:
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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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Thank you!

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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