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Apparently, UNSCR 1325 Is Sexy Enough but Arms Transfer Is Not!

1 November 2013

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group reviewed Nigeria last week. WILPF Nigeria, in collaboration with WILPF International Secretariat, advocated for the adoption of strong recommendations on key issues. Our focus was on sexual and gender-based violence, on Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, on arms trade and on explosive weapons.

WILPF’s advocacy to promote women’s human rights

WILPF Nigeria contributed to the UPR documentation through a joint submission and wrote, in collaboration with grassroots organisations and WILPF International Secretariat, an advocacy paper, presenting seven key recommendations.

Joy Onyesoh, President of WILPF Nigeria, came in early September to attend the UPR pre-session, organised by UPR Info to present our suggested recommendations. During her stay, we met representatives of permanent missions in Geneva in bilateral and multilateral meetings and called on them to endorse our recommendations.

Since then, WILPF International kept the advocacy work going in Geneva and so did Joy in Nigeria.

WILPF’s recommendations are now part of the UPR report

During the review, member States endorsed some of our recommendations. You can read them in the report of the UPR Working Group.

In particular, Ireland recommended that the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill be passed by the Senate (recommendation 134.21), this bill will be instrumental in ending violence against women. Italy and Estonia called on Nigeria to combat gender-based violence and to enhance the legal aid programme to increase victims’ access to justice (recommendation 134.104 and 134.56). Estonia also made a recommendation on the full implementation of Nigeria’s National Action Plan on the UNSCR 1325 (recommendation 134.56).

These recommendations are an essential tool for advocacy and we welcome the endorsement of part of our recommendations by States. Nonetheless, we regret that States did not made recommendations on the control of arms trade and explosive weapons.

WILPF’s ambitious recommendations

2013 featured important milestones for a better regulation of arms trade. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted in April 2013, following seven years of discussion and negotiations. The ATT is the first ever legally binding regime that recognizes the link between gender-based violence and the international arms trade and WILPF was instrumental in making that element be in the text.

In its 24th session, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the impact of arms transfer on human rights in armed conflict. This resolution was the first time arms trade treaty has been dealt with in the Human Rights Council; the adoption is a step further in the inclusion of arms in the human rights agenda. You can read more about this resolution in a previous blog.

All these steps went in the direction of reaching the integrated approach to human rights that WILPF advocates for, where Women, Peace and Security as well as disarmament are recognised as direct factors to the enjoyment of human rights. In line with this approach, we suggested three recommendations on arms trade and explosive weapons to push for the inclusion of arms trade in the Universal Periodic Review.

States missed the opportunity to bring arms trade in the UPR

However, despite all the recent commitments by UN member States recognizing the impact of arms trade on human rights, States did not make recommendations on arms trade or explosive weapons. We regret that States did not seize the opportunity to follow the work that they have so successfully started.

WILPF will keep on pushing for the integration of women peace and security, disarmament and human rights.

WILPF International feels empowered by Joy’s words (president of Nigeria section): “We should sing full victory because now we have weapons on the agenda, we will keep pushing. We will just keep pushing the agenda forward.” Joy is working on this regionally at the ECOWAS level as we speak, we will keep doing it at the HRC, the UPR and all other treaty bodies with our sections.

What to do now?

You can read the report of the UPR Working Group on Nigeria.

WILPF International Office and WILPF Nigeria will monitor the implementation of the recommendations in Nigeria. These recommendations will be an essential advocacy tool to defend and protect women’s human rights in Nigeria and in particular to implement the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Therefore, it is essential to always refer back to these recommendations when other human rights bodies review Nigeria.

We will keep you updated on further outcomes of this process; so stay in touch and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or even better, subscribe to our newsletter, so that you get the latest news directly in your inbox.


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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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