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We the People of the World Stand with Syria’s Lifesavers

14 December 2016
Medical staff in a children’s hospital in Aleppo. Photo: IDA.

An unprecedented scenario in modern human history is currently taking place in Syria: hospitals, health facilities and medical staff are being targeted and destroyed. Continued military offensives from government forces, with the support of Russian airstrikes, are leaving the health system of some areas such as Homs, and Aleppo at its lowest level.

In the past weeks, the only lasting hospital in Eastern Aleppo City was bombed. It is not the first time that this hospital has been attacked; it has been a target on several other occasions, and the remaining heroic medical staff has been able to rebuild it time after time. However, given the scarcity of their supplies and the extremely dangerous situation of working in a hospital in Aleppo, the hospital had to be closed down.

Targeting a hospital is a war crime. To this situation, we cannot remain impassive. We must unite our voices to create impact and to push the international community to take action on this matter. But we, individually, can do much more.

People’s Convoy campaign. Photo: IDA.

On 17 December a People’s Convoy is planned to be sent to Aleppo from the UK with all the equipment and sanitarian materials that doctors and nurses need to continue saving children, women and men’s lives (a similar one is being organised from France).

The goal is to raise £91,432, which constitutes the amount of money needed to reconstruct and to equip a children’s hospital in Aleppo. The money will go to supporting the Independent Doctors Association (IDA) in charge of this project.

This initiative, under the name The Syria Campaign/Voices Project, was organised by a number of organisations and supporting partners – WILPF among them – across the globe to send the message that: WE THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD STAND WITH SYRIA’S LIFESAVERS.

We have just three days left.

Donate what you can.

Read WILPF’s statement ‘Aleppo is bidding humanity goodbye’.

Message sent on behalf of WILPF to the convoy to Syria, which will be handed to representatives of the Syrian medical and relief community:

“You will feel that you are forgotten and ignored. You are not. We have tried in so many ways to stop all of this and have failed. We will not stop trying. And we will continue. Millions around the world are with you.” – Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary General.


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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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