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Week of Mobilisation Against Abuses by Transnational Companies

3 July 2015

On Monday, representatives from states across the world will gather in Geneva for the week-long first session of the intergovernmental working group (IGWG) towards a Treaty on Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with regards to human rights. This will be the start of a series of negotiations that could lead to a legally binding treaty framing the work of transnational companies and finally making them unable to violate human rights with impunity. We are going to be there to make sure this happens.

What WILPF is doing
Annette Bernhardt-Flickr for web
Photo by Annette Bernhardt/Flickr

WILPF is part of the Treaty Alliance, an alliance of a large number of organisations and networks working to end abuses committed by transnational companies, and next week we will mobilise our efforts to call on governments to support the Treaty. Getting a treaty in place is a long process, but the sooner we can get states on board, the sooner we can hold transnational corporations accountable for the crimes they commit. Land grabbing, suppression of protests, environmental degradation, collapsing factories, inhumane working conditions, and poisonous chemicals entering the food chain need to be a thing of the past, and a clear and effective justice mechanism needs to be established for the people whose rights have been violated.

We will be co-organising two side events at the United Nations on 6 and 7 July. The first one will focus on the impact of transnational corporations and other businesses on grassroots communities, and the second one will discuss the need for international regulation from the perspective of social movements. These events will give us the opportunity to highlight these issues and open a discussion between state representatives and civil society on what steps different stakeholders need to take

A key issue in WILPF’s work

The need to address the abuses committed by transnational corporations has been a growing concern within WILPF. At our Congress in April, we adopted a resolution expressing our deep concerns with corporations like Monsanto violating the human right to health and safe food through their use of dangerous chemical fertilisers and pesticides. 

We are also worried about the role that practices such as land-grabbing have in creating and maintaining conflicts. We must ask ourselves who benefits from the displacement of the original land owners, and who benefits from the militarisation of the region in question.

In the WILPF 2015 Manifesto, which was also adopted at Congress in April, we further state:

“In this global, neoliberal phase of capitalism, the power of corporations and financiers has far outstripped the ability of elected governments to moderate or control them. Slavery and forced labor are widespread and many of the victims are women and children. Identifying the capitalist system as one of the root causes of war, WILPF has always had the goal of revolutionary change by non-violent means for purposes of social and economic justice. This remains our objective.”

How you can be part of the action

Sign our petition! Many countries, in particular within the EU, have diametrically opposed being part of this process and have threatened not to attend the meetings. In light of the upcoming week, we have therefore created petitions calling on the governments of the UK, the USItalyFranceGermany and Spain to take positive action. Read our last blog on this topic to learn more.

You can also follow next week’s events on the Treaty Alliance’s website, where blog posts will be published daily in English, French and Spanish. Use the hashtag #StopCorporateAbuse to participate in the debate!

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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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