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When the Sound of Silence Breaks the Walls of Negotiation Rooms

23 February 2017

Let us tell you the story of five brave Syrian women who came to Geneva to stress the demands that many Syrian families have struggled for many years in trying to elevate: the fate of Syrian detainees. These five women are known as Families for Freedom. They are families and relatives of detainees and forcibly disappeared activists and Syrian nationals. Most of them have also been detained themselves. They have stood outside the Palais des Nations in Geneva this afternoon to make their voices heard on the margins of the Syria talks that were scheduled to start today. They did not come to Geneva for personal demands; rather, they are actively advocating on behalf of every Syrian family that has been affected by this ghastly phenomenon.

They are demanding that the Syrian regime and other warring parties release a list of all detainees along with their current locations and statuses, and to immediately stop torture and mistreatment. In the case of death of a detainee, they call for a death certificate along with a report on causes of death and burial location must be presented to the families. They are also actively calling for all international stakeholders to exert pressure on the Syrian regime to allow international humanitarian organisations to immediately deliver food and medical aid, and to grant international rights groups access to detention facilities to closely monitor living conditions in order to guarantee civil detention facilities to meet healthy living standards.

Last but not least, Families for Freedom demand abolishing exceptional courts, especially field, war and counter-terrorism courts and guarantee fair trials under a supervision from the United Nations.

Enough said. The below picture says a thousand words.

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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. 

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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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