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WILPF Addresses the CD on the Occasion of the International Women Day

11 March 2014

”This is not about action plans, programmes of work, or informal working groups. Disarmament Treaties should prevent civilian casualties, prevent humanitarian catastrophes”, Mia Gandenberger, Programme Associate for Reaching Critical Will

As every year, for International Women Day, WILPF addressed the plenary meeting of the Conference of Disarmament (CD) today.

On 11 March this year, Mia Gandenberger delivered a statement drawing the attention of the conference back to the very scope of disarmament treaties and the work of the conference: to prevent civilian casualties, to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, to prevent armed violence and escalation of armed conflicts.

WILPF made it binding!

Mia Gandenberger recalled WILPF’s advocacy work of last year to ensure a legally-binding provision of preventing armed gender-based violence in the Arms Trade Treaty.

Make it Binding banner for 2013 campaign
Make it Binding banner for 2013 campaign

The final text, indeed, recognized such a provision on the same footing as other criteria for refusing arms transfer, such as violation of human rights and international law. However, this is not enough and more efforts are needed to ensure that the treaty will be efficiently implemented.


Civil society turned elsewhere

Despite the embarrassing stalemate that the CD has been facing for almost the last two decades, real progress on disarmament does happen elsewhere. In the interest of achieving real results in the disarmament agenda, civil society has already turned to other international processes. For example, the Conferences of Oslo and Nayarit and the upcoming in Vienna, have created a unique momentum on nuclear weapons that will have an impact far beyond 2015 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

Finally Mia Gandenberger included a remark on the vital role of civil society for progress on multilateral negotiations. This essential engagement of all sectors of the civil society was also recognized and underline by representatives of Austria and Australia who took the floor later on.

Read International Women’s Day Statement to the Conference on Disarmament      

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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. 

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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