The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Australia is shocked and deeply saddened by the death of our member, Jacky Sutton, in Istanbul on 17 October.

Jacky was a Research Scholar at the Centre for Islamic Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra. She had worked for many years in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as on short term assignments in West Africa and the Horn of Africa. She had returned to Iraq at short notice earlier this year to temporarily take up the position of Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting following the death of the then Director in a car bombing in Baghdad.

Jacky was dedicated to WILPF’s principles and a tireless advocate for the recognition of women’s rights in conflict zones. She was a journalist who specialised in communications and electoral support and for many years worked particularly to support women media professionals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She attended our centenary Women’s Power to Stop War Conference in Canberra in May this year and spoke at the Feminist Journal Conference on Women, Peace and Security in Brisbane immediately before she left for Iraq. She was a member of the Steering Group for the second Civil Society Dialogue on Australia’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security last year.

But her interests, and dedication, were wider than that. She wrote on domestic issues for the online journal Her Canberra and blogged for The Drum. Her loss to the community and to the academic world is immense.

For those of us who knew her personally she was greatly loved and held in the highest esteem for her ethical and enthusiastic approach to life.

WILPF Australia is devastated by Jacky’s death, concerned at its reported circumstances and seeks assurances that a fully transparent, international investigation will be carried out.

WILPF sends our deepest sympathies to Jacky’s friends and family.