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WILPF Condemns the Killing of British Member of Parliament Jo Cox

17 June 2016
Jo
Photo credit: Twitter/Jo_Cox1

The news of the death of the British Member of Parliament Jo Cox, a 41 year old mother of two and a wife, has shocked the world.

In the early afternoon, when Cox was leaving her constituency office in Birstall, England, she was allegedly attacked, knifed and shot by a 52-year-old man. By 1:48pm she was declared dead at the scene.

Her death has caused shock, dismay and devastation. However, it cannot be seen as a complete and utter surprise. Reports of the events are yet to be officially confirmed and so it would be wrong to jump to full conclusions before the full police inquiry has finished.

Nonetheless, it cannot be a coincidence that the death of a female and outward-looking politician, who lent her voice loudly to calling for the acceptance of Syrian refugees, and to advocating the benefits of migration and immigration, has come at a time of increased nationalism and intolerance towards foreigners and women.

In recent times in the UK an article calling migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea “cockroaches” and “feral humans” was published in the British Press. A British politician said he wanted to stab the UK Prime Minister David Cameroon in the front so that he could see the expression on his face, over divisions on the UK Brexit vote. And overt violence and hatred towards woman has massively increased, including wide-spread threats of violence and rape on social media and attacks such as this.

Jo Cox was a woman political activist, political leader, NGO worker, human rights defender and advocator of guaranteeing the safety of the most vulnerable in our world. She was emblematic of WILPF’s message.

Her death comes in the same week that WILPF has started its advocacy at the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council. There, WILPF is bringing in a delegation of Syrian Women Civil Society Leaders to present the gendered analysis of the human rights situation in Syria as well as hosting a side event on the impact the use, acquisition and possession of firearms by civilians has on human rights.

This is also the same week in which WILPF welcomes its newest group, WILPF Chad. We are proud of WILPF’s expansion across Africa; however, as this event shows, WILPF and its message are still just as vital in developed Western countries. We cannot be complacent.

Violence and political violence towards women happens all over the world. But together we can put an end to it. Jo Cox was a wonderful, beautiful and amazing woman – let’s fight on in her name.

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Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

VICE-PRESIDENT

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

PRESIDENT

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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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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