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WILPF Looks to the Global Days of Action on Military Spending

1 April 2016

Banner---editedThe 2016 Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) will take place over a fortnight, from 5-18 April.

Marking the beginning of GDAMS, on 5 April the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) will publish the global military expenditure figures for 2015, together with its analysis of the trends. 18 April will close the GDAMS with Tax Day in the USA, a traditional moment in the calendar for civil society to challenge the uses put to public money.

From its inception over 100 years ago, one of WILPF’s goals has been to challenge militarism and to advocate for total and universal disarmament.

4 April is the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and also of his remarkable speech “Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break Silence,” delivered in 1967, exactly one year before his death. In this speech, Dr. King powerfully described the inextricable links between militarism, racism, and poverty in the struggle for peace and justice.

Excessive military expenditure, the bombing and shelling of towns and cities, the global arms trade, and the possession of nuclear weapons by nine states are, undoubtedly, some of the primary impediments to peace, security, justice, and equality.

Excessive global military spending feeds into a vicious cycle of societal instability, creating an unsuitable environment to pursue gender equality or sustainable peace. Governments that spend excessive financial, technological, and human resources on their militaries divert resources from economic, social, and environmental programmes.

Given the conflicts that are currently taking place in the world, including in Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine, governments should be investing in peace rather than wasting money on overindulgent military spending.

In 2015, WILPF asked the participants at our Peace Summit to #MoveTheMoney. Watch the video!

WILPF published this 2014 report, You Get What You Pay For, addressing this issue.

Over the coming days, WILPF’s Disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will will publish a review on the SIPRI figures, so watch this space for that.

The International Peace Bureau (IPB) will publish events that groups around the world organise to mark this fortnight of action. To participate, post your activities on the map hosted by IPB and send them photos or links to your events so they can disseminate them. WILPF will be issuing materials highlighting the intersections of militarism, capitalism, racism, and patriarchy. We will also issue a preview of a new report related to preventing gender-based violence through the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and other instruments. Stopping arms transfers and preventing armed violence and armed conflict are critical to challenging excessive military spending and militarist cultures.

Coinciding with GDAMS, the third Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) will take place from 11-15 April 2016 at the United Nations in Geneva.

LAWS, or killer robots, are a dangerous emerging technology. Acting on the basis of an ‘artificial intelligence’, these machines would be programmed to operate without meaningful human control. Such technology lacks every feature of human intelligence, moral reasoning, and ethical and legal judgment that makes humans subject and accountable to rules and norms. WILPF is a Steering Group member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. We are calling for a comprehensive, preemptive prohibition on the development, production, and use of LAWS.

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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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