Call for Actions in Solidarity for all WILPF Sections, Groups, and members to organise and campaign, where appropriate and relevant in their regions, against acts of violence and aggression by working to formally dismantle the industries that contribute to war and conflict, human displacement and migration, and negative environmental factors arising out of misplaced governmental priorities and contributing violations of human rights and degradation of the human condition.
RESOLUTION ON HUMAN MIGRATION as affected by environmental degradation, militarism, human rights violations, and misplaced governmental and corporate priorities, noting disproportionately gendered violence.
Across centuries, people have migrated to flee war, hunger, unrelenting poverty, and political oppression, seeking asylum or a better quality of life. Migration is not a new phenomenon. Today, we are witnesses to massive amounts of death and suffering of migrants. The Mediterranean Sea is becoming a huge cemetery; children are separated from their families when crossing the US border, and their parents are treated as criminals; countries are building detention centres; women are raped; and, over and over, refugee rights established by international law are being violated. A new kind of war is unfolding before us, whose objective is the potential denial of the humanity of others and ourselves. As our fore-mothers did in 1915, we must identify and denounce the roots of this type of war and, above all, develop and disseminate a statement proposing alternatives to the current state of affairs.
It is not easy in our global world to isolate the root causes of displacement, which have developed in a multidimensional network where many factors are intertwined. But some outstanding tendencies are in the roots:
- Increasing inequality (the feminisation of poverty, intersecting vulnerabilities, sexual and economic exploitation), and only capital-gains development agendas for profit of the elite in power;
- Military budgets (nuclear and conventional) oriented to maintain political and economic power, militarised fortress-like borders as a means to fight terrorism and criminalise migration, expenses/investments extracted from countries’ budgets, free movement for commodified products but not for labour, undermining the ability to create a state for the common good of all, forcing people to migrate, but not for human security;
- Economic activities that destroy natural ecosystems on which all life depends, including extreme extraction of minerals, water, petroleum products, and destruction of forests, all of which aggravates climate change, thus robbing populations of their traditional means of living, while forcing them from their territories;
- Promotion of a dominant patriarchy, focusing on conflicts (ideological, beliefs, interests, etc.) as a win-lose struggle leading to sexual re-victimisation and re-traumatisation of women and others who have already experienced male violence;
- Elitism and desire for exclusivity of population sectors that have a “good life”, manipulated by unscrupulous leaders seeking power over others, who foster a culture of fear and policies which deny values built with difficulty by generations: justice, freedom, equality, human rights, and respect for nature;
- A total loss of humanity of political leaders in speaking and acting on the issue of migration, “blaming the victim”, and a significant rise of racism, xenophobia, othering, the building of extreme political tendencies/parties/governments, pushing fear, and stereotyping are further polarising the political climate;
- Unstable, corrupt, or disrupted governance in some countries negatively impacts the rights and quality of life of citizens, as well as the proliferation and illegal circulation of weapons exposing people to total insecurity.
We bring this urgent initiative because the lives of many people, and also international law, are at risk. A climate of fear of the Other is being pushed by some leaders, and people are being co-opted by them. The rapidly-changing political climate in many countries is the subject of high-level discussions. Proposals and projects, which previously seemed absurd and against the law, human rights obligations, and international conventions are all being put forth, so that Europe, a continent once the bulwark of human rights and the rule of international law, is now showing its worst face, while US policy is even worse.
Migration affects women in a particular way. Committed to the maintenance of life around them, and the lives of human beings and nature, women, out of desperation, seeking a better life for their children, are forced to emigrate. A variety of fates await them, many of which are unfavourable. At the same time, women are leaders within the movements that defend land and human rights. We should invest in a culture of integrative dialogue, a climate of tolerance and welcome, and guaranteed human rights standards for the benefit of whole societies and their coherence.
Learning from affected women, and joining them, the 32nd Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, meeting 20–22 August 2018 in Accra, Ghana, proposes this resolution:
WILPF calls on governments and leaders of destination countries to:
- Guarantee safe and legal access to destination countries, supporting other countries of first arrival, and sharing the burden amongst all potential recipient nations;
- Not build “anchor” centres, or concentration camps for refugees and migrants in any nations where migrants are either in transit or arriving at any stages;
- Base all interventions in countries of origin on a gender-sensitive conflict analysis, on the multi-vulnerability of women, with special attention to real needs;
- Create perspectives for a sustainable and just future, empowering women as agents of change;
- Disarm for a culture of dialogue, instead of militarisation and securitisation;
- Abolish the policy of systematic return to first country of asylum, while recognising and taking responsibility for the established lives/rights of refugees under their jurisdictions;
- Cease the return to “countries of origin” of children of asylum seekers who have known no other country, while using petty crimes by young adults as an excuse for deportation;
- Move the money from war to peace, investing in infrastructures (schools, hospitals, roads), regenerate depleted forests, ensure provision of water in the communities, etc.
WILPF calls on nations to:
- Respect and strengthen international covenants and other documents protective of fundamental rights and prevent further dismantling of rights and freedoms, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that provides for the rights of people to cross borders;
- Invest in education, present and promote alternatives of integration, empowerment of migrants, engaging Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in those efforts;
- Promote and encourage transfers of technology that would allow millions of people to no longer move to seek quality training and would enable underdeveloped countries to have the means to produce wealth for the well-being of their populations.
WILPF calls on governments and political leaders to:
- Present legal instruments and regional integration of laws on migration;
- Ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and assure specific commitments for the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda and National Action Plans on Security Council resolution 1325 on the local, regional, and national levels;
- Combat trafficking, new forms of slavery, and discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or any other ground recognised under International Human Rights Law;
- Not imprison refugees, but respect international conventions against torture.
WILPF calls on nations to:
- Put in place regional/national/community policies to combat the proliferation and illicit circulation of the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) that fuel wars and thereby victimise vulnerable populations who are then forced to migrate.
WILPF calls on civil society, all WILPF Sections and other kindred organisations in destination and transit nations to:
- Challenge hostility and fear against refugees of the populations in potentially-recipient nations through use of positive images of migrants to dispel feelings of fear or greed and highlight the root causes of a global situation that forces people to migrate, by initiating positive campaigns involving art, literature and cultural exchanges;
- Strengthen political knowledge and electoral monitoring in the spirit of “Women Vote Peace”;
- Open new social media channels, cooperate with alternative media to promote and distribute positive stories of migration; begin positive campaigns, together with others in civil society, to support integration measures and positive media reports;
- Oppose extremist political development, exclusion and stereotyping where they occur, and encourage solidarity between women in crisis, using new ways to create positive images and new ways for interaction (not just political advocacy and mandates) that establish and maintain welcoming climates for refugees and respect human rights;
- Involve migrating and refugee women in peace talks and support the refugee communities’ taking active roles in decision-making and having the capacity to strategise safe, dignified and voluntary return to countries and areas of origin, if appropriate and safe to do so;
- Build networks with women in all destination and transit countries against poverty, new claims of “patriotism” (with strong tendencies of exclusion and growing fascism), and new walls, while fighting against economic imperialism as a root cause of the economic crisis, using feminist economy and care policies as the basis;
- Support legal advocacy to accompany refugees in actions to stop, and demand accountability for, rights violations.
WILPF calls on governments to:
- Honour systems of asylum for those seeking protection at their borders;
- Resist government practices of privatising the establishment, expansion, and administration of immigrant detention centres, end all government or privately based detention of minors and families, and investigate and monitor all activities of detention centre management and staff to include methods for reporting and recording of staff behaviours;
- “Move the Money” from war to peace, investing in public and private infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, roads, water supply and other basic essential resources.