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Women Cross DMZ Congratulate North and South Korean Peace Efforts

3 May 2018

Women Cross DMZ, a women’s peace organisation and WILPF partner programme working for peace in Korea, has released a congratulatory statement following the 2018 historic Inter-Korean Summit. The summit was held on April 27 in a joint security zone between North and South Korea, and served as a major diplomatic breakthrough between the two countries. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean Leader Moon Jae-in concluded the meeting successfully, both having signed the Panmunjom Declaration which formally announces the beginning of “a new era of peace.”The neighbouring countries had never officially signed a peace treaty following the 1950-53 Korean War. During the summit, in addition to planning to expand the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement into a full peace treaty, North Korea affirmed its commitment to denuclearisation.

Women Cross DMZ are duly proud of the summit’s outcome, and will move forward in their programmes committed to the fulfilment of this landmark document. Their full statement below outlines the specifics of the Panmunjom Declaration and the support that Women Cross DMZ has provided and will continue to provide.

© Women Cross DMZ Facebook page

Women Cross DMZ Statement of Congratulations
on Historic Inter-Korean Summit

April 28, 2018

Women Cross DMZ congratulates President Moon Jae-in, Chairman Kim Jong-un, and the people of both South Korea and North Korea on the historic Inter-Korean Summit and the Panmunjeom Declaration signed by both leaders on April 27, 2018. We celebrate the Declaration’s breakthrough announcement to the world that “there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.” We applaud the courage and wisdom of the Korean leaders in committing to establish a permanent peace regime and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, which recognizes the aspirations of movements in Korea and worldwide who have long worked for peace.

Three years ago, we joined 10,000 Korean women, North and South, as we walked on the streets of Pyongyang, Kaesong and Paju calling for an end to the Korean War with a Peace Treaty, for the reuniting of families, and for women’s leadership in the peace process. Today, the two Korean leaders have brought us closer to this vision and set forth an unprecedented peace process.

We applaud the two Koreas’ pursuit of dialogue with the United States and China to achieve the formal end of the Korean War by replacing the temporary ceasefire agreement with a Peace Treaty and thus establishing a permanent peace regime. We are inspired by the decision to transform the DMZ, so long a symbol of separation and enmity, into a Peace Park, and the West Sea, the site of violent skirmishes, into a Maritime Peace Zone.

We laud the Declaration’s commitment to “realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” and to pursuing the support and cooperation of the international community in this endeavor. We stress the global significance of this commitment, given that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would be not only crucial for peace in Korea but also pivotal to the total elimination of nuclear weapons from our world. We recognize the extensive multilateral diplomatic work ahead that will be necessary in order to achieve such denuclearization, and also the international commitments needed for ensuring peace in Korea, given North Korea pursued its nuclear weapons program as a deterrent against threats to its own security. As such, we commit as a global civil society movement to galvanize the support and cooperation of the international community towards ensuring that the need for nuclear weapons will remain only in the past.

We welcome the Declaration’s announced resumption of civil-society exchanges on June 15, the anniversary of the 2000 Joint Korean Declaration, and family reunions on August 15, the commemoration of National Liberation Day in both Koreas. As an international peace organization calling for women’s inclusion in all levels of the peace building process, we are pleased to see that each delegation included a woman leader. Yet given the overwhelming evidence of the constructive role women’s peace movements play in helping to realize peace agreements — and far more durable ones — we urge the two governments to include the significant participation of women leaders in the official peace process.

Peace processes are more than about halting a war and dividing power and resources – they establish the foundation for a postwar society. When women’s groups are involved in the official peace process, the prospects for lasting peace are far greater because women influence its implementation. Furthermore, women’s perspectives, especially on gender equality and gender-based violence, are crucial to shaping how security is defined. When women are empowered in all aspects of their lives, countries are less likely to go to war.

As a U.S.-based organization with members around the world, Women Cross DMZ is committed to mobilizing women across the United States and on every continent to support the inter-Korean peace process now underway to the final resolution of the Korean War.

One year ago, we wrote to President Trump reminding him that, “Peace is the most powerful deterrent of all” and urging him to do what no other U.S. president has done: bring a formal closure to the longest-standing U.S. conflict. One year later, President Trump said, “We hope to see the day when the whole Korean Peninsula can live together in safety, prosperity and peace. This is the destiny of the Korean people.” We look forward to President Trump’s historic meeting with Chairman Kim and their building on the momentum established by the Inter-Korean Summit by taking concrete action towards the signing of a Peace Treaty. The two leaders have the power to end decades of enmity and sow the seeds of friendship between the people of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The April 27, 2018 Inter-Korean Summit will be remembered as the beginning of a new chapter in Korean history, the de-militarization of the Korean Peninsula, and a beacon of light, hope and peace for the world.

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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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