Category Archives: Conflict resolution

▶ Security: What is it? What can we do?

▶ Security: What is it? – YouTube.

This WILPF video was posted by Jo Haytor on the IWDA website as part of an excellent article about Women,Peace and Security.

The article provides an excellent summary of what Australia as a nation and what we as individuals can do to progress action on women peace and security

What Australia can do

  • Maintain Australia’s emphasis on WPS staying at the forefront of the UNSC agenda both during Australia’s Presidency and in all relevant deliberations throughout the period of Australia’s seat on the Security Council and identify an ongoing advisory group of civil society representatives whose core business is WPS
  • Sustain funding to international development agencies whose core business is women’s safety and security linked to conflict prevention and resolution, peace building, transitional justice and women’s rights
  • Sustain the government commitment to the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative to accelerate women’s leadership in peace and security policy and planning in our region
  • Continue to collaborate in and support the implementation of Pacific Regional Action Plan through civil society networks and political, diplomatic and official channels
  • Continue to improve embedding the WPS agenda in the Australian government’s approach to human resource management for defence, AFP and deployed personnel
  • Resource evidence gathering, information exchange and dialogue with wider networks such as the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict or the WPS Academic Collective
  • Contribute to shaping how peace and security are defined and prosecuted in the Proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post- 2015 Development Agenda and through other regional or national plans and policy development for Women’s Empowerment, Gender Equality, Peace and Security in countries such as Bougainville, Burma or Fiji.

What you/we can do

  • Write to your political representative now to let them know that funding for women, peace and security must be a vital part of Australia’s foreign aid and security budgets
  • Promote and transfer knowledge to your networks about agencies like IWDA, whose work priortises safety and security for women and girls. Follow IWDA on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Track the monitoring of the UN system in relation to WPS at and share this information to increase public support and momentum
  • Donate your time, money or expertise to strengthen international dialogue between civil society organisations, government and the UN as we work towards the post 2015 Development Goals.
  • Watch the [above] … video by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF International) and share it to champion a wider definition of security:

You can read the full article here


Syria Statement from the International Crisis Group

The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation Set up in 1995, it is committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.

Today it issued a statement on the Syria situation and US deliberations.  The following is an extract

Assuming the U.S. Congress authorises them, Washington (together with some allies) soon will launch military strikes against Syrian regime targets. If so, it will have taken such action for reasons largely divorced from the interests of the Syrian people. The administration has cited the need to punish, deter and prevent use of chemical weapons – a defensible goal, though Syrians have suffered from far deadlier mass atrocities during the course of the conflict without this prompting much collective action in their defence. The administration also refers to the need, given President Obama’s asserted “redline” against use of chemical weapons, to protect Washington’s credibility – again an understandable objective though unlikely to resonate much with Syrians. Quite apart from talk of outrage, deterrence and restoring U.S. credibility, the priority must be the welfare of the Syrian people. Whether or not military strikes are ordered, this only can be achieved through imposition of a sustained ceasefire and widely accepted political transition. 

To precisely gauge in advance the impact of a U.S. military attack, regardless of its scope and of efforts to carefully calibrate it, by definition is a fool’s errand. In a conflict that has settled into a deadly if familiar pattern – and in a region close to boiling point – it inevitably will introduce a powerful element of uncertainty. Consequences almost certainly will be unpredictable.


Whether or not the U.S. chooses to launch a military offensive, its responsibility should be to try to optimise chances of a diplomatic breakthrough. This requires a two-fold effort lacking to date: developing a realistic compromise political offer as well as genuinely reaching out to both Russia and Iran in a manner capable of eliciting their interest – rather than investing in a prolonged conflict that has a seemingly bottomless capacity to escalate. 

In this spirit, the U.S. should present – and Syria’s allies should seriously and constructively consider – a proposal based on the following elements:

1.     It is imperative to end this war. The escalation, regional instability and international entanglement its persistence unavoidably stimulates serve nobody’s interest.

2.     The only exit is political. That requires far-reaching concessions and a lowering of demands from all parties. The sole viable outcome is a compromise that protects the interests of all Syrian constituencies and reflects rather than alters the regional strategic balance;

3.     The Syrian crisis presents an important opportunity to test whether the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran can work together on regional issues to restore stability;

4.     A viable political outcome in Syria cannot be one in which the current leadership remains indefinitely in power but, beyond that, the U.S. can be flexible with regards to timing and specific modalities;

5.     The U.S. is keen to avoid collapse of the Syrian state and the resulting political vacuum. The goal should thus be a transition that builds on existing institutions rather than replaces them. This is true notably with respect to the army;

6.     Priority must be given to ensuring that no component of Syrian society is targeted for retaliation, discrimination or marginalisation in the context of a negotiated settlement.


Such a proposal should then form the basis for renewed efforts by Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint United Nations/Arab League envoy, and lead to rapid convening of a Geneva II conference. 

Debate over a possible strike – its wisdom, preferred scope and legitimacy in the absence of UN Security Council approval – has obscured and distracted from what ought to be the overriding international preoccupation: how to revitalise the search for a political settlement. Discussions about its legality aside, any contemplated military action should be judged based on whether it advances that goal or further postpones it.


WILPF, as an anti-war and pro-peace organisation, cannot tolerate the military actions and show of forces by North Korea on the one side and by the US and South Korea on the other. This is why, WILPF International has picked up the recommendation by WILPF Australia to endorse the International Peace Declaration for Korea.

Now is the time to end the Korean War once and for all and open a new era of peace and cooperation.


60 years after the signing of the 1953 armistice agreement that temporarily halted the Korean war, the Korean War still continues.  Now, in 2013, the Korean Peninsula is suffering its highest levels of military tension. After the 6 party talks broke down in 2008 and amidst stalled North Korea-US direct talks, North Korea, in strong opposition to UN sanctions against its launching of a satellite, announced its “rejection of denuclearization talks,” the “nullification of the cease-fire,” and – after the US introduced a nuclear submarine to its annual military show of force – conducted its 3rd nuclear test. The US mentioned the possibility of pre-emptive attack against North Korea and flew nuclear strategic B-2, B-52, F-22 fighters that engaged in live bombing exercises. North Korea raising the possibility of a US pre-emptive attack by the US declared that in the event of a US attack, North Korea would attack the continental US. Amidst nuclear confrontation, the armistice agreement in the Korean Peninsula was annulled and all lines of communication were cut. The Korean Peninsula remains in a situation where no agreements or mechanisms remain to prevent a military collision in the Korean Peninsula.

As the preamble to the 1953 armistice states the armistice was signed in order to stop “the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides, and…insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peace settlement is achieved.” However, in June 6, 1957 in the 75th regular session of the military armistice commission, the United Nations Command formally announced its abrogation of provision 13.d, which had prevented the introduction of new weapons into the Korean Peninsula from outside, and since then the US Forces in Korea has nuclearly armed itself. The abrogation of provision 13.d along with the introduction of new weapons into the Korean Peninsula effectively undermined and went counter to the promise of the “peace settlement” contained within the armistice. Since then, the cease fire agreement has been continuously weakened. As the UN Command (led by the US) unilaterally destroyed a provision of the agreement and further weakened it, the military armistice commission that would “monitor the implementation of the cease fire agreement” and “deal with any violations of the cease fire” as well as the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission could not carry out their roles of monitoring the cease fire.

However, despite its various limitations, the cease fire still remains the only agreement able to prevent a military clash in the Korean Peninsula. Amidst constant armed clashes between North Korea on the one side and US and South Korea on the other, the annulment of the cease fire and the North-South Korea non-aggression pact means that we are stuck in a state of war without the means to eliminate the threat of full scale war. Because communication lines across the military demarcation line have been cut off, it is impossible to prevent a simple accident or an unintentional conflict during a show of force from becoming a full-scale war. Currently, a single shot in the zone around the military demarcation line can shape the whole future of people in the Korean Peninsula.

Tensions in the Korean Peninsula feed policies of military hegemony in Northeast Asia. During the past 60 years, tensions in the Korean Peninsula have been used as a justification for US policies of military hegemony and military strength build-up in Northeast Asia and the intensification of the Northeast Asian countries’ military stance. After the Cold War, even with the establishment of diplomatic relations with Northeast Asian countries China and Russia, the US and South Korea, rather than focusing on establishing diplomatic relations and normalization of relations with North Korea, have chosen to place the “nuclear issue” at the forefront using it as a pretext to increase isolation of and pressure against North Korea. However, rather than subduing North Korea, the economic sanctions and military pressure have only intensified conflict between North Korea and the US and have driven North Korea to develop its nuclear and missile capabilities. Furthermore, with the pretext of a North Korean threat, the US’s construction of a Northeast Asia missile defense system and strengthening of US troops stationed in the area has clearly exacerbated military conflict in the region.

During that time, for more than half a century, the Korean people and anti-war, pro-peace forces around the world have been calling for the de-escalation of the state of war; the establishment of a stable peace regime; the dismantlement of a new Cold War order in Northeast Asia, which has kept the Korean Peninsula divided; and the establishment of a new era based on a peace treaty. Yet, not only have peace talks not even started, but military tensions in the Korean Peninsula are intensifying every day. Military tensions need to be resolved and a full and permanent peace be established with a peace treaty.

In 1994, the US Department of Defense, after estimating that an outbreak of war would result in 1.5 million casualties within the first 24 hours in the capital city alone, and 6 million casualties within the first week, gave up its plans to bomb North Korea. Now with both sides armed with nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles, and thus not only the Korean Peninsula but also the US and Japan as possible targets, the potential casualties far exceed the imagination. Some conservative media and politicians in South Korea and the US instigate war saying that “we need to teach North Korea a lesson.” Yet, we cannot risk our future on such reckless incitement that could lead to countless casualties. The path for peace in the Korean Peninsula must involve the end to policies of military hegemony, the immediate start of negotiations for a peace treaty, and the normalization of relations.

The US government must give up its failed North Korea sanctions and its persistent policies of pressuring North Korea. The party that has refused talks so far must be the one to immediately initiate negotiations. It must also stop all of its military show of forces, the US-South Korea War Exercises, and rather than sanctions against North Korea, it must immediately start negotiations to conclude a peace treaty.

North Korea must immediately stop any military actions, and must actively respond to the negotiations related to a peace agreement.

South Korea’s role is especially important. As half of the Korean Peninsula, it must do everything within its power to prevent a collision. The Park administration must actively create a channel for dialogue by dispatching an envoy to North Korea and it must improve inter-Korean relations by enacting the South-North Joint Declarations.

At the time of the cease fire agreement talks, both sides agreed that within three months they would convene a peace summit for a peaceful resolution. Yet, 60 years later the negotiations to end the Korean War have not even begun. The Korean Peninsula remains the only divided nation in the world and the world’s region of tension.

We cannot continue with the instability of the past 60 years of the cease fire. Now is the time to end the Korean War once and for all and open a new era of peace and cooperation.

  • Peace negotiations between North Korea and the US must start at once and a Peace Agreement signed to realize full and complete peace in the Korean Peninsula.
  • All relevant countries must stop military exercises and shows of force that damage Northeast Asia’s Peace and Cooperation and must lead efforts to establish a peace and cooperation regime.
  • South and North Korea must fully implement the agreed upon and widely supported by international society South-North Korea Joint Declaration!”

WILPF – ACT Branch June FOCUS meeting:
Saturday, 1 June
Friends House, cnr Condamine and Bent Streets, Turner
10.15am for a chat and a cuppa
10.30 start to 12.30pm finish

 FOCUS theme:
Australia’s National Action Plan
on Women, Peace  and Security 2012-2015

The June FOCUS meeting will support the WILPF priority: ‘Investing in Peace’.  The meeting will address Australia’s National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 (the NAP) which is gaining momentum within the broad Australian government and non-government sectors.  Members are requested to bring a copy of the NAP to the meeting.  There will be additional copies for new members who may not yet have a copy.

Please let Jan Goldsworthy know if you would like to receive a copy of the March/April Branch newsletter which highlights the national interest in the NAP … and WILPF’s engagement at the inaugural Civil Society Dialogue at the ANU on 16 April 2013.  This will be emailed to you separately.  You can contact Jan on or  6241 4212 re any queries.


For further information , analysis and discussion including current problems with implementing National Action Plans including Australia’s see

At the recent International Studies Association’s Annual Conference in April 2013, a group of scholars and activists held a roundtable to discuss the possibility of creating a transnational people’s plan for the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security  (WPS) Resolutions.   Currently, there is much cynicism about the ways in which UNSCR 1325 is being implemented, which is in sharp contrast to the hope and enthusiasm that marked the adaption of the resolution.

 Invoking the spirit of  civil society critical engagement which pushed forward UNSCR 1325 in the first place, we reflected upon the need to organise a transnational people’s plan to make recommendations for the implementation of the WPS resolutions. In this blog we summarise the discussion and invite responses from WPS advocates.

What are the current problems with the implementation of the WPS resolutions?

A popular way to implement the WPS resolutions has been the writing of National Action Plans (NAPs) – indeed, UNSCR 1889 encourages states to develop NAPs. But, as one panellist, Betty Reardon, pointed out, NAPs are ‘like foxes constructing a chicken coop’.

 The key implementers of the WPS resolutions have been state institutions who have retained a militarized vision of gender security. NAPs address policies about the integration of women into the state security sector; or about post-conflict development and reconstruction; or turning to a narrow protection agenda which stresses prevention of violence against women in armed conflict, or focussing on foreign policy.

But limiting the possibilities of NAPs to these issues, as Kozue Akibayashi said, avoids the original intention of UNSCR 1325, which was ‘about changing or transforming the very framework or concept of our ways of thinking about what security is’. Full article: and click on ‘Blogging on women, peace and security’

Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World

We are very excited to invite you to join us online from May 28-30 for the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s fourth biennial conference, Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world. The conference – hosted in Belfast by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire – will for the first time bring together all six Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. They will be joined by over 80 influential activists, academics, and decision makers from across the globe whose work focuses on ending militarism and war with nonviolent strategies for peace.

War, militarism, and violence affect communities around the world on a horrific scale. Of those affected by conflict, women are often among the most vulnerable and marginalized. Alarmingly, militarism and war are on the rise; the last two decades have witnessed a steady rise in global military spending while funding is diverted from critical social services such as healthcare and education. In particular, sexual violence, inequality, environmental destruction, and natural resource conflicts jeopardize women’s security.

Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world will explore the root causes and effects of militarism and war, as well as the nonviolent strategies women are undertaking in bringing about change. While often the most marginalized by war and violence, women are also at the forefront of creative and innovative nonviolent action. By listening, learning, and amplifying women’s voices, we hope to bring attention to the gendered impacts of war and violence and advance global movements for peace.
Click here for more information on the international conference, “Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World”.

It is hard to imagine a nuclear weapon-free world from where we stand today. It reminds me of early 1989 in Berlin, when the editor of an english-speaking magazine that I wrote for suggested that we run a feature on “After the Wall”. No one took the idea seriously, we laughed and went on with our lives, not knowing that only months later the Wall would actually come down. We did not anticipate, nor did we believe it would happen. But that did not stop Germans wanting it or calling for it to happen. Indeed, much of the ground was prepared for it to happen.

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