Category Archives: WILPF International

WILPF News Update ACT Branch

Updates from WILPF International

Women’s Power to Stop War

Women’s Power to Stop War is a new movement created and led by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Those joining the movement, will be part of an international community of courageous activists, who believe conflicts and wars cannot be stopped without the participation of women – and that it is time that women focus on and use their power to stop war.

Its aim is not just to stop war on women, but also to stop war on all human beings, who wish to live a life of peace and freedom.

Keep checking the WILPF International website as more will be posted including blogs, videos, our Anniversary Atlas and all the details on the events of 2015.

Centenary of WILPF

In 1915, 1136 visionary women came together in The Hague, the Netherlands, to stop World War I and on April 28, they founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

In 2015, 1136 visionary women will again come together to participate in the second women’s peace and security conference of a century, uniting the global movement, ‘Women’s Power to Stop War.

The conference will take place from 27-29 April in the World Forum in The Hague. Keep an eye on this website as the Conference Programme, ticket registration pages and loads of other information will come up soon!

Join the Movement now and Sign the Pledge, Donate, and Come to The Hague in 2015

A Letter to all WILPF members from the WILPF International History group

Dear WILPF sisters in most of the corners of the world:

The WILPF Centennial 2015 is rapidly approaching and preparations are under way. All sections have been asked to work on their own history as a contribution to the large and impressive history of WILPF as a whole. The IB has established some working groups and given them specific tasks. The “History Group” is one of them. We have been given the mandate to

  • Support the Sections’ work on their story gathering
  • Coordinate and gather information from the Sections that could be used for printed

Material, exhibitions etc. at the international Triennial Congress and International

Conference (in 2015)

  • ‘Plan “Our Story” exhibition at The Hague and coordinate with the Arts and entertainment working group.

While all national sections are “branches” on the many-splendored WILPF tree we are united in the principles of our Constitution. All sections are committed to engage in common activities, but they differ in size, resources, geographic location and political environment and have to adjust their activities accordingly. Each section should write its story in the way that suits best their narrative, the highlights and – if any – the failures. If we shall be able to learn from the past, we need to look at both ends of the scale.

However, we need a common overview and a few facts for the whole organization, as a framework. For that reason we would ask all Sections to send us the following:

  • Your Section’s major historic events. This includes your founding date, at what time your Section had its largest membership, as well as any major historic highlights you want to tell us about. These stories can take any shape, form or length you would like. They can be highly personal or strictly descriptive, but please include the (most) exact date and location of the events you describe, so we can include them in our Anniversary Atlas.
  • Work you are already doing on your own history. We have heard many Sections are already engaged in discovering and celebrating their own history, but we want to know about it! Tell us if you have already done any work on your history or are planning to do so. If these include any specific events, like a lecture organised specifically on the history of your Section, please, again, include the (most) exact date and location of such events.

WILPF Questions especially for sections outside Europe

WILPF International is asking individuals, branches and sections to consider their priorities using a set of 6 Questions.  They have explained the purpose of this as follows:

Nearly 100 years ago, founders of WILPF, in 1915 drafted 20 resolutions to influence policy and decision makers.  ALL sections have an opportunity to contribute to this discussion on WILPF’s political priorities and future direction. In preparation for the 2015 WILPF Centenary, the Working Group on Political Content is given the task of identifying the political priorities for our work now and in the future.

In January 2013 the International Board meeting in Madrid commissioned Cynthia Cockburn, UK member to draft a Manifesto for 2015.  With her work, we now have a second draft based on input from, and conversations with, many WILPF members.

We need your help. The draft manifesto is a very good job combining the effort of some of our members and through interviews. However, we want to ensure input of missing perspectives, especially from the various knowledge and experience at a local level and in armed conflict areas. We want to hear from countries outside Europe and North America, if not yet included, so that these experiences can be added or made more visible.

Note I am sending out a separate email to all WILPF ACT members outlining the progress we have made to date in responding to these questions and seeking further input.

Reports of interest: Syria

 Maria Butler, PeaceWomen Programme Director reports on the Syrian Peace negotiations:

 This is a difficult time for peace advocates. How can we talk about women participating at the peace table when talk has not translated into action? How can we discuss the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda when, despite rhetoric, goodwill, ministerial support, UN mediation, advocacy, campaigns, Syrian women are not even present at the opening session of the Geneva II talks, not to mention at the infamous “table”?

Over the past few weeks, I have heard diplomats tell me, with a tone of insider arrogance, “this is not a round table; it has two sides only”. I have heard Ambassadors agree and agree and then agree again with each other that women must be part of the Geneva II process but then their States have not delivered. I have heard colleagues try to convince themselves that negotiation “observers” are actually “at the table”. Next holding a conference two weeks ahead of the Peace Talks will count as “participating”! All in all, we, as an international community of States, NGOs and UN bodies, have failed – failed to implement the WPS agenda and failed to find mechanisms to include women. Despite this collective failure, we will not resign. To the contrary, we, as WILPF for sure, will redouble our work, rethink our efforts and recommit our support to push forward women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation and rights in this peace process and others.

 Friday January 17, 2014 was indeed a historic day for Syrian women, despite now being in the shadow of the failures in Geneva. Three Syrian women civil society leaders briefed the UN Security Council in a special closed Arria Formula meeting demanding women’s meaningful inclusion in the Geneva II peace talks and ongoing transitional peace processes. “We want peace and we want to be part of it. This is the bottom-line,” said a representative of the Syrian Women’s League to the highest body on international peace and security. PeaceWomen planned and organized the women peace advocates’ trip, a side event and the historic Security Council meeting. A powerful moment came when one of Syrian women looked up at the Ambassadors of the Security Council and pleaded “Do not leave your resolutions in a drawer, they do not deserve only lip service” The three Syrian women, who risked their lives to speak truth to power, demanded passionately: 1) an independent women civil society presence at the Geneva II talks; 2) 30% women on all negotiating bodies; and 3) strong and effective gender expertise to ensure that gender is mainstreamed throughout all outcome documents and processes. Read more

Events of Interest

 21-25 April: Canberra Peace Convergence.

An extended gathering of peace activist and peace makers to reflect on the state of peace in our times, to build movement and to plan and take action for peace in this time of militarism, government lies and preparations for war.

Events will include

  • The first national meeting of IPAN on 21 April. Likely at a Canberra venue.
  • A one-day conference hosted by IPAN on 22 April covering such themes as militarism and sustainability, the cost of the US alliance, the Asian Pivot and US bases. Venue and program to be announced.
  • Movement response to the Gallipoli centenary 2015.
  • A three day, open forum retreat at Silver Wattle
  • A direct action together likely on morning of 24 April
  • Participation in the Anzac eve Peace Vigil at the Australian War Memorial 24 Apr
  • Participation in the “Lest We Forget” the Frontier Killings Anzac Day March at the Australian War Memorial.

Costs $50 or $25 concession

Register your interest in attending at ipan.australia@gmail.com

 25-27 April 2014. : WILPF Asia-Pacific regional meeting, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Theme:  Militarisation in the Pacific: women, peace and security

Draft programme

Friday 25 April

  • Welcome at 12 noon, followed by lunch
  • Informal information sharing session where people will be able to speak about the situation in their country.
  • Friday evening there will be a public screening of the documentary Noho Hewa about militarisation, historical and ongoing colonisation, and its devastating effects on Kanaka Maoli, the indigenous people of Hawaii, and their land.

Saturday 26 April

  • Mixture of workshops, plenary presentations and panel discussions.
  • Public Meeting – details to be confirmed

Sunday 27 April

  • Morning session: WILPF business, in particular, the 100th birthday in 2015 and the possibility of the Asia-Pacific WILPF sections working together as a regional grouping within International WILPF.
  • We would also like to develop a project that the Asia-Pacific WILPF sections could work on together – there are likely to be ideas for that from the sessions on Friday and Saturday.

Articles of Interest

Simon Jenkins: Germany, I apologise for this sickening avalanche of first world war worship, The Guardian, Friday 31 January 2014

The festival of self-congratulation will be the British at their worst, and there are still years to endure. A tragedy for both our nations.  Highly relevant to Australia re ANSAC Centenary.

Report by Cynthia Enloe on Geneva each day of the Syrian Women’s Peace Talks in Geneva: Prelude to the Official Syrian Peace Talks. Monday, January 20, 2014

Books of Interest

Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives Edited by Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, Christina Ewig, Amazon Books 2013

The nature of human security is changing globally: interstate conflict and even intrastate conflict may be diminishing worldwide, yet threats to individuals and communities persist. Large-scale violence by formal and informal armed forces intersects with interpersonal and domestic forms of violence in mutually reinforcing ways. Gender, Violence, and Human Security takes a critical look at notions of human security and violence through a feminist lens, drawing on both theoretical perspectives and empirical examinations through case studies from a variety of contexts around the globe.

This fascinating volume goes beyond existing feminist international relations engagements with security studies to identify not only limitations of the human security approach, but also possible synergies between feminist and human security approaches. Noted scholars Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, along with their distinguished group of contributors, analyze specific case studies from around the globe, ranging from post-conflict security in Croatia to the relationship between state policy and gender-based crime in the United States. Shifting the focus of the term “human security” from its defensive emphasis to a more proactive notion of peace, the book ultimately calls for addressing the structural issues that give rise to violence. A hard-hitting critique of the ways in which global inequalities are often overlooked by human security theorists, Gender, Violence, and Human Security presents a much-needed intervention into the study of power relations throughout the world.

Programs of Interest

Honest History on the ABC

Starting Tuesday, 4 February, 10.05 am on 666 ABC Canberra, mobile and online: Honest History fortnightly segment opening with Professor Joan Beaumont (Broken Nation) talking about the aftermath of World War I.

Honest History is a new regular segment on 666 ABC Canberra Mornings with host Genevieve Jacobs. Shibboleths will be shafted and myths will be busted during a robust and honest history discussion.

The segment is in cooperation with Honest History and the participation of various distinguished historians.

Tune in to Mornings with Genevieve Jacobs, weekdays from 9–11am on 666 ABC Canberra. Radio. Mobile. Online.

Websites of Interest

The Honest History site promotes balanced consideration of Australian history, by making contesting, evidence-based interpretations available to students, teachers, universities, journalists and the public. We challenge the misuse of history in the service of political or other agendas.

WORLD PEACE FOUNDATION: Annual toast to peace

Readers might be interested a speech that WILPF, US President Laura Roskos’ delivered at the World Peace Foundation at their annual ‘toast to peace’

In this speech Roskos notes that

“The tagline for WILPF’s centennial is Women’s Power to Stop War. It’s a proclamation. Not a question. Women have the Power to Stop War; not just the war on women but stop war on all human beings, who wish to live a life of peace and freedom”.

Read  the speech in its entirety  at http://tinyurl.com/lgla8t3

International Day of Human Rights: Launch of New Application on Women, Peace and Security

The WILPF PeaceWomen Project[1] have just announced that the launch of a new, expanded and revised Mobile Application on Women, Peace and Security will take place today December 10 2013, the International Day of Human Rights and the final day of the 16 Days of Action to end Violence Against Women Campaign.

This app is a tool for accessing information on the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. It is for policy-makers, practitioners, academics, advocates and activists. It has seven sections: About, News, Security Council Tools and Analysis, WPS Resolutions and Statements, National Implementation, Civil Society’s Key Roles and Peace Talks.

The Security Council section of the app is based on our PeaceWomen’s Women, Peace and Security Handbook 2012 (see section below) with good practice language and recommendations on incorporating gender and women’s rights into the work of the United Nations Security Council. This section is designed particularly for Security Council negotiations. In the National Implementation section, all National Action Plans are included along with recommendations on key components. The civil society section contains important notes on why civil society engagement is necessary and what key resources are available to enable strong and meaningful implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The texts of all seven Women, Peace and Security resolutions (1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106 and 2122) are included for easy reference and use.

After developing the first ever app of this kind, PeaceWomen reaffirms the importance of innovative strategies to address the challenges we face including information gaps.

Highlights of the New Women, Peace and Security App:

  • Designed to strengthen user’s access to information about Women, Peace and Security policies and support advocacy at all levels
  • Current news and latest advocacy materials
  • Full texts of 7 Women, Peace and Security Resolutions
  • Analysis and recommendations for Security Council work
  • Info & analysis of National Action Plans
  • Resources for and about civil society engagement and tools for action

This app has been designed to reach a wider audience and we encourage you to use it in your advocacy work relating to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

The App will be available for download from the links below from December 10 2013. 
iOS:https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/women-peace-security/id742054971

BLACKBERRY:http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/41823887/?lang=en

ANDROID:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lucid.wps


[1] The PeaceWomen Project promotes the role of women in preventing conflict, and the equal and full participation of women in all efforts to create and maintain international peace and security.

PeaceWomen implements its mission by focusing on six core areas of action:

  • monitoring the UN Security Council’s implementation of SCR1325;
  • providing a comprehensive online information source on women, peace and security at www.peacewomen.org;
  • monitoring the UN system’s implementation of SCR1325;
  • advocating for the rapid and full implementation of SCR 1325 and related resolutions;
  • managing the translation initiative and general outreach related to women, peace and security.

Join WILPF in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign!

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Day 1 of Rutger’s Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign!

Join us from November 25th – December 10th as WILPF promotes an end to violence against women! Each day of the working week for the next 16 days, we will post a new Facebook and Twitter status detailing how WILPF works towards a woman’s right to equality and a life free from fear!

So join us! Share and like our Facebook statuses, retweet our Tweets and get in on the action. Together, we can rise up and stop violence against women!

For more info read our article on WILPF International’s website: http://www.wilpfinternational.org/?p=8532

WILPF International statement on ENSURING SYRIAN WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN THE PEACE TALKS

On November 11, The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague committed the UK to securing the participation of Syrian women in the future of their country: in the peace talks, in the future government and in the rebuilding of Syria and called on other countries to help to make this a reality.

“Good! This is right as a matter of law, of policy, morality and common sense. Peace agreements brokered only between warring factions simply do not work. It is unconscionable that the majority of the Syrian population, in other words the men and women who continue to oppose bloodshed and sectarianism, can be excluded from discussions as to the future of their country. They are being held hostage by those who choose violent conflict to retain or gain power. By failing to recognize the voices of the non-violent movement, the international community has been colluding in silencing them.” commented Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

WILPF has consistently been advocating for non-violence and real engagement with Syrian women as part of the international community’s commitments on Women, Peace and Security and supported the mobilization of civil society. Today, there has been a serious step forward in these efforts to ensure women’s rights and participation in international peace and security.

This is a first step towards breaking that mold and the Foreign Secretary should be encouraged in his commitment. There is much to be done and we call on all governments to now really engage in a peace process for Syria that will end the horror of conflict through a political negotiation which ensures the voices of the Syrian people are heard.

WILPF IS ENDORSING THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE DECLARATION

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.

TEXT OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE DECLARATION

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!”