UK WILPF marches against violence against women

Posted by on Mar 11, 2018 in Blog, News | 0 comments

Saturday 10th March, UK WILPF were among thousands of women who marched through central London demanding an end to violence against women. The Million Women Rise march is now an annual fixture the Saturday after International Women’s Day, with this year being the march’s 10th anniversary.  As we marched, we sang and chanted “What do want?… Safe streets….” and “Whatever I wear, wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no”. The atmosphere was jovial, as women joined together to celebrate our power. Onlookers clapped and took photographs. With some passing parents even taking the time to point out the march to their children – which was particularly heart-warming. UK WILPF was proud to be there, and we carried our banners chatting with other women, swapping anecdotes of our activism. What was striking was the number of younger women on the march. It was great to see so many young women arm in arm with their older sisters, standing together against violence against women. It shows the next generation is growing up feminist. You can see coverage of the march here. Here is a selection of some of the best banners we saw on the march:   UK WILPF legends Sheila Triggs and Paula Shaw with one of our banners. At the end of the march we congregated at Trafalgar Square.   Isabel Bull  (Views expressed in The Blog do not reflect those of...

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Read WILPF Colombia Press Release ‘More Life Less Arms’

Posted by on Feb 28, 2018 in Blog, News | 0 comments

Read La Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad‘s (LIMPAL), the Colombian section of WILPF, press release from earlier this week on gun crime here. This follows their 2017 report “Women for Disarmament: More life, less arms”. UK WILPF stands by LIMPAL. MORE LIFE LESS ARMS Press Release: Monday February 26th, 2018 On February 14, Nikolas Cruz (19 years old) murdered 17 people with an AR-15 rifle at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in the United States. Less than two weeks later in the region of Valle, Colombia, Christian Garcés, a Colombian congressional candidate for the Democratic Center Party for the upcoming 11 March 2018 elections, proposed arming civilian population for their own “protection” as a central part of his campaign platform.   La Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad (LIMPAL), the Colombian section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) denounces this call to arms. “We need more life and less arms,” said Katherine Ronderos, President of LIMPAL. “This is the wrong lesson from history.”   The 2017 report by LIMPAL, “Women for Disarmament: More life, less arms” shows that guns do not provide security. Instead they increase risks of gendered violence, especially violence against women. In Colombia, there are approximately 800,000 legal weapons and between 2 and 4 million illegal weapons in the country. In 2016, of the 2,626 homicides reported in the region of Valle, 80% were committed with firearms. In Colombia, during the 2014-2016 period, 16,665 crimes were committed with weapons that had legal permit. According to the Legal Medicine Institute data, the most used mechanism for homicides against women in 2016 was the firearm, with 527 cases.   LIMPAL has brought attention to how the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the civilian population increases violence. It leads to the death of girls and women, magnifies sexual and psychological violence and trafficking in persons, and augments other crimes.   LIMPAL rejects political campaigns that propose arming the civilian population.  This is not the solution to the problem of violence. The US armed culture of violence is not one for Colombia to follow. Garcés’s proposal also runs counter to the 2016 Peace Agreement with the FARC-EP, undermines the Colombian Constitution’s commitment for the State only to have a monopoly of weapons, and ignores the true situation of the proliferation of arms in the country. LIMPAL reaffirms the need for strict control over the carrying and holding of small arms and light weapons for the prevention of armed violence and the escalation of new local conflicts.   As part of the National Summit of Women and Peace and the Collective of Thinking and Action “Women,...

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Tales from Women Seeking Asylum

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

We are proud to share our new publication, Voices of Refugee Women – Tales from Women Seeking Asylum. Thanks to WILPF International’s Movement Building Grant, we were able to create this booklet as part of the legacy of our 2017 Autumn Seminar, Voices of Refugee Women. On Saturday 25th November 2017, we invited eleven women to talk about their experiences as women seeking refuge in the UK for our Autumn Seminar. We deemed it important to put refugee women and their testimonies centre-stage to hear from them for once. Our aim was to show solidarity with and support for such women in our country. UK WILPF welcomes refugees. This booklet starts with a narrative report from the day of our 2017 Seminar, and then details the stories of three refugee women living in the UK. These were contributed through interviews after our Seminar. This booklet hopes to continue raising awareness of what life is like to be a woman seeking refuge in the UK. We need to counter the ugly rhetoric which has been gaining traction across our country. And we all need to stand up for those who are vulnerable and in perilous situations.   We also believe that the UK Government has obligations to protect these women and their human rights through various national and international human rights instruments including the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). UK WILPF hopes to make continuous effort to address this issue with the Government helping them to make positive changes. We want to thank our wonderful, brave contributors to this booklet and all the strong women who came and spoke at our Seminar. Your stories are so important, and we hope that by using them to educate others, attitudes will change here.   You can download a PDF copy of the booklet here – Voices of Refugee Women booklet final draft PDF   (Views expressed in The Blog do not reflect those of...

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What is Women, Peace and Security?

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

WILPF missions are to end and prevent war (through disarmament, environment and militarism, crisis response); ensure that women are represented at all levels in the peace-building process (women, peace and security); defend the human rights of women and men (human rights); and promote social, economic and political justice.   WILPF is engaged in the Women, Peace and Security agenda as the organisation believes that the exclusion of women, women’s rights and gender remains a key impediment to the attainment of sustainable peace and human security. Therefore, in 2000 WILPF founded the PeaceWomen programme to work on ensuring that women’s rights and participation are not disregarded in international peace and security efforts. This programme monitors the implementation of UNSCR 1325 at the international, national and local levels and advocates for the full implementation of all Women, Peace and Security-related UN resolutions. But what exactly is ‘Women, Peace and Security’? Armed conflicts have a devastating impact, but women and girls tend to suffer disproportionately from its effects as conflicts all have gendered dimensions. Indeed, pre-existing gender inequalities are reinforced during times of trouble and conflicts, hindering women’s rights and access to basic services. Moreover, women are underrepresented and marginalised in peace talks. Not only are they the most important victims, we do not acknowledge their power and their role as potential agents of change in peacemaking and peace building processes. The resolution 1325 adopted by the UN Security Council in 2000 focuses on these issues of women, peace and security. This resolution made history by ensuring the protection and participation of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations and decision-making processes. It emphasised the “vital role of women in conflict resolution and mandated a review of the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace building and the gender dimension of peace processes and conflict-resolution, as well as the reconstruction and rehabilitation processes”. The history: In 1979, CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) was created and affirmed that strengthened peace and security at the international level will contribute to the achievement of full equality between men and women. Later, in the 1993 Declaration on the elimination of violence against women it was recognised that “violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace”. The Beijing Platform of Action was launched only two years later and referred to women in armed conflicts as “The equal access and full participation of women in power structures and their full involvement in all efforts for the prevention and resolution of conflicts are essential for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security”. On October 2000, the UNSC adopted...

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New Approach: Using Gender and Social Cohesion to Promote Gender Equality and Women Rights in the R.D.Congo

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Following many years of researches, awareness raising, campaigning, and advocacy for African women’s rights and therefore human rights in general for peace and human security, an innovative approach has been developed which promote Gender and Social Cohesion; in order to address inequalities and gender based violence (GBV), particularly Violence Against Women (VAW). This new approach was first developed as a training on raising awareness Violence Against Women (VAW), Human Rights and Equality for the UK based African Diaspora women (D.R.Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea,) through London based Voices of African Woman Campaign of UK WILPF . Objectives: This approach was conceived in October 2010 to respond and to contribute to the objectives of the African Women’s Decade (2010-2020) launched by the African Union in October 2010 to move from theory to practice in the implementation of the mechanisms that guarantee the rights of women in Africa, in order to accelerate the implementation and realization of the objectives set out in the various conventions, protocols, and declarations adopted by the African Union. In particular two key documents are used, namely: The African Charter on Women’s Rights (Maputo Protocol) and the African Union’s Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality. The innovation is that this approach is based on specific scientific evidence, in order to rigorously raise the awareness of women and men in the promotion of gender equality and gender equity, as well as to address all forms of gender based discrimination and violence, particularly those done to women and girls. This new approach is based on basic genetics, physiology (hormonal functioning) and biology in conjunction with legal instruments, particularly Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the various legal frameworks on human rights. This approach defines gender (sex) as characterized by physiology (which is static) and gender as constructed by societies through time or context (which is dynamics). This approach highlights the female and male reproductive organs and understanding of reproductive health and their importance as a human right necessary for social cohesion, peace, justice and sustainable development. The presentation of this approach is designed to raise the awareness of men and women to a better understanding of gender (in term of sex roles or traditions), equality, and respect for human rights and to initiate a change of behavior. The presentation / workshop can be done in 2 hour (in summary), but it is preferable to take 4 hours, depending on the audience and the context, because gender issues require a special attention and reflection to identify harmful practices as well human rights abuses that need to be eradicated. The Training is designed in two one-day sessions, for those who want more information or use this approach as...

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Diane Brace as told by her friend Martha Jean Baker

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Diane was a life-long teacher. Her career began with a class of 40 seven year olds and she claimed that ‘after that everything was easy.’ She continued teaching in a variety of situations until a week before her death. She came to WILPF in her later years through her pen friend Phyllis Yingling to whom she was introduced by a teacher when they were both teenagers and they became life-long friends. She was born into a communist Stalinist vegetarian family. As a child she helped her parents distribute leaflets against Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco. She grew into being a life-long Labour supporter and campaigner, with the exception of 2003-2007 when she cancelled her membership in protest of the Iraq war. She was the first member of her family to attend university where she studied politics with Karl Popper at the LSE. Her classmates included future cabinet ministers and global financiers and also Derrick Brace whom she married and with whom she had two children, George and Catherine. Diane took a sabbatical from teaching to once again become a student where she took an advanced degree in sociology and politics at Birkbeck College under Sir Bernard Crick. Her correspondence with Phyllis spanned 73 years and Diane wrote candid and challenging letters to Phyllis. Phyllis reported that she had to begin reading and researching widely to understand and properly reply to Diane’s letters to her. In one letter Diane wrote about her devastation over the death of her son George, recently qualified as an architect, who was run over by an articulated lorry. Diane never fully recovered from his death but supported her grandson Adam, born a few months after George’s death. Many of us know Adam as he has become a playwright. I first met Diane at a WILPF International Congress. She was there as a guest of her friend Phyllis and those of us from the UK delegation asked her, since she was from the UK, why she was not a WILPF member. She duly joined and threw herself into the activities of the Section. She became membership secretary and visited all the branches and helped set up some now ones. Membership grew under her efforts. She also set up a serious of Saturday ‘Connect’ sessions, where members new and old could come together and meet and listen to women in diverse roles within WILPF to learn about how it works and how they could become more actively involved. She also was elected Section President – a role she served in briefly. Diane was appointed by WILPF to be the convenor of the International Personnel Committee, a role that took her to the New York Office to work...

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