Joint statement by WILPF and the Network of Eritrean Women

Posted by on Jul 10, 2016 in Crisis Response, Disarmament, Gender, Peace and Security, Human Rights, Voices of African Women | 0 comments

In March 2016, the UK’s Network of Eritrean Women released a statement in partnership with WILPF International, at the Human Rights Council meeting, asking the international community to take concrete actions to improve the human rights of women in Eritrea. The full statement is available online here and available for download via PDF...

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What is preventing effective intervention in Syria?

Posted by on Dec 13, 2015 in Crisis Response, Disarmament | 0 comments

Helen Kay (HK): One of the questions that members of UKWILPF are interested in is ‘what is preventing effective intervention in Syria, particularly by the UN?’ Madeleine Rees (MR): The UN is just a creature of its member states, and when member states refuse to agree on things, it becomes dysfunctional. We see that absolutely with the dancing that goes on in the Security Council around Syria, particularly, where everybody has their own dog in the fight and their own particular way of doing things and reasons for doing things. It was absolutely emblematic when the picture of the discussions of what went on in Vienna – there were all these men and one woman and no Syrians. So there you have it – a geo-political struggle, nothing to do with Syria and highly gendered: it is all these boys. And you know, that’s the truth of it. There has been no political will to stop Syria because there has been too many different areas of interest being played out. It looked as if there was going to be a convergence of interest, once the Russians joined in because Putin needs a way out because he can’t get bogged down there. We had a moment of hope. Last week when I was speaking with the German Foreign Ministry, they told me that the French resolution to the Security Council had within it a prohibition on the use of barrel bombs. We heard that with deep joy. It looked as if finally an end to the biggest causation of people fleeing in Syria. So, if you did that, it would send a very strong message: yes, we are serious about Assad and we are serious about the war crimes being committed and this is part of the process, we are not just going to hit on ISIS. We thought then that it was the beginning of a better understanding, and it still should be. But then when the resolution finally came out, it had nothing of that in it. And Reaching Critical Will and Rae [Acheson, Director, Reaching Critical Will] in particular, had been stressing that we should improve the language of the Vienna Declaration which was going to be a ceasefire and a prohibition on the use of indiscriminate weapons. What she was saying, and it is absolutely right, we must be calling for the prohibition of ‘explosive weapons in populated areas’. Do not bomb populated areas because you are then killing civilians and automatically committing a war crime. But that has not played out, probably due to Iranian and Russian opposition to such phraseology but it is OK if we can get a ceasefire. If we get a...

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UK WILPF says “Refugees welcome”

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Crisis Response, Gender, Peace and Security, Human Rights | 0 comments

Joining in the day of actions held around the country on Saturday 12 September, UK WILPF held a short vigil welcoming refugees to the UK and reminding the UK government that “people need peace, not war.” UK WILPF wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron, asking the government to “recognise UK partial responsibility for creating the situation by our military intervention in countries where, without sufficient understanding of the problems and without a commitment to dialogue, the intervention has led to destabilisation of governments and lack of governance.” In addition, UK WILPF joins Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) in calling on the UK government to support Syrian refugees and, specifically, better protect, assist and empower Syrian women in building peace. Two of the nine ideas from GAPS on how to do this are: Provide immediate funding at the onset of an emergency for the deployment of gender-based violence/violence against women advisors and gender/GENCAP advisors to support response efforts through the cluster system. At the regional level, call for the appointment of an EU-level regional champion on Women, Peace and Security. You can read the GAPS letter in full here and the WILPF letter...

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UK WILPF urges government to act for Middle East peace: arms sale embargo, diplomatic efforts and no military action

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Crisis Response, Disarmament, Gender, Peace and Security, Human Rights, News | 0 comments

Concerned about dangerous and volatile situations, particularly in Syria, Iraq and Libyia, and the plight of civilians, especially women and children, UK WILPF asks how HM Government can help to bring peace to the Middle East and North Africa. It is not surprising that survivors of those situations put themselves into the hands of traffickers to try to save their families. Some end up seeking asylum in Europe; others die on the way. British Governments have been too ready to take military action in this region in the recent past, leaving chaos, violence and displaced people in their wake.  Yet there are still calls for more bombing and even further military intervention.  Please assure us that: There will be no further bombing raids by British personnel and Parliament will not be invited to vote to extend military action in the Middle East region There will be an embargo on British arms sales to any country in the region – including Israel Your Government will work to persuade all Security Council members, (including Russia) to stop selling arms and equipment to all sides in the region You will make personal diplomatic efforts to work with others  and through the United Nations to bring the factions in the region to a conference table in an effort to broker a negotiated settlement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 ‘Women Peace and Security’ will be at the heart of any agreement We must not let the situation in the Middle East escalate further while our attention is distracted elsewhere. WILPF International was a signatory to the letter published in The Guardian: The world must act to stop Syria’s suffering Letter to the Prime Minister, September...

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