Over the past month, we have seen an alarming escalation in targeted attacks against civilians and human rights defenders in Afghanistan; deadly physical assault and sexual violence against protesters in Colombia; and renewed conflict in Israel and Palestine that led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, primarily Palestinians, and displacement of thousands of families.
As an organization, WILPF Secretariat, National Sections and partners have engaged in advocacy at various levels to bring an end to the violence. Below are some updates about this recent work, as well as resources. In addition, this newsletter has updates on our work on National Action Plans, and on coalition efforts towards feminist implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In recent months Afghanistan has experienced an escalation in targeted violence against civilians, attacks against women’s rights advocates and other human rights defenders, journalists, and intellectuals. On 30 April, there was an attack on an all-girls school in Dasht e Barchi, and an attack at Pul-e Alam in Logar province - attacks which seek to undermine the peace process. We would like to take this moment to remember Belqis, a young WILPFer who was a powerful advocate for peace and the rights of people with disabilities. She was killed in a recent attack, and we will continue our work in her memory. WILPF Afghanistan issued a statement condemning the recent violence and remembering Belqis.
WILPF Afghanistan is calling for an end to this violence and a nationwide ceasefire, for women’s meaningful participation in the intra-Afghan talks, and for a sustainable peace in Afghanistan that centers human rights. They have been calling on the UN Security Council and other critical Member States influential in the peace process to support the concerns of women and human rights defenders in any settlement with the Taliban.
LIMPAL Colombia continues to advocate against the repressive state violence used on protestors in recent weeks, which have resulted in over one thousand documented cases of police violence, almost a thousand arbitrary arrests, and several dozen deaths. WILPF categorically rejects this violence, the use of weapons to repress peaceful demonstrations, the silencing of free expression and censorship of alternative media, sexual violence, the militarisation of the streets, and the complete lack of accountability.
For updates about their work, follow LIMPAL Colombia on social media. Watch this video with the section president, Diana Salcedo López.
WILPF and partners joined together in calling for an end to the occupation in Palestine and for accountability for violations. Last month, we issued a statement condemning attempted forced displacement in occupied East Jerusalem and violence against civilians, including in Gaza.
In response to the recent violence, WILPF held meetings and briefings with decisionmakers in both New York and Geneva, and joined a call for the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
WILPF and Palestine section members and partners have published a number of resources in recent years on the gendered impacts of the occupation. You can find some of them below.
We are proud to contribute to the 2021 Women’s Major Group position paper particularly on SDG16 on peace and justice. Read our coalition’s feminist demands for the upcoming High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and our calls for a feminist recovery.
In addition, WILPF has been working for accountability and an end to violence in Myanmar. WILPF recently joined over 200 other organizations to demand a ban on weapons sales to Myanmar to prevent further violations of human rights against peaceful protesters and others opposing military rule. Join the campaign #NotOneBulletMore.