Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is a feminist peace movement founded in 1915 to stop wars and prevent future wars by dismantling the causes of war and armed conflict. We work through solidarity in global networks of women and feminist activists, with old, new and creative methods and organize for peace, equality and justice for all.
The undersigned members and Sections of WILPF Europe express our support for all people and actors struggling to bring about an end to the brutal and illegal war in Ukraine with all the harm it is causing people, society, and the environment.
We appreciate the European Parliament’s efforts, in its resolution on Russia’s escalation of its war of aggression against Ukraine, to uphold respect for international law and democratic institutions through, inter alia, the condemnation of the sham referendums held by Russia in occupied Ukrainian territories, of involuntary conscriptions and violations of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and of the recent Russian threats to use nuclear weapons as irresponsible and dangerous, and the recognition of the global consequences that any nuclear catastrophe would have for human life and the environment for decades to come.
Ending the war with minimal human suffering, deaths and harm must always be the highest priority. To this point, we express our deep concern regarding the highly militarized calls expressed in the resolution, too, among other things, increase military assistance and deliver weapons systems to Ukraine, train Ukrainian soldiers and “prepare a quick and decisive response should Russia conduct a nuclear strike on Ukraine”.
Militarization of societies, through high levels of military spending and underfunding of social goods, the glorification of conservative gender ideals of strong men as soldiers and caring women as mothers, and the idea that conflicts are best solved through violence and domination, are some of the root causes of war. The militarized focus of the calls of the European Parliament risks further increasing the very same militarism that has enabled Russia to start this illegal war in Ukraine.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Russia’s unacceptable behaviour does not mean that others have to follow suit. The European Union has the opportunity to support the people of both Ukraine and Russia in their desires for peace and freedom.
We call on the European Parliament to:
– Provide new and full support to civil society organizations and networks, especially those led by women or working for gender equality, peace, democracy and social justice in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and neighbouring countries, through increased and flexible funding, logistical support, removal of any travel restrictions and other support based on their expressed needs, to aid in their efforts to create the conditions for lasting peace and democracy in the region,
– Call on all Member States to participate in the de-escalation of nuclear threats and risks by not participating in any activities preparing for the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons, such as NATO’s Steadfast Noon or any other nuclear capabilities exercises,
– Call on all Member States to participate in the de-escalation of nuclear threats and risks by joining the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,
– Ensure safe entry into the European Union by all refugees from Ukraine and Russia, including dissidents, conscientious objectors, and political activists, and provide permanent resident permits and resources for activists to continue their anti-war efforts from safe spaces within the European Union,
– Bring together actors to prepare for inclusive peace negotiations that include civil society and gender equal representation, since this is proven to create more sustainable peace agreements, to ensure a readiness to bring an end to the war whenever an opportunity to do so appears.
WILPF was founded to bring about an end to the horrors of World War I and we have seen throughout our history how the continued militarism in our societies has led countries to the next war and the next. Training only soldiers and leaving civilians with no resources creates a country that only knows how to fight a war, not how to build peace. We have seen that investments in human security, people, and fair and equal societies are the best ways to prevent armed conflict. This is true even during an ongoing war, and we call on everyone to remember this in all their actions, for the sake of every human being.
Ariana Durani and Rosa Logar, European Regional Representatives to the WILPF
International Board, in the name of our sections in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy,
Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.