- Speakers representing all five organisations, including:
- Special guest speakers included
UK WILPF is concerned with the equal participation of African women in peace and security processes as well as issues of human rights on the continent.
Our Voices of African Women campaign group is extremely troubled by the worsening situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. In particular we are concerned with NATO’s excessive military aggression and the UK government’s actions, which are fuelling a civil war in the North African country.
We deplore the UK government’s use of excessive military aggression namely through the government’s announcement that it will imminently make four Apache helicopters available to the NATO mission in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Further, the sending of military advisors to Libyan rebel forces – The Transitional National Council (TNC) – is fuelling a civil war. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/ApachesGetReadyToHelpProtectLibyanCivilians.htm.
NATO’s escalating air strikes in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including the targeting of Muammar Gaddafi’s compounds and the death of his son, further demonstrate NATO’s agenda of ‘regime change’.
We would like to remind the UK Government and NATO that United Nation’s Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 do not authorise regime change, the removal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from power or the injuring or killing of Colonel Gaddafi. UNSCR 1973 in particular refers to the implementation of the protection of civilians, no fly zone, arms embargo, ban of flights and the freezing of assets. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/268/39/PDF/N1126839.pdf.
We would also like to remind the UK Government and other members of NATO of their commitment to international law, the Security Council, state sovereignty, diplomacy and peace. Agreed UN Security Council Resolutions with different objectives cannot be manipulated to effect regime change.
The Voices of African Women campaign group particularly urges the UK Government and NATO to recognise African regional bodies and their diplomatic efforts in securing a ceasefire. An Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on the State of Peace and Security in Africa was convened on 25 May 2011 and the African Union High-Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya convened on 26 May 2011. They issued a five point roadmap to peace in Libya which is available at
A reinvestment in diplomatic efforts between the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the TNC, the African Union and NATO could secure a ceasefire of hostilities. We urge all parties to abide by the mandate provided by UNSC resolutions 1970 and 1973. The protection of civilians is of paramount importance and the killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is unacceptable especially if NATO and the TNC do not recognise diplomatic efforts that have been made by the African Union and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for a ceasefire.
On Wednesday 4 May 2011, there was a meeting at Portcullis House, Westminster, at which presentations were made by women from WILPF, COMMON CAUSE UK, Rape Crisis and Million Women Rise (MWR) who took part in a MWR delegation to join the Third International World March of Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2010. The meeting was chaired by Jeremy Corbyn MP, a Friend of WILPF. He promised to place the recommendations before the House of Commons in the coming week.
The report of the UK Million Women Rise delegation make series of recommendations calling on the UK Government to demonstrate a political will to end the conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa, the consequences of which include violence against civilians, particularly sexual violence against women. See MWR Delegation to the Democratic Republic of Congo for the full recommendations and report.
Additional recommendations were agreed at the meeting. These are to call on the UK Government:
Please contact your MP to ask them to support the original recommendations and these two additional ones and to work towards ending violence against women in DR Congo.
It is only by ending war, restoring the rule of law through distributive justice, supporting social transformation and human development that violence against women will be effectively addressed in the DR Congo.