Convocations in English 2017

CONVOCATION 26 november 2017: No to Weapons Fairs

Desarma Madrid
No to Weapons Fairs

This past 14 March, 19 activists organized a nonviolent action at the doors of IFEMA (International Foreign Exchange Master Agreement) in Madrid to protest against the weapons fair of HOMSEC 2017 (International Trade Fair for Security Technology), an event that gathered arms merchants and agents, public and private, who benefit from the business of war; private military security enterprises and video surveillance enterprises like Navantia or ISDEF (International Defense and Homeland Security), among others.

In its communication with IFEMA, the platform of Desarma Madrid (Disarm Madrid) demanded the cancellation of the event and called for the use of the public spaces to promote a culture of peace and not as showcases for war and violence.
During the action, several banners were unfurled at the door displaying the motto “Disarm Madrid” while six persons – the number of this edition of the fair – sprayed themselves with red paint to represent the blood shed by victims of wars. Another more numerous group carried posters with the names of some of the countries where those weapons are being used – Syria, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, and Iraq, among others. The police intervened and arrested 19 people.

Months later, the Government Delegation issued fines totaling 11,419 €. It is ironic that the Organic Law for the Protection of Citizen Security (popularly known as the “gag law”) is used to criminalize those who in a nonviolent manner denounce the barbarity of war, and that the Spanish legislation that establishes that authorization for exporting arms should be denied if they can be used to disturb the peace, stability or security in any global or regional area (Ley 53/2007) is forgotten.

We refuse to accept that public spaces be used to accommodate events that foment the culture of war.

We reject repressive models of security centered on military threats to the territorial and political integrity of the States.

We believe in a model of human security that defends the right to a life free of violence, poverty and fear.

We want an integral model of human security that includes other security aspects such as economic, food and environmental.

If to denounce that the government of Spain does not respect its obligations with regard to human rights, is to disobey…

to denounce that the warlords enrich themselves at the cost of the suffering of millions of people throughout the world, is to disobey the law…


We will continue to disobey!
No to the Gag Law!

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain

Published news about the 14 March action (in Spanish):
El Salto” repport
La Marea” report
Video of the action

CONVOCATION 29 October 2017: About situation in Catalonia

As a woman, my country is the whole world

Women in Black of Madrid are very worried and disturbed by the current situation in Cataluña and in the rest of Spain.

We are also perplexed that all the other problems that plague our societies have disappeared from the media and the concerns of the governments as if they no longer existed.

Both governments say they speak in the name of the people when in reality they speak in the interests of their own party. And between the two of them, they have succeeded in causing us to consider ourselves enemies of one another.

Intimidation, fear and violence, the same tactics they use to confront the conflict through force, is pure militarization of conscience.

As Women in Black we do not want them to divide us, to separate us as if we were enemies, and to make use of force: Not in our name nor with our money!

As Women in Black we want:

To resolve conflicts in another way: to listen to each other, taking care with the manner in which things are said and done, avoid adding more fuel to the fire.

Extend bridges between people and communities, put oneself in the shoes of the other person, know their priorities and try to understand them, meet as women without borders.

Work collaboratively to achieve social progress and progress for women.

Ask the governments to really work for the people rather than divide us more than they have already done.

We call out against the launch of exceptional measures and impositions by both of the parties, and appeal for dialog and democratic, participatory negotiation.

Women in Black, based on our feminist, anti-militarist and nonviolence platform, express our conviction that alternatives must be sought to learn how to preclude conflicts resulting in more violence, rather seeking greater equity and justice for the civil society.

It is not enough to be against violence and war. One must analyze the causes that produce wars in order to avoid them.

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain



Women in Black are very concerned to see how the war in Syria has become entrenched. Following the repression of the dictator Al Assad against the civil population, which rose up non-violently against the corruption of his government in the spring of 2011, there occurred an increase in violence, encouraged by the intervention of external actors who, instead of seeking a peaceful solution, provoked a civil war that included many participants and with international dimensions.

In previous communiqués, we have reported that the supposed guardians of democracy might arise as saviors of this country supporting the insurgents militarily, when in reality they only aspired to defend their interests in the area. We also denounced the macabre business of arms sales by various countries, Spain among them, with the approval of their respective governments, despite knowing that these weapons are used against the civil population.

With the pretext of the struggle against terrorism, the international community continues to permit the destruction of Syria and further entrenchment of the conflict. Recently, an additional country, Israel, joined in the destruction of Syria giving as their reason to attack the Hezbollah militia present on the border.

The European Union disregards those who oppose this war, the thousands of refugees, mostly defectors who leave with their families in order to save their lives and flee from the armed conflict. The supply of arms to the various warring actors continues but the quota for admission of refugees in the various countries is restricted. And they neither do anything to protect the civil population trapped between the military forces confronting one another.

The people suffer the consequences of a conflict that has little to do with them. On the contrary, the war serves the interests of the contending countries and the great world powers which care nothing about the destruction of a country as long as they obtain certain advantages derived from their presence in an area that is so strategic geopolitically.

Women in Black request:

A negotiated solution in Syria now and one which will include all the civilian voices involved.

That access to arms be denounced and impeded to adversaries.

That the countries that permit the sale of arms, Spain included, be denounced.

That the civil population be protected from military aggression, hunger, poverty and forced emigration, etc.

That there be no impunity, rather that those responsible be held accountable in courts of justice for their crimes against the people.

That the national heritage be protected and rebuilt.

That the government of Spain fulfill its commitments to welcome Syrian refugees, a commitment with which it has systematically failed to comply.

Let us remove war from history and from our lives

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain

CONVOCATION 25 June 2017: We want to welcom NOW!

We want to welcom NOW!

Women in Black join the campaign Queremos Acoger Ya!” [We Want to Welcome Now]. World Refugee Day is commemorated on 20 June. June 15 is the day against the Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIEs) [Centers for Detention of Foreigners].

Sixty-five million people flee from their countries because of armed conflict, violence, persecution and violation of rights. No funds are set aside to help these people. We spend it to impede their entry, tightening laws of asylum, buying off third counties with illegal agreements to detain those who seek refuge, countries that are unsafe in terms of human rights. Last year spent 15.000 million Euros on border barriers.

In 2015 Europe reached an agreement to redistribute, within two years, 120,000 refugees from Italy, Greece, Turkey or Lebanon. The government of committed to take in 17,337 refugees. The period to comply with this obligations ends in September and as of now we have welcomed only some 1,300 persons.

In addition to this, 1,260,000 displaced persons, who were not fleeing only from wars, sought refuge in in 2016. Of these, 15,700 asked for protection in. In that year, almost 7,000 people died in the , many of whom were minors. Instead of offering them protection in our country, 25 persons are repatriated every day. Last year more than 10 million Euros were spent to maintain the CIEs despite their demonstrated inefficacy.

Women in Black against War join hundreds of organizations and collectives to demand that the government of welcome and provide protection to the refugees. If the government does not fulfill its commitments, the citizens have the moral obligation to act.

We want a that receives refugees with full guarantees and respect for their dignity and for their human rights. We ask that their legal and welfare needs be covered.

We want to see established legal and safe avenues, as well as opening of humanitarian corridors, to help refugees seek asylum before leaving their country of origin in the embassies and consulates of the country where they wish to go, through a humanitarian passport or resettlement and regrouping of families. We ask that people not be sent to countries that are unsafe and that agreements with these countries concerning border control and return be suspended.

We ask for urgent measures to welcome people who are especially vulnerable such as children, adolescents, women and LGBT persons. We demand actions to impede dangerous crossings or routes on which women and young girls suffer assaults, violations, humiliation, kidnapping and prostitution.

We want special protection for defenders of human rights, as well as for persons who reject the use of weapons, conscientious objectors and deserters.

We want an end to the commerce in armaments, so that weapons do not turn up in countries experiencing armed conflict or those in which there is clear violation of the people’s human rights.

We want the government of to comply with international law and acquired obligations.


You can follow the situation of refugees in Spain at

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain

Pictures here

CONVOCATION 28 May 2017: 24 May, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament

24 May, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament

International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament was established on 24 May 1982 by a group of pacifist, feminist and antimilitarist European women, who came together to protest the buildup of arms and nuclear weapons. Among others, the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (England), was active from 1981 to 2000.

Women in Black consider war as the greatest perpetrator of all violence against women, society and the ecosystem. We feel that force and war constitute the language of power of any sort geared to continue that status and use it against women in a generalized way. It is the power that we have given them when we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated and deceived into thinking that war was a minor evil, that it was necessary. This deceit has taken root in government men throughout history, but women also have our quota of responsibility upon supporting that posture.

They have made us internalize that we are born violent and that violent responses, as in war, are innate. We maintain that violence is a cultural response, which is learned and therefore can be changed. This modification will begin when we opt for education focused on understanding that we are part of the whole and that all people together are essential to work and live in dignity, an objective which is desirable, possible and imperative. It would be a personal and social nonviolent transformation that would remove control from the powerful and benefit all people.

Throughout history there have been women who said NO and have opposed wars, who have disobeyed. They have seen that wars were waged mainly against them and what they most loved, their children, their family, their life. Women always lost whether they were on the side of the victors or the losers and always bore the most difficult role to reconstruct the new social fabric, increasingly arduous after every succeeding war. They are women who have defended the idea that children are taught from birth for one role or another and that warlike toys prepare children to exercise force and to think that war is the norm.

These are the women that we recognize and want to rescue from ostracism and do them justice, so that they will serve as a model to overcome the militaristic power culture in which we are educated and so that we don’t always have to start back at zero. We want to go on the record that there is another way to achieve justice, equity and solidarity. That is why we claim that there should be a chair at peace negotiations for women who bring their wealth of knowledge, so that Peace might be real, rather than just another distribution of power.

Today we give homage to all our sisters of the Network of Women in Black; all those who struggle against war, for human rights and the implementation of women’s rights in all the planet. We remember especially:

The women in Scotland in an encampment against war and nuclear weapons (Trident submarines) at the Coulport military base 8-16 July.

Our sisters of the Network of Women in Black, the Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres in Colombia, and all the Colombian women committed to the peace process and banishing the culture of war that has been imposed on them in recent years.

Military expenditures in the national budget for 2017 will increase 32%:
Object to military expenditures in your tax return as a means of service for Peace!

“Not one euro, nor one woman, nor one man, nor one thought for war”

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain

Pictures here

CONVOCATION 26 March 2017: Security and safety of women


It is socially accepted that human security, and especially the security of women, is a matter for the Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad del Estado (State Security Force) and the military. We believe, however, that human security goes beyond military or police intervention. When speaking of security, one must also speak of food security, environmental, community, economic, etc. In both the spheres of family and of work, the life of women is conditioned by the violence exercised on them. A woman is killed or mistreated for not meeting the desired expectations. While governments consider that this violence is a private matter, it will always be present in our societies. Security is absence of violence against women and equality of access to political, social and economic power. The struggle against violence toward women must be incorporated into the security strategies for each country, locality, community and in all social groups.

Military expenditures do not give security to women, are an economic waste and militarize society. Such expenditures are useless and we believe that this money should be invested for useful social expenses. While the military expenditures of Spain, distributed throughout various items, was 42,000 million Euros in 2016, the budget to struggle against gender violence is 25.2 million Euros, and the lack of appropriation for dependents has resulted in their being almost 400.000 dependents receiving no assistance. And now we are hearing requests for countries to increase their contribution to NATO, while at the same time the solution overlooks doing away with these sorts of criminal organizations that are in favor of war, and it has been demonstrated that one of the major enemies of women is war.

Madrid Women in Black Against War demand:

That the State consider the violence exercised against women as a problem of national security and that the government legislate to the end that one day women can live in security.

That there be economic provisions to the Ley Organica 1/2004 de Medidas de Proteccion Integral contra la Violencia de Genero (law to protect against gender violence) in order to advance towards a society that is more just and egalitarian.

That expenditures for the military be destined instead to social, educational, health, culture, cooperation and the security of women.

A change in educational policies with an expansive and long term vision which will approach inequality of gender from the root of the problem.

That national organizations like the UN see war as a threat to women and urge the governments to demilitarize their respective countries.

That we realize that every person has a responsibility to stop violence against women.

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain

Pictures here

CONVOCATION 26 February 2017: Stop making war!


Women in Black continue denouncing in 2017 all militarism and wars because they do not guarantee just and sustainable human development. We do not believe in armed struggle because it perpetuates the law of the most powerful.

We are living through a process of collective failure at the moment of resolving conflicts: new threats and emergencies — a worldwide refugee crisis, increase of social militarization, the barbarity of terrorism and its policy of instilling fear, all of which extend and provoke polarization and very dangerous demagogic politics.

There is war in Syria, a situation that seems to have no end after 6 years of combat that has produced thousands of deaths, millions of persons displaced, and thousands of children disappeared. The recent attacks in Turkey seem to be a prelude to more violence in the future. Afghanistan is experiencing continual armed confrontations of sectarian violence. South Sudan is experiencing ethnic violence. The war in Yemen is a humanitarian crisis with millions of people on the verge of famine. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is experiencing generalized violence, endemic corruption and extensive areas devastated by war.

With the tensions between the United States and Mexico over the promises to build a wall on the border and the deportation of persons from the host country, the most powerful actor on the world stage is creating destabilizing uncertainty.

Europe is adrift owing to the disintegration of the European project, social dismantling, lack of a political policy other than to just close the borders, and the resurgence of nationalisms and xenophobia. It is a Europe in which the civil society has no voice, cannot undertake any actions, can do nothing, and in which lack of transparency in government is brutal with respect to persons fleeing from armed conflict.

Spain is a significant exporter of weapons, 7th in the world. In March, Madrid will be the meeting spot for arms merchants and agents who benefit from the business of war. HOMSEC (Homeland Security and Defense) is sponsoring a trade show for the process of securitization on the national and international agendas, a professional platform focused on national security of a geostrategic nation in relation to Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. This type of event foments the culture of conflict and war, and models of repressive security measures centered on military threats to the territorial and political integrity of the States. These initiatives only contribute to the reduction of rights and liberties in pursuit of a false idea of security.

Women in Black of Madrid against war declare that:

We support the objectives of the campaign “Opening Borders” and demand that the governments and parliaments of Spain and Europe comply with the international instruments with regard to human rights and the statutes related to refugees and thus cover all the needs of the persons who ask for assistance and protection.

Management of borders of the countries that are promoting repressive migrant policies that lead to death, stigmatization and marginalization of collectives of victims of foreign policies exercised by the very countries of destination are measures that we consider racist and xenophobic and one more step towards fascism.

Urgent measures should be taken to end commerce in weapons that feed the violence and the conflicts that are devastating humanity. We consider it a positive note that the City Council of Madrid is not supporting the HOMSEC 6th International Exhibition of Security and Defense Technologies.

It is urgent and necessary to give political cover to the activists, agents for peace, and the values that guide their approach of tolerance, understanding, solidarity and empathy.

We join with the actions that are to be developed against the HOMSEC event.

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain

Pictures here


School Day of Nonviolence

Ever since 1964, the 30th of January has commemorated the School Day of Nonviolence in memory of Ghandi and the values he represents.

Women in Black, in accordance with our feminist, anti-militarist and nonviolent ideology, express that we are convinced that it is imperative to seek alternatives to learn how to bring about the result that conflicts not lead to more violence, rather to greater equity and justice for the civil society. The need for nonviolence becomes more urgent with each passing day. The number of warlike conflicts that exist today is alarming. Some of these conflicts are forgotten and others, such as the war in Syria, are better known because of their consequences: the refugees who arrive at our doors.

It is not enough to be against violence and war. One must analyze the causes that lead to war in order to avoid it. The tendency of our governments to maintain the privileges of the most favored with walls and fences; the illegal deportations of those without papers; the refusal of asylum, violating signed international laws; the refusal to provide universal health care; stigmatization of the emigrant based on the belief that they take our jobs or consume our resources; and the movement backwards in women’s rights are a way of promoting values that correspond to a social model of violence, creating fear, social control, machismo, blind obedience, power/submission relationships, resolution of conflicts through violence and force and disdain for people considered weaker and different.

We denounce the militarism of our societies that inculcate the idea of armed defense, in which war and violence are the only solutions.

Likewise, we declare our concern over the resurgence of macho values in the classrooms, the use of violence to resolve conflicts, the increase in power/submission relationships among the students and the continuing cuts in the education budget designated for public education, while that for private education increases. We are also worried that we continue without questioning the defense budget, which is greatly increasing.

Women in Black want schools that collaborate in the building of a society that struggles for peace and to that end we think that:

It is urgent and necessary to strengthen Education for Peace with a gender perspective that has as its goal the formation of “nonviolent” persons and that there be a budget and support to make this possible.

Nonviolence is a path, a process, continuous learning for the individual as well as human relationships; it is an ethical tool for social transformation, which strengthens those who practice it and takes power away from the violent.

It is necessary to work in school and in the society for an equality that will not repeat violence or the power of the patriarchy. All and each one of us are responsible for there being increasing violence in the world or that it be disappearing.

On this anniversary of the celebration of Peace, we join the campaign of the women of the United Sates against the xenophobic and macho policies of Donald Trump. Like them, we believe that the program of this president assumes a reversal on the road to peace and achievements in human rights, one more indication of the resurgence of fascism in the world.

“A country is not stronger based on the number of soldiers it has, rather based on its rate of literacy.”
“It’s true that the pen is stronger than the sword; education frightens those who employ terror.”
“The best way to fight against terrorism is very simple: educate the next generation.”

Malala Yousafzai
(Pakistani teenager awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014)

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain