Convocations in English 2018


CONVOCATION 30 September 2018: Shaming the World into a State of Peace

“The Power of Shame to Change the System:
Shaming the World into a State of Peace”


This phrase is one of the proposals that emerged from the XVII International Gathering of Women in Black against War, which took place in March of 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Under the title of “Displaced Lives”, the objective being to confront the inheritance of racism, hate and class.
Women have been displaced by the patriarchy and now it’s a matter of returning this shame to the patriarchal system – shame that extends to all the injustices of displacements. The violence of displacement is a situation in which we refuse to see ourselves.

South Africa welcomes refugee families arriving from Ethiopia, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Malawi… In Mandela’s time, the country welcomed those who solicited asylum fleeing from dictatorial and corrupt regimes, a country with unemployment at 45% and in which one-fourth of the people receive subsidies.

South Africa has a multitude of stories about displacement, repression and slavery, and also numerous stories about collective resistance. At present, its main cities are suffering from the new legal apartheid: neoliberalism, gentrification, expulsion to outlying areas and isolation of the working classes, the poor and the black population.

Displacements in Africa have multiple causes: flight from eternal armed conflicts; economic emigration; migration motivated by sexual identity, repression and assassination of lesbian women; unemployment; taking of land, natural resources, and appropriation of water, even for suffering from mental illness or for fleeing from a forced childhood marriages.
There is a strong relationship between women and displacement because gender violence has not decreased one iota and this promotes disempowerment of African women.

The Network of Women in Black against War denounces forced displacement. We are embarrassed by the policies of Europe and demand:

Opening the borders to those displaced for any reason.
Right to a home. Camps for refugees are not homes.
Right of return for refugees; not forced repatriation.
Right to dignity.
Peace is a right, peace understood as a home, health, food and dignity.
Opposition to and prevention of the use of weapons and commerce in weapons.
Right to practice civil disobedience and boycott against unjust laws and oppressive policies.
Special protection for women and young girls who are victims of gender violence, persons persecuted for the sexual identity, women who fight for their rights.
Combating stereotypes and manipulation, not forgetting that we were immigrants, too.
Solidarity with the refugees, accompaniment and listening to them.
Calling on feminist alliances to resist displacements.
Rejection of fascism, its violence and its practices of hate and xenophobia in Europe.

“Everyone should know that the Mediterranean Sea is a cemetery of unnamed refugees, the majority of whom are from Africa”

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


CONVOCATION 24 June 2018: Neither the Land nor Women are Territory for Conquest

Neither the Land nor Women are Territory for Conquest


Commemorating 5 June, World Environment Day, Women in Black of Madrid against war, focus our attention on the relationship between environmental destruction and violation of human rights.

We are adamant that the causes for war are bound to the exploitation of natural resources. Even without declared wars, armies and paramilitaries use violence to defend the interests of transnational enterprises above those of the security of the planet. The Environmental Justice Atlas lists more than 2400 socio-ecological conflicts around the world. In 2016, 200 persons were assassinated for defending their habitat, 60% in Latin America. In 2017, 312 defenders of human rights were assassinated.

In the last decade, global warming has increased, placing us in a scenario of unstoppable climate change, and at the same time increasing various types of contamination. Economic inequality is on the rise (1% of the world population has amassed 82% of the wealth). It is the poorest communities that end up being displaced, becoming environmental refugees because of the degradation of their surroundings.

In armed conflicts, the situation becomes critical, as has happened in Iraq after 30 years of wars, where contamination of water sources has been used as a weapon. Voluntary contamination, scarcity or unhealthfulness of water resources is one of the great global dramas from South Sudan to Latin America.

We want to make visible the work of the ecologist groups and indigenous communities who defend life as they confront the economic and militaristic interests of the great transnational enterprises. We highlight the involvement of women in these initiatives. They assume the responsibilities of providing food and health to their families for which they give deserved value to the protection of their surroundings and the entire planet.

Spain also participates in this global phenomenon. The transnationals of Ibex35 generate significant social and ecological impacts, including the violation of human rights, as detailed in the report of Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action) El Ibex35 en guerra contra la vida (Ibex35 at war against life)”.

Women in Black against war – Madrid:

We support the direct nonviolent actions that help to redirect this situation. We point out as an example the action of ACS against life confronting the board of stockholders of the ACS group (Actividades de Construccion y Servicios) by requesting binding mechanisms that will establish obligatory regulations for transnational companies with regard to human rights.

We demand that all governments guarantee the health and security of the people and the planet.

We invite the civil society to join in alternatives for responsible consumption that create more just and ecological relationships (groups dealing with consumption, ethical banking, electricity cooperatives, etc.).

We defend life in the face of economic and militaristic interests.

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


CONVOCATION 27 May 2018: Peace, Rights and Social Justice for Nicaragua

Peace, Rights and Social Justice for Nicaragua


The student demonstrators shouted “They are spewing out real bullets!!

It is not 1926 when Augusto Sandino began a revolution against the North American occupation and the presidency of Anastasio Somoza Garcia.

It is not 1972 – 1991 when in Nicaragua there were 65,000 dead, owing to the intense civil war between the Sandinistas and the Somocistas.

These are 2018 bullets, at a time when there is a right to demonstrate, where 85% of the people are poor and will no longer be able to cope with just their social security payment, and retirees will lose 5% of an already miserably low amount, which is the only income for the family. The Movimiento Campesino Anticanal (Peasant Anti-Canal Movement) has also suffered their right to demonstrate regarding the wrongful expropriation of land and repression of the government.

The number of dead is over 60, among them the disappeared and found dead and tortured, yes, tortured by the Ortega dictatorship; even more have been arrested and wounded.

“They took away so much from us that they took away our fear”, is one of their slogans. Through social networks they have informed the international community about their protest. The students are considered “the moral reserve of the country” in the protests.

The government of Nicaragua has ordered beating, robbery, torture and assassination and continues to do so without asking for any forgiveness. The country is in mourning and lacking justice, suffering for those who have been assassinated and disappeared. If the government wishes to return to “normalcy”, it should assume the consequences, because if it doesn’t, that will leave a precedent for IMPUNITY.

Women in Black:

Demand that the government of Spain cease sales of weapons to Nicaragua.

Support the demands and nonviolent protests of the people of Nicaragua.

Ask that the government of Spain and the international community demand of the government of Nicaragua justice and reparation for the victims.

WE REQUEST PEACE, RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR NICARAGUA

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

Pictures here


CONVOCATION: 29 April 2018: DISARMAMENT: Transform the Military Expenditure

DISARMAMENT: Transform the Military Expenditure


This past 7 September 2017, in a United Nations conference, 130 countries approved a new treaty with a view to achieve and maintain a world free of nuclear weapons. The new Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is open for signature and has as its objective to prohibit the possession, use, threat to use, and support for the installation or production of nuclear weapons. This new multilateral treaty promotes nuclear disarmament. Its predecessors, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in force since 1970, which restricts the possession of nuclear weapons, or the treaties on Partial and Complete Ban on Nuclear Testing have not contributed to world disarmament, as opposed to what has happened regarding chemical and biological weapons and others that have been prohibited globally and universally.

It is necessary to work towards world disarmament and for that reason we actively support all initiatives and campaigns to eliminate nuclear weapons through nonviolent actions such as ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). This initiative, formed by an international conglomerate of NGOs, publishes alerts on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of those arsenals. In 2017, ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to bring about a treaty that would prohibit them and for pressuring the nuclear states to initiate gradual elimination of its nuclear arsenals.

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is putting pressure on its members to spend 2% of their GDP on their military budgets with the objective of financing wars and aggression, and exhorting or encouraging member states to not abandon or eliminate its nuclear arsenals as a deterrent for avoiding conflicts between the states having nuclear weapons. This has become an obligation for the majority of the members of the European Union, despite the fact that the member states submit to strict austerity policies. The government of Spain, for example, intends to increase it military expenditure alarmingly in the new budgets.

Women in Black are against war, against militarism and the patriarchy. Both maintain the established order and are systems for domination and injustice that do not guarantee sustainable human development.

As Women in Black, activists, anti-militarists and feminists:

We support the actions of the activist groups that have opposed and alerted us to the catastrophic consequences that could result from the docking of ships sailing under the Saudi flag that recently used the ports of Bilbao and Santander to load weapons destined for the war in Yemen.

We support and will continue to support the nonviolent actions of the international nuclear disarmament camp Trident Ploughshares, which annually brings together pacifist activists in Coulport and Aldermaston (United Kingdom).

We express our recognition of the Camp of Women for Peace against nuclear weapons at the Greenham Common military base (Berkshire, England) from1982 to 2000.

We firmly oppose Spain’s fulfilling its commitments with NATO to increase the percentage of the GDP for defense dedicating public resources to defense, and we demand that these funds be destined to investments for the development of social justice.

We ask our government to sign and ratify the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, even though being part of the destabilizing NATO.

As women, we demand an end to the military intervention of NATO, that Spain leave NATO and that it finally be dissolved.

On your income tax form, declare Fiscal Objection to the Military Expenditure
as a service for Peace!

This communiqué is supported by the Foro de Movimientos Sociales de Madrid

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


CONVOCATION 25 March 2018: URGING A NEGOTIATED SOLUTION IN SYRIA

URGING A NEGOTIATED SOLUTION TO THE ALARMING ESCALATION OF THE CONFLICT IN SYRIA


Women in Black are very worried about the dimensions that the war in Syria is developing, more than half a million dead, the majority of whom are civilians, and the destruction of cities like Ghouta at the hands of the regime, which, in contrast to the rebels, possesses and uses its air force indiscriminately, including the infamous explosive barrel bombs (IEDs) fired from helicopters.

Repression by the dictator Al Assad against the civil population, which arose non-violently against the corruption of his government in the spring of 2011, was followed by an increase in violence, spurred on by the intervention of external factors which, instead of seeking a peaceful solution, provoked a civil war with many actors of international dimension.

In previous communiqués*, we 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 at the same time that many voices considered to be progressive continue justifying the slaughter, convinced that the regime is fighting against Al Qaeda in Eastern Ghouta. In an effort to exonerate it for the innumerable deaths that ravage the country, they prefer not to see how the government of Syria is using civilians like human shields. According to Amnesty International 3 of every 4 Syrians have had to flee from their homes, 1.7 million children cannot go to school. In the seven years the war has lasted, the number of dead and wounded exceeds two million.

Despite the propaganda of the Bashar al Asad regime that it has had no part in the mass killings of civilians and that is was being demonized by the imperial West, no one can doubt the responsibility of his government for using chemical weapons in various attacks on civilians. After several years of war and suffering, the conflict instead of decreasing, tends to be widening in an unpredictable manner. This is the reason for the urgency to find a peaceful solution NOW.

As Europeans, we denounce the European Union, which disregards those who oppose this war, without wanting to welcome the thousands of refugees, the majority of whom are deserters who flee with their families to save their lives and escape the armed conflict. The supply of armaments to the various belligerents continues but the quota for admission of refugees in the various countries is restricted. They also do nothing to protect the civilian population trapped between the opposing military forces.

Women in Black ask for:

A negotiated solution in Syria, NOW, one that will include all the civilian voices involved.

That the countries that permit the sale of weapons be denounced, Spain among others.

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

That there be no impunity and 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.

Saquemos la guerra de la historia y de nuestras vidas

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

* Previous communiqués about this subject:
September-29-2013: Against military intervention in Syria
February-23-2014: Against the war in Syria
September-24-2017: For a negotiated solution in Syria – NOW


CONVOCATION 25 February 2018: WORLDWIDE WOMEN’S STRIKE 8 MARCH

WORLDWIDE WOMEN’S STRIKE 8 MARCH


On March 8, 1909 one hundred twenty-nine women died in the fire of a New York factory. In 1910 Clara Zetkin and Katy Duncker proposed the idea of “An International Women’s Day” or “Day of the Working Woman” and that it should be celebrated every March 8th to commemorate the death of these women. The first international strike of women took place on March 8, 2017 with the shout of Argentine feminists “not one fewer, we want ourselves alive.”

In this year’s March 8th strike, we want to make visible in the broadest way possible our strength, anger and pain, and at the same time our shared joy in knowing that we are strong and we are right. We are part of a process of the radical transformation of society and culture, the economy and relationships. We want to reassert the political force of women and preserve the planet we live on, in addition to making clear that the economic system would collapse without our daily work as caregivers.

We are involved in the struggles against sexist violence, for the right to decide matters relative to our own bodies and our own lives, for social justice, housing, health, education, food sovereignty, and secularism; and against free trade agreements and exploitation. We are anti-militarists and are against wars and national borders, against repressive and authoritarian States that impose gag laws and criminalize protest and feminine resistance; united with women who defend human rights and the land at the risk of their lives.

Women in Black of Madrid against war join in all the proposals and demands of the international convocation of women’s strike. Further, we wish to highlight that it is women who suffer the most from the violence of war.

As anti-militarists, we believe that war is the greatest enemy of women, but the United Nation’s Resolution 1325 upon militarizing the security of women actually perpetuates war, militarization that during all these years has not given security to women. We believe that human security, women’s security goes far beyond military or police intervention. Speaking of security, one must also speak of food, environmental, community and economic security. Real security requires a profound change in social structures and a change of mentality.

We believe that for women’s situation to change at both a local and global level, it must be considered as a problem of the State, regional and world security.

Women in Black of Madrid demand:

That the criminalization cease and protection be given to the defenders of human rights, as well as persons who reject the use of weapons, conscientious objectors and deserters.

Urgent measures to care for persons who are especially vulnerable, young boys and girls, adolescents, women and the LGBTI population. We demand action to impede the crossing on dangerous routes in which they suffer violations, harassment, kidnapping and prostitution.

That all wars be considered illegal and that the minds of people, governments and countries be demilitarized: work that requires the involvement of all people. If we want security for women, war cannot be a legal option for either the United Nations or State governments.

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

Pictures here


CONVOCATION 28 January 2018: JERUSALEM, CITY OF DISCORD

JERUSALEM, CITY OF DISCORD


This past December the government of the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has announced that the U.S. Embassy will be located in that city. The official version says that this is a way of giving impetus to the negotiations for peace in the area and to give support to the member parties. This has created a long list of consequences and one of the most serious is the trail of blood and violence that it is generating in Palestine.

The United Nations has approved a resolution against the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, said resolution backed by 180 countries along with 35 abstentions and 8 votes against. This resolution took place after the Security Council did not pass it because of the veto of the United States.

Jerusalem, sacred city for the great monotheistic religions, has always been at the center of conflict. For a long time, Israel has systematically not complied with the resolutions of the UN and violates the human rights of the Palestinian people, with the acquiescence of international organizations. In addition, the government of Israel is carrying out a policy to fence in and expel the Palestinian people from Jerusalem and from all the occupied territories in general. The decision of Donald Trump is the coup de grâce against a population that is cornered and mistreated.

The organization Women in Black emerged in 1988 precisely in Jerusalem when Jewish women said NO to the occupation. It was the first social collective that demonstrated publicly in Israel against the policy of occupation of the Palestinian territories by their own government. On that account, 30 years later, the Women in Black of Madrid continue demanding:

That previous accords regarding Jerusalem be respected and that no nation recognize Jerusalem as the capital.

That the government of the United States not intervene in the Palestine-Israeli conflict in order to tilt the political balance at the cost of the suffering and rights of the Palestinian people.

That the Israeli government cease the occupation and the policy of violence against the people of Palestine and recognize the right of its citizens to dissent with their policy, and that the government cease the persecution and stigmatization of the Israeli pacifists.

End of the violence of the armed Palestinians groups.

That Spain revoke its military agreements and commerce in weapons with Israel.

That international justice not leave in impunity the policy of violence of the Israeli government and its violation of international treaties.

We are in solidarity with the 63 Israeli secondary school students who have signed a letter in which they declare their refusal to serve in the obligatory military service despite the risk of being jailed which their decision entails. And, in general, we express our support and recognition of military objectors, pacifists and anti-militarists of Israel and Palestine.

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

Pictures here