CONVOCATION 26 May 2024: 24 May, International Day of Women for Peace and Disarmament

24 May, International Day of Women for Peace and Disarmament

We meet today in this plaza to commemorate the International Day of Women for Peace and Disarmament. In 1982, on a day like today, antimilitarist women installed the first Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (United Kingdom) to protest against nuclear arms and the arms race, which, led by NATO, was taking place in the world. Ten years later, 18 May 1992, that military base was declared illegal by the Supreme Court.

We are inheritors of the movement opposing the First World War, as we continue using today the great majority of tools for protest used at that time: manifestations, chaining, hunger strikes, rent strikes, indicting war criminals, support for desertion, support for refugees of all the factions, etc. In 1915, they also organized the International Women’s Congress of The Hague, where more than a thousand women gathered to reclaim a more just and worthy society, free of bellicose confrontations and wars.

In spite of the adverse conditions and the dangers to which they are exposed, women from all over the world work daily in favor of peace and against war, from territories immersed in armed conflict or wars. They also do the same in areas where there are no declared conflicts, denouncing the governments and the armed actors implicated in the development, traffic and exhibition of armaments destined to create destruction and/or death.

Today, we join with all the Women in Black against War and we make their discourse ours.

At this time, there are 56 active wars, Gaza, Ukraine and Sudan, standing out because of their cruelty. Palestine deserves special attention with 35,000 dead in less than a year, 70% women and children, besides an incalculable number of disappeared and almost two million people displaced. More than a war, it is genocide.

We believe that wars comprise the epitome of violence against women, against society and against the ecosystem. Wars are a crime against humanity which harms women in the majority and in a special way.

Although sexual violence has been recognized at an international level as a war crime, the victims seldom find justice and reparation. Other violence that women suffer is not included in peace processes as effects of war. There is no reparation nor indemnification for these less mentioned harms: fear, stigmatization, separation of families, frustration regarding the expectations of life, impoverishment, loneliness, psychological traumas of those who return to the front, caregiver obligations, loss of house and community, loss of civil infrastructure and basic public services, deterioration of values, distrust, exaltation of force and violence, etc. In addition, after the wars, recovery of the social fabric, values and caregiving usually falls on the women.

We women object to militarism for multiple reasons:
Objection to recruitment by the army, both in times of peace and times of war.
Objection to arms buildup, from objection to contribute with one’s taxes - fiscal objection to military expenditures -, to workers objection to collaborate with enterprises involved in manufacturing armaments.
Objection to armed intervention in other countries.
Objection to militarization of daily life, of culture, of the society.
Objection to the patriarchy and its hierarchies.

We are against wars and all militarism because the latter sustains itself through the established patriarchy, a system of domination and injustice that does not guarantee a just and sustainable human development; we do not believe in armed struggle because it perpetuates the law of the strongest.

Militarism transmits and exalts macho values, which in no way favor equity and equality of opportunity. It feeds the normalization of violence and devalues the care for life in all its integrity; it maintains a dichotomy in a vision of the world, the division between friends/enemies; we/they; to die/to kill; with me/against me. The army and its weapons are an apology for death facing the value of life.

In our view, no army defends the peace. The misnamed humanitarian wars are another deceit in the new model for Defense that imposes fear.

It is urgent and necessary to fortify the work of Education for Peace with a perspective of gender, which has as its goal the formation of a “nonviolent” person that can reach his/her full development and learn to resolve conflicts through negotiation. Education for peace, the nonviolent resolution of conflicts in both public and private settings, the culture of care (care of people, care of the Planet) are much more useful tools to defend life.

We want that urgent measures be taken leading to the eradication of research, manufacture and sale of arms, in order to put an end to this commerce, which feeds violence and the conflicts that are today devastating humanity.

We advocate for a negotiated outcome for conflicts because it is more stable and certain. For negotiation to be effective, it must take into account the needs of the civil population and women in particular. The causes for conflict are usually related to the appropriation of resources by the powerful entities. That is the reason why the civil population and the environment always lose.

WE DEFEND the building of a truly democratic society, egalitarian, based on a culture of peace, intercultural, based on dialogue, the resolution of conflicts through negotiation and the care of people as well as the planet.


We end with a quote from the Women in Black against war: “If war is the principal enemy of women, we will be safer if we managed to raise the awareness of society to the fact that no government has the authority to declare a war”.

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

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