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Debate and articles on nuclear non-proliferation and strategies for peacebuilding. See also our coverage of the Nobel Women's Initiative.

 

Syrian women demand to take part in the peace talks in Geneva

There are over fifty Syrian women in Geneva this week. They are demanding a ceasefire in Syria and to be part of the planned peace talks in Geneva, January 22. Supported by international women's organisations, they are there to break the medieval narrative and to ensure that the voices of those who believe in humanity are heard.

Immunity and impunity in peace keeping: the protection gap

Trafficking and sexual exploitation are an integral part of armed conflict and its aftermath. Madeleine Rees argues that the lack of political will and an interpretation of law that works in favour of perpetrators - including those working in international peace keeping institutions - must be addressed

The quest for gender-just peace: from impunity to accountability

Yakin Erturk reflects on the six years she spent working as the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, and argues that in order to build a gender- just peace, dis-empowering patriarchy and engaging with the feminist agenda of empowering women must be the guiding principle for all peace initiatives.

Sexual violence in Bosnia: how war lives on in everyday life

Rape has been recognized as a war crime in international and Bosnian law, but women survivors seldom receive the reparation they are owed. Meanwhile, persistent male violence makes daily life in Bosnia-Herzegovina a battleground for many women.

Political motherhood vs violence against mothers

The Activist Mothers of Xalapa have united their individual power as mothers to create a collective political motherhood that has resisted many patriarchal institutions in the past, and could well be the driving force of a new society based on nurturing life instead of selling it, says Alda Facio.

Syria: women, peacework, and the lesson from Bosnia

Below the radar of the Geneva-2 peace talks, Bosnian and Syrian women are meeting to discuss the lessons that must be learnt from the failure of the Dayton Agreement. Without the voices of those who have the greatest stake in preserving peace in their countries, peace agreements don't work.

Slavenka Drakulić: violence, memory, and the nation

Writer and journalist Slavenka Drakulić reflects on the use of sexual violence in war, the psyche in conflict, and the gap between official history and personal memory in the former Yugoslavia.

No woman’s body should be a battlefield

25 years after Women in Black was founded by Israeli and Palestinian women working together for peace, Sue Finch and Liz Khan report from the International Women in Black meeting in Uruguay on how the movement has grown into a world-wide network speaking truth to power

Syria: lessons for the nuclear debate

The use of chemical weapons in Damascus should, at the very least, give us pause to reflect on the principles guiding our nuclear weapons policies.

Jean Bethke Elshtain: the moral and the political

Reflecting on the life and work of the political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain, who died last month, Kathleen B Jones writes of a  friendship and thirty-year collegial exchange of ideas on subjects including just war, same sex marriage, and the limits of politics.

New nuclear weapons for the UK: a challenge Labour can’t dodge

Labour could turn opposition to the billion pound Trident replacement into an electoral asset, but instead appears to be sleepwalking to oblivion. Rebecca Johnson makes the case for challenging Trident replacement, and says it's time to mobilise civil society

Karzai: a legacy of failure on Afghan women's rights?

With more fundamentalists predicted to win seats in the forthcoming election, the future is likely to see once again the use of religion as an instrument of extreme gender based oppression in Afghanistan. Will President Karzai use his remaining days in office to cement the foundations of women’s rights?

Trident Alternatives Review: the elephant in the room

The recent Trident Alternatives Review excludes any consideration of alternative means that might provide effective deterrence and more reliable security for Britain in the 21st century.  It's time for an intelligent public and political debate.

Reclaiming nonviolent history

In conventional histories, violence is generally celebrated. National memorials glamorize death, bloodshed and warfare. This hides a global tradition of nonviolent struggle. This is the third article in our "Transformative Nonviolence" series with Waging Nonviolence. 

Male war, male peace

A survey of on-going peace processes confirms mere lip service is still being paid to women’s inclusion and participation within the powerfully embedded male tradition of diplomacy and peace building. Leer in Español.

Excluded and silenced: Women in Northern Ireland after the peace process

There is a backlash against women’s agency in Northern Ireland in a number of different ways, all of which impact on the ability of women to participate fully in initiatives intended to deal with the legacy of the past and support the transition out of conflict.

'This American Life' in Israel-Palestine

Breaking the mould of uncritical US media reporting on Israel-Palestine, a recent broadcast by This American Life draws attention to the routinised disruption of Palestinian lives as central to domination under occupation, but fails to pick up on a gender perspective which sheds critical light on power.   

Japan's peace pledge: a question of sovereignty?

Japan adopted its war-renouncing constitution following World War II, with Article 9 as a promise to itself and a pledge to the world never to repeat its mistakes.

Militarism and non-state actors: ‘the other invasion’

'What they call transnational development companies. For us they represent death and destruction’, yet when it comes to the pursuit of justice through law, too often activists are on the wrong side. Jennifer Allsopp reports from Belfast at the Nobel Women’s Initiative Conference.

What sex means for world peace

Speaking at the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference, Valerie Hudson argues that best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is how well its women are treated. Little analysed in international relations theory, state security and women’s security are inextricably linked.

Challenging militarized masculinities

It is not that ‘masculinity’ generates war, as the question has been put, but rather that the process of militarization both draws on and exaggerates the bipolarization of gender identities in extremis, says Amina Mama 

"We want peace. We’re tired of war"

"If we live violence every day, how can we work for the development of our country so that we can benefit from human rights like other countries and like other women?"  - Julienne Lusenge speaking about her work as a women's human rights defender in the DRC

Peacebuilding and the nation-state: towards a nonviolent world

When did a political formation in theory designed to preserve our common good become a machinery of war? Or does the nation-state depend on militarism for its very existence? Jennifer Allsopp writes from the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference in Belfast.

Women of Senegal: agents of peace

The physical and moral suffering undergone by the valiant people of Casamance is incalculable and, as usual, it is the women and children who pay the highest price. From their position as victims, women have decided to become committed agents of peace, says Ndeye Marie Thiam.

Femmes de Sénégal: actrices de la paix

Les souffrances physiques et morales subies par les vaillantes populations de la région naturelle de Casamance sont incalculables, et ce sont, comme d’habitude, les femmes et les enfants qui payent le plus lourd tribut. De victimes, les femmes ont décidé d’être des actrices résolues de la paix, dit Ndeye Marie Thiam.

From banning nuclear tests to banning nuclear weapons

Sixty years after Britain’s first atomic weapons test, we need to consider the parallels between how the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was achieved in the 1990s and today’s nuclear challenges. The British government is, yet again, unable to read the writing on the wall, says Rebecca Johnson

Women and the language of peace protest

In January 1968, young feminist antiwar activists in the U.S temporarily broke with a long tradition of protesting war as mothers. At an all-women’s protest against the Vietnam War, they symbolically buried “Traditional Womanhood” and claimed the right to protest as independent citizens.  Does it matter what language women use to protest war ?

"I protest": challenging the war policies of the United States

After serving in the US Army, and later as a diplomat, Colonel Ann Wright resigned her position in opposition to the US invasion of Iraq, 2003. She explains her opposition to the use of drones, and why any demilitarism plan for the planet must begin with the United States

Building a culture of love: replacing a culture of violence and death

What unites people's movements from the Arab 'spring' to Occupy, is a new consciousness that a good life, with dignity, freedom, fairness and human security, is their right -  and by the law of love and logic, the right of every man and woman, says laureate Mairead Maguire.

NPT: toothless in the face of real world dangers

The core purpose of the NPT was security and the prevention of nuclear war, but the esoteric diplomacy of the current regime has become too far removed from the dangerous and messy world of today’s nuclear risks and ambitions. Rebecca Johnson reports at the close of the NPT meeting in Geneva

Israel's loopy logic of exoneration

Israel's recent 'update' on military investigations into civilian deaths in Gaza last November is an affirmation of its deficient institutional and legal practice, with the result of continued impunity for its military and political officials.

The NPT’s “unacceptable and continuous failure”: Egypt walks out

On April 29th Egypt’s diplomats walked out of the NPT Conference in protest at the lack of progress in establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, thereby putting the NPT regime on notice. Reporting from Geneva, Rebecca Johnson analyses the reasons

Syria: the life cycle of civil war

A comprehensive understanding of how, why and when opposition groups in civil war engage in civilian governance must have important policy implications for outsiders engaging or toying with engaging in Syria.

NPT and risks to human survival: the inside story

Doctrines, deployments, and the political value attached to "nuclear deterrence" are being challenged at the NPT conference.  As 78 nations co-sponsor a growing "humanitarian initiative", the five NPT nuclear-armed states and some of their "nuclear umbrella" allies like Japan, Australia and Germany are in denial. Rebecca Johnson reports

North Korea and Trident: challenging the nuclear non-proliferation regime

As representatives of 189 governments meet to discuss strengthening the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Kim Jong-un and David Cameron provide stark reminders of the continuing dangers that nuclear weapons pose to human security.

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