For over a century women activists have played a leading role in seeking universal disarmament and arms control and in initiating peace projects – from the 1915 Women’s Peace Congress in The Hague through to the negotiations for the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty in 2017. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has continuously lobbied for ‘total and universal disarmament’ and for nineteen years women protested at Greenham Common against the placing of cruise missiles in the UK. Despite these and many other efforts it is argued that rather than promoting peace, contemporary international law sustains militarism and legitimates the use of force. And today we confront the threats of growing militarisation and military expenditure. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported in May 2018 that ‘military spending in 2017 represented 2.2 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) or $230 per person.’ In addition new technologies are constantly used to increase the global weapons arsenal. These challenges urgently require responses to pressing questions. For instance:
- What are the policy options for addressing the current threats of militarism and weaponisation and how can they be put into practice?
- As feminists what should be our preferred strategy over the coming decades: to seek disarmament? To seek further arms control even while acknowledging that this assumes the continued existence of arms? Or to craft new strategies and adopt new agendas?
- Should we lobby for increased participation by women in arms negotiations? Would such increased participation wield any material benefits and if so how and why?
- What is the relationship between gender and disarmament?
- How does disarmament and arms control sit with the UN Security Council agenda on Women, Peace and Security?
These and other questions will be explored in this event to launch the Arts and Humanities Research Council research project, A Feminist International Law of Peace and Security, that asks how a feminist reading of International Law can further disarmament and promote sustainable peace.
Ray Acheson (@achesonray) is the Director of Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She provides analysis, research and advocacy across a range of disarmament and arms control issues. Ray leads WILPF’s work on stigmatising war and violence, including by campaigning for a nuclear weapons ban treaty and challenging the arms trade and the use of explosive weapons and armed drones. Ray is also on the Board of Directors of the Los Alamos Study Group and represents WILPF on several coalition steering groups, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Dr Renata Dwan (@RenataDwan) is Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva where she initiated a dedicated programme on gender and disarmament. Renata joined UNIDIR after 13 years working on peace and security issues at the United Nations, including on peace operations and complex emergencies at UN Headquarters and in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Mali and Syria. She led major UN-wide policy and reform initiatives including on security sector reform, peacekeeping partnerships and crisis management capacities. Prior to the UN Renata headed Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s programme on Armed Conflict and Conflict Management and was deputy director of the EastWest Institute’s European Security Programme.
Dr Rebecca Johnson FRSA (@GreenRebJohnson) is founding director of the Acronym Institute and co-chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN, 2017 Nobel laureate), still serving on ICAN's steering group. With her PhD from LSE, publications include Acronym's monthly policy journal Disarmament Diplomacy (1997-2009); Unfinished Business on the NPT, CTBT and banning nuclear testing; Banning the Bomb: From 1950s activism to the General Assembly via Greenham Common; Trident and International Law; and numerous academic analyses in international policy journals. See also contemporaneous articles on feminist peace and justice challenges, disarmament treaties, humanitarian nuclear ban developments since 2009, and related issues.
Dr Anna Stavrianakis (@StavrianakisA) is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex. Her main research interests are the arms trade, UK arms export policy, international arms transfer control, and militarism. She is the author of Taking Aim at the Arms Trade. NGOs, Global Civil Society and the World Military Order (Zed Books, 2010) and co-editor (with Jan Selby) of Militarism and International Relations: Political Economy, Security, Theory, (Routledge, 2012). Anna works with MPs and NGOs on issues of arms export controls. She has given evidence to the parliamentary Committees on Arms Export Controls, and works with organisations such as Saferworld and Campaign Against Arms Trade.
Professor Christine Chinkin CMG FBA (chair) is Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security, where she leads two major projects: 'A Feminist International Law of Peace and Security' and 'Gendered Peace'. Professor Chinkin is a leading expert on international law and human rights law, especially the international human rights of women. Christine was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to advancing women's human rights worldwide. Professor Chinkin was founding Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security, which she led from 2015-2018.