Media Release: Nobel peace laureates lead delegation to Poland and the Ukraine

Tawakkol Karman (Yemen), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and Jody Williams (US) will meet with women activists working to build peace.

Three women Nobel peace laureates will travel to Poland and Ukraine to bear witness to the experiences of women displaced from and within Ukraine and to recognize the lifesaving work of women, communities, and women’s organizations and movements. Tawakkol Karman (Yemen), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and Jody Williams (US) will be in Krakow and Rzeszow, Poland, and Lviv, Ukraine, visiting refugee centers, international humanitarian agencies, local activists, and officials.

Undeterred by invasion, violence, and displacement, women in the region are working to save lives, and to build peace. Negotiations, humanitarian assistance, and reconstruction processes must ensure women’s voices are heard, human rights upheld, international law respected, and violence and militarization rejected.

The Nobel peace laureates will listen to women and learn how to best support their work for peace, how decision-makers can ensure that women’s voices are heard, and how the gendered impacts of conflicts can be better responded to.

The delegation is taking place in the context of the Russian military’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine – a brutal and devastating conflict that has raised the spectre of nuclear war, and that has forcibly displaced millions. The laureates are urgently calling for negotiations to end the invasion and an immediate end to the violence.

Maria Butler, Executive Director of Nobel Women’s Initiative, will coordinate the delegation along with organizing partners. We appreciate the close collaboration and partnership with women’s movements in the Ukraine, Poland, the region, and around the world that has made this delegation possible.

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  • UNHCR International Organization for Migrants (IOM) believes that there are over 7.1 million internally displaced people inside Ukraine, and an estimated 15.7 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection. One-third of Ukrainians have had to leave their homes.
  • There are at least 4.8 million refugees from the conflict across Europe. Women and girls make up more than 80% of these.
  • Cases of human trafficking, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse have been reported in Ukraine and in the region.
  • Top concerns for women and girls include threats to physical safety from active conflict and continual bombardment; food insecurity; and lack of access to healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health services. There is a rise in gender-based violence cases and a deep decrease in services.
  • Women are still largely excluded from peace processes and decision-making.


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