World YWCA Condemns the Killing of Prominent Palestinian-American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Peace with justice has been a constant vision and goal throughout the more than 160 years of YWCA history. As a global movement, YWCA leaders have passed more than 40 resolutions about women, peace and security constantly demanding justice and the accountability of the perpetrators of human rights violations.

World YWCA’s unique, bold and transformative Goal 2035 is a vision of young women, through intergenerational work, challenging power structures to create a world free from violence of all forms. In their unique context all over the world and as part of a dynamic movement, YWCA leaders constantly mobilise to work on issues of peace, conflict resolution, and anti-violence, alongside critical leadership, advocacy, and community response work.

One of the ways we do this is to listen to and amplify voices on the ground, ensuring they are heard. We also do this by bearing witness to events as they happen and reflecting the reality of those events.

As one of the largest women’s movements in the world, we assert the role of women of all ages in peace building and conflict resolution at all levels – local, regional, and global – and in all sectors, affirming women in all their varied identities and realities. 

Those women include a woman considered a sister by YWCA leaders in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh. She was an accomplished journalist and a proud Palestinian woman working to ensure that the world would not turn away from the truth.

Shireen, who worked for over 25 years for the Al-Jazeera news network, was a credible and respected reporter locally and internationally.  She has won local and international awards for her accomplishments and dedication. Her compassionate humanity guided her work and her commitment to her vocation never wavered. She was always saying that she knew her life was at risk, but she was willing to risk her life for the freedom of Palestine.

World YWCA joins the YWCA of Palestine in condemning her murder and demanding a swift and transparent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. The World YWCA has been calling for the end of the Israeli Occupation as the only doable option for creating a just and sustainable Peace.

The World YWCA Goal 2035 is a vision of women transforming power structures, including those maintained by oppressors who target human rights defenders and journalists. The safety of women journalists and truth tellers is threatened every day, in every part of the world. Murders, assaults and disappearances are commonplace tools for those in power to silence those that challenge them.

Targeting journalists with physical violence and killing them deliberately and blatantly is a violation of international law, under which “media professionals are classified as civilians and are entitled to protection as such in all situations of armed conflict.”

Silencing reporters so they cannot reflect the truth to the world, executed with no hesitation and a cynical expectation of impunity, continues because too often the international community fails to hold such perpetrators accountable. 

World YWCA asks you to join us in acknowledging women leaders – in Palestine, Honduras, Belarus, Nigeria and all around the globe – who grant their lives for freedom, and to join the YWCA of Palestine in their call to action.