Friday, January 18, 2013

Thoughts on Women in Peacebuilding

I dedicate this post to my brother who annoys me post more frequently :P ! Love you Alex! :)

It is surprising how little media attention is given to the movement for the increase of women's participation in peace-building efforts!

It all started more than decade ago with UNSCR 1325. It and out of itself, the adoption of this resolution by the Security Council was a very important step for women in conflict zones. This resolution was adopted thanks to hard work of women in NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security that began its existence with the purpose of advocating for Security Council resolution on women, peace and security. Today, this NGO works with UN Member States and civil society to help implement UNSCR 1325, and subsequent related resolutions. With such a large mandate, its quite lucky that they are not alone. For example, there is also the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) that aims to bridge "the gap between policy discussions and implementation and action on the ground on women, peace and security issues."

These NGOs, and others like them, certainly have their hands full: UN Security Council passed other resolutions relating to women and security - UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888, and UNSCR 1889. The resolutions gradually build on each other and demonstrate a change in the discourse and in the views of Security Council relating to the subject matter. It is of note that UNSCR 1325 treated women as subjects of security, rather than agents - who can contribute information that would be crucial to success of peace-building efforts. However, with time UNSCRs did start carving out a larger and more active role for women in peace-building processes with the aim to increase the amount of women in the formulation of all peace-building policies, programs, laws and implementations.  NGOs in Africa have used UNSCR 1325 in order to gain access to government leaders and force them to listen to peace-building ideas of women.

It is easy for a North American to underestimate the importance of these resolutions. We live in a society where discrimination is at a much lower level than in developing countries. Imagine that after a brutal conflict in your country, during which you or your family member may have been raped or mutilated, you are not allowed access to the peace-building process where you can share your ideas on how to prevent the atrocities from re-occurring. How awful it must be not to have a voice in that situation? Moreover, the new "government" of your country could be against empowering women. Once they establish control of the country, they may subjugate women even more than they were before - perhaps by installing some sort of hardline Islam law.  This is a real concern for women in Mali. They will loose a lot if the Islamist rebels gain full control of the country. Thus shouldn't Mali women be able to participate in the conflict resolution efforts since they have the most to loose if rebels gain full country of the country? Of course they should! Resolution 1325 allows for that. It requires Member States to involve women in conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction efforts. Hopefully with more media coverage of this issue, Member States will have more incentive to actually abide by the resolution. 

I leave you with this : studies show that post conflict reconstruction efforts have been most successful when there was a large amount of women involved in the process. Thus women can re-shape the world in a positive way, they just need to be given the chance to do so.

Women War Peace: The Politics of Peacebuilding
Three women of international renown share their experience in fostering peace and human rights in Uganda, the Philippines and Colombia in this edition of the Joan B. Kroc Distinguished Lecture Series at the Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. Series: "Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series"

1 comment:

  1. Haha well I'm glad to see my efforts to annoy you didn't go to waste. Love you too ;-)