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Peace Advocates: Gaining Voices, Ending Violence
A peace advocate in Nepal speaks out on women's participation in sustainable conflict resolution and peacebuilding, representing one of a number of women worldwide who voiced their opinions and recommendations on the topic during the Global Open Day for Women and Peace. (Photo: Deependra Bajrachaya for UNIFEM)
Senior officials began meeting in the first week of June with women peace advocates as part of the UN-organized “Global Open Day for Women and Peace.” Discussions between the two groups have centred on increasing women’s participation in sustainable conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
The two-week-long consultations involve Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and other high-level officials in more than 20 post-conflict countries. They are part of the lead up to the 10th anniversary of groundbreaking UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
“This anniversary is an opportunity to reaffirm the core message of that landmark text: sustainable peace is possible only with women’s full participation — their perspectives, their leadership, their daily, equal presence wherever we seek to make and keep the peace,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement.
Passed in 2000, resolution 1325 focuses an international spotlight on the impacts of conflict on women, and calls for women’s engagement in all aspects of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. While some progress is being made, women still do not play an equal role in peace processes or see their concerns fully reflected in peace agreements. Despite high levels of sexual and gender-based violence in conflicts, for example, a sample of 300 peace agreements signed since the end of the Cold War found that only 18 mention this gross violation of women’s rights.
Highlights from the first week of the Global Open Day include:
- In Liberia, women peace leaders presented a policy statement to Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ellen Margreth Løj. It highlighted three areas of concern: sexual violence, peacebuilding, and security sector reform, with specific recommendations on how to promote and sustain peace and security.
- In Kosovo, Nepal, Sierra Leone (under UN Security Council resolution 1244), Somalia and Sudan, women peace advocates highlighted the need to increase women’s representation in decision-making, ensure protection during conflict, and end impunity for war crimes, including sexual violence.
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 350 Open Day participants urged the UN and government officials to increase women’s participation in decision-making on peace and security, and to fully enforce laws on the advancement of women, gender parity, and punishment for perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence.
Upcoming events will take place in Afghanistan, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya and Pakistan, among others. Recommendations from the Global Open Day will be forwarded to the UN Security Council ahead of its October meeting on the implementation of resolution 1325.
- Say NO to Sexual Violence in Conflict — Tell governments to make Security Council resolution 1325 a reality for women