By Helena Gronberg
On January 14, 2013, we set out for Cankuzo Province to hold a three-day training as part of our Localizing UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program. Bordering Tanzania, Cankuzo is one of the most remotely situated provinces of Burundi’s 17 provinces. With a population of less than 250,000 (latest estimate from 2008 census) of Burundi’s 10.5 million population (2012), Cankuzo is also one of the most scarcely populated areas, partly due to the fact that a big part of the province is allocated to a nature reserve, the Ruvubu National Park. However, apart from its dark, sweet tasting honey that you can buy by the pound, Cankuzo takes pride in having one of the highest percentages of women’s participation in the communal councils. All five communes in the province, namely Cankuzo, Gendajuru, Gisagara, Kigamba, and Mishiha, have reached the 30 percent quota. Out of the total 83 communal chiefs, however, only four are women. The Localization workshop we were to hold was the second phase of GNWP’s Localization Program in Burundi. During the opening of the workshop the Governor of Cankuzo proudly stated that he has made a point of including more women in decision making during his tenure.
GNWP’s Localization Program is a bottom-up approach to policy-making that aligns local, national and international policies, and community driven strategies, to ensure local ownership, good governance, participation and linkages between local communities, civil society organizations and government in the work around UNSCR 1325, 1820 and the supporting resolutions on women and peace and security. In his speech at the opening of the Cankuzo workshop, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning noted that, “participation of many stakeholders is crucial in the decentralization process, and that local people expect the local politicians to address their needs.”
GNWP’s Localization on UNSCR 1325 program was first piloted in Burundi in 2010 when GNWP and its members, including Women Allies Peacebuilders Network, Fountain ISOKO for Good Governance and Integrated Development, and Burundi Leadership Training Program, held the first series of Localization workshops in the Gitega and Ngozi provinces as well as the capital, Bujumbura. The participants included governors, mayors, community leaders, traditional and religious leaders, the security sector, and women leaders. The workshops served as basic awareness-raising on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and the Burundi National Action Plan (NAP), which at the time was a draft waiting for adoption, as well as an opportunity to come up with specific strategies for implementation of the NAP when adopted.
One of the main recommendations of the 2010 workshops in Gitega and Ngozi was to come up with a set of guidelines for integration of the Burundi NAP and UNSCR 1325 and 1820 into communal development plans. A document entitled Guide Pratique pour l’Intégration des Résolutions 1325 et 1820 du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies dans les Plan Communaux de Développement Communautaires au Burundi was subsequently drafted by the two consultants who had served as resource persons in the 2010 workshops. With the objective to solicit concrete input from the participants on the content and usefulness of the document, the document was to be field tested in a provincial level workshop in Cankuzo and in a communal workshop in Cibitoke situated on the border to the DRC, the following week.
The workshop included a session on the notion of gender, discussions of the two resolutions and the Burundi National Action Plan on 1325 and 1820, presentations on the role of communal councils in implementation of issues of women and peace and security, and sessions on the actual guidelines.
Participants agreed that having a document that would guide local communities in the implementation of the NAP and the resolutions would be beneficial, but recommended that a shortened and more user-friendly version be made available. The necessity of translating all policy related materials into Kirundi was also highlighted repeatedly.
In addition to coming up with recommendations on how to improve the guidelines, participants made other recommendations in order to operationalize the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 Guidelines. Some recommendations included putting in place committees at the colline level, including female leaders, to monitor actions taken to integrate the WPS resolutions into communal planning; forming Community and Family Development Centers with the mandate to conduct awareness raising on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and the Burundi NAP; advocating for the Ministries of Finance and Planning; Interior; and National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender to prepare a joint statement inviting municipalities to incorporate in UNSCR 1325 and1820 into the communal development planning process; and including the Guideline on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 integration into the “Handbook for Municipal Planning.
The guidelines that have been endorsed by the Government (Ministry of Finance and Planning) will serve as a reference for local authorities in integrating the NAP 1325 and 1820 into community development plans. GNWP and its partners hope to be able to further field test the Guidelines in an additional three regional workshops in 2013, in order to guarantee full local ownership of the document.
GNWP and its members and partners in Burundi thank the Government of Canada for supporting the Localization Program in Burundi.
By Selamawit Tesfaye
From March 28 to April 3, 2013, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, a program of the International Civil society Action Network (GNWP-ICAN) and its members, lead by Cadre Permanent de Consultation de la Femme Congolaise (CAFCO), will hold Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 workshops in Lubumbashi and Likasi, two cities in the Katanga province in the south east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Other members include Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – DRC, Réseau Femme et Développement (REFED), and African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (AWANICh) – DRC.
In these workshops, local authorities such as governors, mayors, paramount chiefs, traditional, cultural and religious leaders, women leaders, civil society representatives and other local key actors will examine the UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and DRC’s National Action Plan (NAP) on UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS).
Participants will identify the specific provisions of the NAP most relevant to the social and cultural context of their communities and discuss how these provisions could be integrated into their local development plans. Additionally, participants will express their personal commitments and action recommendations that they can implement immediately as they are working on their local development plans.
These workshops constitute a bottom-up approach to the implementation of the WPS resolutions, with local authorities and communities taking ownership of the implementation of the resolutions. The resolutions call for participation of women in all decision-making and peacebuilding processes, prevention of conflict, prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, protection of women and girls’ rights, and promotion of a gender-perspective on peace and security issues.
Follow-up to these workshops will include the replication of the workshops in other provinces of the DRC and the development of comprehensive guidelines to be used by local officials throughout the country to integrate Resolutions 1325 and 1820 in local development plans.
The Localization workshops have already been implemented by GNWP-ICAN and its member organizations in a number of countries, namely, Burundi, the Philippines, Nepal, Colombia, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Nepal, Burundi and Sierra Leone have now developed Guidelines for the integration of WPS resolutions in local development planning.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blogs, pictures and Tweets on the Localization Workshops in Lubumbashi and Likasi.
GNWP-ICAN and its members in the DRC thank the Government of the UK for supporting this program.
By Afifa Faisal
After months of relentless lobbying efforts and two weeks of intense deliberations, the Agreed Conclusions, the outcome document of the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), was adopted with consensus on 15 March 2013. The adoption of the Agreed Conclusions was celebrated by women’s rights organizations around the world, and government delegations and UN representatives who support their views. Its adoption by member states was of particular significance this year after last year’s CSW failed to produce an outcome document.
With the priority theme of elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, CSW57 was one of the most highly attended sessions in recent history. Thousands of women’s rights advocates and organizations from around the world gathered in New York to participate in hundreds of side events organized during the two-week-long session. However, despite the seemingly unified commitment to end violence against women and girls, the process was very challenging with a broad range of political interests and agendas impeding the negotiations. A number of contentious issues were voiced by member states during the lengthy informal consultations, with language on sexual and reproductive health and rights, custom, tradition and religion, and peace and security among the most intensely debated.
Women’s rights organizations struggled, but ultimately succeeded in lobbying for language on the linkage between violence against women and peace and security, women human rights defenders, sexual and reproductive health, and small arms and light weapons. The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) welcomes the following inclusion of language on women, peace and security within the adopted Agreed Conclusions of CSW57:
- The Commission recalls Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000, 1820 (2008) of 19 June 2008, 1888 (2009) of 30 September 2009, 1889 (2009) of 5 October 2009 and 1960 (2010) of 16 December 2010 on women and peace and security and all relevant Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict, including resolutions 1882 (2009) of 4 August 2009 and 1998 (2011) of 12 July 2011 on armed conflict and post-conflict situations. [PP8]
- The Commission urges States to strongly condemn violence against women and girls committed in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, and recognizes that sexual and gender-based violence affects victims and survivors, families, communities and societies, and calls for effective measures of accountability and redress as well as effective remedies. [PP13]
- The Commission also recognizes the persistence of obstacles that remain for the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, and that the prevention and response to such violence requires States to act, at all levels, at each and every opportunity in a comprehensive and holistic manner that recognizes the linkages between violence against women and girls and other issues, such as education, health, HIV and AIDS, poverty eradication, food security, peace and security, humanitarian assistance and crime prevention. [PP20]
- The Commission recognizes that illicit use of and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons aggravates violence, inter alia, against women and girls. [PP25]
- Ensure that in armed conflict and post-conflict situations the prevention of and response to all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence, are prioritized and effectively addressed, including as appropriate through the investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators to end impunity, removal of barriers to women’s access to justice, the establishment of complaint and reporting mechanisms, the provision of support to victims and survivors, affordable and accessible health care services, including sexual and reproductive health, and reintegration measures; and take steps to increase women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes and post-conflict decision making. [PP34l]
- Ensure accountability for the killing, maiming and targeting of women and girls and crimes of sexual violence, as prohibited under international law, stressing the need for the exclusion of such crimes from amnesty provisions in the context of conflict resolution processes and address such acts in all stages of the armed-conflict and post-conflict resolution process including through transitional justice mechanisms, while taking steps to ensure the full and effective participation of women in such processes. [PP34m]
- Underline commitments to strengthen national efforts, including with the support of international cooperation, aimed at addressing the rights and needs of women and girls affected by natural disasters, armed conflicts, other complex humanitarian emergencies, trafficking in persons and terrorism, within the context of actions geared to addressing and eliminating violence against women and girls and the realization of the internationally agreed goals and commitments related to gender equality and the empowerment of women, including the Millennium Development Goals. [PP34p]
- Support and protect those who are committed to eliminating violence against women, including women human rights defenders in this regard, who face particular risks of violence. [PP34z]
- The Commission emphasizes that ending violence against women and girls is imperative, including for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and must be a priority for the eradication of poverty, the achievement of inclusive sustainable development, peace and security, human rights, health, gender equality and empowerment of women, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and social cohesion, and vice versa. [PP35]
Throughout the CSW57 negotiations, GNWP played a substantive role in ensuring that women, peace and security issues were addressed in the outcome document. It co-sponsored a number of events which set the tone for advocacy by identifying the challenges faced by women in conflict and post-conflict situations and presenting recommendations to address these issues.
At the panel on “UN Security Council Resolution #1325 – What lies ahead?, co-sponsored with the Permanent Missions of Armenia and Estonia to the UN, GNWP International Coordinator Mavic Cabrera-Balleza spoke about how the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 has become an effective strategy in ensuring the implementation of National Action Plans on UNSCR 1325 and 1820, particularly in local communities directly affected by conflict. During the panel discussion on countering violent extremism, GNWP emphasized the vital role of women in conflict prevention and peace building at both the informal and grassroots and official and national levels. In another event on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Latin America, GNWP in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Chile to the UN, shared how the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program in Colombia serves as an alternative mechanism in a country where there is no National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and 1820. In a panel discussion on the use of media to combat violence against women, co-sponsored with Fork Films, Peace is Loud, World YWCA and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, GNWP stressed the need for women to reclaim the media and produce and distribute media materials that would serve grassroots women’s interests.
At the official negotiations, the Permanent Mission of Chile to the UN introduced the language on the illicit use of and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. With support from the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), the language was retained. GNWP provided the Permanent Mission of Chile to the UN with the details on this issue .
In addition to organizing several side events, GNWP co-facilitated the Conversation Circle (thematic caucus) on Peace and Security / Violence against Women. This was a significant lobbying opportunity for identifying and recommending additional women, peace and security language that should be included in the Agreed Conclusions. GNWP, in collaboration with like-minded organizations, reviewed past Agreed Conclusions as well as relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, and shared their language inputs with the nearly 100 women peace activists and women human rights defenders who attended the conversation circle. As a result, GNWP significantly influenced the Agreed Conclusions from the women, peace and security perspective.
While the Agreed Conclusions of CSW57, particularly its inclusion and emphasis on women, peace and security, is an important step in ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Agreed Conclusions were not as strong and outcome-oriented as GNWP would have liked. For example, the insertion of the word “recalls” in place of “reaffirms” for Security Council resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, and 1960 weakens the language on women, peace and security within the Agreed Conclusions. This calls for strengthening efforts to support advocacy and action for the implementation of Security Council resolutions on women and peace and security at the local, national, regional and international levels.
Following the conclusion of the CSW57, GNWP is in the process of drafting a statement that will contain its reflections and recommendations for a better and stronger CSW.
Conversation Circle on Peace and Security / Violence against Women
Media as an Instrument in Fighting Violence Against Women in Conflict-Affected Settings
By Eléonore Veillet Chowdhury
The plane is small, with exactly two propellers and two wings. It is flying us back to Bogotá from the city of Quibdó, where GNWP held its third Localization of the Resolution 1325 workshop in Colombia. The first workshop took place on September 17 and 18 in Cali, the biggest city in the
Valle of Cauca district. What is striking about Cali is not its size, but its obvious concern with security. Barbwire, metal bars and heavy fences guard stores, houses, hotels, and apartment buildings alike. In Popayán, where our second workshop was held, there are fewer metal bars. However, the army—young boys in uniforms carrying machine guns—takes over the streets of the city in the evening and through the night; Popayán is the capital of the Cauca department, one of the regions in Colombia most affected by armed conflict. Quibdó, the location for the third workshop, is the capital city of the poorest department in Colombia. It beats Cali in terms of protective fences, and yet somehow, it manages to be an incredibly welcoming city. Whether in Cali, Popayán, Quibdó or Bogotá, it is impossible to miss that security is of major concern in Colombia. And yet Colombia does not have a National Action Plan for the implementation of the principal Women, Peace and Security resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council: Resolution 1325 and the supporting Resolutions 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960.
In Cali, Popayán, and Quibdó, the objective of the GNWP workshop was the same: to share with local authorities the provisions of the Resolutions 1325 and 1820 so that they could evaluate if and how these international laws on Women, Peace and Security could be integrated into local policies and local development plans. A bottom-up approach to the implementation of Resolution 1325, these work
shops in Colombia were part of a GNWP project that enables local actors to examine the applicability and use of Resolution 1325 to address the specific peace and security concerns in their communities with a particular focus on women’s participation in decision-making and all peace processes; and sexual violence prevention. Through a series of presentations and small group work, the various local government representatives identified the provisions of Resolution 1325 that would reinforce or fill gaps in their own development plans.
In Cali, representatives from the Palmira, Cali and Buenaventura municipalities found that their municipalities already had a number of policies that dealt with the three pillars of Resolution 1325: women’s participation in decision-making positions and peacebuilding processes, the prevention of violence and human rights abuses against women and girls, and the protection of women and women victims of all kinds of violence. However, in spite of the existing local and national policies, local governance emphasized that domestic violence and violence among armed groups continue to affect women disproportionally. Elizabeth Ortega Carvajal, from the Palmira municipality, stressed the importance of empowering women and girls to be active participants in security forces, though she specified: “We want our women in uniforms, but not with guns.” Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, our own International Coordinator, added that our purpose as civil society working on Women, Peace and Security is never to make war safe for women, but to do away with war and armed conflict altogether. At the end of the workshop, participants listed their personal and municipal commitments. The three municipalities represented—Palmiras, Buenaventura, and Cali—decided to develop an Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions (1829, 1888, 1889, 1960) at the departmental level. Local Authorities from Palmira play a coordinating role. They committed to convoke the “Grupo de 8” or 8 mayors of the Valle del Cauca department to assist a capacity-building workshop on Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions. Local authorities from Valle del Cauca are on their way to developing a departmental Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions with the participation of their mayors, local civil society groups and their communities.
Following the workshop in Cali, we headed to the city of Popayán, where we were welcomed by Stella Millán de Ortega, wife of Governor Temístocles Ortega Narváez. The recently elected governor opened the workshop by confirming that the new administrative structure of the department will include a Women’s Office that will be responsible for implementing gender policies. A dozen municipalities were represented. While only one government official has ever heard of Resolution 1325 prior to the workshop, all found that their development plans included the central provisions of the resolution. However, when describing their respective municipalities, almost all the participants lamented that there is a huge gap between the policies in place and the actual situation for women living in their communities. Officials from the Argelia Mejor and Miranda municipalities spoke of the endurance of a culture of silence when it comes to sexual violence. Women seldom denounce out of fear and shame, and if and when they do, they are blamed for the abuse they experienced. Gloria Ines Ducuara, a representative from the civil society organization Red Municipal de Mujeres de Caldono, added that women often did not report domestic violence because of financial dependence on their partners. “If women are financially independent,” Gloria explained, “they will not put up with domestic violence and abuse.” Like in Cali, there was a clear consensus among the local authorities present that it is key to have the support of the mayors in this work of diffusion of international resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, so as to be able to encourage and track their implementations at the local level. The mayors, they explained, control the resources and have the most power in the municipalities. Florencia is an example of a municipality where the mayor already supports initiatives dealing with gender equality. In municipalities where there is no such support, the local authorities committed to engaging their mayors, fellow officials and communities in
discussion of the Resolutions 1325 and 1820, as well as on Women, Peace and Security issues in general. The workshop concluded with the agreement that each municipality will conduct awareness raising workshops on the Resolution 1325 in November, the month of the Civic Day of Colombian Women and the International day of Non-violence Against Women.
In Quibdó, local officials from ten municipalities in the Chocó department participated in the Localization workshop. The workshop took place right in the middle of the three-week long San Pacho—a yearly holiday celebrating San Pacho or St. Francis of Assisi, Quibdó’s patron saint. The festive atmosphere did not in any way attenuate the local officials’ concerns regarding the harsh realities faced by their communities, particularly by women in their municipalities. Like in Cali and Popayán, the limited resources and the importance of the participation of the mayors in the discussion were discussed at length. Wilman Sanchez, from the Rio Iro, emphasized that even if resources are scarce and the mayors may be initially uncooperative, it is not an excuse to “remain with our arms crossed.” Luis Alfredo Garces Robledo, from Carmen del Darien, added that it is indeed the local officials mandate to make sure that the rights of each and every individual are respected, and there is greater women’s participation in governance and in high-level positions in generals. Like in Cali and Popayán, there was barely any awareness of Resolution 1325 on the part of local officials participating. The lack of Internet access to look directly at the Development Plans made the simultaneous close-reading of the development plans and Resolution 1325 difficult. Nonetheless, all officials committed to read closely their own Development Plans as a follow-up to the workshop. While all together in Quibdó, they decided to plan a forum that would regroup mayors, other municipal officials and civil society to discuss Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions. Gloria Luna Rivillas, from the Red de Mujeres Chocoanas (Chocó Women’s Network), stressed the importance of including officials from the diverse communities in the Chocó department. In the predominantly Afro-Colombian region, it is crucial for the indigenous communities to take part in the work around the Resolution 1325. More than in any other regions, the synergy between women representatives from civil society and the local authorities of Chocó was palpable throughout the workshop. Together, women from the Chocó Women’s Network and local authorities epxressed that with work at the local level—a bottom-up approach to the integration and implementation of Resolution 1325—they hope to better the situation for women in their communities. The first step will be the multiplication of workshops on 1325 and the extensive diffusion of information on Resolution 1325 in their offices and their communities. Chocó Women’s Network will ensure that regular communication among the local officials continues and that commitments are fulfilled.
It is evening, and we have left Chocó with commitments of our own: to stay in contact as well, and to put together a packet of materials on Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions in Spanish with our members and partners here in Colombia, Red Nacional de Mujeres (National Women’s Network) and Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica-CIASE (Corporation for Research and Social and Economic Action). We will also support projects of local authorities that aim for the better awareness and more effective implementation of Resolution 1325 at the local level, by endorsing their proposals in writing and by sharing lists of potential donors supportive of projects on Women, Peace and Security. These commitments we have made to participants in the other workshops as well, in Popayán and in Cali. As the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, we promise to fulfill these commitments to the best of our ability.
We thank the Folke Bernadotte Academy and Cordaid for supporting this project.
By Mavic Cabrera Balleza
Andrea was eight years old when she lost her father in 1992 during a clash between Colombian military and combatants from the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) (National Liberation Army), one of the two major rebel groups in Colombia. Andrea is just one of the millions of victims of the 50-year old armed conflict in Colombia that has caused the death of more than 600,000 people; the displacement of more than three million people; and the vast destruction and loss of properties.
Andrea now works for a women’s organization that helps women and their families displaced by the continuing armed conflict. She attended one of the workshops on the localization of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace and Security in September 2012 organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and the Colombian Working Group for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325, in different cities and municipalities in Colombia. The localization workshops brought together governors, mayors, indigenous leaders, grassroots women leaders, and local police and military officers. The focus of the localization workshops was on the implementation of the Security Council resolutions in conflict-affected communities. In light of the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Andrea asked how she and other victims of the war could use the Security Council resolutions to seek justice.
The answer to Andrea’s question came at a panel discussion on the participation of women in the Colombian peace talks organized on November 2, 2012 by GNWP, Cordaid and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
At the panel discussion, Adalgiza Charria Quintero, a representative of the Red Nacional de Mujeres, a national coalition of women’s groups in Colombia that works on women’s human rights and peace and justice issues, invoked the principles of Resolution 1325 and outlined the following demands of Colombian women in the ongoing peace talks:
1) the observance of a ceasefire during the peace process;
2) the representation of women among the principal negotiators (1st tier) of the Government and the FARC; (The Colombian peace negotiation has three tiers.)
3) truth, justice and reparations for victims, specifically for victims of sexual violence and guarantees of non-repetition; and
4) the continuation of the peace talks until an agreement is reached.
Katherine Ronderos, the second speaker at the panel discussion representing WILPF Colombia called for the inclusion of women in the country teams of Cuba, Chile, Norway and Venezuela who are mediating the peace talks. She also urged the Colombian government to develop a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and implement the recommendations of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict who visited Colombia in May 2012. In addition, she urged the negotiators and everyone involved in the negotiations to include the demands and needs of women and strengthen and open local consultation processes for the full participation of women. Finally, she called on the international community to provide funding for women’s advocacy for political participation at the local level. She also demanded the security and protection of women human rights defenders.
UNSCR 1325 is an international law that mandates all UN Member States to guarantee women’s full and equal participation in peace negotiations and all peace processes. It also demands the prevention of conflict and the protection of women and girls’ rights and their protection from sexual violence.
In their advocacy for the implementation of UNSCR 1325, Colombian women’s groups also demand the full and effective implementation of the Victims Law 1448 of 2011. Under this law, the Colombian government acknowledges the impact of the armed conflict, particularly the loss of land and the human rights abuses committed against the citizens. It demands the return of stolen or abandoned land to its rightful owners as well as the comprehensive reparations for victims and survivors of human rights abuses committed in the context of armed conflict.
The absence of women in the peace talks is a key concern expressed not only by women’s organizations but also by international policy makers and UN officials. Another concern raised by many groups is the Colombian government’s refusal to observe a ceasefire. Prior to the peace talks, President Manuel Santos stated that military operations against the FARC will continue until an agreement has been reached.
The Colombian government and the FARC agreed on the following as the main agenda of their ongoing negotiation: rural development; guarantees for the exercise of political opposition and citizen participation; the end of armed conflict; drug trafficking; and the rights of the victims of the conflict. Women’s organizations and other civil society actors have sent letters to UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and UN Undersecretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet expressing their concerns about women’s absence in the Colombian peace talks as well as in other peace processes in different parts of the world.
There are also reports that negotiations with ELN could take place soon. This will strengthen the efforts to achieve sustainable peace of Colombia, as the two main guerrilla groups could establish a clear path to peaceful transformation, demobilization and reintegration.
The ongoing peace talks have raised Andrea’s hopes and those of many other Colombians that there might yet be peace and justice after all.
Panel Discussion Notes
By Selam Tesfaye
The objective of this panel discussion was to create a forum for dialogue with women civil society and government representatives from the Republic of South Sudan to share their insights and experiences in
relation to the 2012 Addis Ababa Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan (North Sudan); and how the Cooperation Agreement impacts the future of women in the country including the UNSCR 1325 National Action Planning process. The meeting was organized by the Permanent Mission of Sweden, the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and Operation 1325 in partnership with the Institute for Inclusive Security. The panelists for the events were H.E. Jersa Kide, Deputy Chair, National Elections Commission and Member of Women’s Leaders Coalition; Ms. Margaret Mathiang, National Constitutional Review Commission and Member of Women’s Leaders Coalition; and Ms. Rita Martin, Director of EVE Organization for Women and Development.
Local Legislation and Capacity Building Workshop on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 June 23 – 25, 2012 Sahara Hotel, Bo, Sierra Leone
By Selamawit Tesfaye
The second workshop for GNWP’s Local Legislation Capacity Building project took place in Bo, the second largest district in Sierra Leone. Bo prides itself as being the cleanest district in Sierra Leone and even enforces a mandatory cleaning day the last Saturday of each month. And truly the streets and highways in the district are very clean especially when compared to Freetown and Kenema. Just like the workshop in Kenema, the participants to the workshop comprised of Councilors, Paramount Chiefs, members of the Decentralization Secretariat, Civil Society representatives, Family Support Unit, Office of National Security, representatives from the Mayor’s office. At the opening of the workshop, one of the 14 Woman Paramount Chiefs out of the overall 149 in Sierra Leone, Ms. Ruth Tutu Fawundu-Songa stated called on women to support one another. She recited her own campaign experience in which her main opposition was women of the community. Following her statement, Rebecca S. Maruna, Acting Mayor of Bonthe District officially opened the session by intoning “More Women! Better Politics!” from the way most of the participants joined her apparently a very famous slogan in the community. She encouraged women to participate in the coming elections in November. She also called for the end of violence against women which often hinders women from full and active participation in decision making processes. In their presentation on their understanding of good governance, the councils gave a context of the situation in their respective administrative structures. Here, the presentations were very interesting as the participants were open and gave a full critic of what actually happens on the ground. They were open in criticizing each other and also identifying their weaknesses. The councils also drafted their action plans on what they plan to do after the workshop in terms of implementation of the SiLNAP by integrating it into their CDPs and identifying possible activities that could be translated into by-laws. In giving their commitments afterwards, all of the participants pledged to create awareness of the UNSCR resolutions 1325 and 1820 as well as the implementation of the SiLNAP. Lastly, the workshop was concluded with a traditional ritual by one of the Paramount Cheifs who blessed all the partcipants in their future endeavors and wished the best of luck for Gladys Gbappy Brima, founder and coordinator of GNWP member Women’s Partnership of Justice and Peace, who is running for a seat in the upcoming elections in November.
On May 13th 2012 in Sudan, a young twenty-year old woman, Intisar Sharif Abdulla, was sentenced to death by stoning on accusations of adultery. Initially, Intisar and her co-accused pleaded “not-guilty,” however, after reportedly being beaten by her own brother, she later “admitted” to the charges. Not only was Intisar denied access to legal representation, but was also barred from having a translator, despite the fact that her knowledge of Arabic was limited. Now, as her co-accused walks free, Intisar, with her legs in chains and still nursing her four-month old baby who is in prison with her, awaits her conviction in a Sudanese detention centre.
In addition to exemplifying the unjust application of corporeal punishment, judicial standards have been almost wholly violated in the case of Intisar, illustrating the magnitude of gender inequality and discriminatory norms in Sudan. In anticipation of this young mother’s cruel and unfair death sentence, we ask that human rights groups, organizations, and networks take action and spread the word about Intisar Sharif Abdulla. A legal appeal has been instigated by a legal team on her behalf, however local and international pressure is needed to see that this appeal is upheld. Please help save this woman’s life by participating in the Amnesty Urgent Action and raising awareness by posting this onto your website, Facebook page, or other media outlet.
Hello GNWP network!
Tomorrow we will begin our workshops on UNSR 1325 & 1820 in Palmira, Cali.
The workshops will begin with a presentation on Colombia’s peace and security situation and its impact on women. We will follow with a presentation on UN SCR 1325 and 1820 and then we will hear from the local women’s organizations and the work they have been doing in their communities thus far in respect to women, peace and security.
Mavic, Dawn and Rosa at Rosa's office
During this workshop the participants will listen to the public service announcements and provide feedback on how these public service announcements can raise awareness in their communities.
Participants of the workshop will be women from local organizations and will also include underrepresented groups from Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations.
The local media will be present and local authorities so not only do we hope to raise awareness among the women but among the local authorities who can be instrumental in developing a local action plan on UN SCR 1325 and 1820.
Mavic & Rosa stuck at the airport!
Yesterday, Mavic and I finally met up with our colleague from CIASE to start our travel to Pasto. Unfortunately, the weather got in the way of our plans and we were not able to begin the workshops. Hopefully, we will be able to conduct the workshops this weekend or next Monday. We are eager to meet with the women coming from such communities as Ipialis and Tumaco where the armed conflict has a strong presence and affects the daily lives of the people in these towns. There is said to be heavy drug trafficking in Tumaco and the presence of FARC and paramilitary actors make it difficult to enter these communities and also for women to talk about peace and security. In fact, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune, there was a bomb planted on a motorcycle that killed 11 people and injured more than 30 others just a few days ago in Tumaco. Hence, all the more initiative to meet with these women to hear their stories and put advocacy in action in the face of conflict. Read more about the bombing here.
PEACE FAIR (October 25-29, 2010) Archive: Women Promote Peace
at UN Church Center (777 UN Plaza; 44th street and 1st Avenue)
For Program click here Peace Fair Program 1325 October 25-29, 2010