Women pivotal to bringing lasting peace to countries in conflict

Apr 1, 2014

Amman - Women activists from 11 countries across the Arab region convened today to identify means to support women’s participation in peace making and ensure women’s protection from all forms of violence during times of conflict and emergency.

The regional seminar on Gender in Conflict and Emergency, jointly organized by Karama, the League of Arab States, the European Union and the United National Development Programme (UNDP), brings together women’s rights advocates, academics, and leaders from countries in the region that have suffered from conflict and instability in recent years, including the occupied Palestinian territory, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Over the three days of the seminar, regional activists will work closely with international gender experts and trainers from Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights to examine challenges and opportunities that women face in conflict, post-conflict and emergency situations, discuss means to gender equality at negotiation tables and in peace processes, and develop civil society national action plans on women, peace, and security within the region.

“Ensuring Arab women's equal participation in peace and security processes including during post conflict recovery, and periods of transition is an investment in a more peaceful future and in the sustainability of this region,” said Dr. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary General and Regional Bureau Director of the Arab States at the UNDP. “It is a timely investment, given the number of countries in the region engaged in constitutional and legislative reform processes, and accelerating efforts to rebuild new democratic systems.”

Civil society participants in the seminar called upon the international community to support the role of women as agents of change in peace building rather than addressing them as victims, and to guarantee women’s voices and priorities are integral in post-conflict negotiations, national reconstruction, and peace keeping efforts. They also called for gender perspectives, which consider the experience of women in times of conflict and emergency, to be adopted and mainstreamed in all such efforts and initiatives.

“The Arab Strategic Framework for Women, Peace and Security, which was developed by the League of Arab States, advocates for the formulation of indicators for all phases of conflict: prevention, protection, participation, reconstruction and rehabilitation,” said Ambassador Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General of the League of Arab States. “The aim is to guarantee the active participation of women and the protection of their rights in accordance with all decisions, and regional and international agreements related to security provision and women’s protection from all forms of violence,”

This Seminar builds upon the work of the recently established Arab Regional Network for Women, Peace, and Security, which was launched in October 2013 by Karama, in coordination with the UNDP and the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality.

“It is clear that women are disproportionately impacted by violence, but also systematically left out of peace and transition processes. For the first time, Arab governments and civil society are working together hand-in-hand to end violence against women in both conflict and post-conflict situations,” said Karama Founder Hibaaq Osman. “UN security council resolutions 1325 and related resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889, 2122) provide the framework for this work. We now want words backed up by international action, and supported by national partners and action plans on the ground.”

Contact information

Karama: Zeinab Al Bulbul
E-mail: zeinab@el-karama.org
Mobile:   +962 7 9873 1395+962 7 9873 1395

UNDP:  Noeman AlSayyad
Regional Communication Advisor, Regional Centre in Cairo
E-mail: noeman.alsayyad@undp.org
Mobile:  +20 10 0181 1876

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