IWTC Women's GlobalNet #286
Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide
November 4, 2005
WOMEN’S VOICES ON PEACE AND SECURITY ISSUES
By Tina Johnson
1. IWTC and Isis-WICCE host CyberDialogue on UNSCR 1325.
1. With October marking the 5th anniversary of United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security (see Women's GlobalNet #282), the International Women's Tribune Centre and Isis-WICCE convened a Peace-Building CyberDialogue on UNSCR 1325. Envisioned as a global town hall meeting, this “real time” discussion (with voice and visual contact) connected women working on peace in conflict-affected countries with gender advocates, policy makers and diplomats meeting at the UN and with women attending the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) International Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. Women gathered in Nepal, the Philippines, Timor Leste, Uganda and Zimbabwe to discuss their experiences with using UNSCR 1325, including ways to use the resolution to strengthen women's participation in key decision-making bodies that deal with peace and security issues and the issues that they want to bring to the attention of decision makers. Participants in New York included Rachel Mayanja, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women. Ms. Mayanja noted the women's concerns and suggestions and took their messages to the Open Debate of the UN Security Council, which took place immediately following the CyberDialogue.
The outcome of the Dialogue also fed into the discussions at the AWID International Forum which had as its overarching theme “Women in a Changing World”. Plans call for excerpts from the CyberDialogue to be used in the production of local language “1325” radio programmes that IWTC is developing to reach out to women working on these issues at community level. A three-part radio programme is currently airing in the Philippines and others are planned for Uganda and Zimbabwe.
2. The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (NGOWG), of which IWTC is an active member, brought five women peacemakers to UN Headquarters to speak to senior UN officials and government representatives on conflict resolution and ways to fully involve women in peace and security decision-making in their countries. NGOWG was formed in May 2000 to successfully advocate for UNSCR 1325 and now advocates for and monitors the participation of women and the prevention of conflict and protection of all civilians to ensure full and rapid implementation of the resolution. The women peacemakers brought to the UN by the NGOWG were Sweeta Noori (Afghanistan), Ohmar Khin (Burma), Goretti Ndacayisaba (Burundi), Margarita Pallares (Colombia) and Basma Fakri (Iraq). Two of them addressed the Open Debate of the Security Council and two addressed the the Arria Formula Meeting -an informal, off-the-record meeting that allows the Council greater flexibility to be briefed about international peace and security issues. Their speeches are available on the WILPF Peace Women website at <http://www.peacewomen.org>.
Concurrent with these activities, and in partnership with women peace advocates around the world, the NGO Working Group called on the Security Council and governments to:
1. Develop national policies to ensure women's equal participation in peace and security decision-making;
The NGO Working Group also used the occasion of the October anniversary of UNSCR 1325 to launch its report entitled “Five Years On: From Local to Global: Making Peace Work for Women”, which details progress in implementing this ground-breaking resolution.
3. openDemocracy - the online magazine of politics and culture - launched a major debate in October to mark the 5th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, questioning whether the resoultion has made any real difference and what difference it could make. The "Women Making a Difference" web blog brings together 30 women who have experienced conflict and who have fought to prevent it - from Abhkazia to Sierra Leone - in an in-depth conversation on their experiences and their ambitions. At the same time, the site features a series of articles that take “a long, cool look at what this major international commitment has achieved to date”. The debate will continue through mid-November. To read the blog and participate in the debate, go to <http://www.opendemocracy.net>.
4. Throughout the deliberations by the UN Security Council on UNSCR 1325, the importance of accelerating its implementation was repeatedly stressed. In a Presidential Statement adopted after a day long debate, which saw the participation of more than three dozen speakers - including representatives of countries as well as members of civil society - the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the resolution but acknowledged that more must be done to help women in armed conflict. While the original resolution contained no reference to sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, the statement - reiterating more recent Council declarations - contained strong language condemning these practices. Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania, who currently holds the Presidency of the 15-member body, urged troop-contributing countries to “ensure full accountability in cases of misconduct involving their personnel”. He also stated that more should be done to ensure that women play a greater role at the negotiating table and in “developing and implementing post-conflict strategies”.
5. Women and armed conflict is the theme of this month's Women, Ink. Booklink, the monthly email update on new titles in the Women, Ink. collection. The Booklink for November features three new titles: Gender Mainstreaming in Conflict Transformation: Building Sustainable Peace; Gender-Based Violence in Conflict-Affected Settings; and Women in an Insecure World: Violence Against Women - Facts, Figures and Analysis (see below for ordering details).
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