“The Role of Women in Establishing Peace”
Date and Time: Saturday, November 26th, 2022, 3:00 PM (CET)
Location: Online (Zoom)
Topics: Women’s Rights, Human Rights, Peace Establishment
Host: HWPL Northern Seoul and Gyeonggi Branch
Mrs. Minerva Kadar Afonso, Spain, Delegate of the Sitges agency, Alma Association against Gender Violence
Dr. Aïcha Bacha, Belgium, Secretary General, Global Movement of Pan African Women Leaders (MMFLP)
Mrs. Céline Marie Yolande Via, Madagascar, National coordinator, Federation for the Promotion of Women and Children (F.P.F.E)
Mr. Dadastone Ipoma, France, Founder, Ipoma Foundation
Mrs. Grace Mele, France, French Coordinator, International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG)
This webinar was held to raise awareness on the protection of women’s rights, to review the status of women’s participation in the peace process, to understand and recognize the impact of women and the cooperation between women organizations in achieving sustainable peace.
“We must ensure that the empowerment of women as peacebuilders, encouraged in UN Resolution 1325, becomes a reality. There is growing evidence that women’s participation in peace negotiations improves the quality of agreements reached and increases the chances of successful implementation. It enriches the process, as women are better able to put gender issues on the agenda, identify different priorities, and potentially break down political divides more effectively.”
-Dr. Aicha Bacha
On November 26, 2022, HWPL (Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light), in cooperation with IWPG (International Women’s Peace Group) and the MMFLP (Global Movement of Pan-African Women Leaders), a network that carries UN Women’s commitments, hosted the Human Rights Forum “The Role of Women in Establishing Peace”.
The online forum was held to raise awareness on the protection of women’s rights, to review the status of women’s participation in the peace process, to understand and recognize the impact of women and the cooperation between women organizations in achieving sustainable peace.
The five actors related to women’s rights (NGOs and experts), Mrs. Minerva Kadar Afonso, Dr. Aicha Bacha, Mrs. Céline Marie Yolande Via, Mr. Dadastone Ipoma and Mrs. Grace Mele, gave a speech about women’s right and their participation in the peace process with a focus on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
Defending women’s rights and encouraging their participation in society can only be a positive impulse to make the world a better place. As an agent of change, every woman has the power to influence her immediate environment and change the global order to achieve more equal and peaceful societies. However, women’s rights are too often overlooked and their level of participation in decision-making positions still needs to be improved.
Through this forum, the speakers talked about the status of women’s rights in different countries, their role in the peace process and the necessity to increase the representation of women at all levels of decision-making to ensure greater participation of women in actions taken to resolve conflicts and to achieve a peaceful world as mentioned in UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
Points of discussion
Mrs. Minerva Kadar, representative of Alma association, a Spanish association fighting against domestic violence, mentioned the capacity of the woman to create hope where there is pain and trauma of wars. She recalled that women play an essential role in conflict resolution and peace building, but that their contribution is still overshadowed, which is reflected both in political positions and in the wage gap, and unfortunately in the increase of violence against women and the lack of means to contain it. She concluded by saying that we should be able to guarantee the protection of girls, boys and women and encourage women to participate fully in political decision-making processes, international peace missions, negotiations, etc. as it is a clearly defined objective of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.
Dr. Aicha Bacha, a specialist in UN Security Council Resolution 1325, spoke on the subject, recalling that Resolution 1325 recognized the impact of armed conflict on women and girls and guaranteed their protection and participation in peace agreements. But according to Dr. Bacha, the implementation and impact of this resolution remains weak. She presented casualty figures for non-combatants in recent armed conflicts that amounted to 70%, mainly women and children. Dr. Aicha Bacha also mentioned that about 500 actions have been taken for the implementation of Resolution 1325, but despite these numerous efforts, women and girls continue to be victims of gender-based violence during and after armed conflicts. Ms. Bacha called for the empowerment of women as peacemakers and said that education could help achieve this.
Mrs. Céline Marie Yolande Via, National Coordinator of the Federation for the Promotion of Women and Children mentioned the context of inequality between men and women which led them to the initiative of drafting a bill on the participation of women in decision-making positions. She mentioned various actors who were involved in the drafting process, such as the Parliament, civil society organizations, platforms and associations of women and youth, sociologists, anthropologists, lawyers, representatives of political parties, city councilors and others. The law was adopted by two chambers of parliament in June 2022, and then submitted for constitutional review on July 4, 2022. Unfortunately, on September 22, 2022, the law on women’s participation was declared unconstitutional on the grounds that certain provisions fall under the regulatory power and discretionary power of the Head of State.
Mr. Dadastone Ipoma, Ambassador for Peace and President of the Ipoma Foundation, emphasized that women are victims in conflicts, but they are also actors. He recounted his conversation with a Congolese military officer who spoke of rape as a weapon of war. He added that, in peace processes, women are often neglected, but that Resolution 1325 aims to strengthen the role of women in the peace process. He also mentioned that women can easily promote human rights. Finally, he spoke about the important role of women in education within the family, especially in terms of peace education.
Ms. Grace Mele, national coordinator of the IWPG and peace speaker, spoke about the creation of a culture of peace by women, a role that could be achieved through peace education. The IWPG mainly advocates for the establishment of an international law for peace by promoting the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW). Proposed by HWPL, the DPCW is a made of 10 articles and 38 clauses that could amend the current international law and ensure the protection of all humanity without discrimination. Through support campaigns and petition signatures, this document is being promoted around the world. Ms. Mele ended by sharing about the initiative called Peace Committee which is a platform of associative cooperation for the implementation of actions and initiatives for peace by different women associations and groups.
Minerva Kadar Afonso: Women play an essential role in conflict resolution and peace building, and we also see that in voluntary actions, their presence is more important although their contribution is still overshadowed, which is reflected both in political positions, and unfortunately in the increase of violence against women.
Aicha Bacha: Their (women’s) full participation in conflict prevention and management, peacebuilding, and humanitarian disaster management will contribute to democracy and enhance respect for human rights and development.
Céline Marie Yolande Via: Noting the striking inequality of treatment between men and women in our country (Madagascar), and the low rate of women’s participation in decision-making positions, in the year 2020, the FPFE, took the initiative to draft a bill about the participation of women in decision-making positions.
Dadastone Ipoma: Unlike the conflict between Russia and Ukraine where wheat is used as a weapon of war, in some conflicts it is women who are used as weapons of war.
Grace Mele: The creation of a culture of peace requires women. Every woman is a potential peace leader, and the emergence of this role can be achieved through peace education. Thus, the IWPG trains and helps women of all ages to become aware of their value, their strength, and their capacity to act.
Our next step is to establish a network of associations for women’s rights and to make progress for activities on improving awareness.
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