Soar with Women Peacebuilders: Join the She Builds Peace Campaign, March 23, 9-10:30
International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
Women in power and decision-making, Human rights of women, Violence against women, Women and armed conflict
SDG3 – Good Health and Well-Being, SDG16 – Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, SDG17 – Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Bullying (2016), Harassment (2016), Tolerance of Minority Groups (2016), Building Peace through Women’s Education (2019), Human Rights for Refugee and Refugee Women and Children (2019)
The session does not relate to any current advocacy of my NFA of which I am aware. I was interested in any specific applications to the current situation in Afghanistan, an area of focus of some of CFUW.
The women belonging to this organization choose to deal with conflict using words rather than weapons. Most started as human rights defenders and then became peace builders. The reality on the ground is that the situations are not just two-sided but multi-dimensional. They want to have a global call to action. They want not only to have women peace builders but to ensure there is protection for them. Financing and resources are a struggle. Issues are locally rooted but often globally connected. Work is consistent and ongoing but is often urgent. Women peace builders are needed in all areas. Peace builders from Pakistan presented. They were first responders in COVID and broke the image that they could not respond to emergencies. We heard stories from Cameroon where men became interested in their work and young women peace builders saw it as the way out of the situation they had been living in. Canada confirmed new funding the government had offered women peace builders through their missions around the world. In Egypt bridges were being built by peace activists. In Sri Lanka women have come together from the grass roots to work together for a common goal. The UK confirmed such work needs to be promoted and more protection needs to be put in place for those that step up to lead. All agreed that enough was enough, no more violence, no more killing. Myanmar was once again the focus – the story that their right to protest peacefully was denied. Participants were encouraged to bang their pots at 8:00 pm Myanmar every evening to show support for the protesters. UN Woman acknowledged the courageous work that was being done by women peacebuilders in most difficult circumstances and stressed the need for financing. We were reminded how women's involvement in peace agreements leads to greater sustainability. The objective is to create a new norm. We need to encourage independent women delegations to take part in peace talks. We need to invite women as official observers and encourage them to negotiate on agenda issues.They should speak to delegates about the issues. They should provide gendered briefing papers. Funding and grants need to be provided. Sadly peacebuilders experience increasing number of threats, often gendered due to patriarchal societies. Protection guidelines and protocols need to be put into place to reduce risk and ensure prompt response.
It raised awareness about the realities of such. The growing involvement of women around the world is encouraging.

These groups need our support in raising awareness among others of their existence and location. Where are they and how can we help?

Author: Hally Siddons

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