Saturday, July 26, 2014

Opportunities for women’s access and participation to official peace processe

Women gaining access to official peace processes through international support

In 2000, UNIFEM (now UN Women) convened an ‘All-Party Burundi Women’s Peace Conference’ in Arusha, Tanzania, where women drafted specific recommendations for the peace process. Women’s organisations approached and lobbied the conflict parties and Nelson Mandela – one of the chief mediators – to include women in the peace negotiations. Mandela publicly stated his support for women’s equal participation in the peace negotiations. Furthermore, women’s representatives urged the Ugandan President (who also participated in the peace negotiations) to make their voices heard.
The president received a delegation of 100 women and subsequently asked the former president of Tanzania and other chief mediators to push for the participation of women in Arusha. Consequently, seven women attended the talks. These women were not members of any political party; they were representatives of women’s rights organisations. During Kenya’s post-electoral violence in 2008, the mediator Kofi Annan, Chair of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, along with his fellow panel member, Graça Machel, facilitated women's access to the negotiations. They encouraged women to draft recommendations for the peace process, which were subsequently presented to the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation
Committee charged with negotiating the terms of the peace agreement.

Women setting up their own peace fora to get access to the official peace process

When excluded from official peace processes, women can set up their own unofficial peace fora. A striking characteristic of these separate women’s peace platforms is that they work across class, caste and ethnic divides – often playing by and subverting established rules.

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