On the occasion of the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, the Geneva Centre in collaboration with European Public Law Organization (EPLO), organized an online panel event “Promoting equal rights and women’s participation towards peace”, on 23 March 2022.

Women are disproportionately affected by conflict and crisis yet their participation is key to sustainable peace and stability. Confronted with the Covid-19 pandemic, women in particularly vulnerable situations, such as in displacement or conflict and post-conflict contexts, are enduring a two-fold crisis. This places their human rights and their participation as equal stakeholders in all facets of society at risk. In parallel, women are also vital defenders of communities in times of war and conflict through mobilizing and delivering humanitarian assistance at the local community level and play an important role in both conflict prevention and peace building.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security provides a global framework for the equal involvement of women in peace efforts and acknowledges the different gendered experiences of armed conflicts, calls for women’s participation in conflict prevention, resolution, peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction, and demands the protection of women in armed conflict. It provides a tool for advocacy and makes explicit the imperative of equal participation of women. However, despite women’s crucial role in achieving lasting peace, the vast majority of peace processes and agreements continue to exclude women. Today, the raging conflict in Ukraine further actualizes the eminent need to consider the gender dimension of peace and conflict across the globe.

In this online panel event, actors from different regions and backgrounds took the floor to identify best practices, highlight innovative initiatives and reflect on existing partnerships that reinforce women’s meaningful participation in prevention, protection, and peace building. Through the inclusion of a gender perspective, women’s meaningful engagement in conflict prevention, recovery and peace building can undeniably contribute to tangible and lasting results.

Watch the video recording here.

Moderator:

  • Dr. Umesh Palwankar, Executive Director, Geneva Centre

Keynote Speaker:

  • Dr. George Papadatos, Ambassador, Head of Delegation, EPLO Geneva

Speakers:

Ms. Visaka Dharmadasa, Founder and Chair, Association of War Affected Women (Sri Lanka). Struggling to end the civil war, Visaka was able to bring women together across the divide to work for peace. She was awarded the prestigious Humanitarian award for 2006 by Interaction of Washington DC and was nominated for a collective Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Visaka is a member of Women Waging Peace, Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership, Resolution to Act, Global Network of Women Peace builders, Women Mediators Across the Commonwealth. She is the gender focal point for GPPAC in Sri Lanka and former member of the Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women. Visaka holds degrees in negotiations and mediation skills and in women and security from Harvard.

Prof. Dr. Noreen Naseer, Tribal Women Network, Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar (Pakistan). Noreen is working on the issues of the tribal women and a founding member of Qabailee Khor (Tribal Sisters Network). Noreen has published several publications in international and academic journals on Pak-Afghan border areas’ conflict, peace building and issues related to women and children. For her efforts on peace building and tribal women’s plight, she was a nominee for N-Peace Untold Stories Award, 2018 by the United Nations Development Program. Presently, she is serving as a member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women.

Ms. Prasansa Karki, Program Development Coordinator, Nagarik Aawaz (Nepal). Prasansa is a peace practitioner, engaged in the field of human rights and peacebuilding for the past eleven years. Her aptitude is promoting peace work, conflict transformation, and nonviolent movement. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Conflict Transformation Studies from Cambodia and was awarded the Faculty Excellence Award by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. At present, she is working as a Program Development Coordinator at Nagarik Aawaz (the citizen’s voice), a peacebuilding organization that promotes youth and women engagement in community peacebuilding.

Ms. Saba Ismail, Co-Founder of Aware Girls (Pakistan). Saba is an award winning human rights activist who has been working for the empowerment of young women for over two decades. She is the Co-Founder of Aware Girls, a young women-led organisation working towards gender equality and peace. Saba has served as a speaker and an advisory group member at organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, and is the recipient of prestigious fellowships such as the Hurford Youth Fellowship (Washington, D.C) and the Vital Voices Fellowship and the Do School Fellowship (Germany). In 2013, Saba was recognized as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy, and among the “30 Under 30” youth activists by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Ms. Kawkab Al-Thaibani, Co-founder, Women4Yemen (Yemen)

Kawkab is the co-founder of Women4Yemen, a network of women activists in media, human rights and civil society who advocate for women in peace and security in Yemen. She serves on the advisory board of the Yemeni Archive, an independent platform for documenting human rights and other violations by parties to the conflict in Yemen. In 2019, Kawkab was recognized as one of TRT’s “Women of War” to highlight the significance of women’s role in peace.

Read the full concept note here.

Follow-up publication reflecting the discussions, lessons learned, and recommendations:

https://gchragd.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2022.04.06-PUBLICATION-Promoting-Equal-Rights-and-Womens-Participation-towards-Peace-Geneva-Centre.pdf

For any queries, contact: RDelas-nasi@gchragd.org

Cover photo credits: AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed, Flickr