1325 PeaceWomen E-News Issue #88 25 April 2007

Gender & DDR

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, 31 October 2000. CLICK HERE for the full text of the resolution.

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1. Editorial:Gender, DDR and the Implementation of 1325
2. Women, Peace and Security News
3. Feature Analysis:
Failing to Empower Women Peacebuilders: A Cautionary Tale from Angola
4. Gender & Small Arms: Using 1325 in Relation to Small Arms Issues
5. Gender & Mine Action:
The Hidden Impact of Landmines: Why Gender Mainstreaming Matters in Mine Action
6. Feature Resources:
The Demobilization and Political Participation of Female Fighters in Guatemala
7. Feature Initiative:
Mobilising the Mine Action Sector, Supporting Gender Mainstreaming
8. Women, Peace and Security Calendar

The PeaceWomen Project is a project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Please visit us at http://www.peacewomen.org.

The PeaceWomen Team

As awareness of Security Council Resolution 1325 increases, we have observed a tendency to refer to the resolution and its implementation in general terms and as an easy panacea for the issues around women and armed conflict. This is not always accompanied by a consideration of exactly what is meant by implementation in concrete terms. At the same time, in an effort to meet the demands for implementation, some actors lump all their activities that are even vaguely related to 1325 into the category “1325 implementation” and then tick the appropriate box. Many such activities are laudable and necessary in work for peace but throwing too much into the pot obfuscates (and provides possibilities to avoid) actual implementation of the resolution. Given this worrying trend, we at the PeaceWomen Project continually seek ways to focus on specific aspects of the resolution. In so doing we seek to highlight what implementation in these areas might mean in concrete terms and to encourage sharing of information, good practices and lessons learned. We would like to thank our colleagues who responded to our requests for contributions for this edition which focuses on specific implementation issues, examples and recommendations in the broad area of gender and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR).

Resolution 1325 calls for the “different needs of female and male ex-combatants …and the needs of their dependants” to be considered in planning. Our feature resource (Item 6) looks at the issue of DDR of female fighters in Guatemala and links this to their political participation in the post-conflict phase. It is particularly useful in that the lessons extracted from the Guatemalan experience are developed into policy recommendations to “improve the quality of demobilization and reintegration processes in general so that these may contribute to a higher capability and capacity among ex female fighters to participate in post conflict peacebuilding activities, both in social and political terms.” The issues raised in this paper are echoed in this month’s feature analysis (Item 3) from Donald Steinberg of the International Crisis Group that provides lessons from Angola around the impact of excluding the issue of gender and women’s participation in peace building and reconstruction. This analysis also clearly, and in concrete terms, highlights the many linkages across issues. Similarly, the contribution from the Women’s Network of the International Action Network on Small Arms (Item 4) notes the links between violence against women and the misuse and presence of small arms. It also provides specific examples, from countries such as Senegal, Uganda, the Solomon Islands and Liberia, of how 1325 has been used as a tool for the participation of women in disarmament initiatives, anti-violence advocacy and the development of small arms policy. We hope that the lessons learned about gender and mine action will also be applied as governments prepare to meet in Peru to discuss a treaty on cluster munitions next month.

An issue closely related to DDR is that of mine action. The preamble to 1325 emphasizes the need for the special needs of women and girls to be taken into account in mine clearance and mine awareness programmes. The contribution on this issue from the Gender and Mine Action Programme of the Swiss Campaign to Ban Landmines looks at why gender mainstreaming matters in mine action (an issue also touched on in our Feature Analysis in the Angolan context). This goes beyond an analysis of ways in which gender can determine the impact of mines to providing concrete examples of gender mainstreaming activities and ways in which women can contribute to mine action. The Gender and Mine Action Programme also contributed this month’s Feature Initiative (Item 7) – a global survey on gender and mine action which will result in a toolkit for mainstreaming gender in mine action.

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Our May edition will focus on the issue of Governance and Elections. As always, we welcome your contributions to the newsletter’s content. Contributions for the May 2007 edition should be sent to enewssubmissions@peacewomen.org by Thursday 17th May 2007.

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April 19, 2007 (ZNet) - Condemnation of the United States' war in Iraq was rife at the 14th Congress of the Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) which concludes this Friday in Caracas. Over 1,000 delegates representing 165 organisations in 80 countries participated.

April 18, 2007 – (UN News Centre) Officials from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Division for the Advancement of Women have arrived in Haiti as part of the world body's efforts to help the country as it works to consolidate democracy.

April 14, 2007- (IPS) "Men are the decision makers; women should be cooking in the kitchen while men play politics." This is the type of comment that Dorothy Ukel Nyone's male counterparts repeatedly made when she announced her intention to contest a seat in Nigeria's state elections, which got underway Saturday.

April 13, 2007 (LEBANESE LOBBY) - Jocelyne Khoweiry was 20 years old when she first carried arms during the 1975-1990 civil war. Now 51, she is working forcefully for peace.

April 07, 2007 - (The Ethiopian Herald) The Ministry of Information said exerting concerted efforts is imperative to fight violence against women.

April 06, 2007 – (UN News Centre) The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today called for investigations into widespread sexual violence during attacks by Sudanese Government forces and allied militia in Darfur as well as the disappearance of over a dozen men allegedly at the hands of rebels there.

April 5, 2007 - (Reuters) THE HAGUE: The U.N. war crimes tribunal on Wednesday sentenced former Bosnian Serb police officer Dragan Zelenovic to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the rape and torture of Muslims during Bosnia-Herzegovina's 1992-95 war.

April 5, 2007 (Coastal Post Online) - There never has been any reliable demographic statistics on Afghanistan for the past two decades. Of the estimated 16 million Afghans at the end of the 70s, over two million have been killed in the war of resistance against Soviet occupiers and later on in the civil war unleashed by fundamentalist groupings enjoying the support of foreign powers.

April 4, 2007 - (WOMENSENEWS) Washington politicians in favor of the Iraq war like to talk about how they are "planting seeds of democracy," supporting "freedom-loving people" and "fighting terrorists in their streets so we don't have to fight them in ours." What they rarely talk about are the vanishing freedoms for Iraqi women, for whom democracy is a receding goal.

April 2, 2007 – (Guardian Unlimited) Sharon, a Chin woman who escaped to India after being raped by Burmese soldiers. Rape is being used as a "weapon" to terrorise villagers in Burma leading to a refugee influx in neighbouring India, a new report claims.

April 1, 2007 - (The Times) Maria Julia Hernandez, a celebrated human rights activist who spoke up for victims during El Salvador's protracted civil war and tended to their families in the years that followed, died Friday of a heart attack. She was 68.

March 29, 2007 - (IRIN) RAUTAHAT In the remote Pathaya village of Rautahat district, some 200km southeast of the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, local women are coming to terms with seeing three young girls killed in recent clashes between supporters of the ethnic Madhesi party and former Maoist rebels.

March 26, 2007 (Haaretz.com) The Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement and Special Contribution to Society and the State of Israel will be awarded to Professor Alice Shalvi, a religious scholar and one of the country's leading feminists, and to Dov Lautman, former head of the Israel Manufacturers Association.

March 26, 2007 – (BBC) Women from across Northern Ireland have marched to Stormont in Belfast to highlight the poor representation of women in politics. The rally was to make people aware that women hold just 18 out of a potential 108 seats in the assembly.

March 24, 2007 - (The Independent) The Chadian desert is littered with camps where refugees from the Darfur crisis have fled to escape the Janjaweed. Jody Williams, the Nobel Peace Laureate, heard their stories.

21 March 2007 – (lankabusinessonline) In Sri Lanka, women already outnumber men at 52 women for every 48 men and activists are warning that the proportion would increase if the war continues.

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For more country-specific women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

For more international women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

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Failing to Empower Women Peacebuilders: A Cautionary Tale from Angola
Donald Steinberg

In the summer of 1994, against the backdrop of the Rwandan genocide and the deterioration of conditions in Somalia, one of the few hopeful developments on the African continent came from the Zambian capital of Lusaka, where Angolans from the Government and the rebel UNITA movement and international mediators were working to end two decades of civil war that had killed a half million people. In my position as President Clinton’s special assistant for African affairs, I had the privilege of supporting these negotiations, which bore fruit in November 1994 with the signing of the Lusaka Protocol. This comprehensive peace accord promised an end to the conflict and a new era of national reconciliation and reconstruction.

Addressing an audience of African scholars on the Lusaka Protocol in late 1994, I was asked about the role of women in its negotiating and implementation. I responded that there was not a single provision in the agreement that discriminated against women. “The agreement is gender-neutral,” I proclaimed, somewhat proudly.

President Clinton then named me as US ambassador to Angola and a member of the Luanda-based Joint Commission charged with implementing the peace accords. It took me only a few weeks after my arrival in Luanda to realize that a peace agreement that is “gender-neutral” is, by definition, discriminatory against women and thus far less likely to be successful. The exclusion of women and gender considerations from the peace process proved to be a key factor in our inability to implement the Lusaka Protocol and in Angola’s return to conflict in late 1998.

Consider the evidence. Most telling was the failure to insist that women participate in the Joint Commission itself. As a result, at each meeting of this body, forty men sat around the table. Not a single delegation – the Angolan government, UNITA, the United Nations, Portugal, Russia or the United States – had a woman on its team. Not only did this silence women’s voices on the hard issues of war and peace, but it also meant that issues as internal displacement, sexual violence, abuses by government and rebel security forces, and the rebuilding of social services such as maternal health care and girls’ education were given short shrift – or no shrift at all.

Those in the Joint Commission who sought to address gender issues encountered other barriers. The peace accord was based on 13 separate amnesties that excluded the possibility of prosecution for atrocities committed during the conflict. One amnesty even excused any actions that might take place six months in the future. Given the prominence of sexual abuse and exploitation during the conflict, including rape used as a weapon of war, thse amnesties meant that men with guns forgave other men with guns for crimes committed against women. This flaw also undercut any return to a culture of rule of law and accountability, and introduced a cynicism at the heart of our efforts to rebuild and reform the justice and security sectors.

Similarly, as we launched disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs for ex-combatants, we soon realized that the agreement defined a combatant as anyone identified as such by their military’s leadership. The thousands of women who had been kidnapped or coerced mostly into the rebel forces were largely excluded by their leaders, since most of them were exploited as cooks, messengers, bearers, and even sex slaves. Thus, we had to scramble to provide any support to these victims.

Male ex-combatants received a little money and demobilization kits consisting mostly of seeds and farm tools. We then shipped them back to communities where they had no clear roles, since they lacked marketable skills and the communities had learned to live without them during the decades of conflict. As elsewhere around the world, the result was a dramatic rise in alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, and domestic violence, and the breakdown of the coping mechanisms that gave women some protection during the conflict. Thus, the end of civil war unleashed a new era of violence against women.

Even such well-intentioned efforts as clearing major roads of landmines to allow the more than 2 million refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes backfired against women. Angola was plagued by up to a million landmines planted by a dozen separate military forces throughout its conflict. But road clearance demining efforts preceded the demining of local fields, wells, and forests. So as newly resettled women went out to plant the fields, fetch water, and collect fire wood, they faced a new rash of landmine accidents.

The Lusaka Protocol was largely silent on or had inadequate mechanisms to deal with a wide variety of other issues, including trafficking in persons, reconstitution of reproductive health care systems, a displacement-related burgeoning of the HIV/AIDS rate, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in civilian hands, and psycho-social assistance to the victims of rape and other sexual violence.

Faced with these challenges, the indefatigable UN Special Representative Aliouene Blondin Beye – who later lost his life in the pursuit of peace in Angola – brought out gender advisers and human rights officers to guide our efforts. Our embassy launched programs in maternal health care, girls’ education, humanitarian demining, micro-enterprise, and support for women’s non-governmental organizations. Moreover, we insisted that women be involved as planners, implementers and beneficiaries for our humanitarian and reconstruction assistance programs under the guidance, “Nothing about us without us.”

These efforts were greatly assisted by excellent guidance from the Women’s Commission on Refugee Women and Children, Widtech, and Special Envoy Paul Hare. But it was too little, too late. The peace process was already viewed as serving the interests of the warring parties rather than the general population. Thus when the peace process faltered in mid-1998 because of insufficient commitment from both the government and especially UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, there was insufficient civil society pressure on the leaders to prevent a return to conflict.

I leave it to an enterprising researcher to fully document the case, but I have no doubt that the exclusion of one-half of the population from the Angolan peace process – and from institutions of governance and the formal economy – meant that inadequate attention was paid to areas essential to consolidate peace and reconstruct the country. This contributed to the return to another three years of fighting that ended only with Savimbi’s death in 2001.

The adoption in 2000 of UN Security Council resolution 1325 brought the promise of a systematic approach and concentrated energy to address these issues, but thus far, has largely been a dream deferred. Courageous and talented women trying to help build peace around the world still face discrimination in legal, cultural and traditional practices. Sexual violence and threats against women in power structures still impose a stigma of victimization that makes the most impressive women think twice before stepping forward. And yet there are more and more cases -- from Liberia to Rwanda to Nepal to Uganda -- where women are contributing to peace and reconstruction processes.

There is much to do to make such cases the norm. As a global community, we must safeguard and strengthen women peacebuilders with personal security and training. We must ensure a critical mass – beginning at 20-30 percent – of women in peace talks, reconstruction conferences, and governance mechanisms. We must focus on rebuilding social structures with particular importance to women, such as reproductive health care and girls’ education. We must end the culture of impunity that turns a blind eye toward violence against women. We must bring more women into the security forces of post-conflict countries.

Even within the UN system itself, we have a long way to go. As the world hailed the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president of Liberia, the UN Secretary General issued a report in September 2006 identifying the benchmarks that would allow for the drawdown and withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from that country. Of 39 benchmarks on security, governance, rule of law, and economic revitalization, there was not a single mention of women or gender. Of the remaining seven benchmarks on infrastructure and basic services, only the last item mentioned the need for girls’ school enrolment.

This situation is dangerous. Including women in building peace it is not just a question of fairness and equity. Peace agreements and post-conflict governance and reconstruction simply work better when women are involved and gender is taken into account. With the growth of new peace negotiations and peacekeeping mission globally, the case of Angola is a cautionary tale that we ignore at our peril.

Donald Steinberg is vice-president for multilateral affairs and head of the New York office of International Crisis Group. He formerly served as US Ambassador to Angola, NSC Senior Director for African Affairs, and Special Representative of the President for Global Humanitarian Demining.

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Using 1325 in Relation to Small Arms Issues
Sarah Masters, Women's Network Coordinator, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)

Adopted in October 2000, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security states that gender perspectives should be incorporated in all areas of peace support operations, including disarmament. Although small arms are not specifically mentioned in the Resolution, 1325 has been used in relation to small arms issues, including disarmament in post-conflict contexts. Members of the Women’s Network of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) have taken leadership roles in peacebuilding work, violence prevention and education about gun violence, and are using 1325 in their disarmament efforts around the world.

Disarmament initiatives do protect women from gender-based violence as the misuse and presence of small arms is connected with violence against women. While the vast majority of those who use and are killed or injured by small arms and light weapons are men, women are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence and intimate partner violence at the barrel of a gun. Guns also affect women and girls when they are not directly in the firing line. They are disproportionately affected by the damage to health, education and other social services caused by armed violence. Women often become the main breadwinners and primary carers when male relatives are killed, injured or disabled by gun violence. Displacement due to violent conflict leaves them particularly vulnerable to starvation and disease as they struggle to fend for their families.

Disarmament programmes such as those in Casamance in Senegal, a region which has experienced more than twenty years of armed conflict, have been supported through 1325. Women in the Movement Against Small Arms in West Africa (MALAO), took the first to take concrete action in small arms disarmament initiatives. Using 1325 paragraphs 1, 7, 8 and 13, women led programmes of awareness raising, participated in regional and national conferences and sensitized communities to ‘prepare the ground’ for the subsequent disarmament process. This enabled women to contribute to the development of incentives and strategies to convince people to hand over their weapons and receive gender-sensitive training on weapons safety and collection.

The existence of 1325 has enabled women to participate in disarmament initiatives in Liberia. Women organised and clearly called for disarmament before elections took place to prevent small arms being used in political violence and intimidation. Such active engagement also led to awareness raising about the problems of guns, their availability and misuse as well as impacting on weapons disposal programmes.

In Uganda and The Solomon Islands, members of IANSA Women’s Network have used 1325 to advocate the importance of gun control to reduce armed violence and challenge gender-based violence. Ugandan women worked with the Demobilisation and Resettlement Team (DRT) to establish peacebuilding programmes to promote dialogue and participation in the decommissioning of weapons. The National Council of Women in The Solomon Islands successfully opposed a proposal to rearm a Special Unit within the Police Force following a disarmament process.

Through further implementation and the development of national Action Plans, 1325 can continue to be used to enable women’s participation in disarmament processes and the development of small arms policy and practice.

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For more resources on gender and DDR please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/DDR/SmallArms.html


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The Hidden Impact of Landmines: Why Gender Mainstreaming Matters in Mine Action

Gemma Huckerby & Mugiho Takeshita, Swiss Campaign to Ban Landmines, April 2007

It is true that based on the sheer numbers of those injured or killed, men and boys are the greatest number of mine or explosive remnants of war (ERW) victims. However, whether they themselves or a family member are injured or killed by a mine, or whether their land in or around the community is mined, it is women, and by extension their dependents, who ultimately bear the brunt of the global landmine scourge. This can in turn work against development processes in mine affected territories, and can contribute to the feminisation of poverty.

This article looks at the ways in which gender can determine the impact of mines and ERW as well as the outcomes and successes of operations to combat the mine/ERW scourge. It also considers concrete ways in which women can contribute to mine action. Lastly, the article presents some recent activities within the mine action sector designed to promote gender mainstreaming.

For the full article please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/Landmines/gender_mineaction.doc

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For more resources on gender and landmines please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/Landmines/landminesindex.html

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The Demobilization and Political Participation of Female Fighters in Guatemala
A report to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Wenche Hauge, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), March 2007

This report focuses on how the female fighters of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) in Guatemala fared in the demobilization and reintegration process that began in 1997, and to what degree the women became socially and politically active afterwards. The study seeks to explain why there are quite varying levels of post conflict social and political activity among these women in 2006, ten years after the peace accord between the Guatemalan government and the URNG was signed.

For the full paper, please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/DDR/FemaleFightersGuatemala.pdf

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For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/resourcesindex.html

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Mobilising the Mine Action Sector, Supporting Gender Mainstreaming
Swiss Campaign to Ban Landmines’ Gender and Mine Action Programme

In December 2006, the Swiss Campaign to Ban Landmines began a two-year programme designed to support gender mainstreaming in mine action, complementing United Nations action on the issue. On the International Women’s Day, 8 March 2007, the Swiss Campaign launched a global survey on gender and mine action with the aim of gathering comprehensive, context specific information on the significance of gender in the impact of mines and in the effectiveness of mine action. The information gathered through this survey will be synthesised into a toolkit for mainstreaming gender in mine action. In May 2007, the programme will launch an online ‘Gender and Mine Action Portal’ (www.scbl-gender.ch), where thematic and country profiles relating to the significance of gender in mine action will be available.

For more information, please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/campaigns/global/swisscamp.doc

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For more women, peace and security initiatives – in country, regional, global and international, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/campaigns/global/index.html

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Implementing Human Rights in MA: Legislative Strategies & Responsibilities Centennial Conference on International Human Rights
26 April 2007, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA
As the human rights movement within the U.S. gains strength, state legislators, city councilors, and government officials will increasingly be called on to ensure that state and local initiatives implement human rights norms. “Implementing Human Rights in Massachusetts: Legislative Strategies and Responsibilities,” will help policymakers respond to this challenge by providing tools for using human rights to address important state and local policy issues. Speakers will focus on how international human rights law can help address real issues facing Massachusetts residents.

For more information, please visit:

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Intensive Course in Health and Human Rights
18-22 June 2007, Boston, USA, APPLICATION DEADLINE: 27 April 2007
School of Public Health/Boston University, Harvard School of Public Health
This rigorous 4-day programme helps a wide range of professionals acquire the skills and background knowledge they need to successfully incorporate a human rights framework into their daily activities. Participants will acquire a basic understanding of both the history and present status of international human rights and international humanitarian law as they apply to public health practice.

For more information, please visit:

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European Networking Conference: Gender in the European Union’s peace and security policy
4-6 May 2007, Berlin, Germany
The German Women’s Security Council and The Feminist Institute of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
The aim of this conference is to look at the practical level rather than merely at the theoretical sphere. At the end should stand a catalogue of demands aimed at the presidency of the European Union as well as a time-frame of a European-wide implementation of Resolution 1325 (“Roadmap 1325”).

For more information, please visit: http://www.un1325.de/akt-mai07-plan-en.html

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Ensuring success in post-conflict reconstruction; learning how to reduce risk of failure in the post-conflict process: Tasks for peacekeepers and those who follow them

23 May 2007, Whitehall, London, England

For more information, please contact David Wardrop at the UNA Westminster at: info@unawestminster.org.uk

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Conflict Transformation Across Cultures Summer Institute
28 May 2007 -15 June 2007, Vermont, USA
The Conflict Transformation Across Cultures Summer Institute, offered each June, is a three-week, three-credit professional development and graduate training program in conflict transformation.

For more information, please visit: http://www.sit.edu/contact/institute/index.html

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For the complete calendar, CLICK HERE.

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