Indirect talks to broker an end to the conflict in Gaza are taking place in Cairo between representatives from Israel and Hamas, mediated by Egypt. The negotiations are aimed at obtaining a long-term ceasefire agreement to end a confrontation which erupted on July 8 and which has claimed the lives of 1,940 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.
Women and children in Gaza have been disproportionally hit by the effects of more than one month of massive and disproportionate bombardments.
Currently there is no indication that women are being consulted in the peace talk efforts in Egypt, nor that pressure has been made by the international community to ensure their effective participation.
It has been said again and again by the Member States of the United Nations Security Council, by the international human rights bodies and by Governments, in their commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, that participation and consultation with women from the civil society and comprehensive attention to women’s rights issues are critical elements of achieving a just and sustainable peace. But where are the women? Once the negotiations have been closed it will be too late.
In their statement issued yesterday, inter alia the CEDAW Committee called for the implementation of Security Council Resolution commitments. WILPF endorses absolutely their demands and calls for:
- the full involvement and equal participation of women in the resolution of the conflict and current peace talks between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories;
- the integration of a women’s rights and gender perspective in all processes related to the resolution of the conflict and the collective responsibility of the international community to ensure their participation;
- consultations with women groups and incorporating gender perspective into all aspects of the humanitarian response in Gaza.
In the upcoming weeks, during the 27th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, WILPF will host a side event to discuss the situation in Gaza and stress the need to comply with Resolution 1325 to ensure the consultation and participation of women in peace negotiations.