By Fatoumatta K Jallow
West Africa Network for Peace Building on the 17th September 2015 celebrated the fifteen year anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
Ms. Anna Jones, acting National Network Coordinator of WANEP said UNSCR 1325 is a landmark, ground-breaking international legal framework adopted on 31st October 2000 that addresses not only the unwarranted impact of war on women, but also the pivotal role women should do, part to play in conflict management, conflict resolution and sustainable peace. It was followed by the adoption of other complementary resolution to address the gaps identified in UNSCR 1325. 1325 clearly stipulates the active involvement of women in all stages of peace processes, including mediation efforts as a cornerstone to achieve sustainable solutions in conflict situations. The framework is often described in terms of four pillars. Participation of Women in Peace Processes, Prevention of Conflicts and Prosecution of Perpetrators of Sexual and Gender Based Violence and also Protection of Women and Girls in War and Peace and Prosecution of Perpetrators of Sexual and Gender based Violence. She said despite this provision, women signatories to peace agreements account for less than 2.4% in 21 peace processes reviewed since 1992 and no woman has ever been appointed as a Lead Mediator by the United Nations and WANEP has been championing the advancement of women by working with key local, national and international actors such as ECOWAS and African Union is using the UNSCR 1325 platform and other regional and continental frameworks to promote women issues and advance their effective participation in policy discussion and change. She continue saying that the Women in Peace Building Program is one of the thematic areas of WANEP, a civil society network that is working across the West Africa sub-region to build capacity on peace building and conflict transformation . Ms Jones said the empowerment of women and girls and the achievement of gender equality are critical for maintaining international peace and security and advancing human rights. Concerted leadership for gender equality and gender mainstreaming at all levels of decision-making are required, including in peace building and recovery processes and sectors, and as part of post conflict governance and state building efforts. Lasting peace and security will not be achieved without women’s full and equal participation in peace processes.
In conclusion, she said to making the fifteen year anniversary of resolution 1325 meaningful, WANEP calls on governments and the relevant authorities to provide a safe space for women and children by strengthening strong policies, procedures and mechanisms to change the long-standing and deep-seated ways of thinking that make daily acts of violence and discrimination in all its ramifications against women “acceptable”. We believe that ending such acts is very critical in enabling women and indeed all marginalized people their full participation.
Mrs. Nancy Nyang permanent Secretary at the office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Women Affairs said;
“that anniversaries are meant to serve as a reminder on the objective/purpose of day 1 of the related event when in 2000, the United Nations Security Council recognized not only the particular effect conflict had on women but the need to include them as active stakeholders in conflict prevention and the Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security ( SCR 1325) emphasizing to incorporate gender sensitivity and include women in approaches on security and peace building especially those affected by conflict and sensitize peacekeepers, the police and judiciary on gender issues in conflict and adopt measures to ensure the protection and adherence to the human rights of women and girls.”
Ms. Anna Jones, acting National Network Coordinator, WANEP said WANEP network organization in the Gambia is replicated over the 15 ECOWAS States with different systematic programmes one of which is Woman in Peace Building. She said WANEP is also out to help Women with Disabilities and other vulnerable women.
Mr. Francis Mendy, Zonal Coordinator of WANEP said;
“Women in Peace Building is a cardinal part of peace building training in all the 15 ECOWAS States.
Women in all situations of conflict are impacted differently because their needs are different, their experience is different and therefore it is important that women are involved in peace building processes, moderation, negotiation and peace keeping that lot of times women are seen as being vulnerable.” But he disputed the notion.
Mr. Ebrima Dibassey, Executive Director, Gambia Federation for the Disabled (GFD) said women with disabilities are the most vulnerable especially when it comes to peace building if a nation is not stable and have no peace women with disabilities are seriously affected because they cannot run or see in terms of war so it affects them a lot.