Amman, Jordan (29 Oct 2013) – Karama, a regional organization working to end violence against women, held a landmark regional training on women, peace and security, in partnership with the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality and the UNDP, in order to identify priorities in transitional processes and ensure women’s inclusion in building peace and sustaining stability throughout the Arab region.
From October 26th-29th in Amman, the training convened over eighty women’s rights activists and leaders from thirteen countries across the Middle East and North Africa, alongside international experts from the United Kingdom, United States and Netherlands, in order to enhance their capacity to engage with UN Security Council Resolutions (UN SCRs) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), and lobby for adoption of national action plans accelerating their implementation.
“Governments across the world, and not just the Arab region, seem to have forgotten women provide a critical contribution to peace building,” Founder and CEO of Karama, Hibaaq Osman, said. “Over the past few days, an unprecedented regional network of women leaders and activists have learned from each other’s experiences. Our message to governments across the region is clear: women must be included in any dialogue on peace and stability.”
In light of UN SCR 1325 and related resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889, 2122), participants emphasized the disproportionate and adverse impact felt by women as a result of conflict, namely the spread of violence, displacement and poverty. They also called upon the international community to identify and support women as agents of change in peace building, rather than addressing them as victims.
It has been over thirty years since the UN’s adoption of CEDAW and over ten years since its adoption of UN SCR 1325, however, there still remain huge gaps in their implementation, especially within the Arab region, where women’s rights have progressed at a slow pace, one which has been further challenged by conservative leadership that came to rise following the Arab uprisings.
“Many countries are signed onto conventions but haven’t taken action,” a participant from Iraq shared, emphasizing the need for more government accountability in implementation of international resolutions and mechanisms.
Trainers gathered—including gender specialist Indai Sajor and Dr. Maya Morsy, Regional Gender Advisor for the UNDP—agreed without national action plans, civil society and other national stakeholders were not in a position to execute anything. They reiterated civil society must take the lead to develop detailed implementation plans and lobby for their adoption by national governments.
During the sessions, established priorities, including women’s rights and empowerment, demonstrated a renewed determination to put women’s leadership at the forefront of all efforts to resolve conflict and promote peace. Speakers highlighted the importance of supporting women’s full participation in conflict recovery and transition processes, while reinforcing women’s social, economic and political empowerment as key conditions for sustained post-conflict stability, reconciliation and nation building.
Women and men leaders from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen identified priority issues and actions that can be taken in the short, mid and long-term to ensure the rights of women in the region. The outcome of the Arab Regional Training on Women, Peace and Security will be the development of a regional action plan and network on WPS in the Arab region.
For more information about the training, please contact Avni Shah at firstname.lastname@example.org or Samia El Shafie at email@example.com.
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Karama is the Arabic word for ‘dignity’ and a growing movement working to stop violence against women in all its forms. In the wake of region-wide revolution, Karama continues to emphasize women’s political participation and involvement in decision-making and peacemaking, as well as women’s security and protection. For more about Karama, please visit its website at www.el-karama.org.