VIENNA, 22 October 2012 - Exploring ways to include women in formal and informal peace processes was the theme of a roundtable discussion organized by the OSCE in Vienna on today.
Women who make up 50 per cent of the population should be informed about and participate in any transformations and solutions that shape and affect their society. The inclusion of women and civil society organizations in searching for peace increases the likelihood of achieving sustainable peace.
Often women are not seen as stakeholders in peace processes, even though they are affected by inter-state or internal conflicts as well as men. Additionally women suffer during conflicts differently, frequently with devastating effects, in equal, if not greater, measure than men.
“The woman are often ignored, their suffering and grievances not properly addressed either as part of the reconciliation or during negotiations. They remain voiceless long after parties to the conflict have left the peace table,” said the OSCE Senior Gender Adviser, Miroslava Beham.
Some 100 experts from OSCE participating States’ governments and civil society who took part in the event discussed how by ensuring the participation of women in conflict mediation and peace processes, the negotiators would be reaching out to a wider segment of society and would ensure broader support and buy-in for the terms of the peace agreement.
June Zeitlin, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues, highlighted the fact that almost half of the peace agreements that are signed are broken within the first couple of years. “We need to think about innovative ways to improve how peace is negotiated and how women can play a key role in that process.”
Snježana Bokulić, the Head of the Human Rights Department of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, reminded that “participation is a fundamental human right”. “This also applies to women’s participation in any decision-making, be it in peace talks or in any aspect of public life. That is what international standards tell us and that is what States commit themselves to both politically and legally,” she underlined.
This event is part of OSCE’s ongoing efforts to implement the goals of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security within the OSCE region.