Role of women in peace and security management

Stakeholders have restated the importance of gender mainstreaming through a full domestication of the UNSCR 1325, saying this will bridge existing gaps in peace processes in Nigeria. ENE OSANG reports

The need for Nigeria to fully  domesticate the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR)1325, in order to amplify the voices of women on peace and security issues, in decision making at all levels has been re-emphasized.

UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) was adopted on 31 October 2000. The resolution advocates a political framework in which women’s protection and their role in peace processes can be addressed.

It also called for the assessment on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution.

The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development also during the launch of the second revised edition of a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of UNSCR in Nigeria, had stressed the active involvement of women in conflict, peace and security management.

Preceding this resolution was the National Gender Policy (2006), a derivative of extant conventions such as Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). But till date, it would seem that the goal of UNSCR 1325 is still farfetched. Some questions need to be answered:

How aware are the various stakeholders to the promotion of peace in Nigeria of their roles as ascribed in the NAP? Are women in particular informed on their rights and obligations within the context of a collective responsibility? Do existing policies speak to the gender agenda?

Amidst various efforts to ensure implementation, women’s voices is still unheard, yet, it is a known fact that women and children bear the brunt of violent conflict in the country: they are often excluded in conflict prevention and peace building processes.

According to the NAP, the activities of the Boko Haram insurgency and farmers/herdsmen clashes, especially in the NorthEast and North Central regions, and other zones demonstrate clearly the high level of abuse against women and children who are soft targets for abduction, sexual and gender based violence, suicide bombings, among other forms of human rights violation.

It was as a result of this that from February 4-5, 2019 the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), a New York-based international coalition of over 100 women’s organizations together with the West African Network of Peacebuilders (WANEP) – Nigeria and with support from the Global Affairs Canada, organized a workshop on the role of the media in implementing the UNSCR 1325

At the workshop, Nigerian journalists were urged to develop a strategy for the implementation of UNSCR on Women, Peace and Security, stating that amplifying women’s Voices is a pre-condition for a full and lasting Peace.

The Program Coordinator of GNWP Agnieszka Fal-Dutra, in a paper presentation titled: “UNSCR 1325: Where are the Women?” noted that the resolution advocates a change in the perception of women from that of only victims to that of change-makers and agents of peace.

She said the charter called for an increase in women’s participation and representation in all decision-making levels and institutions in all aspects of peace processes, including conflict prevention on peacekeeping and other field based operations

“Integrate gender perspective in negotiations and peace agreements including protection of women and girls’ human rights– particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary; protection from sexual and gender-based violenceviolence

“There should be recognistion in the  differences in women & men’s needs in planning for disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and take into account the needs of their dependents .

She also quoted Kofi Annan as saying ” 1325 holds out a promise to women across the globe that their rights will be protected and that barriers to their equal participation and full involvement in the maintenance and promotion of sustainable peace will be removed.We must uphold this promise.”

Also, Professor Patricia Ori Donli of Gender, Equality, Peace and Development Center (GEPaDC) noted that the UNSC recognized that the national implementation of SCR 1325 and related resolutions is an important mechanism for furthering the women, peace and security agenda.

“Thus the UNSC Presidential statements of 2004/40 and 2005/52, called to member states to implement resolution 1325 through the development of NAPs or other national level strategies such as peace policies, gender policies or medium/long term development plans and has consistently recommended that member states accelerate.

“It also called for the strengthening of women’s roles/contribution in conflict resolution, promote the culture of peace, strengthening early warning and early response mechanisms, Conduct research and documentation of lessons learnt and best practices

Identify and support the reforms of enactment of gender responsive laws and policies

“Train women and girls as mediator, negotiators and conciliators in conflicts and post conflict situations

Take special measures to ensure the participation of women at all levels of peace process

Involvement of men and youths in the dissemination and enlightenment of the NAP

Take measure to ensure increased participation of women in peace keeping missions and in the security sectors.”

Consequently, she called on stakeholders to develop “robust transitional justice program in Nigeria to ensure Peaceful communities, also to ensure Gender is mainstreamed into conflict resolution, security and peace-building at all levels. Increased women participation in conflict management planning and processes, Increased provision for women’s needs/concerns before, during and after peace negotiations and post conflict management.”

Meanwhile, the National Network Coordinator of WANEP-Nigeria Bridget Osakwe, has stated that the importance of media is ensure the full domestication of the resolution in Nigeria.

Osakwe said, “Media is a key partner in promoting broad public awareness and therefore effectively implementing UNSCR 1325.

 “We want each journalist to ask themselves a question: what can I do to promote this agenda, and make sure the representation of women in the Nigerian media is changed?

“When media reporters adopt a gender lens, they become key actors in promoting broad public awareness of WPS, support and recognise the role women play in preventing conflict, building and sustaining peace.”

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