Women’s Role in Peace-Building and Conflict

As Georgia begins to implement the newly adopted 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, Niels Scott, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia, addressed women’s role in peace-building in the Armed Forces and female reporters during war at a conference on Women’s Rights in Conflict organized by the European Law Students’ Association and the United Nations Office in Georgia.

The event was held in commemoration of International Women’s Day on 14 March and saw the participation of over 60 students.

Niels Scott in in his welcoming speech focused on issues related to the impact of armed conflict on women and women’s capacities to engage in peace-building.

“To ensure that women and girls are better protected from human rights abuses in their daily lives, as well as during and after conflict, the UN works towards women’s full and equal participation in formal and informal conflict resolution dialogues and peace processes. We develop women’s negotiating and mediation abilities, and advocate for gender-sensitive policies and programs. The focus now has to be on turning gender-related plans, policies and legislation into action to tackle unequal gender relations, and focus our efforts on women’s empowerment,” Scott said.

Georgia has made significant progress in establishing important gender equality laws and policies: the Gender Equality Law (2010), the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence signed in 2014, and the Association Agreement signed with the European Union in 2014, one of the paragraphs of which calls on Georgia to enhance women’s rights and their role in decision making.

Maya Kardava, Georgia Red Cross Society representative, expressed her sadness at witnessing sexual violence in the Armed Forces.

“One of the main institutional priorities is to help sexually abused women and men. We collaborate with international organizations to develop specific resolutions to solve this serious problem,” Kardava told GEORGIA TODAY.

Anna Dolidze, Deputy Minister of Defense stressed the importance of an expression of solidarity by women toward women and said that the main aspect of the Women’s Movement is support.

The impact of conflict, insecurity, impunity, collapsing economic conditions and rising extremism impact directly on women’s daily lives, making them highly vulnerable to violence inside and outside their homes.

• At least 1 in 3 women worldwide are subjected to systematic, deadly denial of their rights; they suffer physical or sexual violence.

• Despite women’s active engagement in informal efforts to build peace, they are often excluded from any formal peace-building efforts.

• Out of 1168 peace agreements signed between 1990 and 2013, only 18 per cent made any reference to women and gender.

• From 1992 to 2011, fewer than four per cent of signatories to peace agreements, and only nine per cent of peace negotiators, were women.

• And when it comes to chief mediators, the figures are extremely low: Only two per cent were women.

Meri Taliashvili

17 March 2016 19:19