The Hague, the Netherlands – The Dutch AWEPA Section organised in the Dutch House of Representatives in The Hague on 14 April at 4.30 pm, a debate on women, peace and security with particular attention to the importance of strengthening African women parliamentarians and enhance their role in post-conflict processes and in peace building and reconciliation.
The debate included AWEPA’s parliamentary capacity building work in enhancing the capacities of women parliamentarians’ competency in lawmaking, representation and oversight, to participate effectively in parliamentary work and in the pursuit of peace, national unity and reconciliation. Examples of AWEPA’s efforts, such as with the Network of Women Parliamentarians of Central Africa (RFPAC) and with the House of the People of Somalia, were addressed.
The case of Somalia is a new challenge because of the fragile state of the country and the fact that women have been struggling over the past 25 years and were subordinated to men in the political area and overall decision-making processes.
Inn relation to the international agenda on women, peace and security, the upcoming UN High Level review of the UNSC 1325 and specifically the Dutch inputs to UNSC 1325 were touched upon during the meeting.
As stipulated in the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, women play a central role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. Their presence, and active participation at the negotiation table contribute to sustainable peace building and democratization processes, and enhances the overall level of implementation of peace agreements. For instance women can take a leading role in creating links and forums for resolving inter-ethnic conflict, leading to many grassroots peace accords.
Although progress is being made, women are not sufficiently included in reconciliation and peace building debates, as well as decision-making processes. Moreover, they are under-represented in government institutions including the security services and in parliamentary leadership positions. To illustrate, women are still confronted with traditional views on gender roles and are subject to violence, intimidation, and discouragement.