Friday, June 14, 2013

Gender and Peacebuilding: Reflection from International Conference on Youth for Peace

Yesterday, I had my presentation on gender and peacebuilding at the international conference on youth and peace, which held under cooperation of Dhompet Dhuafa and the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN). As it is semi training, so i preferred to have exercise to begin my presentation by asking participants to identify detail activities of women and men using Gender Clock. The participants was divided into four groups, which each of group discuss about women and men's activities in normal situation and women and men's activities in conflict situation. 

The result was amazed for me. The activities of women in normal and conflict situation almost similar, which the reproductive role of women such as taking care children and husband, cleaning the house, food processing, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner are strongly reflected on the group presentation. There is some specific activities which are not covered on the list of women's activities in normal situation, such as seeking food  and discussion in the family about situation during conflict. Seeking food activities means that women are responsible to find aids during conflict and bring it home for the entire family members. While in the normal situation women seeking food in the market. The situation was totally contradictory to Gender Clock of Men living in normal and conflict situation. The activities are almost similar, in which men likely spend time for sport, working, and mostly in the public. Even during conflict, men likely to spend all the time to public and focus for battle. 

"The list of activities of women both in conflict and normal daily life are the same", Musa from Uganda said. He pointed in the very core of discussion on the gender and peacebuilding that in whatever situation women are doing more works in the domestics area like taking care the entire of family members and houses, because this is considered as women's duty. Even in the conflict situation, the tremendous work of women in protecting family and community never been seen as their contribution to peace process, rather it is considered as gender role. On the other hand, men's business in the battle is considered as part of bringing peace into family and community. But in fact, the conflict is turning to violence not peace. 

There are three reasons why women need to be involved in peacebuilding. In philosophical approach, women has the significant role to raise human being. From the women's womb life begin and for 9 months 10 days, women are carrying the baby and keep it as valuable as her self. Because of this role, women are much better in appreciating the life. So, anyone eliminates the life, women from entire the world will feel suffering.  In the conflict situation where men involves directly to battle of war, women are left behind and must take care the family members and community. 

If we look at from the human rights approach, there are many regulations, consensus that supporting the involvement of women in peacebuilding. The most popular regulation that has been used to support urgency of gender and peacebuilding is The United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325, which contains of protection, prevention and participation of women in peacebuilding, including the involement of women in peacekeeping force. Below are agreement and regulation to emphasize the important of women in peacebuilding.  
  •  Beijing Platform for Action , 
  • 1995 -Women and Armed Conflict Diagnosis
  • UN Council of ECOSOC  agreed on gender mainstreaming, 1997 
  • Presidential Statement to Press, 8 March 2000
  • Convention on Elimination of Discrimination  of All form of Violence Against Women (CEDAW), 1979
  • Windhoek Declaration and Namibia Plan of Action on ‘Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations, May 2000
  •  Report of the UN general assembly  on women 2000
  • Gender Equality, Development and Peace  in  21st century , June 2000. 
  • UN Security  Council Resolution 1325

Empirically, the story of women in peace process has been widely expose. One story from Liberia during the second civil war, thousand of women gathered for praying and dancing to stop war. Even the inter faiths women did sex strike to force their husband to end conflict violence. My visiting to Liberia last January gave me strong impression that Muslim women took first initiative to engage inter faith groups to start peace process. In Sudan, at the beginning of peace process, women completely ignored from the process, in fact in the hand of women many ethnic conflict was resolved. Then women pushed the process by empowering them selves with skill of meditation, negotiation before building the alternative forum to force. Finally, women was taken as one of consultancy group to draw peace accord and make sure that all women agenda must be involved in the agreement. In Aceh, women was the first group promoted peace instead of referendum. In Poso and Ambon, women begin peace process by knocking the door to talk to neighbor how to end the conflict. In Case of Poso and Ambon, the traditional market was media for people different religions to start communication and end up with reconciliation. 
With this, there is no doubt to involve women in peacebuilding, because the development of community in the post conflict situation, needs responsibility from every single person in the community. Involving women in the development aftermath will fasten the process, because women could contribute in planning, implementing and evaluation of the development. ***

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