Recommendations from Women and Leadership: Voices for Security and Development Forum
Publish date: 29 Nov 02
During the panels and subsequent discussions, the South Asian resource people and the discussants put forward several recommendations. Some suggestions were broadly focused to cover the whole region, while others were country-specific. Some were addressed to governments, others to donors and still others to community-based organisations (CBOs). The implementation of several recommendations would clearly rely upon co-operation between governments and non-government actors.
- Encourage and support the formation of a South Asian Network for Gender and Security.
- Promote and publicize United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which for the first time recognises the links between gender equality and global security in South Asia
- Ensure women’s representation at the commencement of peace negotiations. Donors should provide international support and extra funds, which can help overcome male opposition to women’s participation in peace talks.
- Adapt the peace agenda to local conditions, so that it becomes pertinent to cultures, traditions and political situations of each state or region.
- Train South Asian peacekeepers on gender before undertaking missions abroad.
- Train Canadian and developed states’ peacekeepers and investigators in gender sensitivity issues.
- Undertake rehabilitation programs for female combatants in a post-conflict situation.
- Ensure protection for the marginalized women in the areas of conflict.
- Introduce laws for women’s property inheritance in South Asian countries where such laws do not exist. This will allow women, especially war widows, to maintain some security for the remaining family.
- Sensitise grassroots policy-makers on gender so that they support women, who are usually the most economically dependent and therefore in the weakest position to challenge discrimination.
- Undertake changes so that women may be fully active in civil, administrative and security positions within their community.
- Support the introduction of Peace Education.
- Redefine the concept of peace. Rather than simply encompass a political state of affairs, governments should link measures for peace to concerns of security.
- Encourage the development of a peace strategy around the concept of peace-movement cells. Experience in Assam, India has taught that alliances and movements that come together to achieve short-term goals and then disperse back into cells give women a useful amount of anonymity and protection from retaliation.
- Address the problem that domestic violence increases after cease-fires and that men accustomed to carrying arms in conflict situations may, on returning to their homes and communities, resort to violence against wives and families as a result of frustration with the difficulties of resettlement.
- Provide physiological counselling for trauma victims in refugee camps and post-conflict communities. Counselling centres must be gender-sensitive and should include a “safe” area for the privacy of women.
- When international NGOs withdraw staff due to danger of a situation, donors should re-channel funds through the local CBO partners.
- Support with funds the participation of women from the outset of peace negotiations.
- In Afghanistan: The government, in co-operation with others, should disarm the warlords, provide micro-finance for women to improve their economic situation, organise exposure visits of Afghan women to other South Asian countries, train women journalists, and help establish community radio run by women for women.
- In the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh: the Bangladesh government should be urged by donors and CSOs to take a broad range of measures to improve the conditions of the Jumma people, especially of women. Specifically, Bangladesh should carry out demilitarisation of the zone; support the peace process by more swiftly implementing the 1997 peace accord; restore the lands confiscated from the Jumma people; stop official violence against Jumma women; design development programs to empower the local women; support capacity-building schemes for the local civil society organizations; enrol Jumma women in government jobs and post them back in appropriate positions in CHT; and design educational programs for Bangladeshis in general, to increase understanding about CHT’s particular character.
- In Nepal: the government in co-operation with others should provide immediate assistance to the women who are caught in the crossfire between government forces and Maoist insurgents, support women’s peace groups, and encourage the development of Peace Journalism.