Women’s groups de­mand gen­der quota in fu­ture peace talks

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

IN a two-day peace meet­ing, women’s or­gan­i­sa­tions agreed that civil­ians must col­lab­o­ra­tively de­mand a halt to re­cent of­fen­sives as well as more gen­der-in­clu­sive peace ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The Al­liance for Gen­der In­clu­sion in the Peace Process (AGIPP) staged the Oc­to­ber 21-22 meet­ing in Mawlamyine, with 94 at­ten­dees rep­re­sent­ing 49 women’s or­gan­i­sa­tions across the coun­try, in­clud­ing from Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Shan and Rakhine states.

“What is needed most is peace in the re­gion and an end to war,” said AGIPP spokesper­son Mi Khon Chan Nom.

The groups agreed that the best tac­tic for achiev­ing this goal is to pro­mote the voices of lo­cals when mak­ing demands of or hav­ing dis­cus­sions with the mil­i­tary, govern­ment or eth­nic armed groups.

In push­ing for 30 per­cent par­tic­i­pa­tion in all peace talks, the groups cited the na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment, which says, “We shall in­clude a rea­son­able num­ber of women rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue process.”

The 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, held in late Au­gust, did not hon­our the 30pc quota. Fol­low­ing the con­fer­ence, there is a re­newed call for more bal­anced gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion in up­com­ing peace talks.

“When we asked about the 30pc quota, we heard back there is a lack of qual­i­fied women par­tic­i­pants,” said AGIPP spokesper­son Nang Aye Than­dar. “Now we are mak­ing a list of qual­i­fied women by cre­at­ing a bi­og­ra­phy for the women’s or­gan­i­sa­tions from ev­ery sec­tor.”

Women’s groups also called for a de­crease in mil­i­tary spend­ing in or­der to pro­mote so­cial ser­vices and healthcare. There should be an ef­fort to foster so­cial co­he­sion, group mem­bers said, not just a sim­ple fo­cus on end­ing the war, rep­re­sen­ta­tives said.

“We have to do what we need to do with the con­fi­dence that do­ing some­thing is bet­ter than do­ing noth­ing,” Nang Aye Than­dar said.

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