An­niver­sary of UN res­o­lu­tion sparks women, peace talks

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­

THE glar­ing gen­der im­bal­ance in the na­tion’s peace process – and how to rem­edy the dis­par­ity – were the sub­ject of a dis­cus­sion at a panel held yes­ter­day to co­in­cide with the 16th an­niver­sary of the adop­tion of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion 1325. The res­o­lu­tion cov­ers women, peace and se­cu­rity, reaf­firm­ing the im­por­tant role fe­male per­spec­tives can play in con­flict preven­tion and res­o­lu­tion.

The panel brought to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives from gov­ern­ment, civil so­ci­ety and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions at Inya Lake Ho­tel in Yangon.

Or­gan­is­ers of the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, held ear­lier this year, fell far short of a goal to have women rep­re­sent at least 30 per­cent of of­fi­cial par­tic­i­pants. Women’s ad­vo­cacy groups yes­ter­day reaf­firmed a com­mit­ment to meet that quota at fu­ture peace dia­logues.

Daw May Sabe Phyu, di­rec­tor of the Gen­der Equal­ity Net­work, said aware­ness of women’s role had im­proved, but some still ques­tioned the core tenets of res­o­lu­tion 1325.

“Women are also af­fected by con­flict and war, so we need to par­tic­i­pate,” she said.

Naw Su­sanna Hla Hla Soe (NLD; Yangon 10), an up­per house MP and mem­ber of the par­lia­men­tary Women’s and Child’s Rights Com­mit­tee, pointed to the preva­lence of women as heads of vil­lages in Kayin State as proof that women are more than ca­pa­ble of ne­go­ti­at­ing po­lit­i­cally.

“A peace­ful out­come could be [more] sus­tain­able by giv­ing places to women in the peace process,” she said.

Women’s ac­tivists pointed to mul­ti­ple aca­demic stud­ies which have found that women’s lead­er­ship and par­tic­i­pa­tion im­proves the like­li­hood of peace pro­cesses’ suc­cess glob­ally.

Union Peace Di­a­logue Joint Com­mit­tee (UPDJC) sec­re­tary Sai Kyaw Nyunt said the chal­lenge to meet­ing the 30pc quota at the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence was a lack of fe­male lead­er­ship, par­tic­u­larly in eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions and po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

“The cul­ture of our coun­try – a lack of in­ter­est in pol­i­tics and peace from women – should be enlightened and [chang­ing this should be] ad­vo­cated by women’s ac­tivists,” he said.

Daw San San Aye, deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Depart­ment of So­cial Welfare, high­lighted con­crete ef­forts to im­prove women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“For the pro­tec­tion and preven­tion of vi­o­lence against women and girls, NSPAW [the Na­tional Strate­gic Plan for the Ad­vance­ment of Women] im­ple­men­ta­tion is weak. We are still try­ing to im­ple­ment it fully through co­op­er­a­tion to­gether. As a first step, we are work­ing to en­act the Law on Preven­tion and Pro­tec­tion of Vi­o­lence against Women,” Daw San San Aye said.

Naw Su­sanna Hla Hla Soe com­mit­ted to try­ing to se­cure a bud­get for the de­vel­op­ment of the NSPAW and to as­sist with draft­ing the Law on Preven­tion and Pro­tec­tion of Vi­o­lence against Women as a Women’s and Child’s Rights Com­mit­tee mem­ber.

De­spite Sai Kyaw Nyunt’s as­ser­tion that eth­nic armed groups were par­tic­u­larly un­likely to have women among their lead­er­ships, these groups were the del­e­ga­tion that came clos­est to meet­ing the 30pc thresh­old. The 36 fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tives they sent to the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence rep­re­sented 20.6pc of its al­lot­ted 175-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Al­liance for Gen­der In­clu­sion in the Peace Process (AGIPP).

Over­all, women rep­re­sented 13pc of the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence’s par­tic­i­pants, AGIPP said in Septem­ber.

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