War is not what anyone wants. After the Second World War, there was a real desire — and push — for permanent peace. Unfortunately, that’s not what we see today. International attention continues to concentrate on the conflict itself, as opposed to its detrimental effects to civilians, including women and girls.
The United Nations adopted a Security Council Resolution in October 2000 related to women and peace and security. The historic Security Council Resolution — called SCR 1325 — has marked women’s history and the world’s history for more than 16 years. But how is it that international and local actors have adopted women’s rights legislation, yet inequality and violence against women and girls still occurs?
Here in Winnipeg, the Women 4 Women of South Sudan are taking a stand and working for peace in their country. On Nov. 12, in partnership with Rotary Peace Partners, the Institute for International Women’s Rights Manitoba and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, we are hosting a Women’s Peace Table on South Sudan.
The Women’s Peace Table is a global initiative that results from the SCR 1325 anniversary events — which occur at the United Nations every October, in celebration for women’s rights — as a way for individuals and groups across the world to take part in building peace. Building peace has been predominant for quite some time now, however women peacebuilders are just beginning to emerge and be recognized as critical actors.
The Women’s Peace Table on South Sudan will be hosted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the South Sudanese Centre in Winnipeg, with a focus on women’s full participation in creating and maintaining peace within South Sudan.
For two years now, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders — supported by Manitoba women’s organizations — has implemented a program called the Girl Ambassadors for Peace in South Sudan. There are now 105 such ambassadors. They are trained as peacebuilders, then go into rural communities to teach literacy, numeracy, leadership and capacity-building workshops. There are more than 210 girls that have benefitted from the workshops over the past few years.
It is important that women and girls be included in all avenues of peace, whether it be peacebuilding, peacemaking or maintaining peace. In order to have a just and fair society, everyone must be included.
Winnipeg’s Women’s Peace Table on South Sudan will focus on the dialogue and current violent situation in South Sudan, and how women can be instrumental in creating long-lasting peace. Women and girls, men and boys, are all important to creating a better tomorrow for all our communities.
Katrina Leclerc is program co-ordinator for Girl Ambassadors for Peace. For more on Girl Ambassadors for Peace and the Women’s Peace Table on South Sudan, follow #GA4P on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.