Open Letter to Mr. Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary General, to call for women’s participation in the peace processes on Mali and Colombia – November 19, 2012

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November 19, 2012

Mr. Jan Eliasson
UN Deputy Secretary-General

Cc: Ms. Anne Marie Goetz
Chief Advisor on Women, Peace and Security
UN Women

Re: Women from around the world call for women’s participation in the peace processes on Mali and Colombia

Dear Mr. Eliasson,

We, the participants at the various side events that the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) – International Civil society Action Network (ICAN) organized in New York during the 12th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, and women from around the world express our deep concern over the absence of women in the ongoing peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as well as the current transitional political process in Mali. We believe the peace processes and the ensuing peace ageement will be much more substantive, sustainable, and with greater social buy-in if women are fully and equally represented.

The 2012 UN Secretary-General’s Report on Women, Peace and Security demonstrates that despite words and resolutions, there remains a distinct lack of action on women and peace and security issues globally. Of the nine peace agreements that were signed last year, only two (22 percent) contained women and peace and security provisions. Furthermore, out of the 14 peace processes that were underway in 2011, only four of the negotiating party delegations included a woman delegate.

Currently, the Colombian Government and the FARC have begun a process of negotiations that aims to put an end to the armed conflict that has been going on for 50 years. We stand in support of all Colombian women’s groups and civil society organizations that are calling for the observance of a ceasefire during the peace process; the representation of women among the principal 1st tier of negotiators of the Government of Colombia and the FARC; truth, justice and reparations for victims, specifically for victims of sexual violence and guarantees of non-repetition; and thecontinuation of the peace talks until an agreement is reached.

Thus, in accordance with the 2012 UN Guidance on Effective Mediation that recognizes inclusivity as a key principle and calls for the inclusion of women and gender perspective in all peace processes, we recommend the following immediate actions:

1. the participation of women on the four teams supporting the process—Norway, Cuba, Chile and Venezuela;

2. the inclusion of gender experts to assist the facilitation team; and

3. structured and systematic consultations with Colombian women’s organization with a view of ensuring the representation of Colombian women civil society leaders in all stages and phases of the peace process.

Your office could help persuade the governments of Norway, Cuba, Chile and Venezuela to publish the names of their teams, demonstrating the inclusion of women.

The same holds for the ongoing transitional political processes in Mali. We believe that the demonstration effect of a gender-sensitive and inclusive approach to the Colombia process will help inspire inclusivity in the Malian processes. We recall the instrumental role that Sen. George J. Mitchell played in the Northern Ireland peace process by telling women that they could participate if they formed a political party, which they did. Their inclusion led to remarkable human rights provisions in the Peace Agreement signed on Good Friday 1998.

We are also happy to note that you were able to meet with many women in Bamako. We are confident that you and your office will continue to ensure that women are welcomed as an independent party to the transitional political processes that are underway as well as those in the future. We expect and we are confident that the next report on these processes will reflect their representation.

Since the sustainability of the transitional political processes in Mali and the peace talks in Colombia greatly depends on the inclusion of women, we urge your good office to highlight this issue and strongly advocate for their participation in all phases of the peace negotiations.

We would like to assure you that the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders-International Civil society Action Network will continue to provide support by organizing initial consultations with women’s organizations in both countries and identifying gender experts and women legal experts who could support the peace processes. Our network members are at the frontline of all peace processes. They are looking to the UN for strong leadership and make the promise of UNSCR 1325 a reality. We look forward to working with you.


1. Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders-International Civil society Action Network
2. Afghan Women’s Network
3. African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (AWANICh) – DRC
4. Angkhana Neelapaijit, Justice for Peace Foundation – Thailand
5. Asia Pacific forum on Women, Law and Development
6. Asia Pacific Women’s Watch
7. Asian Pacific Research and Resource Center for Women (ARROW) – Malaysia
8. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
9. Beyond Being Committee – Nepal
10. Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolese (CAFCO) – DRC
11. Casa de la Mujer – Colombia
12. Center for Peace Education, Philippines
13. Center for Women in Governance, Uganda
14. Cerue Konah Garlo, Civil Society Media Leadership Program – Liberia
15. Colectivo Mujeres al Derecho – Colombia
16. Collectif des Femmes rurales pour le developpement (COFERD) – DRC
17. Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica – Colombia
18. Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
19. Dewi Suralaga, Cordaid – the Netherlands
20. Elizabeth Ortega Carvajal, Feminist and women’s rights defender, Colombia
21. EVE Organization for Women Development– South Sudan
22. Feminist-Scholar Activist Network on Demilitarization
23. FemLink Pacific
24. Fontaine ISOKO for Good Governance and Development – Burundi
25. Fundación Mujer Arte y Vida MAVI
26. Global Action to Prevent War
27. Global Justice Center
28. Hague Appeal for Peace
29. Himalayan Human Rights Monitors – Nepal
30. Initiative on Quiet Diplomacy- Canada
31. Institute of Human Rights Communication, Nepal
32. International Institue for Peace Education
33. International Peace Bureau
34. Isis International (Philippines)
35. Kumi Samuel, Women and Media Collective – Sri Lanka
36. La Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad (LIMPAL) – Colombia
37. Lia van Broekhoven, Cordaid – the Netherlands38. Lira Women Survivor’s Shelter, Lira, Northern Uganda
39. Mano River Women’s Peace Network, Sierra Leone
40. Media Advocacy Group, Nepal
41. Middle East and North Africa Partnership for Armed Conflict Prevention (MENAPPAC)
42. Mujeres Pazificas, Colombia
43. National Committee on Beijing Plus Process – Bangladesh.
44. National Organization of Women, Sierra Leone
45. NAWO, Women’s Resource and Advocacy Centre – India
46. Okinawa Women Act against Military Violence (OWAAM)
47. Operation 1325, Sweden
48. Partners for Law in Development – New Delhi, India
49. PeaceWomen Across the Globe, PWAG, Switzerland
50. Permanent Peace Movement (PPM) – Lebanon
51. Red Nacional de Mujeres – Colombia
52. Rose Motumbo, DRC
53. Rwanda Women’s Network
54. Saathi, Nepal
55. Samanatha, Nepal
56. Sancharika Samuha Nepal
57. Sansristi – India
58. Soroptimist International – Geneva
59. Teso Women Peace Activists – Uganda
60. The Institute for International Women’s Rights at The University of Winnipeg Global College – Canada
61. Voice for Change – South Sudan
62. We Act 1325 -Philippines
63. West African Network of Peacebuilding, Liberia
64. Women Allies Peacebuilders, Burundi
65. Women for Women – Bangladesh.
66. Women in Black, Serbia
67. Women in Peacebuilding Network, Liberia
68. Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia
69. Women4NonViolence in Peace+Conflict Zones
70. Women’s Forum – Sierra Leone
71. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom -– DRC
72. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – International Office
73. World YWCA
74. Worldwide Organization for Women


Monday, November 19, 2012