Open Letter to Ms. Bachelet, former UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, to call for women’s participation in the peace processes on Mali and Colombia – November 16, 2012

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November 16, 2012

Ms. Michelle Bachelet
UN Undersecretary-General
Executive Director of UN Women

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 Colombia and Mali

Dear Ms. Bachelet,

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 at the negotiation table in the ongoing peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). We believe the peace talks and the ensuing peace agreement will be much more substantive and will have a greater chance of implementation if women have ownership by being fully and equally represented. Consequently, the ongoing transitional political processes in Mali will also be more likely to succeed if the world sees a positive example in the Colombian peace process.

We also call on you to use your good offices to persuade the four sponsoring countries, Norway, Cuba, Venezuela and your own Chile, to include gender experts to assist the facilitation teams and publish the names of the people on their teams so that the world can see the number of women included. This will present a wonderful role model for future peace processes. 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.

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 insupport of all Colombian women’s groups and civil society organizations who call for:
1) the observance of a ceasefire during the peace process;
2) the representation of women among the principal 1st tier of negotiators of the Colombian Government and the FARC;
3) truth, justice and reparations for victims, specifically for victims of sexual violence and guarantees of non-repetition; and
4) the continuation of the peace talks until an agreement is reached.

We call for the integration of a gender perspective in the peace negotiations and for the commitment of the negotiating parties to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820; as well as the key principles of the 2012 UN Guidance on Effective Mediation that recognize inclusivity as a key principle.

We also call on the Colombian Government to conduct structured and systematic consultations with Colombian women’s organizations and all those affected by the conflicts with a view to ensuring the representation of women civil society leaders in all stages and phases of the peace process. This will ensure the legitimacy and full implementation of the agreements. In addition, we urge the negotiators to include the following substantive issues in the peace agreement: an agenda on education for peace and reconciliation; and the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820.

Colombian women are and will continue to be vigilant of the negotiation process until the final agreement is reached. While they consider that the current peace negotiation is very important, they should continue to pursue all other means to achieve peace. We also support Colombian women in their own discussions and proposals. We urge the Colombian government to provide sufficient guarantees for women’s full political participation, ensure their security; and protect their rights, so that they can continue their advocacy on women and peace and security issues.

It is imperative that women be included in the Colombian peace negotiations from an early stage; and ensure a gender dimension to the negotiations, as mandated by UNSCR 1325. The success of these peace talks highly depends on the full and equal participation of women. The agreements cannot be legitimate when women, half the population, are left out. In addition, women need to be part of the implementation of the agreement. We therefore request you to use your leverage and good offices to highlight this issue and strongly advocate for women’s inclusion in all phases of the peace negotiations in Colombia and Mali as well as the on-going peace processes in Somalia, Darfur, Cyprus and others.

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 andidentifying gender experts and women legal experts who could support the peace processes. Our network members are at the frontline of all peace processes. They look to the UN for strong leadership and putting the promise of UNSCR 1325 into 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. Asian Pacific Research and Resource Center for Women (ARROW) – Malaysia
7. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
8. Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolese (CAFCO) – DRC
9. Casa de la Mujer – Colombia
10. Center for Peace Education, Philippines
11. Center for Women in Governance, Uganda
12. Cerue Konah Garlo, Civil Society Media Leadership Program – Liberia
13. Colectivo Mujeres al Derecho – Colombia
14. Collectif des Femmes rurales pour le developpement (COFERD) – DRC
15. Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica – Colombia
16. Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
17. Dewi Suralaga, Cordaid – the Netherlands
18. EVE Organization for Women Development– South Sudan
19. FemLink Pacific
20. Feminist-Scholar Activist Network on Demilitarization
21. Fontaine ISOKO for Good Governance and Development – Burundi
22. Global Action to Prevent War
23. Global Justice Center
24. Hague Appeal for Peace
25. Initiative on Quiet Diplomacy- Canada
26. Institute of Human Rights Communication, Nepal
27. International Institute for Peace Education
28. Isis International (Philippines)
29. Kumi Samuel, Women and Media Collective – Sri Lanka
30. La Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad (LIMPAL) – Colombia
31. Lia van Broekhoven, Cordaid – the Netherlands
32. Lira Women Survivor’s Shelter, Lira, Northern Uganda
33. Mano River Women’s Peace Network, Sierra Leone
34. Media Advocacy Group, Nepal
35. Middle East and North Africa Partnership for Armed Conflict Prevention(MENAPPAC)
36. National Organization of Women, Sierra Leone
37. Okinawa Women Act against Military Violence (OWAAM)
38. Operation 1325, Sweden
39. Partners for Law in Development – New Delhi, India
40. PeaceWomen Across the Globe, PWAG, Switzerland
41. Permanent Peace Movement (PPM) – Lebanon
42. Red Nacional de Mujeres – Colombia
43. Rose Motumbo, DRC
44. Rwanda Women’s Network
45. Saathi, Nepal
46. Samanatha, Nepal
47. Sancharika Samuha Nepal
48. Sansristi – India
49. Soroptimist International – Geneva
50. The Institute for International Women’s Rights at The University of Winnipeg Global College – Canada
51. Voice for Change – South Sudan
52. We Act 1325 -Philippines
53. West African Network of Peacebuilding, Liberia
54. Women Allies Peacebuilders, Burundi
55. Women in Black, Serbia
56. Women in Peacebuilding Network, Liberia
57. Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia
58. Women4NonViolence in Peace+Conflict Zones
59. Women’s Forum – Sierra Leone
60. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom -– DRC
61. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – International Office
62. World YWCA
63. Worldwide Organization for Women



Friday, November 16, 2012