Increasing Women’s participation in the peacekeeping processes worldwide could improve the chances of effective conflict resolution, according to the agency of the United Nations dedicated to championing women.
According to a report from UN Women, there has been very little attention given to the ways women challenge and influence conflict dynamics. A peacekeeping process that includes women can help governments manage and resolve conflict, they say.
Women and girls often bear the brunt of conflict and violence. During war, they are targeted by armed groups and state actors who sexually violate them.
In his message for the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, noted that perpetrators rarely face the consequences of these actions.
“It is the survivors who carry the burden of stigma and trauma throughout their lives, often doubly brutalised by harmful social norms and victim-blaming,” Guterres added.
The aftermath of war and conflict also disproportionately affects women and girls more than their male counterparts. This is evident in the lived reality of many women in IDP camps who are sexually exploited by camp officials in exchange for food items, drugs, and protection. All of these women were forced to flee their homes due to the decade-long insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
The UN analysis explained that women can successfully combat violence and human rights abuse when they lean into their community to challenge policy formulation.
To protect their human rights, most women create local groups to hold government agencies accountable.
HumAngle has reported on one such group in Nigeria. The Knifar movement, a support and advocacy group created in 2017 by displaced women in Borno state, northeastern Nigeria, whose husbands were abducted and wrongly imprisoned by the Nigerian army.
Following their activism, about 550 of those men have now regained their freedom from the Borno State Maximum-Security Prison between July and November 2021.
The report recommends that global leaders should create additional opportunities that target women in politics and civil societies aside from financial support. It also says that countries should create an enabling socio-political environment that allows women to engage in peace negotiations and representation.
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