Draft action plan on women’s peace, security prepared

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) A draft national action plan on women’s peace and security was prepared on Tuesday for submission to the union government for approval.

The draft was the outcome of a two-day conference themed “South Asian women’s peace and security conference: Formulating national action plans and the way forward” organised by the Control Arms Foundation of India.

Speakers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka as well as Myanmar and the Philippines discussed the issue of increasing militarisation and weaponisation in South Asia and the related humiliation, assault, rape and murder of women by state and non-state actors.

The conference was organised on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325, which recognises that including women and gender perspectives in decision-making can strengthen prospects of sustainable peace.

Bandana Rana from the 1325 Action Group Nepal talked about the value in bringing civil society and government together in dialogue.

“Nepal’s national action plan enables us to have identified actions, a dedicated budget and accountability mechanisms,” she said.

Nepal is the only country in the region to have a national action plan for the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325.

“In Myanmar, women have worked together to form an alliance for gender inclusion in peace processes,” Thin Thin Aung, advisory board member of the Women’s League of Burma, said in a session on women’s peace and security perspectives from South Asia and Myanmar.

According to Eshani Chakraborty from Dhaka, “our primary task is to bring change at the policy level” in Bangladesh.

She also acknowledged that the implementation of the peace accord in the South Asian nation has been a challenge.

Rosemary Dzuvichu of Nagaland University, who is an advisor to the Naga Mothers Association (NMA), acknowledged the role of the NMA in the framework agreement for a peace accord signed between the Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).

“Any agreement signed with a militant group should have a gender perspective. We are a force to be reckoned with,” she asserted.

S. Momon, a leader of the Meira Paibis (Women Torchbearers), a women’s human rights movement of Manipur, gave examples of how her group has been fighting cases of sexual violence against women by security forces in her state.

“Sexual violence in conflict must be stopped and women must lead the way for peace,” she said.

There were speakers from other northeastern states like Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as well.

The views forward by these speakers, along with insights from other experts and social activists, were embedded in the draft of the national action plan on UNSC Resolution 1325 to be submitted to the Centre.

On Monday, a memorandum was also submitted to union minister of state for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who inaugurated the conference.

The event was organised as part of the project “Empowering Women for Peace and Development in South Asia”, which promotes civil society and aims at strengthening women-led initiatives for sustainable peace and conflict transformation processes in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

It was supported by the European Union and Welthungerhilfe, a non-profit, non-denominational and politically independent organisation run by a board of honorary members under the patronage of the German government.

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