Thursday, October 08, 2009

Heed UN’s call for women representation in peace process, women's group urges Manila, MILF rebels

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - The Mindanao Commission on Women and the Mothers for Peace Movement strongly urge the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to act on a concern made by the UN Security Council over the continued under-representation of women in formal peace processes and on the lack of women becoming chief orlLead peace mediators in United Nations-sponsored peace talks.

The UN Security Council stated this concern in Resolution No.1888, adopted on September 30 and sponsored by 61 countries, which demands as well that parties to armed conflict must take measures to protect women and children from all forms of sexual violence. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chaired the session.

“Until now, many governments including the Philippines still refuse to heed the UN’s call to include women in all structures that make decisions to sustain peace or end conflict,” Irene Santiago, chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Mindanao Commission on Women, said in a statement.

In 2000, the UN Security Council also adopted the landmark Resolution 1325 unanimously calling on all member states to increase the participation of women in decision-making and peace processes and to institute gender perspectives and training from peace negotiations to peacekeeping initiatives.

“But since then, it remains a rhetoric in the Philippines where women are still being systematically excluded from political participation and representation in the peace negotiations,” she said.

She cited as example the “glaring absence” of women members in both the negotiating panels of the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Santiago was a former member of the Philippine Government peace negotiating panel for talks with the MILF from 2001 to 2003. “Unless women will be involved in drafting and negotiating any peace agreement, such peace will not be comprehensive and sustainable,” she said.

In February 2006, the Mindanao Commission on Women presented a position paper entitled "If Women Negotiated the GRP-MILF Peace Agreement" to the government and rebel group's peace panels, lobbying for a venue where women in conflict-affected areas can articulate their stand on what the peace agreement should contain.

“Women are victims of the armed conflict. However, they have the capacity and the will to become major actors for peace in the various levels in which they are located,” the Mindanao Commission on Women said in the same position paper.

The Davao City-based Mindanao Commission on Women was established in 2001 as a non-governmental organization by Mindanao women leaders. Its mission is to influence public policy and public opinion and advocates for a Mindanao peace and development agenda from a women’s perspective.

No comments: