Power to Women in Peace Processes

Women's Organisations Cooperating in Realising Resolution 1325

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Albania on its way to a NAP on 1325

Albania is a country in lack of democracy and rule of law. Women suffer from sexual and gender-based violence and lack freedoms of political and economic rights in a tangible way effecting their lives and that of future generations. But internationally driven projects for reform and gender equality in the peace and security sectors have been successful. The numbers of women in decision-making positions and in the security sector are increasing. 

The Kanun-tradition
How strong the collective and the clan still is in comparison to the rather modern democratic state is apparent when it comes to the Kanun-tradition. This entails blood feud and revenge based on cultural traditions. Current legislation and the principle of rule of law are ignored and insignificant. Changes in this barbaric practice would possibly need a combination of public education, political pressure and economic empowerment according to research and practitioners in this field.

Family-voting
The phenomenon of “family-voting” still prevails in rural areas in the North of Albania. This means that a male bread-winner and older family members casts the ballot for each family member and takes away their individual decision. In Tirana’s old families who are considered as upper class or formally were called “the politicos” it is still unusual to vote differently that your family has traditionally voted. The individual follows the collective’s expectations to share values and ideologies as the male forefathers have done in the past.

Women in the police
In our project Women’s Rights – from Concept to Albanian Reality, we are doing awareness raising in nine districts, some of which now coordinate for their local action plans for resolution 1325. On municipal and district administrative levels budgets are planned for inclusion of a resolution 1325 component. This may be training of the police and it may be coordination with civil society organizations.

Within the police force, a recruitment process started some years back and since then women traffic police are visible in the streets and have gained trust. The population want the women police officers who are not threatening and who are not suspected of taking bribes. But the women police officers don’t stay for a long career path in the police service. Trainings which are a condition for advancement are mainly residential and the women prefer not to leave their families. Work hours are inflexible and require women to do shifts in the evenings and during weekends which is difficult when there is no child care available. By maintaining this system of career advancement women in the police force are continuously discriminated.

Gender equality legislation and resolution 1325
There is an anti-discrimination and a gender equality legislation in place since 2005. It has been accompanied by national action plans, the latest is for the years 2016-2020. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is not mentioned but Operation 1325 works for a change on this. Now that the political will is clear from several ministries and the Deputy Minister of Interior has publicly committed to taking a lead, the question arises around how a National Action Plan for 1325 can be formally adopted.