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From Moldova, Albania, Colombia, Nicaragua, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia and Sweden, representatives from women peace organizations speak up for human rights, for equality and for sustainable peace. As a civil society organization, Operation 1325 is ready to project their leadership into every forum we can access.

As the Operation 1325 office opens up again after annual leave and welcomes staff and interns, the world looks rather different. Last week, we met with the board and with member organizations for strategic planning to ask how we can best increase women’s human rights and an inclusive, human security and holistic peace. One of our aims as a civil society organization is to inform about the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. We advocate for implementation of the resolution; for women to participate in decisions about peace and security, for women and girls’ human rights to be protected in conflict and for gender equality to be considered in all planning. We participate in the Reference Group for the implementation of Sweden’s 1325 national action plan and we participate in networks for regions and for areas of interest in Sweden and internationally. This year we will have seminars at the Human Rights Days and at the Book and Library Fair. Looking forward to a year full of activities, we started off last Saturday hosting a talk with professor Drude Dahlerup that was attended by an audience of activists, enthusiasts and students, all in support of women’s engagement in international relations. This inspiring event will be followed this week by a lunch meeting for students planning to research UNSCR 1325. Throughout the year Operation 1325 is accompanying its first board trainee programme in order to enable a future of 50/50 in board rooms.

Freedom of press is severely violated in Turkey. Our partner organization JINHA, which gathers a collective of media actors, journalists, publishers and activists all over the country, have seen two of their members imprisoned after the coup attempt in July. The Women in international Relations conference to be held outside Istanbul this fall has been cancelled. We will not accept fear as a drive for a country or defining security as control over those who think critically, have visions and present alternatives. We stand next to our colleagues in Turkey, projecting their voices, debating the freedoms of expression and participation as fundamental for a peaceful democracy.

As for Colombia we celebrate the successful peace negotiations together with the world. There are learnings from this ongoing process to replicate in other conflict areas. Firstly, the comprehensive conflict-transformation agenda is separated from putting an end to the armed conflict – keeping it simple. Secondly, the victims are at the center of the agenda; land reform and drugs trafficking is addressed plainly in its full context; a Gender Subcommission has substantial power to oversee negotiation and lead technical committees. Thorough documentation of crimes against women is recognizing a gender-based crime as deserving justice and compensation in transitional justice mechanisms, like other conflict-related crimes; finally implementation of the peace agreements must take place before all issues are resolved. This complex, parallel and multi-interfaced development reflects the Sustainable Development Goals which recognize that equality, peace and justice are inseparable.

This autumn we will listen to women peace organizations in Moldova, Albania, Colombia, Nicaragua, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia and Sweden. We will project their leadership into every forum we can access and together work for powerful participation in the 1325 agenda on Women, Peace and Security.

Annika Schabbauer, Director of Operation