This season of 2015 has been called the ’super autumn’ because of the many historical international events. This includes the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Swedish revision of the national action plan for the implementation of resolution 1325, the 15 year anniversary of resolution 1325, and the Beijing 20 conference. For us at Operation 1325, this is motivation to put extra efforts behind our demand to increase the power of women in peace processes. As an additional inspiration we recently held this autumn’s first round table for students writing essays on the topic of women, peace and security, and we are eager to take off!
Together with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders we are reporting to the UN Secretary General on how 1325 has been implemented in Sweden the last five years. Although we can be proud of our high levels of equal representation in decision-making bodies, Sweden is still far from reaching full implementation, for example; women’s representation in peace keeping missions was in 2014 estimated to 12 %, and the numbers get even lower the higher up in the hierarchy. Furthermore, there is no change in the stereotypical ideas of masculinity and militarist definitions of peace and security, with little or no consideration of the battlefield including women’s bodies in their own home. Also, we regret that we have to point out the lack of transparency and inclusion of civil society in the development of a new Swedish Action Plan.
On a more positive note, with Columbia we celebrate the peace negotiations and the accord and hope that it will bring security. In this process, women have been part of the negotiations. The negotiations are anchored in the local societies through a well-developed tradition of civil society organizations, with legitimacy amongst the populations. The threat of fractions and drug cartels is real and continued support by organizations like the Forum Syd country office, which we met last week, is very important.
This autumn, our international projects focus on women’s peace organizations and creating spaces for interaction with media actors. We will host a conference in Sweden for media and civil society actors from the MENA region and are in the final stages of writing up a media handbook which will be launched at the Canadian Embassy on November 18th. We are exploring how descriptions can be empowering or not, and how women can get their narratives and images visible in the public opinion. In relation to this we have a second project, where we are collaborating with a Kurdish women peace organization in Turkey and wish to meet journalists there. The violations of rights are a great disappointment and we plead with those in power to return to the more recent development towards democracy.
Operation 1325 is taking part in a number of public events. Including the Book Fair, the Swedish Forum for Human Rights, the United Nations Day, and the conference for transitional justice organized by the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights. We are also supporting the GQUAL campaign, together with SFHR, for gender parity in representation in international tribunals and monitoring bodies.
With the participation and leadership of our board it is possible to be visible and outspoken in fora where we are needed. During a recent planning day we continued the strategizing for the next years of Operation 1325, and opened the discussion around where our efforts are most valuable. The need to stand up for women in peace and security is as clear as can be.
There are serious challenges ahead but we will not give up in the struggle for peace and justice. We are motivated by all the positive things happening, and we will continue on in the spirit of a ‘super autumn’.