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War is raging in our surrounding areas, in Ukraine and the Middle East, and every day we receive reports of new conflict zones, civilian casualties and assaults. In only a few reports the vulnerability of women is mentioned; how the human rights of women are used as pawns and how warfare is sexualized in rethorics and practice. But that is far too often mentioned between the lines, or not at all. During the fall 2014 the issue of women, peace and security is once again highly topical, and once again too far down on the agenda.

Operation 1325 keeps on working to change this. This fall we have several projects in one of the most afflicted areas: national in Iraq/Kurdistan and regional in the Middle East and North Africa. In a workshop for women’s organizations from the MENA-region that was meant to take place in Erbil but has been moved to Istanbul, the purpose is to share experience and cooperate to implement Resolution 1325 in practice. We have added one day to the workshop with a particular focus on Iraq and how the newly adopted national action plan (more info here) is enforced. In another project we lay focus on the security sector in Iraq, in order to facilitate dialogue between personnel involved in peace-support and security-buliding, and the civil society’s women’s and peace organizations. In the current situation in Iraq/Kurdistan the issue of women’s exposure to violence in war and their participation in the process of transition from war to peace are both urgent and vital.

In Sweden, the national action plan for Resolution 1325 is facing revision. Together with Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) Sweden and Kvinna till Kvinna we have demanded a new national action plan, and during fall consultations are being held under the auspices of WILPF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a wide array of representatives from concerned organizations and agencies. After that the process of giving shape to the action plan will take place. Women Count, our annual examination of the Swedish implementation of 1325, demonstrates the need for a radical, concrete and monitorable action plan with clear responsibilities and earmarked funding.

As the new director of Operation 1325 I sincerely welcome you to follow our work here at our website, on facebook, and on twitter.