As part of PeaceWomen's ongoing lecture series on Women, Peace and Security with the Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and the Liechtenstein Institute of Self Determination at Princeton University, WILPF co-hosted the event “Boko Haram and the Cycles of Violence: Strengthening Prevention Using the Women Peace and Security Agenda” on 30 October 2014, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The panel included representatives from WILPF Nigeria, Cameroon, and Human Rights Watch.
According to WILPF-Nigeria President Joy Onyesoh, “Boko Haram is waging war against women and girls and against the whole of Nigeria.” Ms. Onyesoh shared about how WILPF uses the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda to create change by working with local communities in different political zones to promote women's participation in security discussions. Sylvie Ndongmo of WILPF-Cameroon highlighted the gendered impacts of Boko Haram in Cameroon, including the decline in enrollment of girls in school and the escalation of violence against women, number of displaced persons, violations of human rights, and arms circulation among the population. “Prevention is better than cure,” Ms. Ndongmo affirmed. “Peace is the key element of development.” Human Rights Watch (HRW) Women's Rights Division Director Liesl Gerntholtz presented HRW's new report on Boko Haram, noting that what is happening in Nigeria and Cameroon with Boko Haram is an armed conflict, and thus subject to international agreements -- including the Geneva Conventions and International Criminal Court (ICC) -- and other international human rights and humanitarian law. Participants called for increased action to bring back the Nigerian school girls, strengthen women's political participation, and prevent continued abductions and violence. Read full analysis of the event here.