Women, Peace and Security on the Agenda at the First-Ever Informal General Assembly Civil Society Hearings

Thursday, June 30, 2005


June 29, 2005 - (Reuters) Pakistan wants to ensure gang-rape victim Mukhtaran Mai finds justice, President Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday, as he invited women from around the world to come and tell of their abuse and recommend solutions.

June 27, 2005 – (U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center) Breaking from growing international recognition of the gravity of crimes such as rape and sexual enslavement, a decision issued late last week by a trial chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone prevents it from hearing evidence of sexual violence in one of its three cases. According to U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center Director David Cohen, “The Special Court has lost an important opportunity to highlight the nature and scope of sexual violence committed by the CDF and to create accountability for such crimes.” A report issued today by the U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center summarizes the key issues and the history behind the decision.

For the full report, “Silencing Sexual Violence: Recent Developments in the CDF Case at the Special Court for Sierra Leone”, CLICK HERE.

June 23, 2005 – (UNIFEM Press Release) Women survivors of the tsunami that struck in December 2004 are demanding a greater role in the recovery and reconstruction efforts underway in the affected countries. For years at the forefront of survival strategies that sustained their families and communities during conflict, women assumed critical roles in the tsunami emergency response effort, taking in relatives and children orphaned by the tsunami, offering care and support within camps and shelters for grieving survivors, and participating in aid and health care distribution and evacuation of the dead. As tsunami-affected communities transition from the emergency to the reconstruction phase, however, women's participation is lacking in the planning and implementation of recovery and rebuilding processes.

June 22, 2005 - (NYT) The United Nations' top relief official said Tuesday that organized, premeditated sexual attack had become a preferred weapon of war in conflicted parts of Africa, with rapists going unpunished and victims of rape shunned by their communities.

June 15, 2005 - (Reuters) Rape, sexual attacks and child abuse are common in northern Uganda's biggest refugee camp, where tens of thousands of people shelter from 19 years of war, the United Nations children's agency said on Wednesday.

June 13, 2005 - (Amnesty International) Women and girls face “horrific” levels of abuse in 2004 worldwide, Amnesty International (AI) has said in its annual human rights review, blaming widespread rape and violence on a mix of “indifference, apathy and impunity”.

June 13, 2005 - (TNA) Over 10,000 women gathered in Thailand's southern border province of Yala yesterday to express their opposition to the spate of insurgency which has claimed hundreds of lives over the past 18 months.

May/June 2005 – (UNIFEM) The latest issue of UNIFEM's electronic newsletter reports on Sudanese women's participation in the Oslo International Donors' Conference on Sudan held in April, reviews the outcome of the recent UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, and summarizes preparations for the upcoming World Summit 2005.

For more country-specific women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

For more international women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

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Women, Peace and Security on the Agenda at the First-Ever Informal General Assembly Civil Society Hearings

The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security joined select representatives of civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector to be heard by Governments at the first-ever Informal Interactive Hearings of the United Nations General Assembly held on June 23rd and 24th at UN Headquarters in New York.

Participants were invited to present on development, security and human rights issues as input to the upcoming 2005 World Summit, the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly (14 to 16 September 2005).

The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security was represented by (Speaker) Ms. Vina Nadjibulla of the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and (Active Participant) Ancil Adrian-Paul of International Alert in the “Freedom from Fear” segment of the Hearings. In the speech given by Ms. Nadjibulla to members of the General Assembly, the Working Group called for the vital inclusion of a gender perspective and the equal participation of women's groups and civil society in the work of the proposed Peacebuilding Commission.

The Working Group made an urgent call to Governments and the United Nations “to end impunity for violence against women,” including strengthening reporting mechanisms for gender-based violence.

“Ensuring that justice is done is essential if we are to convince men with guns that there is no impunity in committing crimes against women. Bringing perpetrators to justice is an essential part of re-establishing the rule of law.”

For the full speech by Ms. Nadjibulla, CLICK HERE.

The President of the General Assembly is expected to convey the results of the Hearings in an outcome document that will be issued as an official General Assembly document prior to the September Summit.

Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, the Women's Environment and Development Organization, and WILPF, all members of the NGOWG, were also present at the Hearings and were given an opportunity to speak. For WILPF's intervention, CLICK HERE. Excerpts of the two other interventions will be available shortly. Please contact Gina Torry for more information about these interventions: NGOWGCoordinator@peacewomen.org.

The NGOWG's action alerts and updates are posted on the NGOWG website at:

For more information about the NGOWG, CLICK HERE.

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On the Occasion of the Security Council's Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
21 June 2005
In the Security Council's 3-hour Open Debate on Protection of civilians in armed conflict, Council members received a briefing from Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. In addition, statements were made by the following Member States: Algeria, United Republic of Tanzania, Benin, United States, Russian Federation, Philippines, China, Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Romania, France, Peru, Colombia, Egypt, Luxembourg (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Nigeria, Norway and Cote d'Ivoire.

Featured below are excerpts from the briefing by Mr. Egeland, and the full Presidential Statement read, which was read by Michel Duclos (France), serving as the Council's President for the month of June:

Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:

…Mr. President, the recurrent brutal use of sexual violence is arguably one of the worst global protection challenges due to its scale, prevalence and profound impact. Often ostracized by their communities, survivors have to battle with the physical injuries, trauma, and stigma of such violence for the rest of their lives. Although we repeatedly condemn such violence, it persists virtually unchallenged. Far from making general progress we have in too many places regressed. We have information of more and more women are being attacked, younger and yet younger children are victims of these atrocities.

… We must redouble our efforts to bring such atrocities to a halt. The International Criminal Court (ICC) will have a significant impact once it demonstrates that such crimes will not go unpunished. However, the endemic nature of this problem will only be effectively addressed through the restoration of effective national judicial systems and a political commitment at the local level to bring perpetrators to account. Peace-keeping operations also make a difference. Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war and demands immediate response through the provision of more effective protection from violence in areas where women and children are most at risk.

For the full statement by Jan Egeland, CLICK HERE.

Presidential Statement on Protection of civilians in armed conflict (S/PRST/2005/25):

“The Security Council, recalling its resolutions 1265 (1999) and 1296 (2000), as well as statements made by its presidents on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, reiterates its commitment to address the widespread impact of armed conflict on civilian populations.

“The Council reaffirms its strong condemnation of the deliberate targeting of civilians or other protected persons in situations of armed conflict, and calls upon all parties to put an end to such practices. It expresses in particular its deep concerns at the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. It calls upon all States to put an end to impunity also in this regard.

“The Council is gravely concerned about limited progress on the ground to ensure the effective protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict. It stresses in particular the urgent need for providing better physical protection for displaced populations, as well as for other vulnerable groups, in particular women and children. Efforts should be focused in areas where these populations and groups are most at risk. At the same time, it considers that contributing to the establishment of a secure environment for all vulnerable populations should be a key objective of peacekeeping operations.

“The Council invites, accordingly, the Secretary-General to include in his next report recommendations on ways to better address the persisting and emerging protection challenges in the evolving peacekeeping environment. Upon receipt of this report, it expresses its intention to take further action to strengthen and enhance the protection of civilians in armed conflict including, if necessary, a possible resolution in this regard.”

To download the Presidential Statement, CLICK HERE.

For the Security Council Press Release, CLICK HERE.

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UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security: Making it Work
Experiences in Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom with Recommendations for Sweden's Implementation
A Study Commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
By Gunilla de Vries Lindestam, Uppsala University Collegium for Development Studies

“The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in implementing Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) (Appendix 1). This ‘lessons learned' exercise has identified good practices and effective working methods which should now be used to enhance Sweden's continued efforts towards implementation of resolution 1325.”

In addition to detailed recommendations on Responsibility, Coordination and Cooperation, the report makes recommendations on several thematic issues: women's equal participation, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), gender based violence, and information and training for peacekeepers.

The full report is available to download at: http://www.kus.uu.se/pdf/publications/KUS%20Bok%20nr%2024%20(n%E4t).pdf. To order a print copy, contact mia.melin@kus.uu.se.

For more resources on SCR 1325, CLICK HERE.

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SCR 1325 on the Agenda in Europe

Report from the Seminar “Women in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management”
Organized by the Permanent Delegation of Sweden to the OSCE in co-operation with Folke Bernadotte Academy
20 June 2005, Vienna, Austria

At the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Annual Security Review Conference, held in Vienna in June 2004, Sweden put forward a proposal to arrange a seminar on women in crisis management. The overall objective of this expert seminar was to promote the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the OSCE. A further purpose of the seminar was to exchange information about women's participation in conflict prevention and crisis management, to exchange experience and lessons learned from participation in conflict prevention and international missions, and to discuss and identify possible actions in order to implement UNSCR 1325 in the OSCE.

Heidi Meinzolt-Depner, a member of the WILPF German Section, attended the seminar and prepared a brief report, excerpted here:

It was a very interesting conference with broad participation of OSCE Member States, OSCE-Missions, International Organisations and NGOs.

A background paper, prepared by the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation in Sweden – in cooperation with WILPF Sweden – highlighted key issues requiring urgent action, including: gender perspective at every stage and all levels of policy-making by all actors; annual evaluation of progress; strengthening efforts in gender-balanced recruitment procedures; empowering women through trainings and institutionalising gender-sensitive trainings; necessity of an action-focussed strategy; and women as role models.

The OSCE has an Action Plan for the Promotion of gender equality from 2004 with interesting analyses and proposals (OSCE-Document: MC.DEC/14/04 7 December 2004 – Annex), however it has yet to be implemented. This Action Plan will be discussed on 28 September 2005 in a meeting at the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw, and finalised in December 2005 in Ljubljana/Slovenia during the OSCE-Council of Ministers.

In the discussion on how to ensure better implementation of SCR 1325, a number of issues were prioritized: specific training programs; quotas; financial instruments; incentives and/or sanctions.

The common view – also supported by Ms. Rachel Mayanja – UN Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women – was: no new resolution. Instead, participants argued for the development of national action plans for all Member States of the UN.

For more information about the seminar, contact:
Anneli von Wachenfeldt
Folke Bernadotte Academy
SE-872 64 Sandöverken, Sweden
Tel: +46 612 82 303, +46 70 624 43 78
Fax +46 612 820 21
Email: anneli.wachenfeldt@folkebernadotteacademy.se

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Upcoming Event: European Coordination Meeting in Berlin on SCR 1325 and Implementation
Organized by the Women's Security Council in Germany*
11 September 2005, Berlin, Germany

Before the 5th anniversary of SCR 1325, we are still far away from a satisfying level of implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 from October 2000 in our countries and at the international level.

The Women's Security Council in Germany therefore proposes as a next step to strengthen the lobbying activities, to coordinate our initiatives and activities in Europe in order to speed up the implementation and to promote concrete action plans across Europe.

We would like to invite you to a first meeting to discuss common approaches to implementing SCR 1325, following on the heels of the international women's congress “Femme globale” in Berlin.

We would like to hear your opinion on:
- National action plans and progresses
- Specific input from NGOs and governments
- The actual debate: strengthening the existing resolution, or lobby for a new one with stronger language?
- Ideas for joint activities and initiatives.

For more information, contact:
Heidi Meinzolt-Depner
T/F 0049 89 89979690

* The Women's Security Council is a network of approximately 50 women peace activists, peace researchers, and representatives of political institutions and NGOs, founded after Germany began its two-year term on the UN Security Council. Organizations represented in the Women's Security Council include the Bonn International Center for Conversion, the WILPF German National Section, Women's Network for Peace, and the German Committee of UNIFEM. The network advocates for national implementation of 1325, and incorporation of a gender perspective in the national foreign policy and security agenda. For more information about the network, visit: http://un1325.de/fsr.htm.

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Feature Resource: Women still under attack - a systematic failure to protect
Amnesty International, Stop Violence against Women campaign, 30 May 2005

Afghanistan is in the process of reconstruction after many years of conflict, but hundreds of thousands of women and girls continue to suffer abuse at the hands of their husbands, fathers, brothers, armed individuals, parallel legal systems, and institutions of the state itself such as the police and the justice system. There are reported increases in forced marriages; some women in difficult situations have even killed themselves to escape such a heinous situation whilst others burn themselves to death to draw attention to their plight...

This report highlights the failure of the state to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of women and girls. It is not a comprehensive study of violations and abuses perpetrated against women in Afghanistan. It seeks instead to provide examples that highlight the inability, and at times the lack of will, of the government and its institutions - in their current state - to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of women. It documents abuses perpetrated against women and girls in Afghanistan, including; forced and underage marriage; sexual violence; violations of the right to mental and physical integrity; deprivation of life and liberty; denial of freedom of movement; and the very present risk of torture and ill-treatment.

For the full report, visit: http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa110072005

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Feature Event: Women for Afghan Women (WAW) 4th Annual Conference
August/September 2005, Herat, Afghanistan

The purpose of the conference will be to address the difficult subject of marriage/family law and Sharia in Afghanistan. It will bring to Herat about 30 grassroots women from throughout Afghanistan, women of diverse ethnicity, age and background, uneducated women from remote rural areas and small towns, who continue to suffer appalling gender discrimination. These women will be joined by progressive, educated Afghan women (and men), scholars, lawyers, judges, with strong convictions about compatibility of Islam and women's rights. For more information, visit: http://www.womenforafghanwomen.org/conference/conf05.html.

For UNIFEM's country profile of Afghanistan, CLICK HERE.

For PeaceWomen's women, peace and security Afghanistan index, CLICK HERE.

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“Mainstreaming Gender in Peace Support Operations: The United Nations Mission in Liberia”
By Fatoumata Aisha
From A Tortuous Road to Peace: The Dynamics of Regional, UN and International Humanitarian Interventions in Liberia, Edited by Festus Aboagye and Alhaji M S Bah, May 2005
A project of the Peace Missions Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, funded by the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, South Africa

… The chapter provides a synopsis of gender issues, focusing on crucial issues of gender and children in the Liberian conflict and peace process. In particular, it provides a perspective of gender in Liberia, outlining the experiences of violence against women and girls and the legal framework for their protection. This provides a backdrop to the gender framework of UNMIL and its efforts to mainstream gender in the peacekeeping operation. The synopsis also highlights the challenges, the lessons learned and the best practices that have derived from the role and functions of the Gender Unit in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

For the full chapter, CLICK HERE.

For more information about A Tortuous Road to Peace, CLICK HERE.

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Mainstreaming or Maneuvering? Gender and Peacekeeping in West Africa
By April O'Neill and Leora Ward, KAIPTC* Monograph, No. 1
April 2005

The aim of this study is to evaluate the roles and impact of Gender Advisors (GA) and gender mainstreaming strategies in UN peacekeeping missions, with specific reference to Sierra Leone and Liberia as case studies. These countries and missions are selected because the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was adopted before Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security was passed, hence only vague references to women and gender issues are made. In contrast, the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was adopted post-resolution 1325, and makes gender mainstreaming in all aspects and at all levels of the operation a priority.
The study addresses two broad questions. First, has resolution 1325 impacted UN peacekeeping missions at an operational level and if so, how? Secondly, what effect does having an Office of the Gender Advisor (OGA) situated within a peacekeeping mission have in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of resolution 1325?

For the full monograph, CLICK HERE.

*Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center. For more information about the KAIPTC, visit: http://www.kaiptc.org/kaiptc/.

For more resources on gender and peacekeeping, CLICK HERE.

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Guatemala: No protection, no justice: Killings of women in Guatemala
Amnesty International, 9 June 2005

This report examines the murder of women in Guatemala and looks at the state's failure to exercise due diligence in preventing, investigating and punishing these crimes. The report also discusses the discrimination that lies at the heart of violence experienced by women in Guatemalan society and some of the laws that perpetuate such discrimination. The report concludes with a set of recommendations that Amnesty International believes should be fully and effectively implemented.

For the full report, CLICK HERE.

For Amnesty International's press release, “ Guatemala: No Protection, No Justice: Killings Of Women And Girls - Facts And Figures,” CLICK HERE.

For UNIFEM's country profile of Guatemala, CLICK HERE.

For PeaceWomen's women, peace and security Guatemala index, CLICK HERE.

For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, CLICK HERE.

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33rd Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
5-22 July 2005, UN Headquarters, New York
The following governmental reports on national implementation of CEDAW will be considered: Benin, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Gambia, Lebanon, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Ireland, Israel. The WILPF PeaceWomen Project will be monitoring and reporting on the 33rd Session. For more information, visit: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/33sess.htm.

West Africa Peacebuilding Institute (WAPI) 2005
8 July 2005: Deadline for submission of applications
5-23 September 2005, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Accra, Ghana
The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) organizes WAPI, a three-week intensive training program that aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society-based peacebuilding practitioners and institutions across the sub-region in order to promote the development of indigenous responses to conflict. Six courses will be offered during the three-week period, each week having two 5-day intensive courses running concurrently. The courses are highly interactive and participatory, blending theory and practice in the field of peacebuilding. Admission to WAPI is open to practitioners, students and policy-makers interested in peacebuilding, human rights awareness and advocacy, development, arms control, humanitarian aid, social welfare, and gender. For more information, visit: http://www.wanep.org/wapi.

Double jeopardy – the impact of terrorism on women'
15 July 2005, 12:15-2:15pm, St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, London, England
The discussion will be chaired by Isabel Hilton, Presenter of BBC Radio Three's ‘Night Waves,' and will feature Lesley Abdela, partner in Eyecatcher Associates/Shevolution and Chief Executive of Project Parity, as the speaker. Those invited will include members of the Trust, civil servants, NGOs, representatives of religious bodies, national and religious press, politicians, and relevant academics. The cost will be £15.00 to include lunch and a copy of the summary report of the discussion. For more information, contact Judy Keep, WPCT, at judykeep@yahoo.co.uk or tel/fax: 01252 612527.

Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation Seminar: Security on whose terms? If men and women were equal
20 October 2005, Stockholm, Sweden
15 September 2005: RSVP deadline
What is the security concept prevailing today? Whose interests and needs does it protect? What would be the definition of security if women would be the ones to define it? Is there a gender perspective in the forthcoming Swedish security policy?

In September The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation releases the report Security on whose terms? If men and women were equal. This report focuses on threats and obstacles to women's security in war and conflict affected areas. The report will be the base for this seminar. Themes in the report such as lack of information, limited freedom of movement and the need for women to have ownership of their own bodies, will be discussed. Together with experts from conflict affected areas we will explore what the international community can do and what responsibility international actors have to see, interact with and support women and women's activists. The aim is to inspire thoughts on how the security situation, and women's ability to participate in society and peace processes, can be improved.

The seminar will contain both panel discussions and workshops. Speakers will include practitioners from the conflict
affected areas and theoretic security experts. For more information, and to RSVP, contact Agneta Jacobson at: agneta.jacobson@iktk.se. For more information about the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, visit: http://www.iktk.se.

10th AWID International Forum: How does change happen?
27-30 October 2005, Bangkok, Thailand
Up to 2,000 women's rights leaders and activists from around the world will converge at The International Forum on Women's Rights and Development, which is both a conference and a call to action. The largest recurring event of its kind, the AWID Forum brings together women's rights leaders and activists from around the world every three years to strategize, network, celebrate, and learn in a highly charged atmosphere that fosters deep discussions and sustained personal and professional growth. Delegates to the Forum participate in four days of plenary speeches, interactive sessions, workshops, debates, and creative sessions geared to powerful thinking on gender equality and women's human rights. Delegates also participate in informal caucuses, gala events, cultural activities, and social and political events geared to global and regional networking and alliance-building. Delegates who participate fully in the Forum not only empower themselves with new tools and resources, but they also, collectively, re-politicize the gender and development community, strengthen alliances between women, and engage in work and thinking that is truly transformative rather than simply palliative. For more information, visit: http://www.awid.org/forum/about_the_forum.htm.

For the complete calendar, CLICK HERE.

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1. Women, Peace and Security News
2. NGOWG Update: Women, Peace and Security on the Agenda at the First-Ever Informal General Assembly Civil Society Hearings
3. Feature Statements: On the Occasion of the Security Council's Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
4. Feature Analysis: UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security: Making it Work - Experiences in Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom with Recommendations for Sweden's Implementation (Sweden)
5. Feature Events: SCR 1325 on the Agenda in Europe
6. Focus on Afghanistan
7. Feature Resources: �Mainstreaming Gender in Peace Support Operations: The United Nations Mission in Liberia� (ISS), Mainstreaming or Maneuvering? Gender and Peacekeeping in West Africa (KAIPTC) & Guatemala: No protection, no justice: Killings of women in Guatemala (Amnesty International)
8. Women, Peace and Security Calendar
4. Upcoming Event: Seminar on �Women in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management�
5. UNIFEM Update: Colombian Women Advocate for Protection of Women's Rights in Draft Law on Justice and Peace & Other UNIFEM News
6. A Gender and Peacekeeping Update: UN Security Council Holds First-Ever Public Meeting on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse & New Resource - Gender, Conflict, and Peacekeeping
7. Feature Resources: Conference Report: A Conference on Girl Mothers in Fighting Forces and Their Post-War Reintegration in Southern and Western Africa; Women & Elections: Guide to Promoting the Participation of Women in Elections (OSAGI and DPA); Democratic Republic of the Congo: FDLR Militia Dependents Vulnerable (RI); From Rhetoric to Reality: Afghan Women on the Agenda for Peace (Women Waging); and Learning in a War Zone: Education in Northern Uganda (WCRCW)
8. Listening to Peacewomen Voices from the Past
9. Women, Peace and Security Calendar