Where are the Women?

On Friday November 2nd PeaceWomen and Global Network of Women Peacebuilders hosted a panel discussion on women's participation in the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

Cora Weiss described the disproportionate impact the conflict has had on women who are overrepresented among victims of sexualized violence and forced displacement. She highlighted the disappointing fact women are once again being sidelined from the peace table, despite the clear mandate of UNSCR 1325 to include women at all stages of peace processes. She highlighted the fact that women's organizations throughout Columbia have been at the forefront advocating for peaceful resolution to the conflict and defending human rights, yet their expertise continues to be overlooked.

Adalgiza Charria, urged the international community to help push for victims' issues to be heard and prioritized by all parties of the negotiations. Katherine Ronderos, spoke of women's efforts to support the calls of the UNSCR 1325, and highlighted the need for tools to increase the political participation of women at all levels, mechanisms to deal with the threats against women human rights defenders, and to end impunity for sexual violence.

While we celebrate the 12the anniversary of UNSCR 1325, and highlight the contributions of women's civil society, it is deeply disappointing that the mandate to include women at all stages of peace processes continues to be neglected. Women's inclusion is not an optional extra, or a luxury to be indulged after other more "important concerns" are addressed - it is central to the achievement of sustainable peace.

We stand in solidarity with the women of Columbia in their demands to be represented at the peace table, so that they may bring this expertise to bear, for the benefit of all Colombians.