On International Women’s Day 2001, over one-hundred-thousand signatures, from 140 countries, were presented to the United Nations, urging the international community and governments to honor the commitments they made in Beijing in 1995. To recognize the role of women peacemakers, to include more women in peace negotiations and reconciliation processes and to ensure that women’s organizations gain the resources they need to build peace.
Despite their effectiveness in peace building at community and grassroots levels, women are persistently excluded from negotiations and decision-making forums in post conflict situations. The international campaign Women Building Peace: From the Village Council to the Negotiating Table, launched in May 1999, aims to highlight and strengthen the role of women in peacebuilding and conflict transformation processes. It was initiated by the UK-based conflict resolution and human rights organization, International Alert and involves over 300 women’s organizations worldwide.
“The sheer numbers and diversity of people that have signed the petition show the strength of feeling around the world to change the status quo. They are demanding that more women be included in peace processes. Why should the views of 50 per cent of the population continue to be ignored when it comes to making peace?” says Eugenia Piza-Lopez, Head of Policy and Advocacy, International Alert.
For more information about the Women Building Peace Campaign, visit International Alert.