No Peace Without Women: Participation in Process ‘Is Only Beginning’ (E)
In Colombia, where the latest peace accord between the government and the biggest guerrilla organization, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), is showing promising results on the ground, women’s participation in the peace process is only now beginning. For starters, they have yet to formulate and implement a National Action Plan
Still, even without formal recognition, “considerable pressure” from civil society led to the institution of a gender subcommittee within the peace structure.
Peace negotiator Alejandra Miller Restrepo says the committee “was a very effective force in bringing about the participation of women. Despite tenacious resistance on the part of clerical and conservative circles to a gender-responsive approach, the concerns of the committee are represented in the current peace treaty.”
However, observers note that “the number of women at the decision-making level in the peace negotiations … remained small: in the 10-member negotiation team of the government, there were two women, on the side of the FARC, there was only one. In other words, despite the initiative towards an approach for fair gender representation, it was men who dominated the four-year negotiations in Havana, Cuba.”
But women persisted in making themselves heard in the march toward peace in Colombia. The women, says Miller Restrepo, “remained anything but passive … [acted] as mediators in regional ceasefires, took down testimonies of victims, set up solidarity networks and, alongside the official negotiations, organized civil-society-run regional and local events, during which the peace process was discussed.”
Indeed, the rallying cry today in Colombia, emerging after decades of violent conflict, is “No Peace without Women!” Which might well be the cry of women in Marawi, in the rest of Mindanao, and throughout the country. Opinion inquirer