Peace talks

Women’s voices missing from Syrian negotiations

Syrian women rest at a makeshift camp near the border of Turkey in Khirbet al-Jouz, Syria, June 10, 2011. As more than 1,000 civilians fled north to Turkey, Security forces loyal to President Bashar Assad of Syria moved to crush opposition in the volatile town of Jisr al-Shoughour in the country's restive northwest. (The New York Times)

To mark the 15th anniversary of United Nations security council resolution 1325, which recognized the disproportionate effect war has on women and the need for their presence at the peace table, in October the U.N. convened a review to assess its progress. An unprecedented 133 countries wanted to speak in the debate, making the review the most popular in the history of the security council. With the exception of the U.K., however, few countries laid out promises, or even visions, of further including women in peace talks. Between 1992 and 2011, only 4 percent of signatories to peace agreements have been women.

Women and children make up an increasing number of civilian deaths, according to stats gathered by the U.N. in Afghanistan. In modern armed conflicts, civilian deaths account for more than 90 percent of wartime fatalities. The breakdown of law and order disproportionately impacts women as well. In Afghanistan an estimated 87 percent of women have experienced domestic violence, and in Liberia many girls are forced into “transactional sex” — sex for services.

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura has announced that negotiations are due to start on Syria this month, and is reported to have said that Syrian women will be included. To what extent they’ll be allowed to participate, however, remains to be seen.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


No women seated around the table at Syria talks in Paris

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