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India Women's United Nations Report Network (WUNRN) Workshop

Role of Conflict Widows in Healing A Hurting World

Organised by
The Guild of Service

Supported by



This assembly of organisations and individuals involved in the process of prevention of conflict, reconstruction, peace reconciliation and empowering widows and other victim groups reiterates that:

While entire communities suffer the consequences of armed conflict and terrorism, women and girls are particularly affected because of their status in society as well as their sex".

Women are on the one hand, the main civilian victims of conflicts, they are, on the other hand, often powerless to prevent them, excluded from the negotiating tables when it comes to their resolution and marginalised in the post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. The general exclusion of women from decision-making positions prior to, during and following violent conflict, reinforces their victimization.

Women are more than just victims, they are fighters. Widows are survivors. Mothers are peace builders.

A vast majority of women affected by conflict are widows as a direct or indirect consequence of the violence. To the process of peace building they bring sensitivity tempered by their personal loss, a sense of immediacy since their families' futures are at stake and surviving skills against all odds. These qualities once tapped while accelerating the ownership of the process of reconstruction will help them individually to overcome their personal traumas.

The peace-building process comprises several stages including conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction. Sustainable peace requires the full participation of women particularly those affected by conflicts at each of the stages of the peace process.

This assembly calls upon Governments to:

- Support women's participation in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction by strengthening women's representation in local, national and international bodies for the regulation of conflicts.

- Provide sustained funding to women's non-governmental organisations dealing with peace issues

- Encourage research focused on women and their peace-building activities and the impact they have on peace processes and make the results widely known and used in designing domestic and regional policies.

- Provide gender training at an early stage in the training of military personnel so that respect for women becomes a matter of course and a female-friendly atmosphere prevails in the army;

- Involve women and their organisations in peace negotiations at all levels (for example, round tables)

- Empower local women and women's groups in situations where conflict is brewing and to support their strategies aimed at avoiding armed conflict;

- Encourage the appointment of women to regional, national and international posts relating to conflict prevention.

- Ensure the mandatory presence and participation of women in all peace processes , both formal and informal, systematic consultation with them, ensuring that their problems and priorities are reflected in the official peace process.

- Introduce measures that give local women priority appointments to the official process involved during emergencies and post-conflict reconstruction;

- Ensure special legal and social support and protection to women and girls to enable the reporting and prosecution of perpetrators of crimes against humanity and human rights abuses committed during and after conflict by state and non state actors.

- Provide alternate safe environment for women who are victims of violence and conflict women including have been raped or have been subjected to other forms of sexual violence following armed conflict.

- Facilitate the safe return of women to their original residences or any other residence of her choice, to accelerate the reconciliation process.

- Provide for ongoing psychosocial counselling for all victims of conflict

This assembly calls upon civil society to:

- Increase public awareness on the importance of gender mainstreaming in peace-support operations

- Ensure that for the effectiveness of peace-support operations, the principles of gender equality are mainstreamed at all levels, thus enabling the participation of women and men as equal partners and beneficiaries in all aspects of the peace process - from peace keeping, reconciliation and peace-building, towards a situation of political stability in which women and men play an equal part in the political, economic and social development of their country.

- Introduce education on human rights, peace and gender equality in school curricula at all levels, with a view to break stereotypes that prevail.

- Ensure that humanitarian agencies in the field promote gender-sensitive measures, which should include monitoring of all forms of violence against women and providing counselling, legal, medical and other forms of material support to the victims of violence; giving women more control over the design and distribution of food aid in order to ensure that food and other forms of assistance benefit the most vulnerable; ensuring vocational training, income-generating skills and access to educational institutions and ensuring that women have opportunities for involvement in development and reconstruction projects, and access to credit, particularly micro-credit.

- Enable relevant state institutions in co-operation with NGOs to develop special programmes to train women as mediators in order to prepare them to the work in peace building and conflict resolution missions and peace support operations.


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