EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND
Peacebuilding cannot succeed if half the
population is excluded from the process. Crisis Group's
research in Sudan, Congo (DRC) and Uganda suggests that peace
agreements, post-conflict reconstruction, and governance do
better when women are involved. Women make a difference, in
part because they adopt a more inclusive approach toward
security and address key social and economic issues that would
otherwise be ignored. But in all three countries, as different
as each is, they remain marginalised in formal processes and
under-represented in the security sector as a whole.
Governments and the international community must do much more
to support women peace activists.
The scale of discrimination and violence
against women in each armed conflict ¼Ā" and the impunity with
which it continues to be committed ¼Ā" remain the central
obstacles to expanding the good work being done by women
peacebuilders. The international community speaks a great deal
about including women in formal peace-making processes and
recognising their peacebuilding contributions but fails to do
so in a systematic, meaningful way. Advances have been made in
understanding the links between gender, development, human
rights, peace, security and justice. UN Security Council
Resolution 1325 in 2000 reaffirmed the role of women in
preventing and resolving conflicts and mandates UN member
states to take steps to increase women's participation in
decision-making. However, endemic discrimination and sexual
violence are significant barriers to achieving Resolution
1325's goal of inclusivity.
The stereotype of "women as only victims"
should not be reinforced. An array of women's organisations
and women leaders are doing remarkable work in each of the
three countries, under difficult circumstances. The daily
struggle for survival greatly limits the numbers who have
become peace activists but their potential is significant.
Because those who are courageous and capable enough to involve
themselves as catalysts in peacebuilding are an endangered
minority, they should be safeguarded and strengthened with
funding, training and inclusion in assessment missions and
other decision-making mechanisms that shape fundamental
questions of security.
Properly supported, women's peace movements
can affect large sectors of the population and be a powerful
force for reducing violence and building democratic and
participatory public institutions, particularly in the
post-conflict period. Their organisations should be identified
at the outset of peacemaking processes and helped to work
within broader peace initiatives and to communicate their
messages to both national leaders and the international
The role of Sudanese women varies by region.
Though women contribute prominently to peacebuilding through
civil society, they were largely excluded from both the
North-South and Darfur peace negotiations. Two pressing issues
for women peace activists are the return of refugees and the
internally displaced, and increasing women's capacity to enter
the democratisation processes set in motion this past year.
Neither the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement nor the May
2006 Darfur Peace Agreement provide guarantees for women's
participation in the implementation processes. Women are
under-represented at national and local levels, and even
stated commitments to their participation in formal government
structures have not been fulfilled.
Congolese women have registered and voted in
impressive numbers and secured commitments on paper for
greater roles in governance. However, in practice they remain
badly under-represented and violence against them, often rape,
is widespread and committed with impunity. Without greater
political representation and more robust efforts to deal with
the flood of weapons and militias that make the East highly
unstable, women will continue to suffer disproportionately
from the impacts of this conflict, and their potential as
peacebuilders will not be fully achieved.
Though the situation is far from ideal,
Uganda has by far the most advanced, articulate and organised
women's peace movement of the three countries ¼Ā" one whose
basic principles can be replicated. The model that has evolved
there relies on autonomy, including to some extent in funding,
which makes its organisations both more independent and
sustainable. It relies on networking to share common
experiences among disparate regions and offer practical
training for conflict resolution and trauma counselling both
within families and in wider community and inter-community
disputes ¼Ā" an approach with a proven success rate in reducing
violence. With careful consultation, a commitment to learn
lessons and a strong budgetary mechanism, and if leadership
remains with the women who have created it, it could serve as
the basis for a women's regional peace initiative.
commissions to apply and monitor measures related to women in
the new constitution, especially Article 15 on the elimination
of sexual violence, and promote equal opportunities for
11. Include promotion of
women's rights in the job description of all ministers, not
only the ministry for women and the family.
12. Strengthen the
justice system by promoting reforms to end impunity for
perpetrators of sexual violence, give legal aid to victims and
establish special police and prosecutorial units to
investigate sexual crimes.
13. Immediately enact
and provide funding for laws related to domestic relations,
sexual offences, succession and domestic violence to protect
the rights of women and children in the family and educate the
population about those laws.
14. Support Betty
Bigombe's efforts to mediate the conflict with the LRA, work
with Sudanese authorities to assist abducted girls and women
who escape the LRA in southern Sudan and develop a strategy
for cooperation with the Congolese government to eliminate LRA
bases in eastern Congo.
15. Support communities
to implement healing and reconciliation processes in conflict
areas and build the capacity of female and male leaders to
manage traumatised returnees, as stated in Article 9 of the
Amnesty Act (2000); complement that law by strengthening the
demobilisation and reintegration process, including by
protecting returnees and giving the full resettlement packages
16. Consult with local
women to design, implement and monitor budgets, policies and
programs to enhance the effectiveness of state spending to
promote women's rights.
17. Make education and
training accessible to women and girls living in unstable
environments and offer women training in leadership,
management, finance, land tenure, communication, peace and
security to promote their entry into state institutions,
particularly those in charge of security.
18. End impunity for
sexual violence and exploitation, whether by husbands, family
members, officials, or military or police personnel, and
establish special police and prosecutor units that include
women, trained to investigate and help prosecute crimes of
sexual and domestic violence.
19. Ensure that DDR
programs take into account the different needs of female and
male ex-combatants, combatant associates and dependents by
including women on demobilisation design committees, and
empower women to lobby and assist in reintegration efforts by
providing them with access to resources and training.
20. Implement laws to
end impunity for rape and sexual assault by punishing
perpetrators and facilitating survivors' access to timely and
appropriate judicial support and redress, and encourage the
International Criminal Court, when investigating war crimes
and crimes against humanity in Sudan, Congo and Uganda, to
prosecute gender-based violence, which has been ruled a crime
21. Open police and
military recruitment to women, ensure parity in all training,
including weapons handling, and institute recruitment and
training programs and policies, including quota systems, to
promote women police and army officers into senior positions.
cooperative forums for police and women peacemakers,
particularly in rural areas where police services rarely
exist, and in camps for internally displaced persons; train
women peace activists to record and report on crimes such as
domestic violence, rape, illicit weapons and other
security-related issues; and protect women informants,
witnesses and survivors from harassment, intimidation and
23. Support government
health institutions to provide healthcare for women in
conflict and high-violence zones and to offer free treatment
in cases of sexual violence.
24. Combat the spread of
HIV/AIDS, which is exacerbated by armed conflict, by offering
voluntary counselling, testing and anti-retroviral treatment;
prioritise health education and counselling on sexual violence
to help overcome the stigmatisation, exclusion and abandonment
of rape survivors, especially those who are HIV positive.
25. Facilitate women's
participation in regional and cross-border peacebuilding
forums, such as the Amani Forum in the Great Lakes region,
especially with regard to LRA incursions; assist
community-based organisations working to return women abducted
across borders and coordinate these efforts with the UN
peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Congo and Betty Bigombe's
mediation efforts in Uganda.
26. Ensure the primacy
of laws that honour and protect women's rights over customary
law and other traditional practices and guarantee the
enforcement of those laws; include men in discussions on
promoting women's rights.