Women are a key factor in building and maintaining peace – let’s support Resolution 1325!
Resolution 1325 / UNSCR 1325 is one of the most important resolutions ever adopted by the United Nations Security Council. This resolution laid the foundation for encouraging women’s participation in prevention/resolution of conflict, peace building and protecting women from violence in conflict. Resolution 1325 was adopted on October 31, 2000 by the United Nations Security Council. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the resolution on January 29, 2003, and ratified it on June 12, 2008.
It is important to support and implement this resolution for several reasons. The first and most important reason is the fact that women in different countries are most often victims during armed conflicts. Women are often victims of sexual slavery, sexual violence, humiliation and brutal abuse during the war. Unfortunately, specific mechanisms of protection and support, court proceedings, punishments for perpetrators, and reparations of any kind do not occur even after the war. Resolution 1325 aims to prevent such crimes against women by imposing accountability on states and setting standards for protecting women and girls from war and violence.
Another important reason for supporting this resolution is encouraging and pointing out the importance of equal participation of women in all phases of prevention / resolution of conflict and peace building. In these processes, women are increasingly recognized as key factors in maintaining stability and peace in society. Empowering girls and women in these spheres not only increase their effectiveness in these areas, but also reduces the risk of conflict repetition. Of course, it is very important to note that this resolution also refers to men as active participants in creating positive changes. The fight against violence and discrimination against women cannot be achieved without the support of men and the creation of safe space for women in which safety, gender equality and cohesion are crucial in creating trust, as well as a solid foundation for creating a non-violent and inclusive culture of living that ensures peace and absence of conflict and militarization.
When it comes to Bosnia and Herzegovina, current Action Plan 2018-2022 for the implementation of Resolution 1325 identifies two main goals: “increased participation of women in the army, police and peacekeeping missions, including participation in decision-making places”, and “increased degree of human safety through the prism of gender equality”. Based on the available statistics and reports, we can conclude that the progress in BiH starting from the first efforts towards changes until today is not great, i.e. the gender inequality addressed by the Resolution, which is primarily manifested as the non-participation and lack of representation of women, still exists to a large extent. Gender equality in all areas, affirmative approaches in the political participation of women, as well as raising the awareness of society with the aim of eliminating gender stereotypes and prejudices, are prerequisites for the progress of BiH in this field.
Accordingly, the “Movement 1325” project is aimed at young people, with a special focus on girls aged between 18 and 25 from Bosnia and Herzegovina who face challenges in participating and influencing peace processes every day due to their age and gender. The voices of young women are rarely heard outside the consultative phases of peace processes, which limits them in the political and social spheres, and prevents them from directly participating in processes that concern their safety and quality of life. In this context, in their communities, at universities and on the Internet, it is important for young people to create a space for an open dialogue and support among peers, which leads to the creation of common roadmaps for building peace in BiH and the region.
In today’s patriarchal environment, creating space for the empowerment and education of young women is an imperative for equal participation in public life.
The goal of the project is to empower young women to overcome patriarchally imposed obstacles by expanding their knowledge in the field of leadership, and encouraging their participation in shaping peace processes and outcomes in the future. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) increases dramatically during and after conflict, and young women are particularly at risk. Such violence is usually a continuation or intensification of violence experienced by girls and women and tolerated by their societies in peacetime. Therefore, the most important goal of the project is to raise awareness of the consequences of sexual violence, as well as to empower women by providing tools for the and prevention of violence.
Young women must and indeed can face obstacles in understanding or accessing information and knowledge about the processes of transitional justice, peace negotiations and political participation. Adequate techniques for facing these challenges along with empowerment can open up various opportunities to express experiences, needs and obstacles. Through this project, we will provide the following affirmative measures of empowerment and political socialization of young women in BiH:
Activity (1) – Camp 1325 – an intergenerational space for dialogue between young women, initiators of the women’s movement from former Yugoslavia, and survivors of wartime sexual violence. Participants can co-create their own opportunities for personal witnessing and active listening in a supportive and safe environment that provides information and knowledge. Exercises of capacity building and leadership will also be implemented with the aim of encouraging the political socialization of young women. Camp 1325 will gather 18 participants, 10 of whom are girls (18-25 years old) from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5 heroines who survived wartime sexual violence, two children born as a result of wartime sexual violence and 3 regional activists, initiators of the women’s movement in the former Yugoslavia.
Activity (2) – intergenerational educational workshops with a focus on the importance of implementing Resolution 1325. Also, project participants will work with relevant organizations from BiH on commemorating places of mass captivity and sexual slavery during the war in BiH. The goal of this activity is to encourage self-confident participation in public life and building peace in BiH.
Using this methodology, we point out the importance of women’s coalitions in developing common positions and tools for the purpose of ensuring the inclusion of young women’s voices in peace processes and negotiations. The initiators of the women’s movement, as well as the survivors, must be instrumental in the transgenerational sharing of experiences, knowledge, lessons learned and networking contacts.
Activity (3) – promotion of project activities and results through a project film – during the screening of the film, a panel discussion will be organized in order for participants to have the opportunity to articulate their needs through messages to society, as well as to give relevant recommendations to decision makers.
The “Movement 1325” project is implemented with the support and in collaboration with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sarajevo.