On the 23-24 September 2015, 40 participants – 38 Senior Officials from 11 government ministries at Union Level and 2 representatives from Parliament participated in a Senior Officials Workshop on Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and related Resolutions, jointly organized by Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and UN Women in Nay Pyi Taw.
The key objectives of the workshop were: to enhance understanding on the need to include women and address their priorities at all stages of the peace process; to deepen understanding of UN SCR 1325 and related resolutions, and to enhance understanding of the development and implementation of UN SCR 1325 and related resolutions via national/local strategies and action plans on Women, Peace and Security and to discuss means of implementation of UN SCR 1325 and related resolutions
Key noting at the opening, H.E. U Aung Min, Chief Negotiator of the Government in the peace process and Chairperson of Myanmar Peace Centre, said, “in the spirit of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, in our current peace process, we are aiming to promote the role of women in prevention of conflicts and participation of women in peace negotiations and also in the upcoming political dialogue”. U Win Mra, Chair of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, said Myanmar has endorsed the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict adopted in London on 11 April 2013, in which participating Ministers recognized the need for a continued focus on the issues of ending sexual violence in conflict. This should provide us with a strong impetus and motivation in the consideration of the question under discussion”. Dr Jean D’Cunha, Head of UN Women, commended the Government, NCCT and women’s groups on including prevention of sexual violence against women and inclusion of women in the political dialogue in the provisional agreed text of the nationwide ceasefire agreement. She said, including women and their priorities in the political dialogue and 2 developing national and local action plans on women and peace would further demonstrate national commitment to the issue.
The meeting recognized that in Myanmar, the vulnerabilities and capacities of women and girls at all stages of the peace process differ from men and boys across conflict lines. Men are the majority of armed combatants and public decision makers, but women also play supportive roles in communities affected by conflict. While conflict weighs heavily on all, women and girls suffer disproportionate negative impacts economically and socially. Women’s formal participation in peace processes or in IDP camp management are limited.
The discussions recognized the efforts of key stakeholders in formal peace process to address women’s peace-related priorities. The workshop noted that some of the most commendable recent signposts of progress in the formal peace process, with particular reference to women, included: (a) the inclusion of at least two Articles related to women in the NCA; (b) the participation of some women in different capacities at the formal negotiations for the NCA, with the need to further enhance women’s representation; (c) discussions at the 14th September, 2015 multi-stakeholder meeting on Framework for Political dialogue on 30% representation of women in all structures and processes in the political dialogue.
The workshop further recognized that ways of translating government commitments on women, peace and security into real action were through the development and implementation of national strategies and/or national/local plans on women, peace and security with clear goals, objectives, results, prioritized activities, targets, indicators, time frames, accountabilities and resources. Finally participants noted the inclusion of women and their priorities in all aspects of the peace process will enhance the efficacy and effectiveness of the peace process and ensure that women’s concerns are well addressed in long term development, ensuring sustainable peace.
Participants recommended that the Government together with national NGOs and the international community to:
• Formulate a financially resourced National Strategy and/or national/local Action Plans on UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security with gender sensitive targets and indicators, monitoring mechanisms and accountability frame works that engage in open, constructive dialogue on implementation. These Strategies and/or Plans should prioritise activities that:
1. Empower women economically by creating decent employment, improving women’s job skills and increasing women’s access to productive assets and benefits in rural and urban areas (land, livestock, credit etc), with special attention to the most vulnerable groups of women, such as female headed households, women in conflict affected communities.
2. Promote women’s leadership in political processes and governance, including in senior level government jobs, by building women’s capacity, engendering the culture
of political institutions and raising public awareness.
3. Introduce quotas for women in different spheres, especially in political processes and in employment
4. Raise awareness and education on zero tolerance for discrimination, sexual and gender-based violence against all women and girls in normal times and in conflict, so
as to ensure mindset and behavioral changes
5. Raise awareness and build capacity for women and girls to say no to violence
6. Expedite the adoption of a CEDAW-compliant national “Prevention and Protection of Violence against Women Law,” currently under preparation
7. Promote gender sensitive reforms in the policy and practice of the security and justice sectors, including gender sensitive capacity building for their personnel (police, military, border guard forces, judges, lawyers etc.) at all levels, and increased recruitment of women into these sectors.
Finally the workshop also supported inclusion of women’s priorities and 30% representation of women in all structures and processes in the political dialogue.