Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2018

In this shadow report, GAPS assesses the 2018 Annual Report to Parliament by the UK Government and focuses on how the UK Government has used, and could have used, the first year of implementation for this National Action Plan (NAP) to lay a strong foundation for the full five years of the NAP.

While the inward-looking Strategic Outcome 7 on UK Government capabilities is particularly welcome, there remains considerable room for progress. It is vital that the UK Government scales up its Women, Peace and Security efforts, including on: funding for Women, Peace and Security, in particular for women’s rights organisations, women human rights defenders and peacebuilders; addressing the root causes and drives of gender inequality, violence and conflict; meeting arms control commitments; domestic implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda; and community-based peacebuilding.

This report builds on and complements the GAPS’s six-month check-in on the NAP and the Shadow Report for 2017, among others.

Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2018

In this shadow report, GAPS assesses the 2018 Annual Report to Parliament by the UK Government and focuses on how the UK Government has used, and could have used, the first year of implementation for this National Action Plan (NAP) to Read More

UK National Action Plan: GAPS Six Month Check-In

In January 2018 GAPS welcomed the UK Government’s latest, fourth National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. Exactly six months on, GAPS is launching the GAPS NAP Six Month Check-In, our response to the 2018-2022 NAP. The response outlines GAPS’s reflections both on the NAP itself and its implementation, including the ongoing development of the UK Government’s Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) plan.

GAPS remains encouraged by the process in developing the NAP, particularly the consultative nature of it. GAPS welcomes the cross-government approach, senior support and dedication of the team developing the NAP. GAPS believes that the omission of an MEL framework during drafting of the NAP was a missed opportunity, but is encouraged by discussions on its development since the launch and is looking forward to a robust NAP MEL framework. GAPS will continue to encourage the UK Government to increase funding for Women, Peace and Security and to support Women’s Rights Organisations, Women Human Rights Defenders, peacebuilders and Civil Society Organisations in Fragile and Conflict Affected States. GAPS will also continue to support the UK Government in strengthening its focus on the prevention pillar of Women, Peace and Security to move towards a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention.

UK National Action Plan: GAPS Six Month Check-In

In January 2018 GAPS welcomed the UK Government’s latest, fourth National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. Exactly six months on, GAPS is launching the GAPS NAP Six Month Check-In, our response to the 2018-2022 NAP. The response outlines GAPS’s reflections both Read More

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual violence in conflict in Nigeria and Somalia

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS), in collaboration with the Nigeria INGO Forum and the Somalia NGO Consortium, organised the panel discussion Sexual violence in conflict: Reclaiming women’s agency through law, policy and practice to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict (19 June). Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE, Co-Chair of the APPG-WPS, chaired the discussion with representatives from civil society based in Somalia and Nigeria, the UK government, and a global legal expert. Using north-east Nigeria and Somalia as examples of protracted conflicts, the panellists explored and discussed best practices of programming and legislation that offer meaningful support to empower women to be their own agents of change. Baroness Hodgson called attention to the entrenched patriarchy and targeted violence against women and girls in both conflict settings. Welcoming the continuous efforts of the UK government to address sexual violence in conflict and in their role as penholder at the UN on the Women, Peace and Security agenda, the panellists focused their key asks to the UK government. The discussion was lively and informative with Rosy Cave from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office taking stock of the needs and gaps as highlighted by field colleagues and reiterating the UK government’s willingness to engage all actors and continue prioritising gender equality in protracted conflicts.

Somalia

Halima Adan from Save Somali Women and Children outlined the current weak legal and policy framework in Somalia, the deeply patriarchal culture and how customary law stigmatises gender-based violence survivors resulting in low levels of reporting and ability to seek services. Due to poor infrastructure and site planning, 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in congested camps with limited access to basic services. Woman are economically disempowered and, in general, there are not enough specialised facilities to deal with survivors. Somalia is perceived as a humanitarian crisis which hinders the delivery of long-term sustainable funding. Much of the gender-based violence programming does not span for more than a year, sometimes resulting in specialised facilities being shut down.

Adan focused on best practices of legislation and programming. The Somali Sexual Offences Bill – passed in Cabinet in May 2018 and awaiting Parliamentary enactment – is a critical step towards furthering the protection and promotion of women and girls. It is context specific, was drafted by Somali lawyers with international technical support, and was led by the Somali government and civil society. Adan asked that the UK government supports the enactment of the Somali Sexual Offences Bill and Somalia’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Adan noted the best practice of the comprehensive one-stop model where women survivors of sexual violence can receive multi-faceted support. This reduces the re-traumatisation of the survivor and creates conditions for continued support. The UK government’s Department for International Development is not currently funding this model despite its clear advantages. Five one-stop centres and three safe houses are funded by the United States government. Multi-year funding and specific programming on gender equality and social norms are also key to the prevention of sexual violence in conflict.

Nigeria

Joe Read from CARE USA introduced the importance of understanding Nigeria in its regional context: the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. The nine-year violent conflict between non-state armed actors commonly known as ‘Boko Haram’ and the Nigerian Armed Forces has exacerbated existing poverty and patriarchy. Women experience profound political, economic and social exclusion in the Sahel, and sexual violence in conflict is a key feature of the crisis. Women and girls are abused by all parties to the conflict. ‘Boko Haram’ use women and girls as person-borne improvised explosive devices (PBIEDs). Read emphasised the failure of the humanitarian community and the need to take collective responsibility. Local women’s rights organisations are delivering gender-responsive programming in their communities, but they need international support. However, the international response continues to view protection as an add-on rather than a key feature of humanitarian assistance. For example, Nigerian humanitarian response has scaled up since 2014 but the protection sector remains massively underfunded at 8%, with 1.7% for gender-based violence protection and almost 3% for child protection. Read also highlighted the need for high-level political action and the adoption of the Protection of Civilians Policy in Nigeria to ensure accountability.

International legal perspective

Antonia Mulvey, the founder and Executive Director of Legal Action Worldwide (LAW), outlined existing global legal frameworks to further the protection of women and girls and their promotion of their rights, including: the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Istanbul Protocol and the Maputo Protocol. Mulvey noted the slowness and ineffectiveness of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the lack of political will of the International Criminal Court. From Mulvey’s experience in collecting hundreds of testimonies across Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia and Myanmar, survivors want justice. Although the state has the primary obligation for the protection of human rights, in most cases sexual violence cannot be reported or investigated because there is no legal framework in place. Highlighting the importance of legislation, Mulvey gave the example of over 100 prosecutions since the enactment of the Sexual Offences Bill in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mulvey argued against the opinion that legislation cannot be passed in conflict contexts. However, badly drafted legislation can lead to worse outcomes for survivors, including their arrest. Implementation of contextually relevant, precise, concise and specific legislation is key, and requires buy-in from government and civil society. The Somali Sexual Offences Bill, for example, has specific clauses on abuse of power and a clear definition of rape and coercive circumstances.

UK government

Rosy Cave, Head of the Gender Equality Unit and of the Office of the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, reiterated the UK government’s commitment to consciously delivering for women and girls’ rights. Cave outlined the establishment of the UK government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and highlighted the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict and the progress it has made. Cave noted that both Nigeria and Somalia are focus countries for the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. The recent G7 led to the UK partnering with Nigeria under a mentorship programme on Women, Peace and Security. Cave agreed that conflict in Nigeria needs to be treated as a regional crisis with regional programming. The UK government has just opened an office in Chad to support this work.

In Somalia, the UK government supports the Somali Sexual Offences Bill, works with Somali female parliamentarians to change behaviours and attitudes, and has supported the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development in the development of their National Action Plan and in their work with security forces, including the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Key asks and concluding remarks

Key asks from the panel and the following discussion included strengthened collaboration between all actors, increased coordinated and targeted advocacy on gender and women’s rights, increased mechanisms for independent oversight, and the transfer of stigma from survivor to perpetrator.

All panellists were asked to give concluding remarks and key ways forward before Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE closed the discussion. Adan concluded with the need to prioritise livelihoods within service provision. Read highlighted the need for genuine empowerment. Cave called for civil society to bring evidence-based suggestions forward to influence the international agenda. Mulvey outlined the critical role of legal and policy frameworks and called for the endorsement and implementation of the Somali Sexual Offences Bill and the Protection of Civilians Policy in Nigeria.

With thanks to Roisin Mangan, Policy Advisor at the Nigeria INGO Forum, whose event report forms the basis of the above report.

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual violence in conflict in Nigeria and Somalia

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS), in collaboration with the Nigeria INGO Forum and the Somalia NGO Consortium, organised the panel discussion Sexual violence in conflict: Reclaiming women’s agency through law, policy and practice to mark Read More

Prioritise Peace: challenging approaches to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism from a Women, Peace and Security perspective

There has been a shift in recent years where Women, Peace and Security is increasingly discussed in the context of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE). This new GAPS paper assesses the impacts of this,  and makes recommendations to avoid women and girls being used as tools in P/CVE as well as the need to prioritise peace.

The paper demonstrates that current approaches to P/CVE do not take seriously the protection of women and girls’ rights, and are inconsistent with peacebuilding processes that promote social empowerment and reform to address the root causes of all forms of violent conflict. It makes recommendations for ways to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls, and to address underlying causes of conflict in a way that promotes gender equality.

thumbnail of GAPS report_Prioritise Peace – Challenging Approaches to P & CVE from a WPS perspective

Prioritise Peace: challenging approaches to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism from a Women, Peace and Security perspective

There has been a shift in recent years where Women, Peace and Security is increasingly discussed in the context of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE). This new GAPS paper assesses the impacts of this,  and makes recommendations to avoid Read More

Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the KRI

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Women for Women International UK, the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and GAPS have released a new report: Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

This report examines, and makes concrete recommendations for, women’s economic wellbeing and empowerment in the context of conflict-related displacement, focusing on livelihood needs and opportunities. It provides insights into how displacement has affected the position of women in the economic life of the family and community, and captures specific and contextualised aspects of women’s opportunities and barriers to empowerment from their perspective. The key contribution of this report is that it reflects the voices of displaced women in the KRI. Hear directly from women in the KRI in these videos: Alia; Shireen; Raja.

Download the full report

Download the Executive Summary

Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the KRI

Women for Women International UK, the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and GAPS have released a new report: Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This report examines, and makes concrete Read More

International Women’s Day 2018: Women building peace

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their voices, and the needs and challenges facing their communities, to the process of building sustainable peace. This is such important work, which all too often goes unrecognised by formal peace and security actors and institutions.

Women are systematically excluded from peace processes. Women’s rights are perceived as secondary, to be attained once peace has been brokered. This undermines the importance of women’s rights and gender equality, and precludes the opportunity for sustainable peace.

We recognise that the demand that women explain why their voices should be heard and what value they can bring undermines women’s fundamental right to equal participation; we should in fact be demanding explanations from those seeking to exclude women. We see this bias in GAPS’ question to the peacebuilders we are profiling for International Women’s Day, and our decision to keep the question is based on feminist practices of self-reflection and learning, and because of the many wonderful answers we received that deserve to be heard.

Today we are saying thank you to diaspora women working for peace and security as we profile five brilliant women and their important projects.

1. Amna Abdul:

“When I think about peace and security, I am always looking at it through an intersectional gendered lens with the aim to understand what women’s experiences and roles are within it.”

2. Quhramaana Kakar:

“Peace for me is not only the absence of war but the prevalence of harmony and tranquility, and the provision of justice, access and equal opportunity for individuals and societies in their struggle to shape their own narrative and negotiate their own terms.”

3. Camila Marín Restrepo:

“Women within diaspora communities have been subjected to a double invisibility. In their countries of origin, many were exposed to exclusion in relation to political participation. Their migration beyond national borders has meant they now face further barriers when attempting to contribute to peacebuilding conversations taking place in their home countries.”

4. Amparo Restrepo:

“We are now determined to break the silence in order to have our voices heard and to demand that we are included in the process of post-conflict restructuring.”

5. Marwa Baabbad:

“Women shouldn’t be asked why their voices are valuable unless everyone else is asked the same question.”

International Women’s Day 2018: Women building peace

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their Read More

APPG on Women, Peace and Security hosts the UK Government’s annual report to Parliament in 2017

On Tuesday 19 December, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS) and GAPS co-hosted the Government’s 2017 annual report to Parliament for 2017.  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development presented their progress in implementing the 2014-2017 UK National Action Plan (NAP), the final report for the this NAP.

Baroness Fiona Hodgson of Abinger CBE, co-Chair of the APPG-WPS, opened the event. She emphasised that women’s voices must be heard and acted upon, and cited the consultations run by GAPS and its members as a particular highlight of 2017. Women’s rights organisations and women human rights defenders are doing vital and brave peacebuilding work. The consultations were an opportunity to bring their findings and recommendations to the UK Government’s policy-making processes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (FCO) acknowledged the importance of ensuring women’s equal participation in post-conflict peacebuilding and restated the UK Government’s commitment to work in collaboration with and across departments as well as with civil society. Lord Ahmad drew attention to priority issues covered in the UK Government’s report, for example working with the United Nations to address sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by UN peacekeepers.

General Sir Gordon Messenger (MOD) highlighted the progress on WPS that has been made within the MOD and the British armed forces. The MOD is increasing the number of gender advisers in the British military, and will work towards the delivery of gender training pre-deployment and incorporating gender into training on the laws of armed conflict. General Messenger echoed Lord Ahmad on the frontline role that the UK must play to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. Finally, he outlined targets for women’s increased participation in the armed forces, for improved collaboration and information sharing within UK Government and for WPS to be mainstreamed into UK defence plans.

Matthew Wyatt (DFID) drew parallels between the UK’s work on WPS and the development process for DFID’s new Strategic Vision for Gender Equality, noting that gender-based violence is one of the most widespread human rights violations in conflict-affected contexts. DFID’s humanitarian work has pushed for awareness of the specific needs of women and girls and recognises that women’s participation in the design and implementation of humanitarian response is vital. Mr Wyatt also acknowledged the importance of tackling root causes of gender-based violence.

Helen Stawski (International Rescue Committee, Europe), presented findings from the report No Safe Place: A lifetime of violence for conflict-affected women and girls in South Sudan. This report was produced as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) consortium. Ms Stawski highlighted that the international community’s focus is often on the perpetration of VAWG by armed actors yet the most common form of violence is intimate partner violence, and levels are shockingly high. The study found that levels of VAWG in South Sudan are as high as 65%, among the highest rates in the world. The report recommends that tackling VAWG should be central to all humanitarian response. There should be gender training for security personnel, and donors should ensure that funding is multiyear, accessible to in-country grassroots organisations and require collaboration with local women’s groups to support existing work and build local capacity. Furthermore, Ms Stawski recommended that programmes targeting VAWG should be integrated with those addressing long-term community-based peacebuilding.

Zarina Khan (GAPS) welcomed the presentation of the UK’s annual report as practice of an open and accountable government. Ms Khan presented the GAPS 2017 Shadow Report, which identifies areas of progress and concern. For instance, she highlighted the positive development of GAPS’ relationship with the cross-Whitehall WPS team and supported commitments made to changing internal cultures and attitudes on gender equality. On countering violent extremism, however, Ms Khan drew attention to the ways in which current practices are not in line with WPS principles, and noted that women and women’s rights advocates should have space to influence all UK Government decisions relating to peace and security. Finally, she challenged the UK Government on its support for Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, which is inconsistent with its commitments to peace. In Yemen the UK is falling short of its obligations to prevent the occurrence of violent conflict, undermining in the process its own humanitarian and WPS efforts.

Zarina Khan called for the UK Government to meet its ambitions not only by listening to the voices of women in conflict, but by acting on them too. The FCO-funded projects to consult with women’s rights organisations and women human rights defenders set an important and welcome precedent for the UK’s NAP development process. GAPS hopes to see this investment in women’s voices continue, and to see action on the recommendations from the consultations.

Jo Churchill MP, Chair of the APPG-WPS, closed the event by thanking all those who presented. She commended the UK Government for its collaboration with civil society actors, and called on the UK as a global leader on WPS to lead by example in providing the space and access necessary for women’s rights organisations to be involved in the design and evaluation of WPS policy and programming.

APPG on Women, Peace and Security hosts the UK Government’s annual report to Parliament in 2017

On Tuesday 19 December, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS) and GAPS co-hosted the Government’s 2017 annual report to Parliament for 2017.  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Read More

UK launches new National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

Implementation of the new UK NAP must support the work of women building peace

Today the UK Government has released its fourth National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (UK NAP) which sets the direction for the UK’s work on women’s rights, peacebuilding and conflict prevention from 2018 to 2022.

GAPS has been encouraged by the Government’s collaborative approach to informing this new UK NAP, and the increased commitment to hearing the voices of women’s rights organisations and human rights defenders in conflict-affected countries. With involvement of GAPS and its members, academia and Parliament, the Government has revised the UK NAP to ensure a more strategic and comprehensive approach to achieving the full realisation and protection of women’s rights and genuine, sustainable peace.

© Women for Women International

With this new UK NAP comes a recognition that, despite progress made on Women, Peace and Security globally, far more work is needed. “Creating a clear and evidenced strategy is an intensive task and we have been pleased to work closely with the Government to do so, but this is only the beginning,” says Zarina Khan, interim Director of GAPS. “The real test of this National Action Plan will be in its consistent implementation. This means not just listening to, but acting on women’s voices and taking seriously their concerns and ideas. It means dedicating meaningful resources to the work of women’s rights organisations and human rights defenders who are the on the frontlines of conflict, working to make their communities and countries safer and more peaceful in incredibly difficult circumstances.”

GAPS looks forward to continuing its work with Government and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security to ensure that the UK meets fully its commitments set out in the UK NAP, and that women and girls are truly at the heart of all efforts prevent and resolve conflict.

Read more about GAPS’ recommendations for the 2018-2022 UK NAP.

See what women’s rights activists in Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan think are the most pressing issues for the UK’s work on Women, Peace and Security.

You can access the 2018-2022 UK NAP here.

UK launches new National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

Implementation of the new UK NAP must support the work of women building peace Today the UK Government has released its fourth National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (UK NAP) which sets the direction for the UK’s work Read More

Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2017

In this new report GAPS assesses the 2017 Annual Report to Parliament by the UK Government, analyses progress in the UK’s Women, Peace and Security work over the past year and makes recommendations for building on this progress including for the new UK National Action Plan (NAP). In this report, GAPS looks at the UK’s work at the UN Security Council, its efforts to support women’s participation in international events, its role in the conflict in Yemen, and other key developments from this year. As the final shadow report for the 2014-2017 UK NAP on Women, Peace and Security, it also provides an overview of the UK Government’s reporting during the course of this NAP.

This report builds on and complements GAPS’ written submission Informing the new UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, the summary report Women’s Voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and previous shadow reports for 2015 and 2016.

Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2017

In this new report GAPS assesses the 2017 Annual Report to Parliament by the UK Government, analyses progress in the UK’s Women, Peace and Security work over the past year and makes recommendations for building on this progress including for the new Read More

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: in conversation with Ambassador Melanne Verveer

On Tuesday 31 October, Ambassador Melanne Verveer joined the APPG on Women, Peace and Security and GAPS for a discussion on her work on Women, Peace and Security, and her hopes for creating meaningful change for women’s rights.

Baroness Hodgson, co-chair of the APPG, highlighted Ambassador Verveer’s extensive experience in Women, Peace and Security, spanning government, civil society and academia. Ambassador Verveer was the first ever US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, nominated by President Obama in 2009. In this role, she led the development of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Ambassador Verveer is now the Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, working to enhance national and global security by championing the crucial role women play in peacebuilding and security.

Ambassador Verveer opened by describing her early involvement with Women, Peace and Security on the global stage. Ambassador Verveer pinpointed the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995 and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000 as pivotal moments for the representation of women’s rights in international frameworks, especially relating to conflict affected and fragile settings.

Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE, Ambassador Melanne Verveer & Baroness Goudie

Ambassador Verveer paid tribute to the critical roles that women have played in peace processes, for example in Northern Ireland and Liberia. She expressed frustration at the underrepresentation and lack of documentation of women in peace processes, as this is needed to create a compelling evidence base that resonates with decision-makers. This is what the Georgetown Institute aims to achieve: bridging the silo between theory and practice to persuade decision-makers that Women, Peace and Security is the right framework to invest in and implement.

Ambassador Verveer feels the implementation of Women, Peace and Security is the most practical way to address conflict at the level of root causes. Effective implementation means not only strengthening the top-down approach at the levels of regional, national and local governance, but building capacity at the bottom as well. She articulated this as “heat at the bottom and heat at the top.” Women and women’s rights organisations are at the frontlines of change, and their perspectives and experiences are essential to developing approaches to end violent conflict and build peace. With this in mind, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security has developed a Women, Peace and Security Index to offer a comprehensive measure of women’s inclusion, justice and security in 153 countries.

Questions from the floor discussed the importance of women’s movements and networks, and how resourcing and support for women’s rights organisations is essential to enabling change. Responding to a question on the need for a greater focus on preventing conflict and violence against women, Ambassador Verveer noted the relevance of international frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as complementary to the WPS agenda.

Finally, a question from Women for Peace and Participation asked about the major challenges that women still face in accessing the negotiating table, for example in Afghanistan. Ambassador Verveer’s response, drawn from her past experiences, stated that the peace and security architectures still resist the representation of women and women’s rights. Addressing these structural barriers means pushing back on the conventional wisdom that putting women’s rights on the agenda means you will not get a peace agreement.

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: in conversation with Ambassador Melanne Verveer

On Tuesday 31 October, Ambassador Melanne Verveer joined the APPG on Women, Peace and Security and GAPS for a discussion on her work on Women, Peace and Security, and her hopes for creating meaningful change for women’s rights. Baroness Hodgson, Read More

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Families For Freedom event

On Wednesday 11 October, the APPG Friends of Syria and APPG on Women, Peace and Security hosted an event with Families For Freedom – a women-led campaign for the rights of all detainees in Syria. They call for the issue of detainees to be treated as a humanitarian priority, separate from political and military bargaining. Their three main demands are as follows:
1) The right to know the fate of detained and disappeared people;
2) Detainees’ right to decent living conditions and freedom from torture and abuse;
3) The abolition of exceptional courts, especially Military Field Courts.

Baroness Hodgson of Abinger, co-chair of the APPG on Women, Peace and Security, briefly outlined the use of arbitrary detention and abuse and torture of detainees in the Syrian conflict. The Syrian Network of Human Rights has recorded more than 117,000 detainees, but some estimates place the number as high as 215,000. Amnesty International has reported that as many as 13,000 people, mostly civilians, were hanged in secret at one prison over a period of five years. Human Rights Watch revealed that at least 6,786 people have died in detention because of torture and abuse. Detention and disappearances affect not only the detainees, but also families left for years with no certain knowledge of their fate. Survivors of detention, and their families, suffer lifelong consequences.

Baroness Hodgson introduced three speakers from Families For Freedom: Amina, Noura and Ghada. Amina experienced detention herself, and three of her brothers were forcibly disappeared in 2011. Amina spoke about the origins of Families For Freedom’s campaign in Geneva, and appealed to the UK media to raise awareness about detainees in Syria, including the circumstances of their arrest and detention. Amina highlighted that the women of Families For Freedom have to struggle against gendered community pressures in order to be able to do their work. She described Families For Freedom as a “revolution against tyranny and traditions.”

Noura, a human rights lawyer and activist for women’s rights, recently learned that her husband Bassel Khartabil, detained in 2012, was executed. She spoke of her personal experience of being denied visiting rights to, and then all communications from, her husband. Noura expressed frustration at the inaction from the international community on Syria’s detained and disappeared. “We appreciate solidarity,” she said, “but we need action.” Ghada sees Families For Freedom as a means to feel stronger together. Since her husband’s detention, Ghada has been determined to spread the message about unjustifiable detention: “I feel very strong, because I have a message, and I have learnt that I always have to talk about it.” Families For Freedom has helped her to do this.

Laila Alodaat, Programme Manager for Crisis Response at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), spoke on consultations that WILPF and Amnesty International UK ran in conjunction with GAPS. The consultations were held to inform the new UK National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security, but they have wide-ranging recommendations on support for women’s rights and women’s rights organisations that have application beyond a NAP. Women’s civil society organisations have the largest impact in their communities, but they are limited by a lack of financial and technical support. Women’s participation is also essential for the Syrian peace processes. The women from Families For Freedom, active community leaders working for peace, are excluded from the negotiating table. For this to change, the international community needs to start asking how the conflict in Syria is impacting women differently. This needs to be documented and implemented in policies to have accountability.

Baroness Hodgson thanked the speakers for bringing the situation of detention and forced disappearance to the attention of this audience, and for sharing such difficult personal stories. The event was also a powerful reminder of the specific barriers that women’s rights organising faces in the context of conflict, and that the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda still has far to go to be fully realised.

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Families For Freedom event

On Wednesday 11 October, the APPG Friends of Syria and APPG on Women, Peace and Security hosted an event with Families For Freedom – a women-led campaign for the rights of all detainees in Syria. They call for the issue Read More

Somali Women’s Voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

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In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and women human rights defenders on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. This video presents a summary of the findings from the consultation in Somalia which took place in March 2017. The consultations were led by GAPS member Saferworld, and two of Saferworld’s local partners and established women’s rights groups: the Somali Women Development Centre (Mogadishu) and the Somalia Women Solidarity Organisation (Kismayo). The overarching theme from these consultations is that women are politically absent from decision making.

Somali Women’s Voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and women human rights defenders on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. This video presents a summary of the findings from Read More

Syrian Women’s voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

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In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and women human rights defenders on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. GAPS members Amnesty International UK and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom supplemented funds from the UK Government to run the Syria Response consultations in Turkey and Lebanon, alongside Women Now for Development. This report reflects analysis by women’s rights activists of the barriers and challenges around WPS, as well as recommendations that will inform the development process of the next UK National Action Plan on WPS.

Syrian Women’s voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and women human rights defenders on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. GAPS members Amnesty International UK and Women’s International Read More

Afghan Women’s voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

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In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and women human rights defenders on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. This report presents a summary of the findings from the consultation in Afghanistan which took place in February 2017. The consultations were led by Women for Women International UK and Medica Afghanistan. The recommendations in this report are direct outcomes from the consultation, proposed by participants, and cover the following: violence against women; access to justice & NGO services; access to funding for women’s rights; support for women human rights defenders; women’s participation; and recommendations for institutions, security, justice and legal frameworks.

Afghan Women’s voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and women human rights defenders on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. This report presents a summary of the findings Read More

Women’s voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security: Summary Report

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In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and activists on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. The aim is to bring these women’s voices directly to the decision-makers, to ensure that the next, fourth UK NAP on WPS (2018-2021) is firmly grounded in the realities that women face. The consultations were conducted in 2017, in four of the UK’s WPS focus countries/contexts: Myanmar, Somalia, Afghanistan, and in Turkey and Lebanon for the Syria Response. This summary report highlights the key findings from the consultations, setting out the many common priorities that women working for peace and security face in such challenging circumstances.

On Wednesday 5 July 2017, the APPG on Women, Peace and Security hosted the event “Women’s voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security” in the Houses of Parliament. This event presented the findings from the reports and the accompanying videos to an audience of civil society, parliamentarians, policy makers and academics. It was a chance to hear the stories of women human rights defenders, to learn about the life-saving and tireless work that they do to protect the rights of women and create peace for their societies, and to hear from them what action can truly help to make a difference to their lives. Speakers at the event included GAPS Director Zarina Khan, representatives from GAPS members Saferworld, Amnesty International UK, and Women for Women International UK, as well as Lord Ahmad, Minister of State at the FCO and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. The event was chaired by Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE, co-Chair of the APPG on WPS.

Women’s voices in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security: Summary Report

In November 2016 the UK Government partnered with GAPS to consult with women’s civil society organisations and activists on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) priorities in their contexts. The aim is to bring these women’s voices directly to the Read More

GAPS Submission: Informing the new UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

This submission provides GAPS’ views on the current 2014-2017 NAP, and uses analysis and lessons learned to recommend strategic objectives for inclusion in the 2018-2021 NAP. It builds on previous GAPS documents which include analysis of and recommendations for the UK’s work on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). These findings are intended to complement the findings of our FCO-GAPS country consultations.

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GAPS Submission: Informing the new UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

This submission provides GAPS’ views on the current 2014-2017 NAP, and uses analysis and lessons learned to recommend strategic objectives for inclusion in the 2018-2021 NAP. It builds on previous GAPS documents which include analysis of and recommendations for the UK’s Read More

Experts’ Meeting: Sexual Violence in Conflict and the UK’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda – Chairs’ Summary

One year after the conclusions of the UN’s High Level Review on Women, Peace and Security, we, along with the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and Women for Women International (UK) held a series of roundtables on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the UK’s Women, Peace and Security work. This Chairs’ Summary outlines the Experts’ recommendations.

Experts’ Meeting: Sexual Violence in Conflict and the UK’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda – Chairs’ Summary

One year after the conclusions of the UN’s High Level Review on Women, Peace and Security, we, along with the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and Women for Women International (UK) held a series of roundtables on Sexual Violence Read More

Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2016

In this new report GAPS welcomes the 2016 annual report to Parliament by the UK Government, analyses the UK’s Women, Peace and Security work over the past year and makes recommendations for the upcoming new UK National Action Plan (NAP).

Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2016

In this new report GAPS welcomes the 2016 annual report to Parliament by the UK Government, analyses the UK’s Women, Peace and Security work over the past year and makes recommendations for the upcoming new UK National Action Plan (NAP).

Three years too many: the impact of conflict for women and girls in South Sudan

As the civil war in South Sudan enters into its fourth year, the levels of displacement, insecurity and violence are reaching unprecedented levels. The majority of the displaced are women and girls, who continue to bear the brunt of thed armed conflict. More is needed from the international community to achieve safety, protection, empowerment and long-lasting peace for women and girls in South Sudan. In line with its commitments to WPS, we urge the UK government to immediately undertake the recommendations outlined in this paper.

Three years too many: the impact of conflict for women and girls in South Sudan

As the civil war in South Sudan enters into its fourth year, the levels of displacement, insecurity and violence are reaching unprecedented levels. The majority of the displaced are women and girls, who continue to bear the brunt of thed Read More

Putting Women at the Heart of Bringing Peace to South Sudan

Shaheen Chughtai reports back from a recent conversation at the UN

Once in a while, the shroud of coded, diplomatic language that envelops discussions at the United Nations Security Council is ripped away by reality. On 25th October, it was the words of a women’s rights activist from conflict-ridden South Sudan, Rita Lopidia, which gripped the chamber.

“I meet many South Sudanese women, and the stories they share with me are heartbreaking,” Lopidia told the UN Secretary General and assembled diplomats. They had gathered to review progress and challenges in promoting women’s rights and roles in conflict contexts: a theme known as Women, Peace and Security.

“A woman in Bentiu, Unity State told me recently, ‘I have been raped several times, but I still have to go out, what option do I have? I still have to find food for my children.

On a lucky day, I go out and nothing happens. On a bad day, I go out and I am raped’.”

The civil war in South Sudan – where the UK is deploying 400 peacekeeping personnel – has had catastrophic impacts since it erupted in December 2013. Tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured. More than 2.6 million people are displaced, most of them women and girls. Those still inside South Sudan face increased threats of sexual assault, abduction and exploitation among other dangers.

But this isn’t a tale of victims and governments left powerless and static in the face of unstoppable atrocities. Starting from the ground up, local women and men in South Sudan are striving to bolster national and regional efforts to build peace. This is crucial because the key to ending violence and abuse is ending the war itself. To be successful, peace efforts should be based on a rigorous analysis of the causes of conflict that takes into account regional dynamics, and no-one understands those causes and dynamics better than local people and organizations.

Lopidia herself had just travelled from Nairobi where, along with South Sudanese and global partners, she convened a peace dialogue with representatives of the Transitional Government, local and global women’s groups, faith-based organizations and academia. They called on South Sudan’s leaders to rise above tribal feuding and help build a broader-based national identity and politics.

Such inclusive initiatives, in which women have an influential say, are crucial. From Liberia to Northern Ireland, growing evidence from around the world shows that when women take an active part in peace processes, agreements are more likely to be reached and last longer. Women’s participation in South Sudan talks has been very limited to date – but this missed opportunity is something the international community, including the UK, can help change.

The UK has already taken several important and positive actions. These include contributing humanitarian aid, and strengthening its role in UNMISS, the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan – some of whose personnel have been implicated in cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. The UK has also been pushing for a credible peace process. But with the humanitarian situation deteriorating and peace proving elusive, more is required from the UK and its international partners.

The UK should fulfil as quickly as possible recent proposals that at least six percent of its peacekeepers deployed to South Sudan, and 15 percent of other UK personnel such as police officers, would be female. Such deployments help make UNMISS more responsive and accessible to women and girls.

More efforts are needed not just to prevent sexual violence from happening but to ensure justice and accountability when it does. This should include tougher measures to deter sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers, as well as ensuring that victims of such crimes are recognised and justice is served – including by the special hybrid criminal court proposed by the African Union to try war crimes in South Sudan.

And crucially, more support is needed for local women’s rights organisations and advocates: not only in their efforts to help women and girls recover from the trauma and deprivations caused by conflict, but also in making sure that – from discussions within communities to national peace talks– women have an influential voice.

Sixteen years ago this week, the first UN Security Council resolution to specifically address the rights and roles of women and girls in conflict was adopted. Since then, the UK has become a global champion of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. At the Security Council last week, the UK’s envoy to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, urged the international community to live up to its pledges.

“Words in this Council aren’t enough,” said Rycroft. “Commitment means action every day throughout the year.”

For activists such as Rita Lopidia as well as women and girls from South Sudan to Syria, Afghanistan to Yemen, such international leadership and resolve to act remains as urgent and essential as ever.

Ends

Shaheen Chughtai co-chairs the policy working group at Gender Action on Peace and Security, based in London.  Rita Lopidia is the co-founder and executive director of Eve Organisation for Women Development, an NGO in South Sudan. Both Chughtai and Lopidia represented the New York-based NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security at the UN Security Council’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in New York on 25 October.

Putting Women at the Heart of Bringing Peace to South Sudan

Shaheen Chughtai reports back from a recent conversation at the UN Once in a while, the shroud of coded, diplomatic language that envelops discussions at the United Nations Security Council is ripped away by reality. On 25th October, it was Read More

GAPS has a New Home

GAPS is delighted to join our new host and long term member Women for Women International UK and their fantastic team.  Together we hope to build on our strong foundation to make strides on the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Please follow GAPS and Women for Women International UK on twitter.

Brita Fernandez-Schmidt, Executive Director of Women for Women International UK and new Chair of the GAPS Management Committee said “It is an absolute pleasure for GAPS to join our team at Women for Women International UK. I have loved being a part of GAPS growth whilst on the Management Committee and am delighted we will be working even more closely to support the UK in achieving its Women, Peace and Security commitments and, most importantly, seeing real change for the lives of women and girls affected by conflict.”

GAPS has a New Home

GAPS is delighted to join our new host and long term member Women for Women International UK and their fantastic team.  Together we hope to build on our strong foundation to make strides on the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Please Read More

Next Steps for the New, Forward Looking NAP 2018+

GAPS has developed feedback on the UK’s midline evaluation of its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP).  This will feed into the UK’s development of it’s upcoming NAP: NAP 2018+. For the full document please click here.

Next Steps for the New, Forward Looking NAP 2018+

GAPS has developed feedback on the UK’s midline evaluation of its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP).  This will feed into the UK’s development of it’s upcoming NAP: NAP 2018+. For the full document please click here.

New GAPS report: Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2015

New GAPS report: Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2015

Following the publication in December of the UK government’s annual Report to Parliament on its progress against the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (UK NAP), GAPS has today published its shadow report Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2015. The shadow report draws on the expertise of GAPS member organisations, as well as the inputs of civil society in conflict-affected countries through a survey of women’s rights organisations in the six focus countries of the UK NAP: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Libya, Myanmar, Somalia and Syria.

The report commends the UK government for its work to promote Women, Peace and Security on the international decision-making stage, including through the commitments it made at the High-level Review of 1325 in October last year. Looking ahead to 2016, GAPS calls on the UK government to continue to demonstrate its role as a leader on the Women, Peace and Security agenda on the global stage at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit.

Further still, the UK must do more to go beyond undertaking a series of actions on this agenda, and commit unwavering support for women’s meaningful inclusion, backed up by much needed resources and institutional systems. As champion governments such as Sweden affirm their commitment to ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’, GAPS calls on the UK government to step up and commit to the following minimum standards of engagement on Women, Peace and Security through its own planning, activities, reporting and accountability processes:

  1. Affirm that comprehensive action across the Women, Peace and Security agenda is a UK government priority, with women’s human rights at its core.
  2. Ensure the meaningful participation of women from conflict-affected contexts in all related UK-hosted peace, security, and development talks, and call for women’s meaningful engagement in those hosted by other countries.
  3. Guarantee that the UK government’s Women, Peace and Security plans can be resourced and implemented – earmarking finances for this agenda, tracking spending through gender markers in wider development, humanitarian and stabilisation funding, and through a dedicated budget for the NAP.
  4. Guarantee consultation of women’s rights organisations and local civil society in the design and review of UK Women, Peace and Security objectives and ensure that the views of women and girls and their reflections on new and emerging issues are integrated in UK government planning.
  5. Commit to strengthen transparency with an open book on the UK’s progress against Women, Peace and Security commitments including clear monitoring and reporting processes.

 

You can download the report here.

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New GAPS report: Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2015

New GAPS report: Assessing UK Government Action on Women, Peace and Security in 2015 Following the publication in December of the UK government’s annual Report to Parliament on its progress against the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Read More

GAPS Newsletter: December 2018

Updates

Hannah Bond, GAPS Director is an Interruptor on Women, Peace and Security!

Last month, GAPS Director Hannah Bond was included on Foreign Policy Interrupted’s list of “Interruptors on Women, Peace and Security“! Foreign Policy Interrupted puts these lists together to highlight women’s expertise on foreign policy issues. It is great to see our Director and so many brilliant colleagues recognised here for their knowledge and experience in working for women and girls’ rights in conflict-affected contexts.

LAW lodges Landmark Case against the Government of South Sudan for sexual violence against South Sudanese women and girls

On 6 December 2018, Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) lodged the first case against the Government of South Sudan for sexual violence against 30 South Sudanese women and girls by members of the South Sudan army and the Presidential Guard. The complaint outlines brutal sexual violence, including sexual slavery, sexual torture, rape and gang rape against women and girls during attacks on their villages and whilst they fled the violence from June 2016 to September 2017. Tens of thousands of women and girls have suffered from rape in South Sudan – which has been used as a weapon of war against the civilian population.

The case has been lodged at the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva.  Due to serious concerns for their safety, LAW has requested that the UN Committee protect their full identities during the consideration of their case. Learn more about the Communication and LAW’s work here.  

Council of the European Union adopts Women, Peace and Security conclusions

On Monday 10 December, the International Day for Human Rights, the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on Women, Peace and Security and welcomed the new EU Strategic Approach on Women, Peace and Security. Read more here.


Events

LSE public lectures:

Giving Peace a Chance: from the League of Nations to Greenham Common, Monday 14 January 2019

War, Tuesday 15 January 2019

The Empire’s New Clothes: thinking about the Commonwealth in the era of Brexit, Thursday 17 January 2019

Nationalism, Development and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, Tuesday 22 January 2019

Generations of Feminism?, Wednesday 23 January 2019

Europe’s Response to the Challenge of Migration and Security, Wednesday 23 January 2019

The Politics of Memorials, Tuesday 29 January 2019

In Memory of Naomi Hersi: the impalpable lives and history of queer and trans and intersex people of colour, Monday 4 February 2019


Research and resources

Gender and Inequalities

GAPS Director Hannah Bond, Abigail Hunt and Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng have co-authored a chapter in the recently published Gender and Inequalities, edited by Professor Naila Kabeer and Caroline Sweetman, and published by Practical Action Publishing.

The chapter – “Bridging inequalities in inclusion: Women’s rights organisations as the ‘missing link’ in donor government-led participatory policy and programme development” – focuses on the multiple inequalities faced by women’s rights groups in conflict-affected contexts as they are shut out of donor-driven agendas.

Towards a feminist UN Security Council

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has launched its Guidance Note: Towards a Feminist Security Council.

The goal is to accelerate the UN Security Council’s implementation of peace and security that works for and includes women, and that meets commitments under Women, Peace and Security.

The Guidance Note builds on the UN Charter and addresses the longstanding gender bias in the UN Security Council and its work. It builds on good practices and provides concrete recommendations on how to implement the UN Security Council’s mandate to support a shift from crisis response towards upstream conflict prevention and sustaining peace based on women’s participation, protection and rights.

Masculinities, gender, peace and security in Myanmar

International Alert has published the report Behind the masks: Masculinities, gender, peace and security in Myanmar

This report aims to analyse conflict, armed actors and peacebuilding efforts from a comprehensive gender analysis perspective, considering the different impacts of conflict on women, men and those with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI) in Myanmar.

This is the first report in our series on masculinities in Myanmar. The second, Pulling the strings, looks at the implications of masculinities for gender and social conflict in the country.

Ending online violence and abuse against women’s rights activists

The briefing Breaking the Silence: Ending online violence and abuse against women’s rights activists from Womankind Worldwide aims to highlight women’s rights activists’ and feminists’ experiences of online violence and abuse across a number of Womankind’s focus countries, particularly Zimbabwe,Nepal and Kenya. It looks at the impact this abuse is having on women, particularly the psychological harm and distress it causes survivors and how the abuse is resulting in women self-censoring what they say online. It also looks at the support women receive from other feminists, the barriers they face in accessing justice and the effectiveness of responses from governments, law enforcement, and internet and social media companies.

In the briefing Womankind set out a series of policy recommendations for state and non-state actors and call for a multi-stakeholder approach to eliminating online violence and abuse against women and countering the silencing of women online.

Girls’ rights are global

Plan International UK has launched a 10 Point Plan for Adolescent Girls, identifying key areas of action to advance girls’ rights. The report urges the UK government and Parliamentarians to continue to work together, in partnership with civil society, businesses and others, to drive forward efforts to make the commitment to girls’ rights a reality.

Young feminisms

The November 2018 edition of Gender & Development features the voices and views of young feminists involved in today’s new social movements, spanning both on- and off-line.

Monitoring of the gender perspective in the implementation of the Colombian Final Peace Accord

The Special Report of the Kroc Institute and the International Accompaniment Component, UN Women, Women’s International Democratic Federation and the Embassy of Sweden  presents an analysis of the implementation process of the gender perspective in the Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace between December 2016 and June 2018. This report presents recommendations on specific issues such as the inclusion and definition of differential measures in bills that have yet to be presented, processed, and implemented, and institutional strengthening that allows information disaggregated by sex, ethnicity, and sexual orientation to be obtained to inform the creation and implementation of public policies with a gender perspective.

UK government Annual Report to Parliament on Women, Peace and Security, 2018

The first report for the current UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2018 to 2022 (NAP) reviews UK government progress in delivering commitments over 2018. It forms part of wider efforts to ensure that the UK government’s foreign policy consciously and consistently protects and includes women and girls. It was laid in Parliament with a written ministerial statement by the Foreign Secretary.

The report provides an update on how the UK government is implementing the 2018-2022 NAP. It captures how the UK government will meet its commitments under UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The report focuses on how the UK government is implementing Women, Peace and Security in the 9 focus countries: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.

Humanitarian global risk analysis

ACAPS have produced a Global Risk Analysis for January-September 2019 outlining 18 contexts where a significant deterioration is expected to occur within the next six to nine months, leading to a spike in humanitarian needs.


Call for participation

Write for Rights 2018

Amnesty’s historic campaign Write for Rights is open until end of December. They run this campaign every year because they know it works. Show solidarity with 12 incredible women human rights defenders standing up against violence, for LGBTI rights, against corporate power and state repression. By taking part in Write for Rights you’ll join others demanding justice for Marielle Franco, a black lesbian councillor who worked tirelessly to support the most marginalised in Rio de Janeiro, she was killed on 14th March 2018 and no one has been charged for her murder. You will stand side by side with Pavitri Manjhi who is standing up to big companies seeking to remover her Adivasi community from their ancestral land. Read about all the cases here and find all information here.


Jobs

Women for Women International UK:

Programme Funding & Partnerships Manager, apply by Wednesday 2 January

Womankind Worldwide:

Volunteer: Community Fundraising, apply by Wednesday 2 January

WILPF International:

MENA Associate, apply by Monday 7 January

International Alert:

Senior Digital Engagement Officer, apply by Sunday 6 January

Saferworld:

Gender and Gender-Based Violence Adviser (Bangladesh), apply by Monday 31 December

Conciliation Resources:

Programme Director: Smart Peace, apply by Wednesday 2 January

Senior Advisor, Gender & Peacebuilding, apply by Tuesday 22 January

Gender & Youth Advisor, apply by Friday 18 January

International Rescue Committee:

Senior Program Development Advisor

CARE International UK:

Humanitarian Programme Funding Coordinator, apply by Friday 28 December

Consultants for Women’s Economic Empowerment roster, applications reviewed when receivedC

ActionAid UK:

Senior Technical Adviser: Women’s Rights, apply by Monday 7 January

Senior Technical Specialist: Adolescent Girls’ programming, apply by Monday 7 January

Oxfam:

Policy & Advocacy Officer, apply by Friday 4 January

Head of Humanitarian Campaigns & Advocacy, apply by Friday 25 January

Crisis Action:

Communications Director, apply by Tuesday 1 January


GAPS and the APPG-WPS

On Thursday 29 November, the APPG on Women, Peace and Security, jointly with GAPS and the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), hosted the event “Invest in Trust, Invest in Women: Supporting local knowledge and experiences through equal partnerships and innovation”. The meeting was chaired by Baroness Hodgson of Abinger, Co-Chair of the APPG on Women, Peace and Security. Ms Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Founder and Executive Director of ICAN, opened the panel discussion on the importance of supporting independent, locally-rooted women’s organisations in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Also on the panel were: Ms Shahrazad Magrabi, Co-Founder and Director of Libyan Women Forum; Ms Ghada Rifai, Co-Founder of Mobaderoon Network in Syria; and Ms Helen Thompson, Head of Humanitarian Programmes at CARE International UK. Read ICAN’s report of the event here.

GAPS provides the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS). The APPG-WPS holds events throughout the year that explore the situation for Women, Peace and Security around the world through thematic or country focuses. If you would like to be notified of upcoming events through the APPG-WPS, please inform us at appg-wps@gaps-uk.org.

GAPS Newsletter: December 2018

Updates Hannah Bond, GAPS Director is an Interruptor on Women, Peace and Security! Last month, GAPS Director Hannah Bond was included on Foreign Policy Interrupted’s list of “Interruptors on Women, Peace and Security“! Foreign Policy Interrupted puts these lists together Read More

GAPS Newsletter: October 2018

Updates

18th anniversary of UNSCR 1325

Today we celebrate 18 years since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325!

At this year’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, the UN Security Council heard from a Palestinian woman for the first time: Randa Siniora, Head of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling. Read her statement here.

Read the UN Secretary General’s report on Women, Peace and Security here.

Legal Action Worldwide joins GAPS

We are delighted that Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) is the newest member organisation of the Gender Action for Peace and Security network! LAW provides innovative legal assistance to the least represented people in fragile and conflict-affected states. Read more about their work here.


Events

Discussion on the WPS Index at the House of Lords

On Thursday 1 November at 1pm The Henry Jackson Society is hosting a discussion with Dr Jeni Klugman on the Women, Peace and Security Index launched last year. See here for further details.

LSE public lectures:

Realising Aspirations? Gender, Ethnicity and Job Inequalities, Thursday 8 November

Human Rights and Climate Change, Thursday 8 November

The Story of Scottish Women’s Hospitals, Friday 9 November

Make A Stand!, Monday 12 November – Friday 14 December

The Global Gag Rule and Women’s Reproductive Health, Monday 12 November

Translating Feminism in National and Transnational Spaces: women’s movements around 1900, Tuesday 27 November

From pillars to practice: pushing the boundaries of “Women, Peace and Security”, Thursday 29 November

Rethinking human rights: a southern response to western critics, Monday 10 December


Research and resources

VAWG, statebuilding and peacebuilding

The Global Women’s Institute and GAPS members CARE and the International Rescue Committee’s have published their report “Intersections of violence against women and girls with state-building and peace-building: lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan“, part of DFID’s What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme. This report identifies and explores the linkages and interconnections between VAWG and statebuilding and peacebuilding processes in three contexts. It is hoped that findings will inform future conflict and post-conflict statebuilding and peacebuilding processes to ensure they are more effective at addressing forms of VAWG that act as barriers to peace and stability.

Women’s participation in formal and informal peace talks

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security has published a policy brief, “Connecting Informal and Formal Peace Talks“. This brief looks at current practices and advances in mediation, including the role of women mediators and emerging women’s mediation networks, and offers recommendations for better incorporating the informal roles that women play in the formal peace processes.

Human rights defenders

Read the 2018 report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders here.

Widows and social protection

Widows for Peace through Democracy have released a statement for the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Read it here.

Inclusive ceasefires

Read Inclusive Security’s new publication “Inclusive Ceasefires: Women, Gender, and a Sustainable End to Violence“. In this report, Inclusive Security analyses two case studies – the 2014 South Sudanese Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and the 2015 Myanmar Nationwide Ceasefire agreement, along with the sparse literature on women, gender, and ceasefires – to emphasise the benefits of women’s inclusion in ceasefires.

Global Disability Summit

Read the official readout of the Global Disability Summit held on 24 July 2018 with summaries of the plenary sessions and spotlight sessions.

WPS training resources

Inclusive Security have launched an expanded set of free online training resources on Women, Peace and Security available here.


Calls for participation and opportunities

CSW 63

The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2019. The theme for 2019 is “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”.


Jobs

Womankind Worldwide:

Consultant for final project evaluation in Ethiopia, apply by Friday 2 November

Saferworld:

Yemen Project Coordinator, apply by Wednesday 7 November

Consortium Team Leader – women’s empowerment & social cohesion Cox’s Bazaar, apply by Sunday 11 November

Programme Manager Cox’s Bazaar, apply by Sunday 11 November

International Alert:

Senior Projects Development Officer EMENA, apply by Wednesday 14 November

CARE International UK:

Programme and Policy Executive Director, apply by Thursday 15 November

Consultants for Women’s Economic Empowerment roster, applications reviewed when received

World Vision UK:

Humanitarian Learning and Development Adviser, apply by Saturday 10 November

Senior Campaigns Adviser, apply by Sunday 11 November

Plan International UK:

Director of Communications, Campaigns and UK Programmes, apply by Wednesday 21 November


GAPS and the APPG-WPS

On Tuesday 30 October, the APPG on Women, Peace and Security hosted the UK launch of the Women’s Regional Network report “The Cycle of Struggle: A human security perspective on Afghanistan’s IDP women“. The findings of the report were presented by Barin Sultani Haymon, author of the report and independent consultant for the Women’s Regional Network. Also on the panel were: Mandana Hendessi, Senior Technical Adviser on Women, Peace and Security at ActionAid UK; Miriam Lopez-Villegas, Shelter Adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council; and Hanif Ahmadzai, Political Counsellor at the Afghan Embassy in London.

GAPS provides the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS). The APPG-WPS holds events throughout the year that explore the situation for Women, Peace and Security around the world through thematic or country focuses. If you would like to be notified of upcoming events through the APPG-WPS, please inform us at appg-wps@gaps-uk.org.

GAPS Newsletter: October 2018

Updates 18th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 Today we celebrate 18 years since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325! At this year’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, the UN Security Council heard from a Palestinian woman for Read More

GAPS Newsletter: September 2018

Events

Exploring the intersections of violence against women and girls and statebuilding and peacebuilding: lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan

10:30-12:00, Friday 28 September 2018
The Goldsmith’s Centre, London

This event launches a study on gaps in evidence and understanding on violence against women and girls during post-conflict transition.

Revolution in the making

6-7 October 2018
Frankfurt

Join Network Women Weaving the Future for their first international women’s conference.

Young diaspora matters! Women for Peace and Participation

10:30-14:30, Monday 15 October 2018
LSE, London

This event aims to initiate a dialogue around the inclusion of young women in diaspora groups in discussions on Women, Peace and Security. Contact info@womenpp.org if you are interested in attending the event.

Black British Feminist: past, present and future

18:00-20:00, Tuesday 16 October 2018
Hong Kong Lecture Theatre, LSE, London

Join the LSE Library for a roundtable discussion with academics, activists, writers and politicians reflecting on Black British Feminism.
Speakers: Dawn Butler MP & Dr Suki Ali
Chair: Dr Imaobong Umoren

Looking beyond stereotypes of leadership

19:00, Wednesday 17 October 2018
Bush House, London

This Global Institute for Women’s Leadership event explores the barriers and challenges for women in accessing leadership roles.
Speakers: Jess Phillips MP & Yvette Williams MBE
Chair: Julia Gillard

FiLiA Feminist Conference 2018

20-21 October 2018
Salford, Greater Manchester

The FiLiA 2018 conference brings together sisters taking down patriarchy, fighting injustices across the world, fighting violence towards women, pay disparity, discrimination against refugees, racism, classism.

 


Updates

United Nations Security Council briefing on South Sudan

Grace John Kenyi Geri, from the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), briefed the UN Security Council on South Sudan from a civil society perspective on 18 September 2018. Read her statement here.

CEDAW & Office of the UNSG Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

The CEDAW Committee and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict signed a Cooperation Framework on 20 July 2018. The Cooperation Framework aims to advance the rights of women and girls by combating conflict-related sexual violence and supporting the relevant WPS UNSC resolutions.

Women, Peace and Security in Nepal

Nepali civil society is preparing for the Shadow Report on the Implementation of Nepal’s National Action Plan and other policies on WPS.


Calls for participation and opportunities

Women Mediators across the Commonwealth

A new network of women mediators spanning the globe is now seeking applications from prospective members! Coordinated by Conciliation Resources, WMC is a platform for the peer-to-peer exchange and learning of women mediators across Commonwealth countries. Membership is open to any women who are involved in mediation in the community, national, regional or global level; who are interested in sharing their experiences and expertise; and who are citizens of a Commonwealth country. The first deadline for applications is Friday 5 October 2018.

Gender & Development Journal

The Gender and Development journal is seeking contributions for its next edition examining the theme of humanitarian action and crisis response through the lens of gender equality and women’s empowerment. This edition will be co-edited by UN Women in collaboration with its Humanitarian Action and Crisis Response Office.

Please send a paragraph outlining your proposal for an article in an email (no attachments) to Caroline Sweetman (csweetman@oxfam.org.uk) by 30 September 2018.


Research and resources

Afghan women police

Oxfam and the Women and Peace Studies Organisation have launched the report “Afghan Women Police: Tomorrow’s force for inclusive security“. It includes assessment of the implementation of Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

Strengthening synergies between CEDAW and the WPS resolutions

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders has published a poilcy brief contributing to the discussions on synergies between CEDAW and the Women, Peace and Security resolutions, including analysis on the monitoring, reporting and implementation of both frameworks.

Adolescent girls in the Lake Chad Basin

Plan International has launched a report highlighting the sites of insecurity for adolescent girls, as well as the ways in which they respond to and continue to strive towards building safer communities for themselves and those around them.

Sweden’s feminist foreign policy handbook

This handbook is a resource for international work relating to gender equality and all women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights.

WPS training resources

Inclusive Security have launched an expanded set of free online training resources on Women, Peace and Security available here.


Jobs

Women for Women International UK:

HR & Operations manager, apply by Sunday 23 September

Director: Women for Women International Germany, apply by Monday 1 October

Administrative Assistant: Women for Women International Germany, apply by Monday 1 October

Saferworld:

Tajikistan Project Coordinator, apply by Friday 28 September

Sudan Country Manager, apply by Sunday 7 October

International Alert:

Director of Peacebuilding – Global, apply by Wednesday 17 October

Conciliation Resources:

Programme Director – Smart Peace, apply by Monday 8 October

Horn of Africa Project Manager, apply by Friday 5 October

Plan International UK:

Programme Development Specialist, apply by Monday 24 September

ActionAid UK:

Receptionist/COO Assistant, apply by Sunday 30 September

IATI Specialist, apply by Sunday 30 September

Interim Deputy Director of Humanitarian Policy & Practice, apply by Sunday 30 September

Senior Specialist: Programme Quality and Assurance, apply by Sunday 23 September

Departmental Officer: Policy, Advocacy & Programmes, apply by Sunday 23 September

Deputy Director of Advocacy, apply by Sunday 23 September

World Vision:

MEAL Adviser, apply by Sunday 7 October

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom:

Finance Manager, Geneva, apply by Sunday 23 September

Oxfam:

Programme Manager, Yemen, apply by Sunday 30 September

Advocacy & Campaign Lead, Thailand, apply by Sunday 23 September

Consultant for Research in Youth Participation in Development in Kibondo District, Tanzania, apply by Wednesday 3 October

Communications Officer: GRAISEA, apply by Sunday 23 September

Humanitarian Programme Adviser, Myanmar, apply by Monday 1 October

MEAL Officer, Thailand, apply by Wednesday 10 October

Project Manager, Ethiopia, apply by Saturday 29 September

Senior Gender Integration Officer, Bangladesh, apply by Sunday 30 September

Technical Adviser: Women’s Empowerment & Family Promotion, apply by Sunday 30 September


GAPS and the APPG-WPS

GAPS provides the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS). The APPG-WPS holds events throughout the year that explore the situation for Women, Peace and Security around the world through thematic or country focuses. If you would like to be notified of upcoming events through the APPG-WPS, please inform us at appg-wps@gaps-uk.org.

GAPS Newsletter: September 2018

Events Exploring the intersections of violence against women and girls and statebuilding and peacebuilding: lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan 10:30-12:00, Friday 28 September 2018 The Goldsmith’s Centre, London This event launches a study on gaps in evidence and Read More

GAPS Newsletter: July 2018

Events

FiLiA Feminist Conference 2018

20-21 October 2018
Salford, Greater Manchester

The FiLiA 2018 conference brings together sisters taking down patriarchy, fighting injustices across the world, fighting violence towards women, pay disparity, discrimination against refugees, racism, classism.

What’s feminism got to do with it?

Thursday 6 September 2018, 09:30-15:00
School of Economic Science, 11 Mandeville Place, London, W1U 3AJ

Join The Women’s Resource Centre at this London-focused event to explore feminism’s role in civil society and tackling violence against women and girls.


Calls for participation and opportunities

Call for Evidence – “Beyond Consultations” Project

GAPS, Women for Women International, Saferworld, Amnesty UK and Womankind Worldwide are conducting a research study titled “Beyond Consultations” looking at what constitutes meaningful participation/engagement with women human rights defenders and organisations, and how ongoing dialogues and one-off consultations can be done in fragile and conflict-affected states. The project will produce toolkits for meaningful consultation and analysis. We are really interested in your help to support a call for evidence of good practice examples where meaningful participation and consultations with women in FCAS has been done well and resulted in positive outcomes for the community. Please share examples of toolkits, guidance, frameworks, approaches or any other resources that governments, donors and INGOs in FCAS have used to listen to or meaningful connect with women they seek to support through their policy and advocacy work by Friday 31 August. Please contact Frances (frances@paperboat.org.uk) if you would like to speak to anyone in more detail about the research or if you have more valuable insights to share and would like to be more involved in the project.

Gender with Age Marker Training

You are invited to a practical session to learn about and use the revised Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Gender with Age Marker which will be facilitated by a trainer from GenCap at Plan International UK offices.

Please email Keren Simons (keren.simons@plan-uk.org) to register for either of the following sessions on Monday 6 August 2018: Session 1, 09:30-12:30; Session 2, 14:00-17:00.

Global Network of Women Peacebuilders – Sustaining Peace

Join the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) survey on sustaining peace in 15 countries: Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Burundi; Canada; Colombia; Liberia; Libya; Mali; Mexico; the Philippines; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Sweden; Syria; Ukraine.

This is a unique opportunity to bring local women’s voices, perspectives and experiences to the global policy discussions and on-the-ground work to achieve Sustainable Peace.
Provide your responses by Friday 31 August 2018.

Gender & Development Journal

The Gender and Development journal is seeking contributions for its next edition examining the theme of humanitarian action and crisis response through the lens of gender equality and women’s empowerment. This edition will be co-edited by UN Women in collaboration with its Humanitarian Action and Crisis Response Office.

Please send a paragraph outlining your proposal for an article in an email (no attachments) to Caroline Sweetman (csweetman@oxfam.org.uk) by 30 September 2018.


Research and resources

Written submission to Foreign Affairs Committee on FCO’s human rights work

Read the written evidence from Amnesty International UK, including on behalf of GAPS, submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry.

Gender inclusion and peacebuilding

Conciliation Resources has launched two reports on the importance of gender inclusion to peacebuilding and how international and national actors can support it effectively. The report “Inclusion of gender and sexual minorities in peacebuilding” draws on case studies from Colombia and Nigeria and explores the barriers to, and benefits of, meaningful participation of gender and sexual minorities in peace processes. The report “Gendered political settlements” explores how gender inclusion is negotiated in elite-led peace processes and political settlements based on the analysis of three contexts: Bougainville, Nepal and Colombia.

Critical assessment of Afghanistan’s NAP

The Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organisation has published its assessment examining progress toward implementing Afghanistan’s NAP with a focus on the budgeting process for implementation.

Gender & Development Journal

The July 2018 issue of Gender and Development focuses on information and communications technologies (ICTs) from the perspective of women’s rights and gender justice.

WPS training resources

Inclusive Security have launched an expanded set of free online training resources on Women, Peace and Security available here.

Women as peacebuilders in Yemen

This research on women, conflict and peacebuilding in Yemen sought to build a detailed local picture of how women are affected by conflict and how they are engaging in conflict prevention, peace and stability activities to make recommendations for how external actors can provide support. The research was implemented by Social Development Direct with the Yemen Polling Centre and funded by the UK’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.


Jobs

Womankind Worldwide:

Philanthropy Manager, apply by Tuesday 7 August

Policy & Programmes Officer, apply by Wednesday 8 August

Director of Policy & Communications, apply by Sunday 19 August

Women for Women International UK:

Fundraising & Marketing Assistant, apply by Sunday 5 August

Director – Women for Women International DE, based in Germany, apply by Sunday 19 August

Saferworld:

Yemen Programme Manager, apply by Sunday 5 August

Yemen Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Adviser, based in Yemen, apply by Sunday 12 August

Partnerships Development Manager, based in South Sudan, apply by Wednesday 22 August

International Rescue Committee:

Project Manager, apply by Monday 6 August

ActionAid UK:

Project Manager: Programme Quality & Assurance Procedures Development, apply by Thursday 2 August

Plan International UK:

Policy & Advocacy Advisor: Humanitarian, apply by Monday 20 August

Public Affairs Officer, apply by Monday 13 August

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Specialist, apply by Monday 6 August

World Vision UK:

Senior Child Protection Programmes Adviser, apply by Friday 24 August

Oxfam:

Gender Team Leader, based in Bangladesh, apply by Monday 6 August


GAPS and the APPG-WPS

GAPS provides the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS). The APPG-WPS holds events throughout the year that explore the situation for Women, Peace and Security around the world through thematic or country focuses. If you would like to be notified of upcoming events through the APPG-WPS, please inform us at appg-wps@gaps-uk.org.

GAPS Newsletter: July 2018

Events FiLiA Feminist Conference 2018 20-21 October 2018 Salford, Greater Manchester The FiLiA 2018 conference brings together sisters taking down patriarchy, fighting injustices across the world, fighting violence towards women, pay disparity, discrimination against refugees, racism, classism. What’s feminism got Read More

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