How did the No Women, No Peace. campaign begin?
The No Women, No Peace. Campaign is the only Women, Peace and Security campaign of its kind in the UK. It was launched in the UK Parliament by former Foreign Secretary William Hague in 2010, a year which marked the 10th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The origins of the campaign had a specific Afghanistan focus, promoting women’s participation in peace and security discussions in the Afghanistan. The campaign has always worked closely with Afghan Women’s Rights organisations and advocates. The Afghan Women’s Network, a long-standing GAPS partner, was represented at our launch in 2010 where Wazhma Frogh spoke about the implications of reconciliation and reintegration plans in Afghanistan for women.
The Campaign’s Progress
Since its launch five years ago, the No Women, No Peace. campaign has achieved a vast number of successes, through a variety of media and means. The campaign has a running news blog, twitter feed and facebook page with thousands of followers, it has held workshops and events around the country, and promoted petitions and solidarity campaign actions focussed on Afghanistan, often working with campaigns from GAPS members such as Amnesty International. No Women, No Peace has also produced the following campaign films in 2013 and 2014, both of which were screened on the International Day of Peace on 21st September 2014 through Peace Cast TV.
The No Women, No Peace. Campaign has helped to achieve policy successes which we hope will make a real difference in the lives of Afghan women. For example on International Women’s Day in 2013, the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, announced a Violence against Women and Girls Strategic Priority for the Department for International Development’s work in Afghanistan.
In Spring of 2014, the No Women, No Peace. Campaign embarked on a major year of work in recognition of the impact that international troop drawdown from Afghanistan would have on women in Afghanistan. The campaign focussed on two UK-hosted summits which were central to peace and women’s rights: the NATO Summit; and the London Conference on Afghanistan.
At the London Conference on Afghanistan in December 2014, GAPS worked with international partners, the Afghan Women’s Network, parliamentarians and UK government to successfully advocate for solid outcomes for women in the future development, peace and security priorities of donors and the Government of Afghanistan. Following extensive GAPS lobbying of the UK and other governments, including at the Oslo Symposium on Women’s Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan in Norway, one of our key achievements was a main Conference plenary session dedicated to women’s rights where a board member of the Afghan Women’s Network spoke.
In the backdrop of NATO troop withdrawal that month, our aim was to insure that Afghan women were given a platform to influence the conference. Other achievements included securing a meeting for Afghan civil society with the UK Secretary of State for International Development, and securing women’s rights language in the conference communiqué. The communiqué will form the foundation of the ongoing agreement between the Government of Afghanistan and donors. Inclusion of women’s rights in the communiqué is therefore key to ongoing success. For further information, see our case study which outlines the success of this work.
At the NATO Summit in September 2014, the No Women, No Peace. campaign staged a photo stunt with the Afghan Women’s Network to highlight the lack of women’s representation at the Summit, which achieved both widespread media coverage and policy recognition of the problem.