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Open Letter to UN on Women, Peace and Security

To be a woman today in many parts of the world, particularly in a conflict zone, means having to choose between fighting for your rights, or fighting for your life.

We endorsed an Open Letter to the permanent representatives to the United Nations in advance of the annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security developed by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. We stand in support of the women human rights defenders, peacebuilders and advocates for gender equality in all parts of the world but especially those living in conflict areas.

The situation of women human rights defenders (WHRDs), peacebuilders, advocates for gender equality and other civil society leaders in Afghanistan, Myanmar and other parts of the world is extremely dangerous. These women play a critical role in advancing peace, human rights and gender justice but they are under relentless attack for doing work.

The letter reminds us that “Afghan women courageously and tirelessly fought for their rights for decades, despite conflict, deeply-rooted discrimination, corruption and poverty.  They are now under threat from a regime that has an extensive record of brutality and repression of women’s rights. … Women human rights defenders in other conflict zones fare little better.”

We join the call on “all Member States, the UN and international leaders to prioritize, resource and actively support the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, in all their diversity, in all aspects of peace and security.  We call for the UN to “lead by example,” and make women’s formal and direct participation a requirement across all peace processes it supports.”

Read the full Statement in English, Spanish and French.

Feature Image: Ms. Sima Samar, member of the U.N. secretary-general’s high-level advisory boards on mediation and internal displacement. | Image via UNAMA