20 Years of Women, Peace and Security
October has been an important month for the Women, Peace and Security agenda as it marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325 affirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations and in post-conflcit recovery. 20 years later, we continue to live in a where women are disproportionately impacted by war and conflict, and are not recognised or valued for their vital roles in sustainable peace.
It’s an important time to re-emphasise the essential role of girls and women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace in Colombia and South Sudan. Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing is the cornerstone for women’s empowerment and for participation in conflict prevention, resolution and recovery from conflict.
Ade, an award winning poet, author and activist from South Sudan, beautifully highlights the need for women in South Sudan to be part of their societies, to share their voices, to ‘sit at the table’ of discussions and to be included in and drive initiatives for sustainable peace.
Standing up against gender-based violence in Colombia
Women leaders, advocates and activists are fundamental subjects in peacebuilding, particularly in Colombia. Respect for their lives, integrity and security are essential to the reconstruction of social fabric of society. Yet in Colombia, they continue to be target and violated. According to the recent report 'Bodily Harmonies' women human rights defenders suffered adverse mental health consequences after taking on such leadership roles in female activism. According to the report, Colombia has no clear policy that responds to these physical and mental health needs, nor provides adequate psychosocial attention to women human rights defenders. Regardless of this, many of these women leave behind their own emotional needs and face insecurity in order to fight for their rights and the rights of all women around them.
Sonia, is one of these brave women. A human rights defender, who overcame years of abuse and psychosocial problems, she now actively engages with her community, standing up against gender-based violence, in the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda. Since 2016, HealthNet TPO has been supporting women like Sonia in Colombia. We reach out and support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence through our partner, LIMPAL. Together, we empower and build resilience in women and girls through psychosocial support, counselling and building strong community support networks, so women feel better protected and enabled to become active in their community’s efforts for peacebuilding.