Conflict prevention must be given top priority for protection of women and girls’ rights and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict-affected situations, says a coalition of women’s groups and civil society organisations.
Moreover, the United Nations and its member states must invest in locally driven solutions and increase collaboration and funding for civil society for women’s meaningful participation in decision-making and peacebuilding, added the platform, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP).
One local solution for Rohingyas was the creation of girl ambassadors in their community and also in those hosting them in Cox’s Bazar, said GNWP CEO and Founder Mavic Cabrera Balleza.
The ambassadors’ four objectives are to build leadership, increase literacy, promote peacebuilding and aid the attainment of economic empowerment, she said.
Funding is a major issue when implementing such action plans, with lacking creating a scenario of cars left lying idle in absence of fuel, she added.
Similarly there is no shortage of policies in Bangladesh regarding women but implementation is limited, she said, adding that young women were rarely visible in youth policies although youths comprise nearly half the population.
Balleza was addressing a discussion titled “Young Women as Leaders and Peacebuilders: A strategy for the joint implementation of the Women, Peace and Security and Youth, Peace and Security Resolutions” at BRAC Centre Inn on Wednesday, 4 September 2019.
Women’s work and contributions became invisible in history because it is written by men, so women should archive their own works, said Marilou McPhedran, a GNWP board member and an independent senator of Canada’s Manitoba.
Bangladesh has achieved a lot in these criteria since its independence but there are many challenges that need to be addressed, said Manzoor Hasan OBE, executive director of the Center for Peace and Justice (CPJ) of Brac University.
The CPJ over the last couple of years has been working with UN Women and two public universities to empower young women, he added.
The event was organised by the Center for Peace and Justice of Brac University, the GNWP, Naripokkho, Jago Nari Unnayon Sangsta and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST).
It highlighted UN resolutions leading to a Women, Peace and Security Agenda, which has a transformative potential to escape cycles of conflict, to create inclusive and more democratic peacemaking and to turn from gender inequality to gender justice.
The event saw the girl ambassadors from Bangladesh and those addressing natural disasters in Indonesia share their experience.
Shireen Huq of Naripokkho, Sheuly Sharma, executive director of Jago Nari Unnoyon Sangsta; Kristin Thomassen Wæringsaasen, deputy head of mission at the Norwegian embassy in Dhaka, and young women leaders and representatives from women organisations also spoke at the discussion.