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WRDA demands No Peace Without Women


WRDA brought the Women and Peace Building Project to a triumphant end by holding a successful final event, No Peace Without Women, on 27th June in the Crumlin Road Gaol.

Our Director and speakers at No Peace Without WomenWe have been involved in this project over the last two years, gathering views from around one thousand women on peace building and related topics. These views then contributed to the development of a new policy toolkit, which has been designed to show policy makers here how to apply the principles of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security to their work, thereby ensuring women have a voice in local policy development and have their human rights protected.

No Peace Without Women was held in conjunction with our project partners Community Foundation Northern Ireland (CFNI) and National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) to officially launch the toolkit, while also facilitating further discussions around the theme of peace building.

Kate McCullough from NI Women’s European Platform (NIWEP) was drafted in to provide some background on the importance of UNSCR 1325 and the toolkit.

She explained that the resolution, which came into being during 2000, had been created to ensure that women played a role in every aspect of security, peace building and post-conflict policy development, but so far had not been enacted in NI. She said that NI, as a post-conflict society, could particularly benefit from applying the principles of the resolution given how uneven representation still is here.

For instance, we have no female high court judges. Kate then provided examples of countries where UNSCR 1325 had been applied to excellent effect, citing Rwanda which now has the highest number of women politicians in the world.

She finished by introducing the toolkit, saying, “This toolkit is there to drive forward the idea of what implementing the UNSCR 1325 would look like in Northern Ireland and to involve women at every point in the policy making process, from start to finish.”

Our second speaker, MLA Paula Bradley, focused on discussing the work of the All Party Group on UNSCR 1325 at the Northern Ireland Assembly, which she currently chairs. Progress had been initially slow, but there was a great deal of enthusiasm within the group now and a Westminster inquiry had recently been held to explore whether the resolution should be formally introduced to NI.

She said, “No matter what the outcome of the inquiry, the group and I will move forward with our work on UNSCR 1325. I’m determined that women should have increased representation here and make up more of the Assembly. We need women to bring their different perspective to policy development.”

Before closing, she praised the toolkit and said she would ensure it was passed to her Assembly colleagues.

After the speeches, the room broke out into discussions around UNSCR 1325 and what WRDA could do in future to advance women’s role in policy development. The event ended with a short question and answer session, and the launch of our new leaflets on our training programmes, which are available here.

Some participants also enjoyed a free tour of the Gaol before heading home. WRDA will now use the views raised during the discussions to help shape our future peace building and policy work.

Download a copy of the new policy toolkit here.

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