Regional conference focuses on women, peace and security11 January 2014
A regional event in Tripoli bought together activists from Libya, Yemen and Egypt to discuss women, peace and security in the Middle East and North Africa.
With security and instability on the forefront of concerns in Libya, women from across Libya convened in Tripoli from 7-9 January to devise means to strengthen women’s voices on security issues and tackle violence against women in Libya. The conference, organized by Saferworld, Maan Nabneeha, Al-Nur, and Atawassul Foundation, brought together more than 40 participants from across Libya, with a special emphasis on participation from the South.
Over three days, the conference covered violence against women and the role of gender in conflict, with in-depth discussions around four priority areas identified by participants: improving human security, particularly in relation to women; increasing the presence of women in decision-making positions, particularly on security issues; improving conditions for displaced people (especially with regard to VAW); and improving the quality and availability of data on VAW in Libya.
At the end of the three days, participants developed a range of recommendations on these priority issues, building on thematic input from trainers, advice from policymakers, and presentations on specific local conditions and challenges by selected participants over the preceding days.
In relation to improving human security, particularly in relation to women, participants underlined the so-far untapped potential for women to contribute to disarmament. discussing examples from Liberia, Albania and the Balkans, where women have played a key role in disarmament, participants underscored women’s role as key influencers—mothers, wives, sisters—to change attitudes towards weapons and contribute to disarmament.
In discussions on increasing the presence of women in decision-making positions, particularly on security issues, participants recommendations focused on introducing quotas for female participation within political party lists and within government ministries.
In relations to improving conditions for displaced people (especially with regard to VAW), participants highlighted the need to make parallel gains in improving the humanitarian and security situation within IDP camps, national reconciliation and transitional justice, with the latter seen as key prerequisites to enable displaced populations to return to their homes.
With regard to improving the quality and availability of data on VAW in Libya, participants identified lack of data as a barrier to effective policymaking and underlined the importance of a series of surveys to establish the prevalence and specific forms of violence against women in different areas.
One follow-up workshop was held in Sebha on 30 March 2014 to allow participants to share recommendations, ideas and discussions from the national-level meeting with their local constituencies, continue discussions and develop action plans.
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