Special 20th anniversary

of Resolution 1325

message from president of mouvement inamahoro

dr. marie louise baricako

Burundian women join the rest of the world in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 on   Women, Peace and Security.

 

Resolution 1325 is a United Nations Security Council resolution passed on    August 31, 2000, so there are 20 YEARS of that.  It is the first resolution of its kind that evokes not  only the  disproportionate impact of  conflict on   women  but also their  role  in conflict resolution  and   peace-building,  even  if this  role  is often  underestimated  by other  consolidation actors.  In addition to the case of  Burundi,  which was topical at the moment, the experiences of countries that have experienced recent conflicts such as the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra  Leone,  Liberia,  as well as other conflict zones have largely inspired the birth of Resolution 1325 , which  has  fundamentally changed the image of women in conflict situations, from victims to participants actively working to maintain and consolidate peace and negotiate..

This resolution  therefore  calls  on States and other actors  involved in the resolution of the various conflicts to recognize this  role and to  give  women the place they deserve to  make their contribution,  which the United Nations believes is essential if we are to truly  bring about peace in our countries. This resolution is based on three pillars known as 3 P: prevention and protection from acts of violence during wars and other conflict situations and  participation in  decision-making spheres, including  peace processes.  

This resolution was followed by others to strengthen these three pillars and together the 10 resolutions already voted since 2000 constitute the WOMEN PEACE AND SECURITY AGENDA (WPS).

Burundian women attach great importance to this resolution for several reasons :

1. It was voted two  months after the signing of the Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation and the experience of  Burundian women in the  Arusha   negotiations, as well as  the various activities   organized on the ground, helped to document the  drafting of the Resolution 1325. As a reminder,  Burundian men have not welcomed  the strong willingness of women to participate  in peace  negotiations. One of the  politicians did not even  hesitate to say that  "our  place is in bed and in the kitchen" or" Negotiations is not a  children's  game"  (Si aho  gutuma  umwana). « It was in front of high-profile figures in this case Ruth Sando Perry, former President of the transitional government in Liberia, one of the facilitators in the inter-Burundian negotiations. Stunned, she asked him to apologize and he did it in spite of himself.

During this period of negotiations,  Resolution  1325  was not yet there to assist us in our  advocacy,  but we  used other mechanisms such as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW) which reminds  states that they must ban all forms of discrimination against women.  We could also  mention  the  Beijing platform for action from the 4th Women's Conference in which  Burundi participated  and which  calls for  the consideration of women in all  aspects of the peace processes, but this action plan was not yet widely popularized at the Burundi level. 

Despite the obstacles and thanks to the valuable support in the Burundian  conflict, late President  Nelson  Mandela and other women's organizations such as Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) and UNIFEM (now UN Women), the women's delegation has done an extraordinary job:  to push for a ceasefire so that the negotiations take place in a calm environment, and to influence taking into account gender provisions in the Arusha Peace Agreement and above all  a minimum quota of 30% of women's participation in transitional  and post-transition institutions.

2. However, Resolution 1325 came  in due course  as  an advocacy tool for women's involvement  in the implementation of the Arusha Agreement for Peace and  Reconciliation. And among  African countries,  Burundi was among the top 15 to adopt a national action plan for  the Resolution,  thus showing  its real domestication at the national level. 

3. The history of Burundi, as often elsewhere in countries that have experienced conflict, tells us that the fight for peace requires constant vigilance because  at any moment the country is likely  to fall further  into  violence. And that's what unfortunately happened in our country with the crisis of 2015 while a few years before we rather believed the war hatchet  completely  buried. The hard-negotiated Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation had created a climate of appeasement that Burundian women were proud of, because we took part in participating in its implementation was a source of satisfaction. As in previous crises,  the 2015 crisis took human lives,  others went on the path  of  exile. Advocating for peace has become a risk because for most of the time you run up against  the interests  of often powerful people who can  turn their power against you.  But do we have to give up? Not to talk about the peaceful resolution of conflicts, not to talk about justice for all, good governance or or state of law?  Or fail to claim our space and role in conflict resolution?   No, because  that is  even why the Resolution1325 exists  to encourage us. She's the one who gives us the strength to keep fighting.

4 . Today, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325, we can congratulate ourselves for contributing to its birth, we have adopted it, it has  served us, it is part of us. Even for those who are in exile, we will still observe a great resilience, we are still standing  and  not willing to give up,  with a hope that tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, peace will reign once again in the  country and that everyone will be able to enjoy it.

I pay tribute to all The Burundian women, who since 1993 have been on the front line of    peace, reconciliation, peaceful cohabitation, and mediation of community conflicts. Several names are in my  head,  these women are present in all the provinces of the  country, they are quiet but active forces.  I can affirm without any doubt  that catastrophic situations have been prevented,  hearts have been soothed, thanks to women's interventions. Their testimonies are so rich that it is difficult to tell them in this few lines. As a representative, to name but a few, I pay tribute to  Goreti and Schola of DUSHIREHAMWE, Dorothea  (DOROTEYA) and Georgette of  KINAMA,  Marianne of  RUTANA,  all the members of the women local mediators Network and all those who resemble them in the implementation of the Women's Peace and  Security Agenda in Burundi. I  do not forget  to celebrate the Coalition of Women's Associations and  NGOs  of Burundi (CAFOB),  which played an important role in mobilizing women for peace after the 1993 crisis and in the Arusha peace process and which is still holding firm. The story of  Resolution 1325 is  mostly  yours.  

I express my gratitude to all the partners who accompanied us on this trip for peace in Burundi:  UN WOMEN, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, Women Africa Solidarity, Global Network for Women Peacebuilders, Women International Peace Center (WIPC)  and many others.

To all of you who believe that "THE WOMAN COUNTS FOR PEACE», happy anniversary of resolution 1325.

Catherine Mabobori

General Secretary

Mouvement Inamahoro