Courses on Peace Programme

Background

ASR and the IWSL have been regularly involved in the issue of Women, Peace and Security since its inception and have been trying to raise the particular impact of conflict on women in inter and intra state conflicts. Of equal concern is the inclusion of women in conflict resolution, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and transformation. At the same time it has worked to inculcate the principles of respect, regard, justice and the recognition of the plurality of identities and aspirations in Pakistan by working with school children. ASR has always tied to work systematically with a core group for a continuous support in order not only to strengthen the capacity of participating members but to assist in creating an enabling environment to facilitate their own interventions.

Overview/ Introduction

From the partition of 1947; Pakistan has been caught in severe inter and intra state conflicts. Unfortunately, these conflicts are now on the increase not only on the borders but within Pakistan. While all conflicts endanger the life and security of those living in conflict zones, especially women in these areas are particularly vulnerable. Often the violence against women in conflict and post conflict situations is only addressed in terms of sexual violence such as rape; ignoring the other various dimensions of violence against women in conflict situations. Though there are considerable concerns about violence against women in inter and intra state conflicts; the multilayered and multifaceted violence that women tolerate in these conflicts are often not addressed in Pakistan.

Inter and intra state peace has been of particular concern and both ASR and the IWSL have been involved with peace processes at several levels nationally and internationally. This includes initiating and coordinating several initiatives and networks on women, peace and conflict including the South Asian Women for Peace. Given the complexity of conflicts in and around Pakistan, it is imperative to work collectively towards a common understanding and common struggle not only to ensure peace with justice but to make concerted interventions to ensure the inclusion of women in peace prevention, peace processes, and conflict resolution and in reconstruction.

Considering the extreme vulnerability of those who have to confront conflict on a daily basis and given the immense respect that ASR have for their efforts to face these hardships with fortitude; ASR has planned a series of consultations on ‘Conflicts in Pakistan and its Impact on Women’ to understand the specific impacts of inter and intra state conflicts on women. In this regard, representatives from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Balochistan; Sindh; AJK; Gilgit Baltistan and Punjab met for four consultations on Women, Conflict and Security organized by ASR Resource Centre. The thought behind these workshops was to address the conflicts and political turmoil in Pakistan and particularly their impact on women from those who witnessed and experienced these conflicts while living in conflict zones.

The details of these workshops/consultations are as follows:

1.    Three days National Workshop on ASR Programmatic Approach to Address the Impact on Women in Conflict Situations/Zones; and to Work with Women and Children as Peacemakers and Peace Builders; 24th – 26th March, 2011

  1. Two days Consultation/Workshop on Women, Peace and Security; 30th –31st July, 2011.
  2. Three days Consultation/Workshop on Women, Peace and Security; 14th –16th November, 2011
  3. Three days Consultation/Workshop on Women, Peace and Security; 21st – 23rd December, 2011

The agenda of these consultations/workshops was to address the multiple conflicts in Pakistan through experiential conflict mapping, interconnectivity of conflicts and impact on women and historical background of conflict. Discussants from across the Pakistan discussed their experiences through conflict mapping, the interconnectivity of national, regional and international processes towards UN council Resolutions on women, peace and security. Group work on conflicts identified with specific reference to women inclusion and impact on them; following with identifying peace groups and joint activities and responsibilities of these groups.

The discussants highlighted both inter and intra state conflicts going on within Pakistan and the impact of these on women. Women living within these conflict zones/areas shared the experiences of living within the conflicts and highlighted women’s vulnerability. Discussants from across the Pakistan highlighted the recent crisis going on in their areas to develop a common understanding on the issues and to think collectively about their resolution. Another purpose was to build an understanding on Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820; which have huge significance in Pakistan; based on conflict prevention and peace building; and to include the voices from grass root level in the coming National Plan of Action by government.

The purpose of the ASR/IWSL Peace programme was to work towards peaceful resolution of conflict and to focus on the role of women in conflict resolution and on women as peace makers. We decided that we would enlarge our initial core group of about 15 CSOs and work towards a national alliance on women, peace and security which would include representatives from a wider group while also including a dimension on anticipating potential conflicts and works towards conflict prevention. ASR have initiated and been involved in the peaceful resolution of conflicts by bringing together all those directly or indirectly impacted and have worked with those who do or can play a role in which the rights of women, minorities and other marginalized communities are not bartered away in the interest of resolution.