A regional consultation for the Middle East and North Africa was held on 28 April at the World Forum in The Hague, Netherlands. More than 30 civil society organization representatives from Morocco, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt participated in the event, as well as representatives from Iran. Radhika Coomaraswamy, lead author of the Global Study on 1325, facilitated the discussion.
The consultation was held in conjunction with the WILPF conference “Women’s Power to Stop War,” and was an opportunity for participants to informally discuss issues as diverse as violent extremism, women under occupation, the role of media, human security frameworks, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, demilitarization and disarmament.
Key recommendations from the regional consultation include:
- The importance of recognizing the link between violent extremism and increasing militarization and access to small arms;
- The importance of recognizing the link between increased militarization and freedom of expression, including ability of activists to organize and attend demonstrations;
- The importance of considering a human security framework and a gender perspective in regard to security sectors;
- The importance of recognizing that impunity is often extended, harmfully, to state actors as well as to non-state actors;
- The need for a holistic and rights-based approach in addressing terrorism;
- The importance of recognition and funding of the efforts of women who are working to counter violent extremism in their communities;
- The need for women to have access to local and international media;
- The importance of encouraging women to participate in the media;
- The need for the Global Study to address the specific problems of women under occupation;
- The need for the UN to strengthen protection of women refugees and IDPs from sexual and gender-based violence;
- The need for accountability within the UN system to regulate engagement with women’s civil society organizations and the broader Women, Peace and Security agenda;
- The need for more funding for implementation of UNSCR 1325 goals at the local level;
- The need for training and capacity building for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 at the national level, including the implementation of National Action Plans.