Ending Discrimination and Enforcing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the MENA Region

Written by: Barbro Svedberg and Dr. Abigail Ruane

Welcome to the first E-News article to feature WILPF's work in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region!

WILPF's MENA project introduces a unique agenda and mobilises women's organisations in eight countries in the region: Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and Morocco. In 2012, WILPF International devised a project to respond to the unprecedented political events and the ramifications for women in the MENA region. Now running in its third phase, the MENA agenda 1325-project is focusing on advancing women's rights by building the capacity of women to engage and participate in peace and security issues and to challenge the militarised security frameworks currently in place in most countries in the region.

At the international level, the project focuses on providing analyses, submissions and access to the multilateral fora, such as the Human Rights Council, the human rights Treaty Bodies including the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Security Council. In January this year, WILPF hosted a historic Arria Formula meeting of the Security Council where we brought Syrian women to New York to highlight the need for women's meaningful inclusion in peace processes. In WILPF's latest event at the Human Rights Council Session, we brought attention to the need for women's rights to shape the new constitutions in the MENA region. At national level, specific action plans are being implemented in each country to accommodate the local context. Each National Action Plan seeks to enable women grassroots organisations to discuss and respond to topics related to security, militarisation and disarmament, in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security, the CEDAW Convention and especially the new General Recommendation 30.

As part of the work to strengthen collaboration between WILPF's MENA project and the New York based PeaceWomen team, PeaceWomen will be enhancing the MENA project's advocacy, monitoring, evaluation and capacity-building work. From now on, PeaceWomen's E-News will feature monthly articles on key MENA issues as well as other MENA resources, events and initiatives. Stay tuned and check out the WILPF MENA website for more information.