On 1-4 December 2014, WILPF hosted a regional meeting in Istanbul of over twenty women peace leaders from eight countries in the Middle East North Africa region: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen and Palestine. The conference built on WILPF's MENA1325 work in the region over the last two years and enabled participants to strategize and coordinate work on advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the region.
Participants drew attention to the rollback of rights, rise of instability and extremism, and acceleration of violence in the region. “Our dream has been stolen by the so-called ‘Arab Spring,'” said a participant from Egypt. “We are facing religious and military fascism. There is an alliance between three shapes that lead to more violence: poverty, absence of freedom, and violence against women.” Leaders highlighted the importance of disarmament and creating enabling environments for gender equality and peace through systemic transformation that reduces militarism and arms. “War means no stability, no equality, and continued arms trade,” said a Moroccan participant. “We need change. If we don't have peace, we don't have equality or development.” Participants committed to continue to build networks and work in solidarity for peace throughout the region. “We want results,” said one participant. “I'm not pessimistic,” said another. “I'll never be. I'll keep working for this till the day I die.”
Read more about WILPF's MENA1325 project work here.