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More Karen women needed in peace, development process: KWO

(Mizzima)– The Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) says women are playing a key role in the development of peace and prosperity in Karen State, but more women’s participation in the process is essential.

International Women's Day celebration and discussion in KWO office Photo: KWO“We believe women’s participation in the peace process is essential for it to be successful, genuine and to benefit the whole of our community,” the KWO said in a statement.

Karen women have suffered greatly, like all Karen people, in the conflict with the Burmese government over the decades, it said. “Women have had to sacrifice their fathers, husbands, and children to this struggle for our rights. We have been left to support and raise our families alone.

“In addition women have suffered from countless acts of sexual violence and exploitation. We have worked to maintain our families in the midst of this conflict, struggled to feed them, care for our children, provide education, and to empower ourselves,” the statement said.

The role that women can play in the peace processes in the world has been recognized many times by the International community, the KWO noted. The U.N. has passed five separate Resolutions calling for increased participation of women: two resolutions specifically relate to the role of women in peace processes, and the resolutions relate to responses to sexual violence during war.

Despite such international agreements, it said women have been poorly represented in peace processes around the world. The United Nation’s own studies indicate, “women have represented fewer than 8 per cent of participants and fewer than 3 per cent of signatories, and no woman has ever been appointed chief or lead mediator in U.N.-sponsored peace talks. Such exclusion invariably leads to a failure to adequately address women’s concerns, such as sexual and gender-based violence, women’s rights and post-conflict accountability.”

Burmese President Thein Sein and Karen National Union representatives met in Naypyitaw over the weekend, and with Aung San Suu Kyi  on Sunday, as a further step in peace talks.

“As we celebrate KWO Day today, we call for a full commitment to women’s participation in every aspect of the welcome peace process,” the statement said. “We stand ready to do everything we can to join with other Karen leaders in making peace and freedom a reality.”
Last Updated ( Monday, 09 April 2012 14:08 )  

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