Since the unanimous adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in 2000, international consensus has been built around the need to involve women in peace processes in order for peace building to be sustainable, democratic and inclusive. This policy framework now includes resolutions adopted by the Security Council to promote and protect the rights of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. The recent 7-point action plan released by the United Nation’s Secretary General in 2010 reaffirmed the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective throughout all aspects of the peace building process, and identified several substantive points of action to increase gender responsiveness.
Despite this, women in Burma are effectively excluded from participating in the negotiations for peace. Less than a handful of women have been part of the official talks held between the State and the armed groups, and none of the 12 preliminary ceasefire agreements reviewed for this report includes any references to gender or women. The expertise of local women’s groups in peacemaking and trust building efforts has gone unnoticed, and concerns raised by women are being sidelined. The interest by the dominant funders of the Burmese peace building initiatives, the international community, in advocating for the increased participation of women or for the mainstreaming of gender responsiveness has been, at best, inadequate. This is a worrisome development which requires action from both international and local actors as the continued exclusion of women risks undermining the legitimacy of the entire process.Peace Process, Swedish Burma Committee, Women