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Women for Lasting Peace Initiative: Speaking with One Voice

Summer is not a synonym for holidays, at least not for the group of women leaders and MPs from the Women for Lasting Peace Initiative that met with UN representatives in Baghdad on 17 July 2013.

For the second time this year, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, received the women leaders to discuss outstanding issues.  The initiative is jointly supported by UNAMI, UN-Women and UNDP.

The meeting was attended by 13 women from across the political spectrum and several UN representatives, and was an opportunity to continue the discussion started around International Women’s Day on 8 March. At the time, the DSRSG agreed to hold regular political meetings with leading women in Iraq, including female parliamentarians and other women leaders.

Welcoming the participants, Mr. Busztin said that the purpose of the meeting was to look into women leaders’ participation in the national reconciliation initiative, as well as to encourage women members of Parliament to have a pro-active role. “Women must be present in each and every single initiative that concerns Iraq,” he told them.

Among the issues raised was the importance for women to regain a real place in peace building and in the political discussions. As many participants underlined, women are not a minority in Iraq: they represent more than half of the population of the country. Nevertheless, women are still facing many obstacles in their daily lives and are too often considered a minority, even by themselves.  One participant pointed out that women, because of their numerical strength, are a large bloc, and argued that they could make a real difference and contribute to positive changes.

Seeking the UN’s support in advancing their status, the women leaders therefore made some recommendations, including ensuring that both women and women’s issues are well represented in any national dialogue initiative, and pressing the Council of Representatives to pass outstanding legislation and enforce it.

The DSRSG agreed to convey the message of the women to the political leaders, and it was decided that a third meeting between UN representatives and the Women for Lasting Peace Initiative would take place later in 2013.

The Women for Lasting Peace Initiative was launched in February 2013 and brings together women involved in the political process to work towards common goals like peacebuilding and women’s empowerment.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI
Last modified on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 12:47