"There is no sustainable peace if there are no women in the process" | Society

"There is no sustainable peace if there are no women in the process" | Society


Women represent, together with their children, 75% of the victims who flee their home to seek refuge in another country in case of war. They are also those who suffer, mainly, sexual abuse in times of war and the first to have to leave school. And yet, his voice is drowned out by the voice of men before, during and after each contest. "We can not talk about sustainable peace if we do not include women in the process." This is how Clare Hutchinson expresses herself, High Representative for Women, Peace and Security of NATO.

Canadian of British origin, Hutchinson had worked for a decade at the UN in the same field. Its task is not only to ensure the increase in the weight of women in the armed forces, which is only 12%. "It's not enough," he admits. "The framework is very broad and includes elements of security. From the office and myself we supervise issues that go from what happens with children in a conflict, sexual violence, trafficking in human beings, cultural protection … ", reels.

The debate about inequality did not reach Security Council of the UN until the year 2000. Then, Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was adopted, which addresses three areas: protection, participation and prevention. "Since then there has been tremendous progress," he says. The Afghan government, for example, today conditions an eventual peace agreement with the Taliban on respect for women's rights. "We would never have had this conversation before 2000," admits Hutchinson, who still warns: "It's not just a question of rights. We are talking about peace and security. "

Hutchinson ensures that NATO complies with the precepts set by the UN. Her mission, she says, is for women to be at the center of the decisions that are made from the prevention of the conflict until, if this ends up materializing, their resolution. Participation, he argues, is a key factor. "The inequality, even if it is not perceived, it is in itself a foundation of the conflict. When there are women who do not have access, especially in areas such as sexual violence, to justice, and there are no means or rights, there is a problem. " That has a lot to do with the "big gap" that persists in governments and parliaments.

Clare Hutchinson, in her NATO office.
Clare Hutchinson, in her NATO office.

And there Hutchinson puts the focus back on NATO. Maybe women are not in institutions, but you have to look for them in civil society. To begin, she asks to increase the number of "women deployed in their activities" to at least 20% of the forces, as requested by the UN In a recent day organized in Madrid by Glen, the High Representative has already advanced that NATO prepares a plan against sexual abuse in the countries where it has strength.

But his mission must go beyond. In any Alliance deployment, its troops must "identify civil society and listen to the voices of women directly." "If we do not include them, especially in areas where we need their address, we are failing to understand what communities need," he says. And in addition, there is a risk that they fall into the hands of extremism. The terrorist groups, according to the UN, already have between 20% and 30% of women in their ranks.

Feminism and the use of force

Hutchinson's efforts also consist of placing the woman's voice in the resolution of the conflict. "It is women who lead the reconstitution of societies," he recalls. And yet, the figures are more than conclusive: only 2% of the mediators, 8% of the negotiators and 5% of the signatories have been women. "It is empirically tested. There is a 35% chance that a peace agreement will last more than two years if women are included in it, "he says.

Hutchinson considers himself feminist. And he does not believe that being one is at odds with the defense of the armed use of force. He admits that many people defend that he is. "I do not. I am a feminist and work in feminism, which is equality, "he says emphatically. "I belong to a school that calls for equality is essential," adds Hutchinson, who claims the three pillars of his program. "They are closely related to the values ​​of feminism: integration, inclusion and integrity."

Nor does he believe that his position would be meaningless if the leader of the Alliance were a woman. "NATO has put this position, which is unique, at the highest level. My direct boss is the CEO. And this is a matter and a key mandate for him. Men should be part of the agenda. It is important that women occupy high responsibilities, but also that their voice is in the security and defense policy, "argues the High Representative. After all, he concludes, he is not dealing with "a women's issue." "It is of the whole society, of defense, of security, of humanitarianism, of peace." "The key to success," he concludes, "is not always to increase the number of women," as well. It is about "promoting policies so that they are applicable to everyone in terms of equality". And that is your job.

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