GPPAC calls for dialogue, reiterates offer to be part of ICG in GRP-MILF Peace Talks

PEACEBUILDERS SAY  ‘WITHOUT WOMEN, NO PEACE’
Armed conflict is devastating on many levels. Long running violence leaves peoples traumatized and wounded, with the vast majority of casualties being civilians. Many of these are women, who are killed, tortured, raped, and left behind to survive in a world of destruction.
Yet, women are much more then victims. They play an active role in how conflicts evolve. Sometimes in its escalation or prolongation, but more often than that in the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts. The enormous importance of the role that women play in conflict prevention and peace building has long been recognized, amongst others through UN Security Council Resolution 1325. In 2010, 1325 will celebrate its 10th anniversary. A moment to reflect and review the effectiveness of the resolution.
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a global network of civil society organisations that work together for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Throughout the process of GPPACs establishment and active involvement in peace processes in all corners of the world, it has recognized the role of women and has affirmed its believe in the importance of 1325.
From the 30th September till the 7th October some 55 GPPAC peacebuilders from all over the world came together in Davao City and Manila, the Philippines. The group met with different parties and actors involved in the armed conflict that still devastates the people, especially in Mindanao. At the same time, GPPAC worked on its new strategic direction and plans for the coming years.
During these meetings the importance of the role  of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding came up many times. In meeting  with the Mindanao Commission on Women, who are living conflict and warned that ‘gender equality is an important goal in itself and a crucial factor for achieving sustainable peace’. But also in meetings with representatives of various Negotiation Panels, where the discussions touched upon the importance of having women participate in official peace negotiation processes and the change in dynamics such involvement brings to a peace process.
Taking all of these developments into account, GPPAC reemphasized its recognition of the importance of gender equality. During its strategic planning process, the network affirmed a renewed gender framework and appointed, Ms. Sharon Bhagwan Rolls from FemLINKPacific, as the new Gender Liaison Person of the GPPAC International Steering Group.
GPPAC believes that it is possible to prevent the devastating effect of armed conflict. That the suffering and destruction that conflict and violence can be prevented. Yet, for peace to be sustainable, it is essential to assure the involvement of women in all levels of work that is being done for conflict prevention and peace building. Together we can make peace possible.

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), a global civil society led network of peace advocates has reiterated  its call to dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflict in Southern Mindanao and in other parts of the world.

In a separate meeting with Sec. Avelino Razon of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) and Government Peace Panel Chair Rafael Seguis, the GPACC delegates led by its chair, Emmanuel Bombande has asked government leaders to make measures to prevent the occurrence of violent conflicts on the ground, and ensure the safety of civilians.

Around 55 GPPAC members joined the International Steering Group Meeting in Davao City which was held on September 30-October 5, 2009.  Hosted by the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), the Regional Initiator of GPPAC in Southeast Asia, the delegates had the opportunity to do field visits in Bukidnon, Compostela Valley in Davao del Norte, Davao City and in Cotabato City, Darapanan, Datu Piang in Maguindanao and Pikit, North Cotabato where they interacted with victims of conflict, evacuees, Moro, Lumad and settler communities, peoples organizations, as well as local and national government and military officials.

“There is confidence on the utility of dialogue for conflict prevention, and the connectivity of the IID with people on the ground would make it possible,” David Lord, Executive Director of Peacebuild and an expert on conflict transformation said.

Bombande said that wars and conflict had made civilians, especially women and children more vulnerable to violence, abuse and displacement.  “We are move not to only engage in conversations but to do actual work and meaningful action for the victims of conflict, as well as the prevention of renewed conflict,” he said.

GPPAC has offered its services to be part of the International Contact Group (ICG) for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) peace negotiations, in a separate meeting with both peace panels.

“War is not an option and peace is possible no matter how old, deep and vague the root causes of conflict appear,” Gus Miclat, IID Executive Director said.  IID had been actively involved in the peacebuilding efforts in Mindanao and  Aceh; the democratization campaign in Burma and East Timor and the right to self determination efforts in West Papua and South Thailand.

Bombande reiterated GPPAC’s belief in sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas and promoting indigenous peace mechanisms to achieve lasting peace and the value of dialogue among all relevant actors, including local communities, in conflict situations.   (30)

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