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Resolution 1325 on Women And It’s Implications For Eritrean Women

Network of Eritrean women was set up by a group of Eritrean women with diverse backgrounds and experiences to setting up a solid Eritrean women’s organisation that protects women’s rights, promotes the involvement and participation of Eritrean women in all decision making processes.

As one of the main objectives of Network of Eritrean Women has been to actively work with leading international sister organisations, to raise awareness about the situation of Eritrean women at local and international level. As a result of its collaboration with WILPF UK Network of Eritrean Women is attending the 15 th anniversary of Resolution 1325*.

Network of Eritrean Women (NEW) will be attending the 15 th Anniversary of Resolution 1325; Women Peace and Security at the Security Council in New York, 1924 October 2015. In this piece I will look at what resolution 1325 is, what its significance is and how can Eritrean women and Eritrean society as a whole benefit from this resolution

Resolution 1325 was adopted by the Security Council on its 4213 th meeting, on 31 October 2000. The resolution came into being as expressing its concern that particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict. The resolution affirms the importance of the role of women in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict. The resolution also reaffirms the need to fully implement international humanitarian and human rights law that protects women and girls in armed conflict.

The history of Eritrea since its colonisation in 1890 by the Italians has had a history of armed conflict and violence and women have been victims of this conflict. Eritrean women were not only victims but were armed combatant fighters during the armed struggle for independence as well. During the years of armed conflict for independence Eritrean women combatants comprised 1/3 of the military in the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF).

The participation of women during the war for liberation was crucial both to the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and the EPLF and women played a decisive role in the victory of the Eritrean people’s struggle for independence. Women participated on the battlefield alongside men as well as caring at home, running the farms and businesses in their absence.

The years since independence despite early pledges and promises by the government of Eritrea for recognition of women’s contribution to the liberation struggle and equality, women remain marginalised and discriminated in all areas of position. Even those within government positions do not have any effectual powers. We have seen the participation of women being eroded and that the government has taken no tangible steps to tackle violence against women.

The unconstitutional and highly militarised nature of the regime has led to a number of human rights violations including sexual abuse. Moreover, in June 2008 a complementary resolution 1820 was adapted to include sexual violence as a crime of war, and a crime against humanity and stresses on sanctions in ensuring that amnesty is not given to perpetrators of sexual violence. See the link below for further information. www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/…/CAC%20S%20RES%201820.pdf. This is highly important in the Eritrean context, as evidence has been provided to the Commission of Enquiry on Eritrea which has found violence has been perpetrated to women by State and nonState actors in Eritrea. It is therefore, imperative that all Eritrean justice seekers work in eliminating all forms of violence against women.

Resolution 1325 reaffirms the importance of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. It is therefore, important to ensure that all barriers that hinder the participation of Eritrean women are addressed.

Eritrean women are also a crucial component to any durable peace and security in Eritrea. So far 49 countries have a national action plan to implement resolution 1325. The regime in Eritrea has not adopted resolution 1325 and it simply can’t carry on in this way, and we need to plan from now how to build our nation and ensure peace, stability and security. Therefore, whilst the Eritrean government has not instituted resolution 1325, it is imperative that Eritrean justice seekers and opposition groups incorporate it as part of their organisations policy and try to redress some of the most pertinent problems faced by women.

The commission of Enquiry received reports of gender based violence including rape in state institutions of military camps. The Commission of Inquiry report http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIEritrea/Pages/ReportCoIEritrea.aspx states on page 186, that the Eritrean government has failed its due diligence on two levels, firstly by not creating good systems to address root causes and secondly by not providing victims prevention, protection, punishment and reparations. It is therefore, imperative that Eritrean justice seekers, human rights and civic organisations in the diaspora incorporate the participation of Eritrean women in conflict resolution and create durable peace by providing justice and reparations to victims and ensuring that systems are in place to address root causes of such violence.

Many of the Eritrean opposition groups in the diaspora are headed by men with few women at the leadership positions. The problem is only not at the executive positions only but at the lower end of the spectrum as well whereby we see few women activists engaged in the various groups. One of the reasons why Eritrean women dont engage themselves in the opposition is also because the opposition has not yet been able to build the much needed united front under a unifying leadership, which has kept women away from engaging. This is in stark contrast during the years of struggle for independence when Eritrean women were very active.

We need to ensure that for any durable peace in Eritrea, Eritrean women are given the opportunity to fully participate at all levels. To attract and encourage more Eritrean women to play an active role in the change process in Eritrea?. The first thing is all opposition groups need to do is to listen to the needs and address the concerns of Eritrean women.

The opposition groups need to be more family orientated when organising events and talks to ensure the child provision is catered for to ensure that more women are able to attend and participate in events. They also need to provide the environment and platform for women to organise themselves within the various political and civic organisations. The Eritrean government has used Eritrean women to consolidate its power, in contrast the opposition has not be able to utilise nor mobilise Eritrean women in mass. This however, is crucially important firstly in mobilising Eritrean women to change the situation in Eritrea but also in the second phase in post conflict Eritrea in building a durable peaceful and stable Eritrea.

Therefore, the job for this needs to start from now and we need to ensure that we are engaging all Eritrean women in the diaspora. Communication is important to getting the message across and a lot of Eritrean women may not use the internet. Therefore, civic and political organisations need to use various forms of communication to engage Eritrean women e.g. viber and whatsapp and mobile texting.

We also need to utilise the skills and knowledge of Eritrean women in a constructive way which aids transparency, accountability and strengthens Eritrean civic society in the diaspora. Having a strong civic society is important in creating the bedrock for a democratic and peaceful state. Therefore, more work needs to be done in ensuring that organisations do not provide obstacles for women to join and caters to their needs to ensure that they can fully participate.

There are also lessons that we Eritreans can also learn from the Northern Ireland peace process. In Northern Ireland Irish women became a channel for cross community cooperation and gained a voice in the peace negotiations (http://www.cr.org/accord/publicparticipation/northernirelandswomenscoalitioninstitutionalisingpoliticalvoice). Irish women have carried on playing a role in stabilising Northern Ireland. Syrian women made a statement in Geneva on Engagement in the Syrian Political process and are playing a pivotal role in the peace process. It is therefore equally important that Eritrean women are an integral part of conflict resolution and equal participants in building a durable peace.

Whilst Network of Eritrean women (NEW) will be attending the 15th Anniversary of Resolution 1325, this is not an issue for NEW or Eritrean women’s groups only but for Eritrean society as a whole. The importance of women’s participation on all fronts helps in creating, peace, security, elevate poverty and help Eritrea to develop economically as well. Therefore, there is much that needs to be done and we need to start changing the way we work now to shape our future for tomorrow, so that when change does happen we are in the position to assist and stabilize Eritrea.

* Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security It’s Implications for Eritrean Women

About Helen Kidan

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  • Hope

    Hello all:
    As the saying goes on like :”Black lives matter”,we should be able to say “Eritrean lives matter” to the Terrorist Jewish State for belittling the life of an Eritrean as a mere ” Infiltrator” so as to deny him his basic Rights as a Human Being”!
    We have to escalate Prof Berelets’s Open Leter to the Embassy of Israel with out ifs and buts and hesitations!
    Empty barking and joking about the PFDJ and the Legitimate Press Statement of the GoE is but coward ness!
    Hey NEW,please express your concern and Solidarity for the Illegal Killing of the Eritrean Poor Immigrant!
    All the Eritrean Organizations and the so called Human Rights Activists,including this website and its Team and the Forum, should OFFICIALLY condemn the death of this Poor and INNOCENT Eritrean Migrant’!
    I ,Hope,officially condemn this coward act of the Zionist State!
    The HYPOCRISY here is that people here would bark like a crazy and xxxx xxx and curse the GoE if an Eritrean dies in the high seas and the deserts!!

  • tes

    Dear Readers,

    Contemplation of the 1:00 AM

    Should Eritrean women be seen as heroes during our armed struggle and be respected for that or they have too simply because they are who they are?

    Tired of PFDJ political game on Eritrean women

    Here is a wonderful speech I have ever heard about feminism with a title, “How Islam made me a feminist”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jWSDyJiIXg *


    *Previously put under Tzigereda’s comment but I wanted to share this wonderful talk for all readers

  • tes

    Dear Tzigereda,

    When you dropped this,

    “…First and foremost a woman should be recognized as an Individual person who stands on her own.

    I belched noisily out of admiration. This is the type of fight we should base for our strategy. Lets respect the past but not dwell on it.

    Thank you


    • Abi

      Hi Tes
      You belched noisily out of admiration?
      I bet you were at a bar admiring a good beer.
      “Stay thirsty my friends!” It is a beer commercial.

      • tes

        Dear Abi,

        Haha, you are saying it. Seriously, what happened with your humour? Did you lose them the time you became far away from being a bystander of truth? Com’on, just speak what is palatable. Do not try to be good for nothing.

        Expecting your poem, not of fake but refreshing.


        • Abi

          Hi Tes
          My humor was swallowed by your loud belchingh.
          You are getting better, Tes. You advised ” just speak what is palatable “.is ” belching noisily ” considered palatable?
          It sounds gross.

          • tes

            Dear Abi,

            Haha, yes it is; When something was disturbing you for so long and suddenly you got a mineralized ideas or thoughst, you beltch the gas thereby you got a relief. The gas that comes out into air leaves purity behind. And now I am purified by Tzigereda’s words of wisdom. I am so sorry if you were around me at that time. May be you could have received the bad gazes that were inside me.

            Haha, Abi, you know that you are a morgue worker. I can’t forget that.


          • Abi

            Hi Tes
            I am used to the bad gas when you Tuss not when you belch.
            What is thoughst? Is it a ghostly thought? Or is it gasy thought ?

  • Tzigereda

    Thank you dearest Helen!

  • Nitricc

    Hi Aman; i don’t who the people you listed are but like i was telling Tes that one of the bright spot of PFDJ is the educational system. on the same token one of PFDJ utter failure is, not only they destroyed what was achieved through the Gedli and the story of Eritrean women but I think Eritrean women have regressed went backward. what amazes me is, in the US it is a big deal in 2015 when women are involved in the front line, yet, this was done by my brave Eritrean mothers and women dating back 1970. you get the picture. as far as Nitricc; no one even comes close to Eritrean women. the good news is, we will reverse it and the Eritrean women will have power they earned through their own blood.

  • Sarah Ogbay

    Selam Helen haftey,
    Well said. For peace and harmony to be lasting, Resolution 1325 should accepted, understood and implemented by every justice seeking group or individual in all of their political activities. Eritrean women also should know that we, women have a greater stake in a lasting peace and harmony. I can’t say it any better than you did.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Dear Helen
    Thank you for this wonderful article. Keep up the great job. When I read about Eritrean women, of course, some faces keep revisiting my memory. The first image that comes to me is that of my mother. I was not fortunate enough to spend enough time with her to tell you a lot about her, but some images have frozen in my memory (it’s funny, I don’t even have a good picture of her look, but most of her interactions with us are still vivid). In a couple of frames, I remember this remarkable woman scurrying to collect us and run for cover when danger came unannounced. I also remember her teaming up with other women preparing food when the liberation fighters showed up…of course, her smile has outlasted years of heaping war traumas and tragedies. I left her in my teen years and when I returned fully grown she was long gone. God bless her soul.
    Then you have Terhas, she was the first tegadelit I have met. She wore Jeans, and I believe she had a position. When she was filling up my bios,the first question she asked me was if my mom was at home. The next day I was called to the recruiting “office” (it was a small tent under a tree), and my parents were there. Things did not go well, and that was the last time I saw my mother, it was not a pleasant memory. I met Terhas later in Sahel, and it turned out she had known my family and so she sent out someone to tell them. I heard that Terhas died in action in 1979.
    Next comes RaHma the master mechanic. She was one of the best mechanics who would operate independently following the progress of action. She commanded a squad of mechanics and they did have a mobile garage that followed the army.
    Next comes Gual Qeshi,the army commander, who would top the radio communications’ chatters when things get heated up, and who led her unit with bravery and brilliance. And how about the tens of thousands of gallant combatants…and;
    Then You have the mother who sneaked behind enemy lines carrying messages, raising funds, targeting collaborators…
    Then you have the organizer, the journalist, the doctor, the nurse, educators…the engineer women…and many more professionals who had done more than their share to make the independence of Eritrea a reality. I will always hold them high in my memory.
    NEW is a good start. I believe we are stuck in this position because we forgot history. We forgot that without Eritrean women’s involvement there is no Eritrean solution. Please keep it on. The recommendations you presented are good for starting, but it’s our women’s responsibility as much as it is the responsibility of the men who lead the opposition to figure out how to stir the cause of women’s participation in this new era. During the years of struggle, the slogan was : Equality through practical participation. Women did make a practical participation, I am not sure if the promise of equality has been honored. Women need to draw lessons from the past, and get involved at decision-making levels. The male world is brutal, nothing will be granted without a fight.

  • tes

    Dear Helen Kidane,

    This is a wonderful growth. I hope you will nurture strong feminists who advocate everything a woman should attain, everything, everything. Enough for those who pretend to be. Keep on and build your democratic and diverse network.

    I wish I could tell you some of the secrets that know but for now, just go on and build a strong network. I am quite sure you will know how feminists are organized as you climb up.

    Success, success and SUCCESS!!!