“Women are essential to preventing conflicts and sustaining peace”

Meaza Gidey Gebremedhin is a feminist from Tigray advocating for the human rights of women and girls who are enduring unspeakable suffering and weaponized conflict-related sexual violence in the war-torn region of northern Ethiopia. Read here to learn more about Meaza Gebremedhin’s take on the significance of women’s participation in peacebuilding and actions that need to be taken to promote women’s rights.

“Countless lived experiences show that women are essential to preventing conflicts and sustaining peace within communities. For example, in Mali, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, women were meaningfully engaged in peace processes. As a result, their respective communities are now benefiting from a more significant long-term political stability, with a relatively lower likelihood of such communities slipping back into conflict. To harness these and other benefits that come with women’s involvement in peacebuilding efforts, women should be empowered enough to engage not only in advocacy work around peacebuilding but also in negotiations between armed groups and policy-making processes.”

”Discrimination and violence can blight women’s lives and preclude them from meaningfully contributing to the overall well being of their communities. To protect women from any sort of harm, governmental and non-governmental actors should address inequities and harmful gender norms robustly. Furthermore, comprehensive mechanisms that hold actors responsible for violating women’s rights should be put in place. Such mechanisms might include reforming the UN Security Council veto system when issues related to women’s rights are involved. As seen in the case of Tigray, Ethiopia, member states of the UN Security Council often politicize and weaponize their vote to benefit criminal states at the expense of survivors of rights violations, including women. UN Security Council member states with ties to Ethiopia and Eritrea, countries heavily weaponizing sexual violence against young girls and the women of Tigray, among other things, are using their veto power not only to justify gross violations of women’s rights but also absolve perpetrators of weaponized rape.”

Meaza is an International Relations researcher, community organizer, and human rights advocate. Meaza is also part of and works with organizations like GBVYikono, the first independent feminist grassroots movement in Tigray that strives to attain gender parity in the region and Omna Tigray, a nonpartisan global organization that advocates for Tigrayans and other marginalized people.

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