Peace is Essential for Sustainable Development

Bridget Usifo
Posted May 21, 2012 from Nigeria

With myriads of violent conflicts that has affected diverse communities in Nigeria within the past five years there has been lack of will and commitments by all stakeholders to full reconciliation and resolution processes that will avert further recycle of violent or negative conflicts in communities. These conflicts have caused large displacements of thousands of women and children whose male partners have been killed or whose economic means of subsistence have been destroyed. Continually faced with further exposure to abuse and denial of basic rights, they are usually forced to engage in sexual risky behaviours for economic subsistence that often increase vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases especially HIV/AIDS.

Violence against women during armed conflict is globally condemned as a crime against humanity and an abuse of human rights. Sexual assaults not only have terrible physical and psychological effects on the victims themselves, but are also capable of disrupting psycho-social relationships in communities.

Like most violence that occurs in the course of armed conflict, violence against women is not accidental. It is a weapon of war, a tool used to achieve military objectives such as ethnic cleansing, spreading political terror, etc. Many forms of violence that women suffer during armed conflict are gender specific in both nature and result. The abuse of women in armed conflict is rooted in a global culture of discrimination that portrays women as objects. Social, political and religious norms identify women subtly or explicitly regard women as ornate objects of possession or properties of the men and thereby legitimize violent appropriation of women’s bodies for individual or cultural gratification.

Sexual violence is recognized as being an important security issue that must be addressed by the United Nations Security Council and peacekeeping missions and for which a comprehensive response is required. It is, however, vital that this response goes beyond condemning the use of sexual violence and that it goes beyond broad calls to end impunity. While these are important, they do not themselves do anything to prevent or respond to this violence. But SCR 1888 does strengthen and add to the tools at our disposal and it sets the stage for concrete and practical measures to be taken at the field level.

Amongst others considerations emphasises the issues of sexual violence within peace processes – this is important to provide access to justice and reparations but also to build the foundations for sustainable peace; Requests more systematic monitoring and reporting on conflict-related sexual violence and requests a report within three months on ways of improving this monitoring and reporting; Requests an annual report on implementation of SCR 1820 – including information on parties to armed conflict credibly suspected of perpetrating patterns of rape.


Gender-sensitive Community Early Warning System for Conflict Prevention: The Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) of WANEP provides a framework of gender- based early warning system of the Network currently used to monitor developed list of gender based indicators for peace and human security as it affects women specifically within communities. The indicators are designed to monitor and analyse contextualised actions that exercebate or mitigate violence against women are captured in Early Warning (EW) system. The weekly reports from field monitors inform the responses and interventions to these indicators to validate the role of women to utilise their capacities for dispute resolution and decision making in organised platforms. In that way an entry point is created to facilitate public acceptance of women's role in decision making processes as well as opportunities to advocate and transform political and socio-cultural violence that inhibits these roles.

Gender perspective has been absent from conflict analyses, conflict early warning and response systems and the assumption that transition from gender blind indicators to gender sensitive lens enriches early warning analysis and allows for more appropriate response options. Engendering early warning does not only benefit women, by ensuring that the concerns of women and men are considered, it also provides an overall improvement to existing approaches of information collection, analysis and formulation of response options. Utilizing the untapped potential of women leaders, women’s organizations and networks as actors for peace as it regards to early warning and preventive activities makes the process more effective and active in Nigeria.

The frame work for the gender based community early warning and early response provides information distribution system from the grassroots through civil society organizations to government institutions and agencies towards elimination of violence against women in our communities. This strategy builds bridges for interaction, communication and cooperation between government, civil society and communities to address issue of violence against women. The analyses of the reports from the field monitors provide indication of current situation of violence against women in that particular area. It also indicates trends, pattern, increase or decrease in abuse of women or violence against women generally. a) Legislation: b) Effective Investigation Framework: c) Advocacy and Campaign: d) Due Compensation

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Comments 3

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  • hannah_reed
    May 22, 2012
    May 22, 2012

    Thank you for speaking out against gender-based violence. I think your point that a gender perspective has been absent from conflict analyses is a very important one. in solidarity, Hannah

  • Bridget Usifo
    May 23, 2012
    May 23, 2012

    Dear Hannah,

    Thank you for your kind words and appreciating the importance of including gender based violence in conflict analyses. I had actually wanted to make a contribution in "What are your sisters saying? Make your Vioce Heard. Under Or other - are we missing a key issue within sustainable development that is not covered here?

    I wanted my write up under this missing key issue.

    However, whereever it appears, let it draw the desired attention towards intervention.

    In sisterhood,


  • Olanike
    Jun 22, 2012
    Jun 22, 2012

    Is it not said that when the value of something is not known, abuse is inevitable. The statement holds true even in the case of peace. One may never appreciate the worth of peace and tranquility until their is an uprising! I want to believe that no one would want to experience any form of upheaval before appreciating how important peace is to development. Like you rightly pointed out, Nigeria has been faced with diverse challenges bothering on insecurity and violence; and women and children have been cut up at the center of it all. The spate of violence has continued to take it's toll on human lives and property and continues to threaten our collective existence, development, and ability to move forward as a nation. You will agree with me that every of such experience has only resulted in more and more setbacks.

    As for your analysis of the the experiences women grapple with during conflicts, I must say it is quite broad and impressive. It certainly reveals your interests in seeing that violence against women becomes a thing of the past in our nation and globally. I encourage you to keep speaking out because your voice can make a difference.

    If you have not already done so, I also encourage you to join World Pulse in Pledging to Stop Rape in Conflict (the link is on the home page). It would be another right step taken in the direction of the change you are bringing to the lives of women and the world.

    All the best!