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Forum for Democracy: Mr Mnatsakanyan (Armenia), “mobilising women to bring a message of peace”

(Strasbourg) “Women’s participation in public life is a matter of security, at the national and global levels”, said Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, as he opened the plenary session on “Women, Security and Democratisation”, towards the end of the World Forum for Democracy, which started on Monday, 19 November, in Strasbourg. Indeed, “women have the power to transmit alternative messages to hate messages. We must mobilise women to bring a message of peace”. His words were echoed by Yves Leterme, Secretary General of IDEA, the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. “Women are rarely involved in peace processes, because they are considered unworthy”. So much so that “only 25 out of 1,500 peace deals explicitly address the role of women in the implementation of such agreements”. But “when women are involved, peace is reached, almost everywhere”. And a step further: “the joint participation of women and men is a factor for lasting peace” and not just for “peace defined as the end of violence”. Indeed, “if women are included, peace processes are not just focused on the negotiation of power, but also on sustainability”, said Adam Lupel, Vice-President of the International Peace Institute (IPI), who argued: “studies show that the best indicator in a peace process is the way women are treated”. It happens, however, that “ women and girls are excluded from peace processes even if they are victims of violence in conflicts”.

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