Women from South Lebanon make recommendations about peace and empowerment

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano pauses for a picture outside Basel Assad Cultural Center in Tyre.

Ms Nada Bazzi, Bint Jbeil's gender working group coordinator, addressing the audience during the event -Open day on women, peace and security 2016- held in Tyre.

Ms Sabah Abu Abbas gave recommendations from Marjayoun's gender working group.

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major- General Luciano Portolano speaks to a full house.

UNIFIL women peacekeepers and local women sharing a moment after the event.

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21 Jan 2016

Women from South Lebanon make recommendations about peace and empowerment

It's no secret that the primary victims of armed conflict are civilians, in particular women and their children. Yet women are noticeably absent from the subsequent cease fire negotiations and peace agreements.

To this end UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was unanimously adopted. The Resolution calls for women's equal participation in peace making and peace building; as only inclusive peace is a lasting peace.

On Thursday 21 January 2016 UNIFIL's Gender Working Group in South Lebanon hosted an open day on Women, Peace and Security. The event featured recommendations from regional women's groups for women's empowerment in the post war recovery society in South Lebanon.

These recommendations, shared with UN Senior Management, came from a series of workshops held across UNIFIL's area of operation Tyre, Marjayoun and Bint Jbeil. The recommendations were crosscutting reflecting a desire for social, political and economic empowerment.

Ms. Hadyya Abdallah, Leader of the Gender Working Group in Tyre said, "At the heart of discrimination against women are the norms and traditions of their society."

Ms. Nada Bazzi, Bint Jbeil Gender Working Group Coordinator made recommendations that included, "The digital divide between men and women needs to be addressed, and more educational institutions should be available in the region. Vocational training to help women start and develop their own businesses would provide employment and economic independence."

Major-General Luciano Portolano (UNIFIL Force Commander and Head of Mission) responded to the recommendations by saying: "I have served in conflict and war torn areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. As diverse as those experiences are, two main themes emerged: women experience conflict differently from men, and women have an important role in ending conflict and bringing communities together so that they emerge stronger and more united in addressing the roots of conflict and preventing its re-occurrence. Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the results of your meetings and the recommendations you made regarding empowering women in order to take their full part in post war recovery."

Article: Aoibheann O'Sullivan
Video Editor: Suzane Badereddine, Ghifar Charafeddine
Video Camera: Suzane Badereddine
Photo: Pascual Gorriz Marcos