Technical ReportPDF Available

From Clause to Effect: including women and gender in peace agreements

December 2012
From clause to effect: including
women’s rights and gender in
peace agreements
Cate Buchanan, Adam Cooper, Cody Griggers,
Lira Low, Rita Manchanda, Rebecca Peters
and Antonia Potter Prentice
Women at the Peace Table Asia Pacific
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
114, rue de Lausanne
Geneva 1202
t + 41 22 908 11 30
f +41 22 908 11 40
© Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2012
Reproduction of all or part of this publication may be authorised only with written
consent and acknowledgement of the source.
Editor: Antonia Potter Prentice (
Design and layout: Rick Jones (
From clause to effect 3
Foreword ................................................................................................................................................................................ 5
Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................................................... 7
List of abbreviations .................................................................................................................................................... 8
Introduction ....................................................................................................................................................................... 10
Methodology ................................................................................................................................................................... 13
1. Agreements and themes explored in the report .....................................................................15
2. Recommendations ............................................................................................................................................. 20
General recommendations 20
a) On language 20
b) On substance 21
Thematic recommendations 22
c) On power sharing 22
d) On resource sharing 23
e) On security arrangements 24
f) On access to justice 25
g) On monitoring 25
3. Thematic analysis ................................................................................................................................................ 29
Theme 1: Power-sharing 29
a) Legislative, administrative and constitutional power 29
b) Recognition of women’s human rights 39
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Theme 2: Resource-sharing 44
a) Land rights 45
b) Access to, and control of, natural resources 50
c) Access to livelihood opportunities including income generation
and compensation 51
Theme 3: Security arrangements 56
a) Women’s involvement in the security sector and its reform 58
b) Courts 63
c) Mechanisms to prevent and prosecute conflict-related crimes
involving SGBV 64
Theme 4: Access to justice 67
a) Truth commissions, tribunals and war crimes 68
b) Customar y Law 71
Theme 5: Monitoring 76
a) Monitoring entities or bodies 77
b) Peacekeeping/armed monitors 78
c) The role of civil society 79
Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................................................ 82
Key resources ................................................................................................................................................................ 84
Annex 1: Summary case studies of the peace agreements .......................................... 86
Annex 2: International norms on women, peace and security ................................. 102
From clause to effect 5
Over a decade has passed since the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1325 in 2000
calling for greater integrated involvement of women in peace and security proc-
esses. Since then, with the support of governments, NGOs and a panoply of civil
society organisations, more attention has been paid to women’s participation –
but tangible progress still remains to be seen.
As the Presidential Adviser to the Peace Process in the Philippines, now
for the second time, I have been active in, and privy to, the many facets of our
conflict resolution processes. Thus I know first-hand how women play a central
role in pre-, post-, and ongoing conflict situations. However, I have also witnessed
how women’s participation and contributions are often under-recognised and
thus under-utilised – even here in the Philippines where we are proud of our national
gender architecture and the fact that we were the first nation in our region to pro-
duce a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325.
From my first-hand experience, I am convinced that the inclusion of gen-
der sensitivities in peace processes and peace agreements provides a unique
chance for post-conflict peace-
building to recognise the im-
portance of women’s roles in
all aspects of peacemaking,
not just as an end in itself, but
in order to rebuild a more just
society for everyone in that
society – men and women,
girls and boys.
Comprehensive peace
agreements are a chance to
start anew, to embark on new
visions for fractured societies.
This report, analysing six
Asia Pacific peace agreements using
a thorough checklist of technical
comparative markers and clauses, is
the first of its kind: a useful resource
for mediators and practitioners, offering
practical guidance that extends beyond
our region to other global conflicts.”
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Ensuring that women’s rights and concerns are part of peace agreements is
vital, not just in the Philippines but in other conflicts around the world, where the
neglect of gender and women’s rights is unfortunately still all too prevalent. A peace
agreement of course does not stand by itself – it’s just one step on the road to
building a just and sustainable peace – but it is a key opportunity to lay the
groundwork for the inclusive, peaceful societies of which so many of us dream.
To make the most of the opportunities offered by a peace agreement
drafting process, it is useful to have tools that draw on relevant comparisons. This
report, analysing six Asia Pacific peace agreements using a thorough checklist
of technical comparative markers and clauses, is the first of its kind: a useful
resource for mediators and practitioners, offering practical guidance that extends
beyond our region to other global conflicts. It offers a framework that can be
used to analyse other agreements (past and future) in terms of gender sensitiv-
ity. The report shows that without turning every peace process into a gender
battleground, there are opportunities, nuances and simple steps that can open
up space for use by those implementing and monitoring an agreement and its
aftermath in the future.
Here in the Philippines, we are proud to have achieved the new 2012
Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between our government and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front, our largest Muslim separatist group. That pride is
deepened because of the involvement of several inspiring women on both sides
in helping us get to this point. The agreement contains strong articles on women’s
participation, protection and rights, and we hope the lessons learned from this
proc ess, combin ed wit h t hose offere d in this re por t, will help u s to do e ve n better
in this regard when we reach the final agreement stage pledged for 2016.
It has long been my desire, and that of many of my friends and colleagues
working together on all aspects of the Mindanao peace process, to see gender
issues become a strategic part of our discussions. With this report, the Centre
for Humanitarian Dialogue (a member of the International Contact Group for
our peace process) offers us practical support to realise that desire, and I hope
that others will take up the challenge and opportunity that it represents.
Teresita “Ging” Quintos Deles
Preside ntial Adviser to the Peace Proces s, Philippines
From clause to effect 7
The HD Centre is grateful for the support provided by the Australian Agency for
International Development to the second phase of the ‘Women at the Peace
Table – Asia Pacific’ from 2011-12. For more information on this project, please
visit the HD Centre website at (mediation support/gender
and mediation).
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
AFP Armed Forces of the Philippines
AMM Aceh Monitoring Mission
ARMM Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations
BPA Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995)
BRA Bougainville Revolutionary Army
BRR Agency for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Aceh
CA Constituent Assembly (of Nepal)
CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (1979)
CHT Chittagong Hill Tracts
CIS Correctional Institutional Services (in Bougainville)
CMI Crisis Management Initiative
CPA Comprehensive Peace Accord
CTR Commission for Truth and Reconciliation
DDR Demobilisation, disarmament, reintegration
GAM Free Aceh Movement
GoI Government of Indonesia
GRP Government of the Republic of the Philippines1
HD Centre Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
HWF Hill Women’s Federation
1 While the u sual acronym for the G overnme nt of the Philippines is GPH, the rep ort uses GRP as
this is the acronym used in the rel evant pea ce agree ment.
List of abbreviations
From clause to effect 9
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
IMT International Monitoring Team in the Philippines
JMC Joint Monitoring Committee (in Mindanao)
JPUK Women’s Policy Network (in Aceh)
LoGA Law on the Governing of Aceh
MILF Moro Islamic Liberation Front
MNLF Moro National Liberation Front
MoU Memorandum of Understanding
NAP National Action Plan
PCJSS or JSS Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (in the CHT)
PMG Peace Monitoring Group (in Bougainville)
PNG Papua New Guinea
PNP Philippines National Police
PPCC Peace Process Consultative Committee (in Bougainville)
SARET Special Autonomous Region of East Timor
SGBV Sexual and gender-based violence
SPCPD Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development
SSR Security sector reform
TJ Transitional justice
TRCs Truth and reconciliation commissions
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women
(replaced in 2010 by UN Women)
UNOMB United Nations Observer Mission on Bougainville
UNSCR 1325 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325
UNSCR 1820 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Globally, peace agreements have brought to an end many violent socio-political
conflicts. However, as well as an ending, a peace agreement marks a new begin-
ning. A peace agreement can lay out a new architecture for a fairer society – with
restructured power relations, inclusive socio-economic policies, reformed secu-
rity and justice systems, and participatory institutions. This process of ‘conflict
transformation’, as it is called, involves replacing unjust structures and policies
with processes and institutions that enable a society to deal with grievances or
competing interests in a non-violent way.2 Bringing perspectives and language
which reflect the different views, experiences and needs of men and women to
the drafting process is crucial, not only for advancing equal rights and entitle-
ments for women, but also for creating a better, more inclusive and more sustain-
able peace.3 Evidence-based analysis has demonstrated that, if the contribution,
situation and rights of women are not specifically recognised in a peace agree-
ment, they tend also to be overlooked in the post-war society.4
The negotiators of peace agreements are increasingly expressing inter-
est in taking gender issues into account. There are several converging reasons
for this: the local mobilisation of women’s groups, combined with international
2 Anderlini, Sanam Naragh i and El-Bushra, Judy, with contributions by Maguire, Sarah, “The
Conceptual Framework: Security, Peace, Accountability and Rights,” in International Alert and
Women Wag ing Peace, Inclusive Secu rity, Sustai nable Peace: a Toolkit for Advocacy and Action,
Volume 1, (Washington DC and London: Hunt Alternatives Fund and International Alert, 2004), pp.
5-14. Available at http://ww
Accessed 28 October 2012.
3 These are of ten referred to as ‘gend er perspecti ves’ or ‘gendered per spectives’ or as demonstrat-
ing ‘gender sensitivity’.
4 See, for example, Chinkin, Christine, Peace Agreements as a means for promoti ng gende r
equality and securing the participation of women, Backgrou nd paper for the UN Division fo r the
Advance ment of Women meeting of ex perts i n Ottawa, Canada, 10-13 November 2003. Available
at Accessed
10 July, 2012. Also Naraghi Anderlini, Sanam, Women Building Pe ace: What they do, why it mat ters
(Colorado: Lynne Rienner, 2007).
From clause to effect 11
civil society efforts and feminist analysis; and
– stemming from this concerted and strategic
civil society effort – the impact of UN Security
Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women
Peace and Security and its ‘sister’ resolutions
1820, 1888, 1889, and 1960 (hereafter referred
to as UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions).5
Other factors include growing feminist schol-
arship in this area and the current effort by the
United Nations Committee on the Elimination
of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to
draft a general recommendation on women in conflict and post-war situations.
Such international guarantees recognise women’s rights to a share of power
and resources, to physical and psychological security, and to remedies and
reparations. These are entitlements already in existence under international law;
they should not, therefore, be regarded as simply ‘concerns’ or ‘needs’. These
agreements also recognise that women have a substantive contribution to make,
and that peace and security are damaged by women’s exclusion. This rationale
underlies the UN Secretary General‘s 2010 Seven-point Action Plan on Women’s
Participation in Peacebuilding.6
To create a peace agreement that recognises the inputs, views and
needs of both women and men, close and constant attention must be given to
how the agreement will affect each of these groups. This is essentially what it
means to make an agreement ‘gender-sensitive’. Unfortunately, participants at
the peace table – the parties themselves, mediators or facilitators, the international
support community and civil society groups – often lack knowledge about what
language to use to achieve this. Although this may not be the main point of the
process, peace agreement drafters should build into their drafting process and
into the text a commitment to women’s political, economic, cultural and social
equality, as well as their security in the post-conflict setting.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (the HD Centre) has produced this
exam inati on of six pea ce agreement s to fi ll thi s gap. It is par t of th e HD Centre’s
5 Anderlini, Sanam Na raghi and Tirma n, John, What the Women Say: Pa rticipation an d UNSCR 1325:
A Case Study Assessme nt (Cambridge MA: International Civil Society Action Network and MIT
Center for International Studies, 2010). Available at WomenReport_
10_2010.pdf Acces sed 25 Octobe r, 2012.
6 United Nations General Assembly Security Council, Women’s participation in peacebuilding: Report
of the Secretary-General (New York: United Nations, 7 September 2010), UN Document No.
. . . women
have a substantive
contribution to make,
and . . . peace and
security are damaged
by women’s exclusion.”
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
‘Women at the Peace Table Asia Pacific’ project
and applies a gender analysis to six agreements
from the Asia Pacific region. It examines how the
agreements deal with five recurring concerns
in peace processes: power-sharing, resource-
sharing, security arrangements, access to jus-
tice and monitoring. The report looks at how
women’s rights and gendered perspectives
were included (or excluded) in the texts, and
recommends alternative wording for provisions
where improvements could easily be made.
These alternative wordings are presented in ital-
ics throughout the relevant section of this report
The report does not aim to be exhaustive or
definitive; instead it seeks to provide sugges-
tions and a constructive critique. The intention
is to contribute to an understanding within the peacemaking community of
how a gendered perspective might actually translate into text – and hence into
opportunities for enhancing women’s participation and better quality outcomes
for peace processes.7
All peace processes are shaped by nuances known only to those inti-
mately involved, which are not easily unearthed – especially years after the fact.
The HD Centre consulted several individuals directly involved in the peace talks
associated with these agreements; but it was not possible to do this compre-
hensively. Hence the descriptions of the conflict contexts presented in Annex 1
do not claim to offer a full analysis of each process. Nonetheless, they provide
some discussion of the roles of women and the extent to which the different
views, experiences and needs of women and men were, or were not, taken into
account by the parties and those supporting them.
The texts of the agreements themselves have been collated and are
available for reference at (go to gender and mediation/Women
at the Peace Table Asia Pacific/look for 2012 report).
7 See, for example, Potter, Antonia, G is for Gendere d: Taki ng the mystery out of ge ndering peace
agreements, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue Opinion Piece Series, (Geneva: Centre for Humani-
tarian Dialogue, 2011).
The report
looks at how women’s
rights and gendered
perspectives were
included (or excluded)
in the texts, and
recommends alternative
wording for provisions
where improvements
could easily be made.
From clause to effect 13
This report was written by an HD Centre-convened team that included Cate
Buchanan, Adam Cooper, Lira Low, Rita Manchanda, Rebecca Peters and
Antonia Potter Prentice. Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the
London School of Economics also provided substantive drafting and input. In
addition two interns made significant contributions: Cody Griggers, through
Rotary International, and Jamila-Aisha Sanguila, through the Asia Leaders Dual
Campus Programme.
Interviews were held with key stakeholders in the peace agreement draft-
ing processes where available. In a final round of reviews, local organisations
and individuals with specific roles in monitoring or analysing peace agreement
processes were also asked for their views. These included Miriam Coronel-
Ferrer (Member of the Government of the Philippines Negotiating Panel for
Talks with the MILF and the Department of Political Science, University of the
Philippines), Jasmin Nario Galace (Coordinator, WE Act 1325 and Associate
Director, Centre for Peace Education, the Philippines), Shadia Maharban (Pres-
ident, Women’s League of Aceh – LINA), Natacha Meden (consultant, member of
the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces International
Security Sector Advisory Team), Carmen Silvestre (Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Portugal), Agnes Titus (UN Women, Bougainville), Francesc Vendrell (Adjunct
Professor of International Relations, Johns Hopkins University SAIS Bologna Center,
Italy), and Makarim Wibosono (Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation).
Peer reviews and feedback were provided by Sanam Naraghi Anderlini
(International Civil Society Action Network), Mohammed Abu-Nimer (Peace-
building and Development Institute, American University), Leslie Dwyer (School
for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University), Prajuna KC
(Alliance for Social Dialogue, Nepal), Lone Jessen and Solveig Knudsen (Media-
tion Support Unit, UN Department of Political Affairs), Kathleen Kuehnast (United
States Institute of Peace), Kimberlyn Leary (Program on Negotiation at Harvard
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Law School), Joyce Neu (Facilitating Peace), Irene Santiago (Mindanao Com-
mission on Women), Jolynn Shoemaker (Women in International Security, Center
for Strategic and International Studies), and Tobie Whitman (Institute for Inclusive
Security). The report was also reviewed by staff of the Australian Agency for
International Development coordinated by Rosemary Cassidy as well as Priscilla
Hayner and Teresa Whitfield of the HD Centre.
We are grateful for the information and advice received from the review-
ers and stakeholders; however, any errors or omissions in the report are the
responsibility of the authors.
From clause to effect 15
This report reflects on six agreements from the Asia-Pacific region over the last
20 years. However, the analysis is of global relevance since the themes, types of
clauses and language of these agreements are found in most peace processes
elsewhere. The six agreements examined in this report are as follows:
s Mindanao (1996) – Final Peace Agreement between the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front.
This agreement represented a milestone for the Bangsamoro people, a
Muslim minority in Mindanao. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
arose from elements of the local population feeling disenfranchised from
their ancestral lands and victimised by discriminatory development policies,
political marginalisation, militarisation of the region, and erosion of their
Islamic values by the Christian state. The peace agreement resulted in the
official creation of an Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
s Chittagong Hill Tracts (1997) – Peace Accord between the Government
of Bangladesh and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti or United
People’s Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (PCJSS, also known as JSS).
This agreement brought to an end 22 years of violent ethnic conflict between
the largely Buddhist indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)
and the Bengali Muslim settlers backed by the Government of Bangladesh.
The indigenous people, accounting for a little more than 1% of the popu-
lation but with claims to 10% of the land area on the basis of their original
territorial tribal homeland, had been systematically dispossessed and
displaced by development projects that made 40% of them refugees. The
Accord recognised the CHT as a “tribal inhabited area”, and promised the
hill people regional autonomy and control over resources.
1. Agreements and themes explored
in the report
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
s East Timor (1999 ) – Agreement between the Republic of Indonesia and
the Portuguese Republic on the Question of East Timor. The Agreement
reflected the Indonesian and Portuguese positions on the desired end
state for East Timor as a former colony of each. It laid out a constitutional
framework for the creation, within Indonesia, of a Special Autonomous
Region of East Timor (SARET) – subject to approval by the Timorese
population. While Timorese people participated in the drafting through
consultation, they were not signatories to the Agreement. Eventually when
the referendum was held, the Timorese voted against special autonomy
in favour of becoming an independent nation, creating Timor-Leste. As
a result, the scheme outlined in the Agreement was never implemented.
s Bougainville (2001) – Peace Agreement between the Government of
the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and leaders representing
the people of Bougainville. After a decade of civil war and violent clashes
over resources, the Agreement resulted in the establishment of an autono-
mous regional government within Papua New Guinea (PNG). It also set the
terms of a weapons disposal programme and outlined the conditions
for a referendum on the question of Bougainville’s independence, to be
held at an as yet unspecified date between 2015 and 2020. Thus the
Agreement should not be viewed as a final outcome but, rather, as the
blueprint for a much longer phase of peacebuilding and reconciliation
that continues today.
s Aceh (2005) – Memorandum of Understanding between the Government
of the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement. After the
2004 tsunami left Aceh in almost total ruin, the urgent need to rebuild
led the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the Free Aceh Movement
(GAM) to sign the MoU, which was brokered over seven months in Helsinki
by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, building on facilitation over
many years by the HD Centre. The agreement garnered international
acclaim for putting an end to 30 years of violent tensions which had been
impervious to previous attempts at reconciliation.
s Nepal (2006 ) – Comprehensive Peace Accord between the Govern-
ment of Nepal and the Unified Communist Par ty of Nepal (Maoist). The
Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) ended ten years of war, bringing the
Maoists into democratic politics and ending the feudal order presided
over by the monarchy. All state powers and property previously vested
in the monarchy were taken over by the government. The “new Nepal”
promised federal restructuring of the unitary state and an end to discrimi-
nation on the basis of class, ethnicity, caste, region and gender.
From clause to effect 17
The agreements all concern intra-state as opposed to inter-state con-
flict. Although the proposals contained in one agreement, Timor-Leste, were
never implemented, the text still provides a useful example for analysis, especially
as the UN was heavily involved in this agreement. The agreements cover colonial
and post-colonial conflicts, ethno-nationalist and revolutionary class struggles.
Half the agreements were concluded after UNSCR 1325, but there is little evi-
dence of the resolution’s impact on the texts agreed.8 All the states involved in
these agreements had ratified CEDAW; however the analysis suggests this had
little influence on the content of the agreements.
Apart from the CHT Accord, all the agreements had some involvement
by the international community: international mediation or facilitation (in Aceh and
Nepal); the participation of the UN and its agencies (in Timor-Leste and Nepal); or
the involvement of an international grouping of states (in Bougainville and Mindanao).
In one agreement a woman was supporting the negotiating team as an adviser
(Aceh), but women did not directly negotiate any of the agreements. The agree-
ments were signed by a combined total of 34 eminent individuals, including just
one woman: Ruby Mirinka, described in the signature section of the Bougainville
Agreement as “representative of Bougainville women”, although she had not
had a role in negotiations.
Themes explored in the report
The analysis of the peace agreements is based on five themes:
s Power-sharing – covering legislative, administrative and constitutional
power; and explicit recognition of women’s human rights.
s Resource-sharing – covering land rights; access to, and control of, natu-
ral resources; and access to livelihood opportunities including income
generation and compensation.
s Security arrangements – covering security sector reform; courts; and
mechanisms to handle, prevent and prosecute conflict-related crimes
involving sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
8 For a comprehensive analysis of the impact of UNSCR 1325 on peace agreements, see Bell,
Christine and O’Rourke, Catherine, “Peace Agreements or Pieces of Paper? The Impact of UNSC
Resolution 1325 on Peace Proc esses a nd their Agreements,” Internationa l and Compa rative
Law Quar terly Vol ume 59, Issue 4 (2010), pp. 941-980. For a pol icy-focused version see Bell,
Christine and O’Rourke, Catherine, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and peace negotia-
tions and agreeme nts, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue Opinion Piece Series (Geneva: Centre
for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2011).
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
s Access to justice – covering truth
commissions, tribunals and war crimes;
and justice under customary law.
s Monitoring – covering monitoring enti-
ties or bodies; peacekeeping or armed
monitors; and the role of civil society.
These five headings were chosen on
the basis that they are standard, or frequently
occurring, elements in peace agreements, and
have broad applicability. The role of women’s
rights or gender in some of these thematic areas
has not yet received extensive research atten-
tion, in contrast to topics such as conflict-related
SGBV or disarmament, demobilisation, and re-
integration (DDR).9 Access to justice is receiving increasing attention,10 and
economic resource-sharing and monitoring are also emerging as important
new areas of work within the UNSCR 1325 and CEDAW monitoring processes.11
Such a thematically structured analysis carries the risk of reinforcing a
top-down, linear or ‘one size fits all’ approach to peace agreements and peace
processes, which are in reality organic, complex and often characterised by highly
differentiated phases. In an attempt to avoid that approach, this report makes
suggestions for what could have been done differently in these texts, while
9 There are substantial analyses and guidelines on the role of women’s rights and gender in areas
such as peacebuilding and the reconstruction phase, for example in Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi
and Conaway, Camille Pampell, “Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reintegration,” in International
Alert and Women Wag ing Peace, Inclusive Securit y, Sustainable Peace: a Toolkit for Advocacy
and Action, Volume 3, pp. 1-10 (Washington DC and London: Hunt Alternatives Fund and
International Alert, 2004). While further work still needs to be done on how best to treat those
topics in peace agre ement dr afting, this repor t targets other them es which have, to date, rece ived
less attention in te rms of gendered perspectives.
10 See, for example, UN Wome n, Progres s of the World’s Women 2011-12: in pursuit of justice (New
York: United Nati ons, 2010) and UN Women, A Window of Opportunity: making transitional justice
work for wome n (New York: United Nations, 2010).
11 For example, the CEDAW Committee’s Asia Pacific Consultations in April 2012 on Women and
Armed Conflict emphasised these concerns as a new area of focus. In addition, UNSCR 1889
(2009), steered by Vietnam, specifically focuses on the economic rights of women in post-conflict
situations. Access to justice in the context of SGBV is increasingly emphasised in discussions about
transitional justice. See, for example, the Summary Report of the Committee on the Elimination
of Discrimination Against Women’s Day of General Discussion on “Women in conflict and post-
conflict situations” (New York: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 18 July,
2011). Available at
Repor tCEDAWWome nInConfl ict.pdf Acc essed 10 July, 2012.
. . . this report
makes suggestions for
what could have been
done differently in these
texts, while recognising
that circumstances
may not allow every
suggestion to be taken
up in future cases.
From clause to effect 19
recognising that circumstances may not allow every suggestion to be taken up
in future cases. The analysis demonstrates how international guarantees of
women’s rights are relevant and applicable across all the themes, and reminds
peacemakers of two key facts:
the equality, quality, inclusivity and sustainability of the peace;12
merely about their ‘concerns’ or ‘needs’ but their entitlements under inter-
national law.
This report recognises the importance of context and process in the pro-
duction of peace agreements, and a limited analysis is provided in Annex 1 of each
conflict situation. However, the focus of this report is on the language of the peace
agreements themselves.
12 UN General Assembly Security Council, 2010.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
General recommendations
Some general points on language and relevant substance emerged from the
analysis, including:
a) On language
nology, such as in English ‘s/he’.
preferable to use specifically inclusive terminology (‘men and women of
Aceh’ rather than ‘people of Aceh’, for example). There is a difference
between clauses directly aimed at or about women (for example, address-
ing female victims of sexual and gender-based violence) and provisions
which appear gender-neutral, but whose consequences are actually
gendered (for example, clauses affecting ‘combatants’, who may be men
or women).
such as ‘will’ or ‘must’ is preferable over ‘should’, ‘may’ or ‘where appro-
priate’ as it gives the clause more strength.
of specificity versus ambiguity. Specifi-
city can be useful because it provides
concrete, measurable targets; but it can
also limit progress (for example, in cases
where minimum standards such as
numerical quotas become the ceiling
rather than the floor). Ambiguity can leave
2. Recommendations
carefully the pros and
cons of specificity versus
From clause to effect 21
space for interpretation, which can be useful or risky, depending on who
has the power to interpret it.
b) On substance
bodies, this report uses the gender parity principle: that a minimum of
40% from each sex should comprise the membership of any given body.
While a principled stance would put the percentage at 50%, and the
‘industry standard’ is to use 30%, the parity principle is a compromise
between the ideal and what is practical in the short to medium term. Any
quota should be clearly framed as a minimum to avoid it being interpreted
as a maximum: for example, ‘at least three seats on the Commission’
rather than simply ‘three seats on the Commission’. In places where suf-
ficient numbers qualified women are not yet available, the principle should
remain in force, and support programmes put in place to accelerate
women’s education and capacity building to be able to take up such posi-
tions, or to provide them with support when in place.
can deny women justice for past violence and protection from future abuse.13
Amnesties for international crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity,
and genocide) are considered unacceptable by the United Nations, and
in most cases are a violation of a state’s international obligations.14
or policies, which are important in reducing violence against women.
Although this was not a theme for analysis in this report, it stands as a
general recommendation that peace agreements should contain provi-
sions on the control of small arms and light weapons, and women’s
participation in initiatives to manage and regulate arms.
13 See e.g. Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi, Conaway, Camille Pampell and Kays, L isa, “Transitional
Justice and Reconciliation,” in Inclus ive Secur ity, Sustain able Peac e: A Toolkit For Advocacy an d
Action, Volume 4, (Washington DC and London : Hunt Alternatives Fund and I nternati onal Alert,
2004), p p. 1-15.
14 United Nations Security Council, The rule of law and transitional ju stice in conflict and post-
conflict societie s: Repo rt of the Se cretar y-General, Document S/2004/616, (23 August 2004).
Available at Accessed 30 October 2012.
15 Barr, Corey and Masters, Sarah, “Making programmes more effective,” in Why Women? Effective
engagement for small arms control (London: IANSA Women’s Network, October 2011), pp.19-20.
Note that the Ph ilippines National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 does address the topic of s mall
arms control.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
anism to ensure or track funding for
women’s participation in implementa-
tion or monitoring, along the lines of
gender budgeting.16 None of the agree-
ments examined contained such mech-
anisms, which are useful for ensuring
follow-through and accountability.17 In the
Philippines, women’s rights groups have
advocated for funding for peacebuilding
to be administered in a way which takes gender into account (and thus
ensures that women control some of those funds) but so far only an
estimated 10% of peacebuilding funds have gone to organisations focused
on women’s rights.18
ations (for example, displaced women on the move) it is important to
provide for confidence-building measures which will make those groups
feel safer. Security is about freedom from the fear of violence as well as
freedom from actual violence.
19 Common confidence-building measures
include transparency and information mechanisms and joint activities
between members of groups who were on opposite sides of the conflict.
Thematic recommendations
c) On power sharing
woman, or a small number of women, is not a guarantee that gender
16 “A gender budget is not a separate budget for women. It is an approach which can be used to
highlight the gap between policy statements and the resources committed to their implementation,
ensuring that public money is spent in more gender equitable ways.” Definition from the Women’s
Budget Group What is gender budget analysis? Available at
Accessed 5 October, 2012.
17 See, for example, the analysis and recommendations in Cabrera-Balleza, Mavic and Popovic,
Nicola, Costing an d Financ ing 1325: Examin ing the Resources Needed to Impleme nt UN
Securi ty Counc il Resolution 1325 at the Nation al Level as wel l as the Gain s, Gaps and G litches
on Financ ing the Women, Peace and Securit y Agenda ( New York: Cordaid and Global Network
of Women Peacebuilders, 2010).
18 Margallo, Sonia, “Addressing Gender in Conflict and Post Conflict Philippines,” Social Development
Papers : Conflict Prevention a nd Reconstruction, Number 20, (Washington DC: World Bank,
2005), p.31.
19 Human Security Centre, Human Security Report 2005: War and Peace in the 21st Century (New
York/Ox ford: Ox ford University Press, 2005), pp. 47-48.
Security is
about freedom from the
fear of violence as well
as freedom from actual
From clause to effect 23
concerns will be taken into account
when power is shared. A ‘critical mass’
of women’s representation at all legis-
lative, administrative and constitutional
levels is required to make a difference
– at least 30–35% of the total number of
representatives, according to CEDAW.20
For more on quotas, see Box 2 on “From
Rarity to Parity – Are Quotas the Answer? ”
identity groups such as indigenous
groups, quotas for women within these
should also be specified.
of key bodies.
groups. For example, avoid phrases such as ‘church, youth, minority
groups and women’ or ‘women and children’s rights’.
and implement gender equality and mainstreaming throughout a peace
international human rights law and norms, in particular CEDAW, UNSCR
1325 and related resolutions, and the Beijing Platform for Action.
to the new society, and not only as people whose problems need resolving.
d) On resource sharing
survivors and internally displaced people.
20 The CEDAW Committee’s General Recommendation No. 23 (16th session, 1997) noted: “The
critical issue, emphasized in the Beijing Platform for Action, is the gap between the de jure and
de facto, or the r ight as against the re ality of women’s participation i n politics and public life
genera lly. Research demonstrates that if women’s par ticipation reaches 30 to 35 pe r cent (g en-
erally te rmed a ‘critical mas s’), there is a real imp act on political st yle and the content of decisions,
and political life is revitalized.”
recomm.htm Accessed 3 October, 2012.
A ‘critical
mass’ of women’s
representation at all
legislative, administrative
and constitutional levels
is required to make a
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
female ex-combatants, and ensure a range of options are offered in
ilies of ex-combatants (often headed by single women and/or widows),
including policies to ensure their access to employment, microfinance,
investment opportunities, and control of the means of production.
all sectors of economic development, and commit to gender-responsive
land proposals to establish how they affect men and women differently.
tion of each sex, and to train members to understand the different impacts
on men and women of land and property rights decisions
reconstruction conferences.
e) On security arrangements
provisions relevant to their various needs. This includes ensuring a wide
definition of combatant to incorporate the roles women and girls under-
take as part of fighting forces.
grammes should have at least 40% representation of each sex. Such
bodies should work in a manner that is gender inclusive (training should
be provided if necessary).
forces and police.
and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in line with
UNSCRs 1325, 1820 and related resolutions.
ity, in line with international law.
21 See footnote 16 for a de scription of gende r budgeting.
From clause to effect 25
f) On access to justice
national humanitarian, human rights and
criminal law, specifically referencing the
agreements, including UNSCR 1325
and related resolutions.22 Regional and
national human rights protections could
also be mentioned.
the effect of any proposed amnesty on
women’s access to justice and security.
include at least 40% representation from
each sex.
ments under national and international law that safeguard and support
those rights.
ensure that any customary practices that empower women are incorporated
into the new model.
feminist and female experts, on context, interpretation and appropriate
g) On monitoring
tation bodies.
members of any bodies.
to set up their own teams.
22 In te rms of women’s rights the pr incipal United N ations agreem ents are the Univer sal Declarat ion
of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); International
Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol; Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Wome n; UN Sec urity C ouncil Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889
and 1960; Beijing Declaration and Platform for A ction ( BPA).
In Islamic
contexts, seek the
advice of Islamic legal
experts, including
feminist and female
experts, on context,
interpretation and
appropriate wordings.”
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
s When referring to civil society as a group to be included or consulted, make
specific reference to women’s groups.
In addition to these recommendations, Box 1 offers general suggestions
for mediators and their teams on how to approach the issues of women’s rights
and gender in peace agreement negotiations and drafting.
From clause to effect 27
Box 1: Suggestions for mediators
These suggestions of fer some practical pointers for mediators and those supporting
them in negotiation and drafting processes.1 Mediators, advisers and support teams,
as well as their respective institutions, may have different interpretations of their roles
in suppor ting the negotiations and the extent to which interests, concerns or values
which are not priorities for the conflict parties can be brought in. Thus, the following
pointers offer options for those in mediating roles to consider, whether or not they feel
that the issues expressed in UNSCR 1325 can be addressed openly at any given stage
of a process:
Mediation team composition an d tasks
may be male or female).
gender-specific language and ideas that can be incorporated into an agreement, and
look for opportunities to discuss this at the negotiating table. Draw on the resources
of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office,2 including the Secretary-General’s 2010
Report on Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding.
standing the gains women may have accrued during conflict (roles in fighting
forces, increased leadership in the community or home, increased economic, or
other forms, of control) and not only their losses (death of family members, suf-
fering violence or deprivation).
resolutions when drafting the rules of procedure for the talks, as well as the text
of the agreement,
may not yet understand the concepts, international norms and significance of
the issues. Different groups (for example, armed groups or representatives of the
government, civil society or international supporters of the process) may need the
training to be presented in different ways.3
understand, and help support compliance with, the norms on this issue.
from donors for this aspect of the process.
1 These are largely drawn from HD Centre publications including: Peacemaking in Asia and the
Pacific: Women’s parti cipation, perspectives and priorities (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian
Dialog ue, 2011) and Potter Prentice, A ntonia, “Gender an d Mediati on”, a chapter in the fo rth-
coming A Handbook for AU Practitioners, Volume 1 (Addis Ababa: African Union, forthcoming)
as well as from suggestions by Christine Chinkin during her review and input into this report
in June 2012.
2 The UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) was established in 2005 to sustain peace in
conflict-affected countries by garnering international support for nationally owned and led
peaceb uilding e ffor ts. The PBSO has women’s participatio n in peace processes high on its
agenda. For further information see, http://ww /peacebuilding/pbso/policy.shtml
Accessed 31 October 2012.
3 The HD C entre, the Ins titute for Inclusive Securit y, swisspeace and UN Wome n are exam-
ples of international organisations able to provide substantive training.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
In dealing with the parties
them do it and how to deal with any concerns they might have.
building bodies (constitutional drafting committees, electoral commissions, truth
and reconciliation commissions, judicial commissions, reparations commissions
as well as parliaments/assemblies); and suggest quotas (or support a more appro-
priate actor to do so) across all such bodies. While a good practice recommen-
dation is the parity principal (40% minimum of each sex), quotas of 30% are the
current norm. Bear in mind the quota should act as a minimum not a cap.
development of civil society and language) and identify relevant civil society or
policy experts from those situations who could share experience with the mediation
team, with conflict parties and/or with other actors who may be better placed to
influence the conflict parties.
ment of women (for example, safe transport; childcare; breastfeeding facilities;
appropriate sleeping, washing and toilet arrangements; translation and interpreta-
tion; and appropriate timing for sessions) and address any obstacles in advance.
Consulting and engaging with women
think and want through consultations, focus groups and community-based dis-
cussions. Ask women’s groups for their views on the whole process, including
their perception of their own security needs (in terms of participating in the peace
process as well as its outcome).
person, either man or woman) who can be a visible leader in activities such as con-
sultations, convening civil society, and helping to produce papers on technical issues.
women and they know how to access them.
well as helping them, and their male counterparts, prepare for such events. Inter-
national conferences are an impor tant opportunity to include women and their
perspectives in discussions on priorities in peacebuilding and reconstruction;
the challenge is to make this genuine engagement, with women being supported
to participate as equals, rather than simply ensuring they are present.
offering incentives, and providing logistical/funding support.
of women’s participation and/or perspectives.
Media and communications
women’s groups to alert them to the process, its importance, and the ways they
can become involved.
public meetings, using gender-sensitive language, and not allowing inappropriate
language or behaviour from others.
of the process. Suggest that journalists covering the process seek out the views
of female delegates and observers.
From clause to effect 29
3. Thematic analysis
This section briefly describes each theme, indicates how it was treated in the
peace agreements, and provides examples of how the text could have been
written in a gender-sensitive way. The ‘better practice’ examples are in bold for
ease of reference.
Theme 1: Power-sharing
Power-sharing is commonly used in conflict resolution both as a temporary and
a more lasting solution. It attempts to ensure that representatives of all significant
groups in the community have a role and responsibility in political decision-
making – not only in the executive but also the legislature and the other key
institutions of state such as the judiciary, civil service, police and the army.23
Given the persistent exclusion of women from power in most cultures, power-
sharing between men and women should be part of peace efforts. All levels of
government (central/national, regional/provincial and city/local) should be included.
This may require capacity-building, taking action to redress past imbalances and
the creation of new institutions to promote gender equality.
Power-sharing can be expressed in peace agreements through provisions
on topics such as elections, legislatures, administrative or policy committees,
constitutions and human rights. In terms of representation, this report recom-
mends the parity principle, which aims for 40% minimum of each sex in any
decision-making body.
a) Legislative, administrative and constitutional power
The Mindanao Peace Agreement mentions women once, in Article 25 relating
to the composition of the legislature for the new Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARRM):
23 See, for example, Papagianni, Katia, Power-sharing as a c onflict resolutio n tool (Geneva: Centre
for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2011).
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
24. The Legislative Assembly shall be com-
posed of members elected by popular
vote, with three (3) members elected
from each of the Congressional Districts.
25. There shall be sectoral representatives in
the Legislative Assembly whose number
shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of
the total number of elected Members
of the Legislative Assembly coming from
the labor, disabled, industrial, indigenous
cultural communities, youth, women, non-
government organizations, agricultural, and such other sectors as may be
provided by Regional Law to be appointed by the Head of the Autonomous
Government from among the nominees of the different sectoral groups;
Here, women are one of many in a broad contingent of “sectoral groups”
– an insufficient categorisation for one half of the population, and one which
denies women their due support in political participation. A more inclusive formu-
lation would have required women to be integral to the make-up of the legislature:
24. The Legislative Assembly shall be composed of members elected by
popular vote, with three (3) members elected from each of the Congres-
sional Districts. The candidates put forward by political parties and the
membership of the Assembly shall comprise at least 40% representation
of each sex.
Women could then be removed from the list of “sectoral groups” in Article 25.
Percentages of women in the Regional Legislative Assembly rose from
4% to 26 % f rom 1990 to 2012.24 In 2009, 13 years after the agreement, the first
female Speaker was elected to the Legislative Assembly from the ARMM – she
was noted peace advocate Rejie Sahali-Generale.25 While the upwards trend of
the numbers is positive, this could have been speeded up and reached parity
had the initial figures been set as baselines rather than caps on participation,
and had there been quota specifically to promote women.
24 Email cor respon dence be tween th e authors a nd the offi ces of Iren e Santiag o and Reji e Sahali-
Generale, November 2012.
25 Unson, John, “ARMM Assembly elects first woman Speaker,” The Philippine Star, 10 May, (2 00 9).
Available at http://ww Accessed 8 July, 2012. The
next ele ctions are due in May 2013 and currently seven of the 27 members (26 %) of the Legislative
Assemb ly are wome n.
. . . women
are one of many in a broad
contingent of “sectoral
groups” – an insufficient
categorisation for one
half of the population.
From clause to effect 31
The Agreement missed many other opportunities to include women in
the leadership of the ARMM. For example, Article 4 establishes a Southern
Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), tasked with formulat-
ing long-term development plans for the ARMM, including administration of funds
from the national government. The SPCPD is composed of “one (1) Chairman, one
(1) Vice Chairman and three (3) Deputies, one each representing the Muslims,
the Christians, and the Indigenous Peoples.” Requiring at least two of these five
positions to have been filled by women, and providing training to all five of them
on women’s rights and how to include a gender perspective in their work could
have made this important Council gender-inclusive.
In some parts of the Agreement, which was written in English, the inclu-
sive ‘s/he’ pronoun form is used, indicating that the drafters of the Agreement
anticipated a role for women (for example, in Articles 34 and 35 on candidates
for election). However, at the higher levels of power and authority, the male pro-
noun is exclusively used, for example, in reference to the Chairman of the SPCPD,
the Chief Executive of the Legislative Assembly, the Head of the Autonomous
Government, and the President of the Philippines. Using the inclusive pronoun
throughout would have been preferable – and not unrealistic in the Philippines,
where women occupy positions at the highest levels across government.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord devotes extensive attention to
local administrative bodies. Three existing Local Government Councils (Rangamati,
Bandarban and Khagrachari) were replaced by new Hill District Councils, which
control the transfer or lease of lands, forests, hills and bodies of water. They are
also responsible for local police, youth welfare, tribal law, tourism, environmental
preservation and the licensing of local businesses. A Regional Council was
established to supervise and co-ordinate the three Hill Districts.
The CHT is an ethnically diverse region with 13 indigenous tribal groups
as well as ‘non-tribal’ residents and settlers. Accordingly, in the District and
Regional Councils, the Chair and two-thirds of the members must be indigenous.26
The Accord also imposes a quota for women: three seats in each District Council
as well as in the Regional Council. Of the three women, two are to be elected
from the indigenous population, and one from the non-tribal population. The
quota gives women 10% of places in the 30-member District Councils, and 14%
of the 22-member Regional Council. This mirrors the situation in Bangladesh’s
26 The definition of ‘tribal’ is based on old Local Government Council laws, for example, in Rangamati
it means “any member of the Cakma, Marma, Tancainga, Tripura, Lusai, Pankhu or Kheyan tribe
residin g perma nently in the Rangamati Hill District ” (Ran gamati Hi ll Distri ct Local G overnme nt
Parishad Act, 1989).
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
National Assembly, which has a quota of 50 reserved seats for women in a 345-
strong house (14%).27 Bangladesh’s local governments (such as Union Parishad )
have 33% reservations for women.
The national Ministry on Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs must be headed
by an indigenous person. Ethnic and tribal diversity is also required in the 12-
member Advisor y Council assisting the Ministry; however, no seats are reserved
for women. Earmarking seats for women on this Advisory Council would have
guaranteed a channel for CHT women to voice their concerns at the national level.
Another missed opportunity was representation in the national Parliament,
where indigenous women’s groups in the CHT feel they have no voice.28 Given the
established use of quotas in Bangladesh, the Accord could have recommended
a quota of parliamentary seats from the CHT provinces for women in general,
and for indigenous peoples including women.
Bangladesh has women in several top positions in government and poli-
tics, including (as of December 2012) the Prime Minister, the Opposition leader,
the Foreign Minister, the Home Minister and the Convenor of the CHT Accord
Implementation Committee (none of these women are of indigenous origin). This
27 In 2011, the 15th Amendment to the Con stitutio n raised th e quota from 45 to 50 seats.
28 Chanchana Chakma, Chanchana “Women Invisible in CHT Accord,” in Mohaiemen, Naeem (Ed.),
Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism
(Dha ka: Dri shtipat Writers’ Collective, 2010), p.182.
Members of Bangladesh Women’s Association stage a street rally in Dhaka on November 23, 1997, demand-
ing earl y signin g of a peace ac cord for the insurge ncy in southeaster n Chittagong Hill Tracts.
© Reuters/Rafiquar Rahman
From clause to effect 33
has not translated into gender-sensitive policies for implementing the CHT Peace
Accord, showing that the presence of women in high positions is not enough.
The East Timor Peace Agreement does not contain power-sharing or specific
roles for women. Article 25 proposes a legislative assembly – the Regional
Council of People’s Representatives of the Special Autonomous Region of East
Timor (SARET) – and stipulates that eligibility for membership should not be
subject to “racial, ethnic, religious, nationality or other requirement”. Discrimination
based on gender could similarly have been prohibited; and/or a gender quota
could have been created:
25. Members of the Regional Council of the People’s Representatives of the
SARET shall be persons who fulfil the eligibility requirements for mem-
bership and should comprise a minimum of 40% representation from
each sex. Apart from this stipulation, no racial, ethnic, religious, nation-
ality, sex, gender, or other requirement unrelated to the exercised of the
functions of a member of the Council shall be imposed.
Other potential opportunities for including text relating to gender parity
would have been in the list of candidates for Governor of the Regional Council
(Article 28); membership of the Land Commission (Articles 24, 42, 41), the
Governor’s Advisory Board (Article 26), the Judicial Commission (Article 41) and
the judiciary itself (Article 42); the selection of senior officials (Article 30); and
the recruitment of police (Article 34).
The parties to the East Timor Peace Agreement were the nations of Portugal
and Indonesia, and the agreement predated UNSCR 1325. At the time of drafting
the Agreement both countries involved had already ratified CEDAW, but neither
CEDAW nor the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA) are mentioned in the Agreement.
In 2002, three years after the Agreement, Timorese women developed
a Women’s Charter of Rights. In 2006 they campaigned for a 30% women’s
quota in the parliament, and secured a law requiring that 25% of candidates be
female.29 As a result, Timor-Leste now ranks 16th in the world in terms of women’s
participation in parliament.30
29 According to the Qu ota Project Global Database fo r Women, ope rated by Inter national IDEA,
the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Stockholm University available at http://www.quotaproject.
org/uid/countryview.cfm?CountryCode=TL Accessed 25 October, 2012.
30 Timor-Leste’s parliam ent was 38.5% fe male, ranking 16th on the International Parliamentar y
Union’s “Women in National Parliaments” World Classification page: /
classif.htm (data up to 30 S eptember 2012). Accessed 25 October, 2012.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
The Bougainville Peace Agreement contains one mention of women, as one
of several “special interests” that “may” be represented in the new legislature:
28. The Bougainville Constitution will provide that the institutions of the autono-
mous Bougainville Government will include a legislature which shall be a
mainly elected body, but may also include members appointed or elected
to represent special interests, such as women, youth, churches.
Since women make up half the population, they should not be considered
a special interest. An alternative wording could have made this clause strongly
supportive of women:
28. The Bougainville Constitution will provide that the institutions of the autono-
mous Bougainville Government will include a legislature, which shall be
mainly chosen by open election, but will also include members appointed
or elected specifically to represent the women of Bougainville.
The Agreement does not specify the size of the legislature, but it could
have proposed a goal of gender parity (40% representation of each sex) among
the legislators or among the candidates nominated by political parties.
Articles 14–20 set up a Constitutional Commission to write the new char ter
for autonomous Bougainville, as well as a Constituent Assembly to allow popular
input into the drafting process. The Commission was to be “broadly representa-
tive of the people of Bougainville” (Article 16), with a mandate to “consult widely
with the people of Bougainville” (Article 17). Likewise, the Constituent Assembly
would be representative of “the people of Bougainville” (Article 18). Replacing
“people of Bougainville” with “women and men of Bougainville” would have com-
municated support for gender balance in the all-important constitutional draft-
ing process.
The Agreement also provides for the creation of other institutions for public
administration (Article 33). These provisions could have been drafted in a manner
that guaranteed the participation of women:
33. The Bougainville Constitution may establish other institutions that may be
required for the autonomous Bougainville Government to carry out its
powers and functions effectively, including institutions responsible for
public administration provided for elsewhere in this Agreement (such as
bodies to administer separate public service, police, teaching service and
correctional institutional services bodies) and local government bodies.
The membership of these institutions shall comprise at least 40% repre-
sentation of each sex.
From clause to effect 35
The Agreement could also have recom-
mended an agency to focus on women’s rights,
as an additional – and probably uncontroversial
– way of adding a gender dimension into public
The Constitutional Commission and
Constituent Assembly which were eventually
established did include some women among
its members. The new Constitution produced
by these bodies in 2004 stipulated that three
seats in the legislature be reserved for women,
out of a maximum total of 44.
The Aceh Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) sets out the principles
and a timeframe for the drafting of the Law on the Governing of Aceh (LoGA).31
However, no specific bodies or entities were tasked with drafting the law, and
no mention is made of women’s participation in, or input into, that process.
The MoU emphasises diverse political participation in the post-war environ-
ment. A key element is the Indonesian Government’s agreement to recognise and
facilitate the establishment of Aceh-based political parties that meet (undefined)
“national criteria”. Article 1.2.6 guarantees “full participation of all Acehnese people
in local and national elections” in accordance with the Indonesian Constitution.
This could have been more explicitly encouraging to women, both as voters and
as electoral candidates:
1.2.6. Full participation of all Acehnese men and women as voters in local and
national elections will be guaranteed in accordance with the Constitution
of the Republic of Indonesia. All qualified Acehnese women and men may
stand as candidates for election.
A specific call for the participation of women in the newly formed political
parties would have encouraged local political structures to be more representa-
tive of Acehnese society, and given the women of Aceh a greater role in the self-
determination of their province. For example, gender parity could have been
required in candidate lists.
31 The Law was finally promulgated on 1 August 2006 but was widely criticised for undermining or
diluting some of the key provisions in the agreement relating to the implementation of autonomy.
See International Crisis Group, “Aceh: Post-conflict complications,” Asia Report No.139 (Jakarta/
Brusse ls: Internationa l Crisis G roup, 4 Octobe r, 2007).
A specific
call for the participation
of women in the newly
formed political parties
would have encouraged
local political structures
to be more representative
of Acehnese society.”
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Box 2: From Rarity to Parity – Are Quotas the Answer?
Of the measures commonly recommended to strengthen women’s participation in power-
sharing structures, the use of quotas is perhaps the most controversial. The increasing
adoption of “temporary special measures” such as electoral quotas for women – typically
25– 40% – is supported by inte rn ationa l norms. In 1990 ECOSOC cal led upon governm ents,
political parties, trade unions and professional and other representative groups to aim for
least 30% women in leadership positions by 1995, and 50% by 2000.1 This movement
gained momentum from the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action which called for the “equal
participation of women and men in decision-making” to “more accurately reflect the com-
position of society.” CEDAW had previously laid the groundwork in this area with its provision
in Article 4 for temporary special measures to address past inequality. In 1997, the CEDAW
Committee noted in a general recommendation (No. 23): “research demonstrates that if
women’s participation reaches 30-35% (generally termed a ‘critical mass’) there is a real
impact on the political style and content of decisions.” UNSCR 1325 also called for increased
representation of women at all levels of decision-making.
A (re )balancing act
Electoral quotas are a way to fast-forward gender parity in politics, remedying female under-
representation while knocking through ‘glass ceilings’ and circumventing socio-economic
barriers to women seeking and gaining elected positions.2 Without quotas, most countries
experience an incremental change process – usually over several decades – before sig-
nificant numbers of women occupy seats in parliament or senior decision-making positions.3
Quotas have led to some impressive gains. For example, Rwanda now has the world’s
highest percentage of female parliamentarians; it surpassed Sweden in 2003 and has main-
tained at least 50% since 2008.4 The top 25 nations in terms of female parliamentarians
include two Asian countries, Nepal and Timor-Leste – which both adopted gender quotas
for parliamentary elections in the later stages of their peace processes.
Quality vs. quantity?
Sceptics see quotas as, at best, increasing numbers and, at worst, insulting women by
making them tokens; they point out that involving a minimal number of women does not
1 Unite d Nations Ec onomic a nd Socia l Council Resolu tion E/ RES/1990/15 (24 May 1990).
2 For th e purpos es of this report, the H D Centre defines the pa rity pr incipl e as a minimum of 40%
women and 40% men. For more detail on this policy, see the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue,
Peace ma king in Asia and the Pac ific: Wome n’s partici pation, pe rspectives, pri oritie s (Geneva:
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2011).
3 See Jarstad, Anna K., and Nilsson, Desiree, “From Words to Deeds: The Implementation of Power-
Sharing Pacts in Peace Accords,” in Conflict Manage ment and Pe ace Scie nce (Pennsylvania:
Sage Publications, 20 08), pp.206–223.
4 International Parliamentary Unio n’s “Women in National Parliaments” World Classification page: Accessed 25 October, 2012. Data up to 30 September 2012,
Timor-Leste and Nepal ranked 16th and 22nd in the world respec tively.
From clause to effect 37
guarantee policy changes favourable to women.5 For example, despite the relatively high
levels of women’s participation in the Parliaments of Nepal and Timor-Leste, there are no
women ser ving in the Upper House of either country, and female parliamentarians ex-
press frustration about their ability to participate fully and meaningfully.6 However, as one
observer notes, quotas are still an important enabling condition for meaningful change
to occur.7 There is no one-size-fits-all approach which would work in all circumstances,
however, as each country needs to find the solution that best fits its own specific situation.
Quotas can also have the unintended paradoxical effect of capping women’s partici-
pation rather than encouraging it. This has been seen, for example, in Bougainville, where
there appears to be a widespread perception that female candidates should not contest
any seats apart from the three reserved for women.8 To guard against this danger, quotas
should be explicitly defined as a minimum level of participation.
Making women count
Given the growing call for measures to increase women’s participation in politics and gov-
ernance, here are some practical ideas for making quotas more effective:
participation in local, national and international public office. These quotas may be
time limited or open-ended. Costa Rica, South Africa and Rwanda are commonly cited
as examples of success.
have a fair chance of being elected.9
are held to account.10
gender concerns into budgets and decision-making processes.
Put in place strategies (such as timeframes and reviews) to ensure that women in parlia-
ments and bureaucracies, including in the security sector, progress to more senior positions.
5 Chen, Li-Ju, “Do Gender Quota s Influenc e Women’s Representation a nd Policies?” European
Journal of Comparative Economics, 7/1, (Castellan za: Universi ta Carlo Cattan eo, 2010) , p.14. Available
at: http ://e ace /18242979 201001/182429792010 070102.pd f. Acc ess ed 8 O ctob er, 2012.
6 Delaney, Alexandra, “Nepal’s women have a voice in politics but no one is listening,The Guardian
(UK), 27 May, (2011). Available at:
2011/may/27/nepal-women-in-politics Acc essed 28 July, 2012. Mar x, Susan, C an Timor-Leste’s
Gender Quota System Ensure Women’s Participation in Politi cs (article on the Asia Foundation
website, 7 March, 2012) available at:
lestes-gender-quota-system-ensure-womens-participation-in-politics/ Accessed 28 July, 2012.
7 Phillips, Anne, The Poli tics of Presence ( Oxford : Oxford Univers ity Pres s, 1995).
8 Norm, Kelly, Electoral Democracy in Po st-Conflict M elanesia: The 2010 Bouga inville a nd Solomo n
Islands Elections (Canberra: Centre for Democratic Institutions, Australian National University,
2010), p.24.
9 Schw indt-Bayer, Leslie, “Making Quotas Work : The Effe ct of Gende r Quota Laws on the Election
of Women,” Legislative S tudies Quarterly Volume 34, Number 1, (Chichester, UK: John Wiley &
Sons, 2009), pp.5–28.
10 Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie (2009), pp.12-13.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Since 2005, strong advocacy work on the ground has resulted in advances
for women. These include the creation of new qanuns (by-laws under customary
Islamic law) mandating a 30% quota for women in the provincial and district
electoral commissions, and also among parliamentary candidates.32 However,
women still face an uphill struggle: in the 2009 parliamentary elections, only four
out of 69 seats went to women, and few women were appointed to other pro-
vincial, district and sub-district level bureaucracies.33 In the 2012 gubernatorial
elections, no women contested the Governor or Deputy Governor positions, and
for the positions of District Heads and Mayors, there were only seven female
candidates out of a total of 260.34
The Nepal Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) commits the parties to
a long list of democratic values (Article 3.4) and gender equity could have been
included in this list:
3.4. To pursue a political system that fully complies with the universally accepted
fundamental human rights – including equal rights for women, competi-
tive multiparty democratic system, sovereignty inherent in the people and
the supremacy of the people, constitutional check and balance, rule of
law, social justice and equality, independent judiciary, periodic elections,
monitoring by civil society, complete press freedom, people’s right to
information, transparency and accountability in the activities of political
parties, people’s participation and the concepts of impartial, competent,
and fair administration.
The CPA proposed the creation of “an Interim Legislature - Parliament”
and required elections for the Constituent Assembly to be conducted “in a free
and fair manner” (Article 3.2). It does not comment on the composition of the
legislature. However, thanks to intensive lobbying – supported by women’s groups,
high profile women’s rights defenders and UN agencies – a quota was established
32 UN Women South and Sou theast A sia Regi on, “Women’s Legal Rights a nd Acces s to Justice,”
article on UN Women website available at:
Women_ Legal_Rights.html Accessed 25 October, 2012.
33 Srimulyani, Eka, “Inspired by history: Women in Aceh now have more opportunities to play public
and political roles, but they still face many obstacles,” Inside Indonesia, Edition 103, Jan-Mar
(2011). Available at: Accessed
22 July, 2012.
34 Aini, Nurul. “Partisipasi perempuan dalam arena politi k,” (Aceh: KIP (Independe nt Electi on
Commission), 2012). Available online in Bahasa Indonesia at
Accessed 25 October, 2012.
From clause to effect 39
of one third of seats in the Assembly for women. Unfortunately the quota was
not accompanied by any post-election support or sustained capacity-building
for women with limited previous experience in public life (see the case study,
Annex 1).
b) Recognition of women’s human rights
The Mindanao Peace Agreement does not mention individual human rights.
However, the preamble upholds the MNLF’s assertion of “the right of the Moro
people to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their religious,
social, economic and cultural development”. This could have been improved by
acknowledging the role women had historically played in peacebuilding, while
also setting the tone for a more inclusive agreement:
Whereas, the parties recognise the critical role played by Bangsamoro
women and their organisations over many years in pursuing and facili-
tating peace in their communities and across Mindanao;
The preamble could also have mentioned the Philippine Government’s
obligations under international law, for example:
Whereas, the parties affirm their commitment to the international human
rights obligations assumed by the Republic of the Philippines, including the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Cove-
nant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the United Nations
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord does not mention women’s rights.
Human rights feature in the preamble, which sets out to “uphold the political,
social, cultural, educational and economic rights of all the people of Chittagong
Hill Tracts region” and “preserve and respect the rights of all the citizens of
Bangladesh and their development”. References to the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and CEDAW would
have strengthened this and provided entry points for civil society advocacy.
The East Timor Peace Agreement recognises international human rights and
fundamental freedoms:
46. The Central Government and the Government of the SARET shall promote,
protect and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms without
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
discrimination of any kind, as set for th, inter alia, in the Universal Decla-
ration of Human Rights, the 1993 Vienna Declaration on Human Rights
and the Indonesia People’s Consultative Assembly No. XVII/MPR/1998
Concerning Human Rights.
The specific rights and freedoms are listed in 17 sub-articles, including
46(y) on women’s rights:
y. the right of women to full and equal participation in political, civil, economic,
social and cultural life.
It is evident that the drafters were aware of international human rights
standards, although they chose to mention two declarations rather than the
legally binding International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The
Universal Declaration recognises the equal rights of men and women and the
Vienna Declaration contains many guarantees and protections of women’s rights.
However, the text would have been stronger if it had mentioned ICCPR in the
main article and CEDAW in the sub-article:
y. the right of women to full and equal participation in political, economic,
social and cultural life without discrimination of any kind, as provided for
in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women to which both Indonesia and Portugal are signatories.
Another positive inclusion is the reference to the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child, which promotes equal rights for girls and boys:
z. the rights of the child, without discrimination of any kind, as set forth in
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Bougainville Peace Agreement shows significant awareness of international
human rights obligations. Compliance with international commitments is an obliga-
tion of the new government (Articles 54, 55), and in fact is among the objectives
of autonomy (Article 4):
4d. provide for a democratic and accountable system of government for
Bougainville that meets internationally accepted standards of good gov-
ernance, including protection of human rights;
4e. ensure respect for the international obligations of Papua New Guinea, as
well as the interests of Bougainville when Papua New Guinea enters into
new international obligations;
From clause to effect 41
A specific commitment to women’s human rights could have been inserted,
for example in Article 55:
55. For the sake of clarity, the parties agree that the international obligations
which apply to Bougainville include treaties and other written international
agreements to which the National Government is or becomes a party.
These include obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action
and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
Article 21 provides another opportunity to affirm support for these inter-
national norms:
21. Subject to other provisions of this Agreement, the arrangements used to
establish the Bougainville Constitution and the structures and procedures
for the autonomous Bougainville Government established under it will meet
internationally accepted standards of good governance, including the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
and UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
Later on, “good governance” is based on “benchmarks includ[ing] democ-
racy and opportunities for participation by Bougainvilleans” (Article 313). Replacing
the gender-neutral “Bougainvilleans” with “Bougainvillean men and women” would
have been more clearly inclusive.
Section 8 is titled “Human Rights” and its 11 articles outline mechanisms
for domestic enforcement of human rights. The government of Bougainville is
given the power “to provide additional guarantees of human rights” above and
beyond the national constitution of Papua New Guinea (Article 123). This would
have been an ideal opportunity to insert a commitment to women’s rights.
The Aceh MoU contains a brief section on human rights. A few extra words could
have provided specific assurances on the rights of women:
2.1. [The Government of Indonesia] will adhere to the United Nations Inter-
national Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights, as well as to the Convention on the Elimination of All
forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action and
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
2.2. A Human Rights Court will be established for Aceh.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Women’s rights campaigners have had
some success in filling the gaps left by the
MoU. For example, a Women’s Empowerment
Agency has been created, and a draft qanun on
Women’s Empowerment and the Protection of
Women’s Rights has been developed. According
to UN Women, the government and legislature
in Aceh are increasingly asking gender advo-
cates to participate in policy discussions and
The Nepal CPA refers to women and gender several times. For example, Article
7.1.1 mentions gender:
7.1.1. Both sides reiterate their commitment to the respect and protection of
human rights and the international humanitarian laws and agree that no
individual shall be discriminated on the basis of colour, gender, language,
religion, age, race, nationality or social origin, property, disability, birth and
other status and thought or belief.
However, the CPA largely conceptualises women as people whose prob-
lems need resolving, rather than as productive contributors to the new society. The
preamble pledges “forward-looking restructuring of the state by resolving the prevail-
ing problems related to class, ethnicity, regional and gender differences.” Article
3.5 lists women among the minorities whose problems need to be addressed:
3.5. In order to end discriminations based on class, ethnicity, language, gender,
culture, religion and region and to address the problems of women,
Dalit, indigenous people, ethnic minorities (Janajatis), Terai communities
(Madheshis), oppressed, neglected and minority communities and the
backward areas by deconstructing the current centralised and unitary
structure, the state shall be restructured in an inclusive, democratic and
forward looking manner.
Article 7.6.1 deals with the “rights of women and children”:
7.6.1. Both sides fully agree to special protection of the rights of women and
children, to immediately stop all types of violence against women and
35 UN Women So uth and Southeast A sia Region, “Wome n’s Legal Rights and Access to Justic e,”
article on UN Women website available at:
Women_ Legal_Rights.html Accessed 25 October, 2012.
. . . conflation
of women and children
downplays the importance
of both.”
From clause to effect 43
children, including child labour as well as sexual exploitation and abuse,
and not to conscript or use children who are aged 18 or below in the
armed forces. Children thus affected shall be rescued immediately and
appropriate assistance as may be needed shall be provided for their
This article is problematic for a number of reasons. Its conflation of women
and children downplays the importance of both. It sees women primarily as vic-
tims and its focus is on the protection of women and girls rather than promoting
gender equality more broadly. Even if the drafters wish to emphasise the pro-
tection aspect, a better approach would be to split it into two clauses, one relating
to women and one to children:
7.6.1. Both sides fully agree to the special protection of the rights of women and
to immediately stop all types of violence against them, prevent its further
occurrence and prosecute its perpetration in the past, according to Nepal’s
commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action and United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
7.6.2. Both sides fully agree to special protection of the rights of children, to imme-
diately stop all types of abuse against them, prevent its further occurrence
and prosecute its perpetration in line with international law and the Con-
vention on the Rights of the Child; this includes stopping child labour,
child sexual exploitation and abuse, and the conscription or use of chil-
dren below the age of 18 in the armed forces. Children thus affected shall
be rescued immediately and appropriate assistance shall be provided for
their rehabilitation in accordance with their individual needs.
The CPA guarantees some human rights using gender-neutral terms such
as ‘people’ or ‘citizens’. For example:
3.9. Policies that shall be undertaken to establish the rights of all the citizens
to education, health, shelter, employment and food security.
Article 7 recognises international human rights standards, but should have
included the ICCPR and CEDAW:
7. While remaining committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966),
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
Women (1979), International Humanitarian Laws and the fundamental prin-
ciples and values of human rights, both the sides agree as follows:
This section contains a commitment to “create an atmosphere where the
Nepali people can enjoy their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights
(Article 7.1.2), as well as provisions on “the individual’s right to livelihood through
employment of their choice or acceptance” (Article 7.5.1), “the right to food
security of all the people” (Article 7.5.2), “the citizens’ right to health” (Article 7.5.3)
and “the right to education to all” (Article 7.5.4). All these articles ideally could
have come under an umbrella clause stating “the importance of gender and the
particular needs of women” in realising the particular rights being referenced.
Theme 2: Resource-sharing
Resource-sharing, which is sometimes known as wealth-sharing, goes hand-
in-hand with power-sharing. It is especially important where specific sources of
Women acti vists of pro -democ racy poli tical parties p rotest agai nst Nepa l’s King Gyanendra in Kathmandu,
December 12, 2005. The bann er reads, “Establish democracy now! ”
© AP Photo
From clause to effect 45
national wealth are among the root causes of the conflict, and in situations where
uneven distribution of natural resources corresponds to ethnic, religious or linguistic
divisions in society.36 Sharing may apply to oil, gas, minerals, forests, water, land
ownership and access, as well as livelihood opportunities. Women often lack
access to such resources; except in some indigenous and tribal societies with
a tradition of common ownership of land.37 It is impor tant to protect, revive and
expand the enjoyment of women’s equal rights where they exist already, as well
as securing them where this was not traditionally the case. As a practical matter,
conflict can severely deplete a country’s male population (for example, Rwanda’s
post-genocide population was 70% female38), so reconstruction and productivity
depends heavily on women.
Peace agreements often make provision for property or employment to be
given to ex-combatants, refugees or internally displaced people. However, such
benefits are rarely granted specifically to women, either directly within those cat-
egories or indirectly as family members.
a) Land rights
The Mindanao Agreement does not mention land ownership rights – a notable
omission considering that land disputes between the region’s Moro inhabitants,
Christian settlers and indigenous Lumad peoples are a historical root of the
conflict and continue to be the source of resentment and distrust. The lack of
any provision on land rights has been cited as one of the 1996 Agreement’s
worst defects.39
In the Chittagong Hill Tracts conflict, one of the key drivers was the per-
ceived dispossession of the indigenous peoples of their land – whether by
36 See, for example, Haysom, Nicholas and Kane, Sean, Negot iating natur al resources for peace:
Ownership, contro l and wealth-shari ng (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2009).
37 The Chittagong Hill Tracts provide an example: as long as there was common ownership of
proper ty, women had s ome contro l over livelihood and f reedom of movement wa s assured. In
the context of jhum (slash and burn) cultivation, once the man had identified the field for cultivation,
it was the woman who decided on the division of labour within the collective clearing the field,
and women had multiple economic roles in the house and community. Indeed jhum cultivation and
terrace cultivation are recognised as gender-friendly systems. See Fernandes, Walter, Pereira,
Melvil le and Khatso, Vizalenu, Customary Laws in North East India: Impact on Women (New
Delhi: National Commission for Women, no date).
38 “Rwanda’s Women – Leading the Way,” article on World Savvy Monitor website, May, (2009).
Available at: =com_content&view=article&id =
573&Itemid=1020 Acces sed 13 October, 2012.
39 See Rodil, R. B., A Stor y of Mindanao and Sulu in Question and Answer (Davao City: MINCODE,
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
government poli cies encouraging the influx of Bengali settlers, or through internal
displacement due to the subsequent armed conflict.40 Disputes over the land
have a sinister gender dimension, with sexual violence of indigenous women used
as a tactic of war.41
The topic of land rights is prominent in the CHT Accord. The govern-
ment promised to conduct a survey to verify ownership of CHT lands “as soon
as possible” (Section D, Article 2) but this has not yet been done, leading to
continuing clashes. At issue are two competing land regimes: the customary
common land ownership of indigenous peoples which is usually not formally
documented, versus individual ownership of land for which title deeds are in
the possession of Bengali settlers. The government’s position is that the Bengalis
have been settled in khas or government-owned lands, while the indigenous people
regard these as their ancestral land, owned by the community. Traditionally, com-
munal ownership of land has been favourable to women, giving them livelihood
options and economic status. In contrast, private ownership of land disadvan-
tages indigenous women economically as, under customary law, women are not
entitled to inherit private property.42 This gender dimension is overlooked by the
government’s “gender neutral” policy.
Ideally Section D, Article 2 would have been rewritten to offer greater pro-
tection of land rights for both men and women from indigenous tribes:
2. After signing and implementation of the agreement between the gov-
ernment and the Jana Sanghati Samwiti, and after rehabilitation of the
tribal refugees and internally displaced tribal people, the government, in
40 Naher, Ainoon and Tripura, Prashanta, “Violence Against Indigenous Women,” in Mohaiemen,
Naeem ( Ed.), Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh
Nationalism (Dhaka: Drishtipat Writers’ Collective, 2010), pp.194-198; Sadeka Halim, “Insecurity
of indigenous women,” in Mohaiemen, Naeem, (Ed.), Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill
Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism (Dhaka : Drishti pat Writers’ Collecti ve, 2010),
pg.187; Mohsin, Amena, “Security of Indigenous Women,” in Bangladeshe adivasi narir nirapotta,
FOWASIA Dial ogue ser ies (D haka: Forum of Wome n in Secur ity and Internatio nal Aff airs, 2002 ).
41 Minority Rights Group International, State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples
2012 – Bangladesh, (Bangladesh: MRGI, 2012). Available at:
docid/4fedb4072d.html Accessed 8 October, 2012.
42 See Roy, Devasish, Land and Forest Rights in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Kathmandu: International
Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, 2002) Available at:
tmp/icimod-land_and_forest_rights_in_the_chittagong_hill_tracts,_bangladesh_.pdf Accessed
10 August, 2012; Sadeka Halim “Insecurity of indigenous women, ” in Mohaiemen, Naeem, (Ed.),
Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism
(Dhaka: Drishtipat Writers’ Collective, 2010), pg.187; Sadeka Halim, Susmita Chakma, Rajib
Chakma, Gender and human rights violations in CHT: Post accord situation (Dhaka: Fo rum of
Women in Securi ty and Inte rnation al Affairs, 2005 ).
From clause to effect 47
consultation with the Regional Council to be formed as per this agree-
ment, shall start cadastral survey in CHT as soon as possible using a
transparent and equitable process which takes into account the rights of
indigenous and non-tribal women and men.
Article 3 promises land rights for landless “tribal families”, without defining
what constitutes a family. Widows of former combatants or other single-headed
households could have been specifically included:
3. The government, to ensure the land rights of the tribal families, which are
landless or possess less than two acres of land, shall provide two acres of
land to each such family, including female-headed households, provided
that lands are available in the locality. If requisite lands are not available
then grove land shall be provided.
Section D also provides for the creation of a Land Commission to cancel
the ownership of land illegally occupied (Article 4). The Commission is to “settle
disputes according to existing rules, customs and practices of the Chittagong
Hill Tracts” (Article 6b). Customary practice is for women to be excluded from
tribal leadership roles, and this may explain why no provision was made for the
representation of women on the Land Commission. However, a peace agreement
presents an opportunity to realign customary law with international norms of
gender inclusivity, for example:
6(b). The Commission shall settle disputes according to the existing rules, cus-
toms and practices of Chittagong Hill Tracts, acknowledging the livelihood
needs of both men and women and striving to ensure fairness for both, in
accordance with CEDAW and other international human rights agreements
to which Bangladesh is a signatory.
The East Timor Peace Agreement proposed the establishment of a commission
to deal with land claims (Article 24); women’s representation or rights were not
mentioned. While matrilineal systems of customary law on land and inheritance
existed in Timor-Leste, the majority of such systems were patrilineal.43 The clause
could have been stronger:
43 For a useful summary of customary law in East Timor see Hohe, Tanje and Nixon, Rod, Reconciling
Justice ‘Tradit ional’ Law and State Jud iciar y in East Timor: Final R eport (Washington DC: United
States Institute for Peace, 2003).
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
24. The SARET shall have the authority to establish a Land Claims Commis-
sion, whose membership shall comprise at least 40% representation of
each sex, all of whom will be trained to understand how issues associated
with land claims may affect men and women differently, including patri-
lineal and matrilineal land systems.
The Bougainville Peace Agreement barely touches on the topics of land or
minerals, even though disputes between foreign mining companies and traditional
owners of the land were one of the main drivers of the conflict and the push for
autonomy.44 The Agreement does not mention customary laws on land or re-
source-sharing – a significant omission since the vast majority of land tenure in
Bougainville (11 of the 13 districts) is under matrilineal customary law.45 The only
landowner mentioned is the new autonomous government, which takes over land
previously owned by the national government of Papua New Guinea.
The Agreement commits the national government to considering the
property rights of Bougainvilleans in relation to privatisation. Although the term
“Bougainvilleans” is gender-neutral, the phrase “the men and women of Bougain-
ville” would have increased women’s chances of being recognised as rightful
owners of land and not having their rights superseded by local male chiefs or the
national government:
122. The National Government will use its best endeavours to ensure that
potential purchasers are made aware of the capacity of the autonomous
Bougainville Government to develop laws and policies that might impact
on the operation of proposed privatised enterprises, and of the sensitive
nature of unresolved issues regarding the economic and property rights
of the men and women of Bougainville and their ability to participate in
economic activity in Bougainville.
Customary land ownership does feature prominently in the Constitution,
which was drafted four years later. The Constitution refers frequently to the gender-
44 O’Callaghan, Mary Louise, The Orig ins of the Conflict (London: Conciliation Resources, 2002).
Available at:
conflict_2002_ENG.pdf Accessed 21 July, 2012.
45 For more on women and land inhe ritance, see Roselyne, Ken neth, “La nd for Agriculture – Silent
Women: Men’s Voices,” in Regan, Anthony and G riffin, Helga ( Eds.), Bo ugainville before the
Conflict (Canber ra: Pandanus Books, 2002), p p.374–387; also Boege, Volker and Gar asu, Lorra ine,
“Bougainville: A Source of Inspiration for Conflict Resolution,” in Brigg, Morgan and Bleiker, Roland
(Eds.), Mediating Across Difference : Oceanic and Asian Approaches to Conflict Resol ution
(Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011), pp.163–182. See also UNIFEM, Case Study:
Bougainville, Papua New Guinea ( New York: UNIFEM, 2007). Available at: ht tp://www.peace- Accessed 25 October, 2012.
From clause to effect 49
neutral “owners of customary land” and once – in s44(1)(e) – to the role of women:
“The Autonomous Bougainville Government shall . . . provide for the protection
of the customary powers of heads of matrilineal and patrilineal societies and of
customary owners in relation to customar y land.”
The Aceh MoU offers compensation and land allocation after the conflict, with-
out explicitly guaranteeing rights for women. Section 3.2.4 provides funds for the
rehabilitation of property destroyed or damaged in the conflict. Section 3.2.5
allocates farming land and funds to former combatants, pardoned political pris-
oners and civilians affected by the conflict. Legitimate claims on land by widows
and daughters are often contested by other family members, and village leaders
are often unwilling to support them. Shari’ah courts, customary law and local
patriarchal structures are also traditionally unfavourable to women’s claims on
land.46 Thus adding a specific mention of women would be a way of ensuring
their inclusion in any reparations scheme:
3.2.4. GoI [the Government of Indonesia] will allocate funds for the rehabilitation
of public and private property destroyed or damaged as a consequence
of the conflict to be administered by the authorities of Aceh. All property
owners, including the widows, widowers or families of owners killed in the
conflict, will be eligible for this funding.
3.2.5. GoI will allocate suitable farming land as well as funds to the authorities of
Aceh for the purpose of facilitating the reintegration to society of the former
combatants and the compensation for political prisoners and affected
civilians. The authorities of Aceh will use the land and funds as follows:
a) All former combatants will receive an allocation of suitable farming
land, employment or, in the case of incapacity to work, adequate
social security from the authorities of Aceh.
b) All pardoned political prisoners will receive an allocation of suit-
able farming land, employment or, in the case of incapacity to work,
adequate social security from the authorities of Aceh.
c) All civilians who have suffered a demonstrable loss due to the con-
flict will receive an allocation of suitable farming land, employment
or, in the case of incapacity to work, adequate social security from
the authorities of Aceh.
46 For more on women’s rights to la nd in Aceh, see Fitzp atrick, David, Women’s Right to Land and
Housing in Tsunami-Affected Ace h, Indonesia (Singapore: Oxfam and National University of
Singapore, 2008). Available at
wps0 8_003.pdf Acce ssed 25 Octob er, 2012.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
d) Women as well as men are eli-
gible for these benefits, as are
the widows, widowers or families
of those killed in the conflict who
would have been eligible.
The Nepal CPA had been expected to reflect
a concern for land reform, which had been an
important motivator in the mobilisation of the
Maoist movement. The Maoists had specifically
supported property rights for women, recognis-
ing that the weak property rights of Nepalese
women were discriminatory and holding back
the country’s development. However, the CPA
sees land reform through the lens of class rather than gender. Section 3.10
mentions “backward communities” but not women. This clause could have been
drafted to correct the historical discrimination against women:
3.10. Policies shall be pursued to provide land and socio-economic security to
marginalised communities like the landless squatters, bonded labourers,
tillers, bonded domestics, bonded cattle-tenders and such other groups,
paying particular attention to the needs and rights of women in these groups
and lifting restrictions on their ownership and inheritance of land.
b) Access to, and control of, natural resources
The Mindanao Peace Agreement deals with natural resources in Article 143.
Women in Mindanao are in a weak position in relation to natural resources owner-
ship and management, and the Agreement could have empowered them to share
the benefits of the natural resources of the then new ARMM:
143. The residents in the area of the autonomy, whether male or female, shall
have preferential rights over the exploration, development and utilization
of natural resources in the area of autonomy respecting existing rights on
the exploitation, exploration, development and utilization of natural resources.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord came about largely because of the
hill peoples’ loss of control over natural resources, especially in relation to state-
led development of big dams and the leasing of community forests for rubber
The Maoists
had specifically supported
property rights for women,
recognising that the
weak property rights
of Nepalese women
were discriminatory and
holding back the country’s
From clause to effect 51
plantations. The Accord empowers the District Councils (Section B, Articles 19
and 26) and Regional Council (Section C, Articles 9 and 10) to formulate and
implement development projects. The incorporation of a clause requiring ‘public
consultation with women and men’ would have been desirable.
The East Timor Peace Agreement provided for co-operative or joint under-
takings between the SARET and Indonesian governments in the exploitation of
natural resources (Article 8). The Agreement could have stipulated that men and
women have equal access to information about, ownership of, and benefits from,
any such assets. There is no mention of the oil and gas in the Timor Sea (the
“Timor Gap”), which is now the major source of wealth for the independent nation
of Timor-Leste. If the Timor Agreement had come into effect, control of such
“strategic” resources would have remained with the Indonesian Government.
The Bougainville Peace Agreement, as noted earlier, fails to uphold women as
the customary owners of the land. It does not mention natural resources, except
in relation to the division of power between the national government and the
autonomous government over fisheries (Articles 85-88). (The Constitution later
recognised customary rights in relation to “the sea and [the] natural, mineral and
oil resources” (s23), but without mentioning women.)
The Aceh MoU gives the new Autonomous Government the rights to 70% of
Aceh’s resource assets (Section 1.3). No mention is made of how such assets
would be managed at the level of the individual property owner; thus it is unclear
how the women or men of Aceh would benefit.
c) Access to livelihood opportunities including income
generation and compensation
The Mindanao Peace Agreement’s Article 130 mentions gender in relation to
economic opportunity:
130. The Regional Autonomous Government . . . advocates equal opportuni-
ties for all the inhabitants of the area of autonomy regardless of ethnic origin,
culture, sex, creed and religion.
Though a step in the right direction, this clause could have used a stronger
verb than “advocate” and made it clear that employment and other livelihood
prospects are included in the “opportunities”:
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
The Regional Autonomous Government… is committed to equal oppor-
tunities for all the inhabitants of the area of autonomy to participate in the
region’s economy and secure a livelihood through fair employment or
commerce, regardless of ethnic origin, culture, sex, creed and religion.
The Agreement contains 32 articles relating to education (Articles 94-125),
but does not refer to the inclusion of women and girls. Its main concern is cultural
and religious identity, for example:
95. The Regional Autonomous Government educational system shall, among
others, perpetuate Filipino and Islamic ideals and aspirations, Islamic
values and orientations of the Bangsamoro people. It shall develop the
total spiritual, intellectual, social, cultural, scientific and physical aspects
of the Bangsamoro people to make them God fearing, productive, patriotic
citizens, conscious of their Filipino and Islamic values and Islamic cultural
heritage under the aegis of a just and equitable society.
The nod towards an “equitable society” is promising; however it is prefer-
able to use “equal” to rule out the possibility of differing interpretations of what
is “equitable”. The end of the Article would also have been improved by a guarantee
that women and girls would not be denied the opportunity to receive an education:
. . . under the aegis of a just and equal society that respects and promotes
the potential of both girls and boys, and which is open to all regardless of
ethnic origin, cultural background, sex, creed or religion.
Article 20(a) on demobilisation disarmament and reintegration (DDR) pro-
vides for alternative livelihoods for the families of former MNLF combatants. This
could have been drafted in a way that ensured gender parity:
20(a) . . . There shall be a special socio-economic, cultural and educational
program to cater to MNLF forces not absorbed into the [Armed Forces of
the Philippines, Philippine National Police and Special Regional Security
Forces] to prepare them and their families for productive endeavours,
provide for educational, technical skills and livelihood training and give
them priority for hiring in development projects. These benefits shall apply
to both female and male ex combatants, and to the widows/widowers or
families of those killed in the conflict who would have been eligible.
From clause to effect 53
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Agreement provides for scholarships and
educational facilities for indigenous people (Section D, Article 10). Another sen-
tence would have confirmed the inclusion of women and girls:
10. Quota reservation and scholarships: Until development equals that of other
regions of the country the government shall continue reser vation of quota
system in government services and educational institutions for the tribals.
For this purpose, the government shall grant more scholarships for the
tribal students in the educational institutions. The government shall pro-
vide necessary scholarships for research works and higher education
Women protest the army pr esence i n Mindan ao during a demonstration outside the presidential pala ce
complex in Manila on February 11, 2004.
© Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
abroad. These benefits shall be provided to both female and male students,
and the schools in tribal areas shall aim for equal numbers of female and
male students.
Article 16 deals with economic and employment support for former PCJSS/
JSS combatants and their families but, as mentioned in relation to land disburse-
ment, it is not clear whether this includes female ex-combatants, the widows of
those killed in fighting, or other female-headed households. A suggested amend-
ment is:
16. After the return of all JSS members to normal life general amnesty shall
be given to them and to the permanent residents, whether female or male,
who were involved in the activities of the Jana Sanghati Samiti.
a) In order to provide rehabilitation to all returnee JSS members a lump sum
of Taka 50,000/- [USD610] shall be given to each family, including female-
headed households.
Amendments could similarly be made to the provisions on employment
(Article 16e) and on soft loans for cottage industries (Article 16f):
e) Men and women of the PCJSS who were employed in various government
jobs shall be absorbed in their respective posts and the eligible mem-
bers of their family shall be given jobs as per their qualifications, regardless
of gender.
f) Bank loans of soft terms shall be given to the men and women of the PCJSS
for cottage industry and horticulture and other such self-employment
generating activities.
The East Timor Peace Agreement commits the Indonesian Government to
assisting the development of the SARET (Article 6) without mentioning any pri-
orities in terms of investment or outcomes. The insertion of standard language
such as “ensuring that the different needs of men and women, girls and boys
are appropriately assessed and addressed” could have been possible. This would
also apply to Article 9, which allows foreign donors to channel assistance through
the Indonesian Government.
The Bougainville Peace Agreement sets forth the terms of an annual “resto-
ration and development grant” to the Bougainville Government (Articles 160–161).
Given the importance of infrastructure development and post-conflict reconstruc-
From clause to effect 55
tion on the lives of all citizens,
the Agreement could have said:
161. An agreed Bougainville-
controlled mechanism,
including both Bougain-
ville and National Gov-
ernment representation,
will be established to
coordinate the restora-
tion and development
program in Bougainville.
The membership of the committee co-ordinating this program will com-
prise at least 40% representation of each sex.
The Agreement also contains provision for a DDR programme which,
despite being funded by international donors, shows no awareness of UNSCR
1325. The exclusion of women from compensation and livelihood schemes left
female-headed households struggling to make ends meet.47
In this regard, the Agreement embodies a common problem with peace
agreements in general – a narrow focus on dealing with combatants and stop-
ping the violence, without integrating the factors required to lay the groundwork
for building peace.
A more inclusive wording would have been:
329.13. The National Government will seek the assistance of foreign develop-
ment co-operation partners in developing and implementing a programme
to assist in the reintegration and rehabilitation of male and female ex-
combatants, as well as the widows/widowers and families of those killed
in combat.
The Aceh MoU prioritised a post-tsunami reconstruction and recovery com-
mission. There was no assurance that women would be included and the single
female representative on the GAM negotiating team expressed concern that women
47 The Bougainv ille Ex-C ombatants Trust Account was sharply criticised by the United Nations
Develop ment Fund fo r Women (UNIFEM ), not only for excluding women bu t also for ch eating
and corruption. For example, 15,000 men claimed assistance as ex-combatants, even though
the highe st estimate of the total number of com batants wa s 5000. Se e UNIFEM ( 2007), p. 12.
. . . a common problem with
peace agreements in general – a narrow
focus on dealing with combatants and
stopping the violence, without integrating
the factors required to lay the groundwork
for building peace.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
would be sidelined.48 A better version of the clause to establish the commission
would have called for the inclusion of women in reconstruction, both at the com-
munity level (where women exercise most power) and in the large infrastructure
projects which receive a much larger share of the funding:
1.3.9. GAM will nominate representatives, at least 40% of each sex, to partici-
pate fully at all levels in the commission established to conduct the post-
tsunami reconstruction at regional and community level.
Section 3.2.5(c) provides for “all civilians who have suffered a demon-
strable loss due to the conflict” to be given “suitable land”; as well as “employment,
or in the case of incapacity to work, adequate social security”. While the gender-
neutral language is promising, the phrase “all men and women who have suffered”
would have confirmed that Aceh’s women were included in the scheme.
The Nepal CPA contains broad commitments on development and livelihoods,
which could have been drafted in a more inclusive form:
3.12. A common development concept shall be adopted for the socio-economic
transformation of the country and for making the country advanced,
gender equal and economically prosperous in a just manner within a short
span of time.
3.13. Policies shall be followed for ensuring the professional rights of workers
and increasing investment for the promotion of industries, trade, export
etc. in order to significantly enhance employment and income generating
opportunities. Particular effort shall be made to include women in the
expansion of employment and income generating opportunities and to
ensure their professional rights are promoted and protected.
Theme 3: Security arrangements
The concept of human security defines security as going beyond the formal
structures and objectives of national armies, police and criminal justice. Taking
48 For more on this, see reference 11 in the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue report, Peacemaking
in Asia and the Pacific : Women’s parti cipation, perspectives an d priori ties, (G eneva: Centre for
Humanitarian Dialogue, 2011). The reference relates to a reflection made by Shadia Marhaban
at the Experts M eeting : Women at the Peace Table – Asi a Pacific he ld in Kathm andu, Nepal on
27-30 September 2010 and organised by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. A summary of
this meeting is available at:
Accessed 15 October, 2012.
From clause to effect 57
as a starting point the security
of people rather than of states,
human security is a condition
characterised by “freedom from
pervasive threats to people’s
rights, their safety or even their
lives.”49 Pervasive threats may
come from many sources –
including poverty, illness, vio-
lence and powerlessness; a
gender-inclusive vision of human security recognises and addresses the dif-
ferent vulnerability of women and men to these threats. Importantly, gender-
inclusive security does not only see women as victims of insecurity, but also
draws on their strengths and skills to build a more secure society.50 Thus women’s
roles in post-war societies should extend beyond areas traditionally considered
as ‘women’s issues’ (such as welfare, protection and children), to include security
arrangements; the reconfiguration of the police, military and other services; the
elimination of impunity and criminalisation of violence against women; and the
inclusion of explicit commitments in ceasefires and peace agreements to punish
those who commit SGBV.
The challenge of recognising and dealing with past abuses or failings on
these points has dominated much of the policy landscape.51 This was (and re-
mains) necessar y. However, UNSCR 1325 and 1820 have placed new emphasis
on prevention. New analysis and guidelines have emerged to broaden concepts
of security to systematically address sexual and gender-based crimes, both
during conflict and in its aftermath.52 Increasingly, there is a policy focus on the
legacy of continuing militarisation after conflict, which ought to include attention
to gendered dimensions.53 However, a broad-based gendered approach to post-
49 Ax worthy, Lloyd, Human Sec urity: S afety for Pe ople in a Cha nging World, Concept Paper (Ottawa:
Depar tment of Foreign Af fairs and Trade, Canada, A pril 1999 ), p.1. Available at: ht tp://w ww. Accessed 25 October 2012.
50 For more on in clusive security see An derlin i, Sanam Naraghi an d El-Bushra, Judy ( 2004).
51 See, for example, Ebnöther, Anja H. and Fluri, Philippe, Af ter Interventi on: Public Secu rity Manage ment
in Post-Conflict Societies (Gen eva: Centre for the Democratic C ontrol of Ar med Forces, 2005).
52 See, for example, Spees, Pam, Gende r Justice and Accou ntability in Pea ce Support Op erations:
Closing the Gaps (London: International Alert, February 2004). Available at: http://www.child
3.pdf Accessed 20 July, 2012. See als o United Nations, Guidance for Mediators: Addressing
Conflict R elated Sexual Vi olence in Cease fire and Peace Agre ements ( Ne w Y or k: UN De pa r tm en t
of Political Affairs, 2012). Available at:
sexual_violence Accessed 21 July, 2012.
53 For example, the CEDAW Committee Asia Pacific Consultations in April 2012 (part of a global
consultation) a nd the UN Women Expe rts Group on Women Peace and Security Regional
Conference in Kathm andu from Oct–Nov 2012 focuse d on these aspects.
Peace agreements would
ideally facilitate a post-war security
architecture based on transparency,
accountability and gender equality.
Women at the Pe ace Table Asia Pacific
war security arrangements and security sector reform (SSR) has yet to be con-
sistently practiced by entities active in conflict resolution.54 This report aims to
identify ‘windows’ or ‘hooks’ within peace agreements which could provide the
impetus, and method of accountability needed, for such an approach.
Peace agreements would ideally facilitate a post-war security architec-
ture based on transparency, accountability and gender equality in areas such
as recruitment to the security services as well as increasing awareness of, and
commitment to, the rights of women in training and daily operations. An approach
to policing that addresses the specific needs of women and girls would include
the prevention of, and methods for protection against, SGBV. This is an element
which should be included in any security sector training protocol. None of the
agreements reviewed for this report contain any reference to SGBV, although it
was an overriding concern in those conflict zones.55
One idea worth examining is to make deployment of national troops to
UN peacekeeping forces contingent on having a clean record in relation to SGBV,
to provide an incentive for gender-sensitive behaviour and models of good practice.
For a country like Nepal, the eighth largest contributor of troops to UN peace-
keeping operations, 56 such a requirement could have a beneficial impact on the