News and Updates

Funding Women Peacebuilders: Dismantling Barriers to Peace

Recognizing the value and need to channel equitable resources to local women’s peacebuilding organizations (WPBOs) have been constant stipulations of the value of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda since its inception at the turn of the 21st century. From the United Nations to its 193 member states, the desire and intent to support such organizations has increased over the years. But the chasm between donors’ good intentions and their political, financial, and administrative constraints has hampered the flow of funds to the grassroots women who need them the most.

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Program Intern

The ICAN team seeks a highly motivated Program Intern to work on a range of research, coordination and program tasks. This unpaid winter/spring internship requires a minimum of 20 hrs/week and will run from January to May 2021 with a possibility of extension.

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Abductees’ Mothers Association: On the Front Lines of Yemen’s Prisoner Swap

On the morning of Friday 16th October, the Abductees’ Mothers Association celebrated a major victory when Yemen’s warring parties completed the largest prisoner exchange in the history of the five-and-a-half-year long conflict. In a two-day process, 1,056 individuals held by both the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government were released and transferred home, facilitated by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC). The Abductees’ Mothers Association has been the most prominent voice in calling for the release of abductees and has been instrumental in facilitating talks on the issue. For many years, this coalition of mothers has been the only hope for Yemen’s forcibly disappeared. 

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Despite Tragedy, Peacebuilder Khedija Arfaoui Remains Resilient

On September 7, 2020, a Turkish court sentenced a man to life in prison for carrying out the Istanbul nightclub attack on New Years Day in 2017. 39 people lost their lives in the early hours of that day—including  Dr.  Khedijah  Arfaoui’s son and daughter-in-law, Mohamed and Senda. Debates surrounding a  moratorium on the death penalty have  re-surfaced  in Tunisia but Arfaoui continues to advocate for non-violence and remains opposed to the death penalty. Read the full story.

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A restart on the WPS Agenda

At a time of significant global foreign policy challenges, the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues is stepping up their game with a focused effort on the implementation of the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and the U.S Department of State Plan to Implement the U.S. Strategy on WPS. Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Kelley E. Currie joined a weekly Zoom meeting with the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) on August 27, 2020.

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A Better Peace for Afghan Women

An Op-Ed by Malalai Habibi and Helena Grönberg discussing the ongoing Afghanistan peace talks, and the international community’s obligation to ensure an inclusive and gender-responsive processes.

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Protecting Women Peacebuilders: The Front Lines of Sustainable Peace

Despite 20 years of policy, practice, and evidence of impact, there is still a persistent gap in recognition of, support to, and protection for women peacebuilders. This brief distills and builds on decades of women peacebuilders’ experiences navigating the dangers women peacebuilders face to provide an overview of the contextual factors and realities that create and exacerbate their insecurity. It then presents the range and sources of threats, analyzes the strengths of and gaps in existing protection mechanisms, and concludes with operational guidance for states and multilateral institutions to protect women peacebuilders.

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Amplifying Voices for Peace: Women at the Peace Table – The New Norm

“Amplifying Voices for Peace: Women at the Peace Table – The New Norm” concluded that meaningful inclusion and participation of women in peacebuilding processes is instrumental to ensuring sustainable outcomes. The virtual event was spearheaded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the International Civil Action Network (ICAN) and co-organized with the Foreign Ministries of Finland, France, Italy, Norway, UK, Spain and Sweden; the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks; and the European External Action Service. 

The occasion, which brought together women peacebuilders and mediators with governments and multilateral mediation units, kickstarted the 20th anniversary celebrations of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).

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Recognizing Women Peacebuilders: Critical Actors in Effective Peacemaking

Drawing on two decades of desk and primary research and interviews, policy development, and experiences in advocacy and Track One mediation practices, “Recognizing Women Peacebuilders: Critical Actors in Effective Peacemaking”, delves into the motivations and factors that propel women to become peacebuilders in the face of violence and conflict and the activities they engage in that bridge the local and the global arenas.
The brief explores how the lexicon and labels in the policy arena hinder or help women’s greater inclusion in peace processes, and factors that capture the complexity and commonality of WPBs’ experiences in relation to and distinct from other forms of socio-political activism.

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Hope versus Extremism: How Women are Using Peacebuilding in the Covid-19 Crisis

While violent extremist groups take advantage of the vulnerable and national governments continue to fail their citizens, women peacebuilders embrace hope, foster interconnectedness, and uphold values of peace and justice. Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Rob Oliphant observed the hope that the WASL partners put forth during the weekly WASL community check-in on 3 September, recognizing that “hope and extremism are on a teeter-totter. You can’t fight extremism with military or violence; you can only fight extremism with hope.”

Read the full summary

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ICAN launches Better Peace Animations in Kiswahili

In time for the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, we are delighted to launch two of our Better Peace Initiative (BPI) animations in Kiswahili. These are the first animations to be translated into Kiswahili and we hope they will be valuable for a variety of stakeholders engaged in mediation at various levels and committed to inclusive and gender responsive peace and security processes.   

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As intra-Afghan peace talks kick off, ICAN launches Better Peace Tool in Farsi

With the intra-Afghan talks just kicking off, there is still an opportunity to rectify past oversights. The onus is on the international community to ensure that more peace builders than the few remarkable women on the government delegation are at the peace table. We owe this to the women of Afghanistan who in a recent “Letter to Allies” clearly stated: “We seek accountability in the process: accountability from Afghan leaders but also from leaders like you, who can use your influence to shape a better outcome and help ensure its implementation.” We owe this, as the parties that take little or no responsibility for protecting populations will continue to resist the participation of those who represent the real concerns and experiences of communities enduring violence.

ICAN’s Better Peace Tool is now available in Farsi.

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ICAN’s Innovative Peace Fund 2020 Halfway Mark

Our fund disbursed $1 million in grants to 24 partners across 17 countries from Syria to Somalia, Colombia to Cameroon, Iraq to Indonesia & more Investing In Trust
Check out this 📽️ to see how ICAN’s Innovative Peace Fund supported women peacebuilders’ COVID19 response.

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A Date to Remember: The UN Security Council in Conversation with WASL, the United Nations of Women Peacebuilders

“Twenty years ago, we as women peacebuilders invited the Security Council to join us in the basement of the [UN] Church Center in New York,” said ICAN’s Founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini in her welcoming remarks. That conversation was a steppingstone towards attaining UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security (WPS). “The peacebuilders that we have with us here are risking their lives every day to bring peace,” she added. “We want to have a genuine exchange, between the UN’s Security Council and our partners in WASL, who are a united nations of women peacebuilders. We each have questions and answers for each other. I hope we can challenge ourselves about what we can do differently together to ensure sustainable peace now and for the future”, said Naraghi Anderlini.

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