News and Updates
We are a coalition of NGOs, academics, activists, women’s rights defenders, journalists, artists, filmmakers and peacebuilders. We are working to get our Afghan colleagues and families, who are under direct threat from the Taliban, to safety. They have worked to bring peace to Afghanistan over the last 20 years, have fought for the rights of all Afghans, and especially women, girls and minority groups in direct opposition to the Taliban. They now come to us for help because nobody came for them.
Afghanistan’s country code is +93. My phone lights up—day and night. I cannot bear to answer, knowing I have no answers. I cannot bear to ignore them. “I hope you are not tired,” they say. “Sorry to bother you,” “Thank you for thinking of us,” and “If they find me, they’ll rip me apart, please take my children.” Their graciousness, dignity, apologies for disturbing our lives, to help save theirs, are humbling and haunting.
I run a nonprofit supporting women’s peacebuilding organizations in 40 conflict-affected countries worldwide. We’ve had Afghan partners for years. They dedicate their lives to caring for their communities, running shelters for violence survivors, training women police officers, documenting the failures of the allied efforts for the security sector, advocating for rights and justice and setting up networks of men to prevent violence. Their reach extends nationwide.
A female journalist receives a call warning that they “will come soon.” A woman lawmaker sits and waits for her killers. A little girl wonders how much longer her school gates will remain open.
For Afghanistan’s women and girls, this is the terrifying uncertainty they now find themselves in.
As Taliban leaders tell international media they “don’t want women to be victimized,” a more sinister reality is unfolding on the ground.
Talking to Sheena McKenzie at CNN about what the Taliban takeover could mean for women and girls in Afghanistan, ICAN’s founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, warns: “Once the diplomats leave, the journalists leave, the international NGOs leave, they are going to basically lock the doors… God knows what we’ll see then.”
ICAN Founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, speaks to Danny DeCrescenzo and Annemarie LePard for WRHU-FM Hofstra University Radio on the current crisis situation in Afghanistan.
We called for the international community to listen to Afghan women peacebuilders.
Our partners risked their own lives to speak at the United Nations, the European Union, the International Criminal Court, in the United States, and elsewhere. They warned of the reality in the Afghan forces, informed the world of needs on the ground, and offered recommendations and practical actions. They repeatedly asked for the chance to negotiate their own fate at the peace tables in Doha and elsewhere. They were never granted such an opportunity. Rather, they were willfully ignored and excluded.
In a historic moment on 29th July 2021, the date of Africa Women’s Day, Cameroon’s first ever Women’s National Convention for Peace got underway in the country’s capital, Yaoundé. For three days over 1000 women from all corners of the country came together at the Palais des Congrès, Yaoundé to raise their voices in unison, demanding an end to violence and calling for peace.
“We have come together as mothers and grandmothers, wives and companions, sisters and daughters – together, we build an alliance of good will that is stronger, louder and in greater numbers than those people who profit from war and conflicts.” – Women’s Call for Peace
“From Nepal and Yemen to Northern Ireland or Israel, Palestine, we have seen the political and military elite, at war with each other, unable to agree to anything—yet they stand united when it comes to excluding women peacebuilders from the processes. I think it’s because they are afraid of the women. They are afraid of being held accountable.”
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics joined Ms. contributor Michelle Onello for a frank and far-reaching interview to discuss what has been accomplished by the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda thus far and what more needs to be done.
Marie-Joëlle Zahar has been an ICAN Board Member since 2019. In this interview, she reflects on her early experiences during the war in Lebanon and how they shaped her journey in the world of conflict resolution, peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction, and gendered work. Marie-Joëlle shares stories of her time as a Senior Expert on the Standby Team of Mediation Experts at the UNDPPA, what it was like being one of the few women in international mediation spaces, and her advice for the next generation of women peacebuilders and WPS practitioners. Read more to view the full conversation.
It is with immense sadness and grief that we in the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) family, express our condolences for the passing of our dear sister, friend and colleague Roza Eftekhari on July 20, 2021, due to ovarian cancer.
Roza was among the founding members of WASL in 2016, enthusiastically supporting our first collective statement and the vision and values that shaped and have driven our community. A renowned journalist and figure in the Iranian women’s movement, as Managing Editor of the famous Zanan magazine, she created a space for dialogue and common ground between secular and religious voices addressing critical issues of gender equality and human rights.
After 18 months of virtual meetings, on July 14th the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) in partnership with the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the missions of South Africa and Mexico to the UN, hosted the first hybrid event on the margins of the 2021 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.
Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, shared the stage with ICAN Founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, together with South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathu Joyini, Mexico’s PR, Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez, and UN Women’s Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, Anita Bhatia. Onscreen zooming in from Tripoli, Libya and Khartoum, Sudan were Dr. Rida Altubuly, Director of Together We Build it and member of the Mediterranean Women’s Mediators’ Network and Enass Muzamel, Executive Director of Madanyia and member of the global Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL).
Germany, Mexico, South Africa and the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) will host a hybrid event on Re-designing Peacebuilding for the 21st Century: Peace, Power, and Sharing Responsibility, on July 14 from 10 – 11.30 am EST at the German House in New York.
The February 1st military coup in Myanmar brutally crushed dissent, and the crackdowns and killings continue. In May another resurgence of violence in Palestine and Israel brought renewed attention to this 54-year conflict. How do social activists survive and thrive when the tanks roll in, the bombs drop, the raids and the arbitrary arrests begin? These, among other questions, were discussed on June 29th at the fifth session of the Coming of Age of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda series, entitled ‘Survival and Activism under Occupation’, focusing on Myanmar and Palestine.
Our Annual Report details ICAN’s 2020 highlights: the launch of the global She Builds Peace campaign and Frameworks for Action, and other key achievements across our four programs. Find out more about how we adapted and supported women peacebuilders in a year like no other!
ICAN’s Senior Program Officer, Rosalie Fransen provides a gendered analysis of emerging trends and threats in the CT and P/CVE landscape.
Now in Farsi/Persian: 10 Steps to Ensure a Gender-Responsive & Inclusive Constitution-Drafting Process
ICAN’s Better Peace Initiative (BPI) guidance document, 10 Steps to Ensure a Gender-Responsive and Inclusive Constitution-Drafting Process is now available in Farsi/ Persian! ICAN’s guidance, including our “10 pointers” are developed with the intention to inform a variety of stakeholders in their peacebuilding advocacy and practice. Governments, international organizations, women peacebuilders and other civil society all benefit from these to-the-point materials that focus on the “how to” aspects of inclusive peacemaking.