Violent extremism by Boko Haram has driven this woman and child into a refugee camp in Nigeria. Camp centres designed for women provide the specific services they need. Photo: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba.

Violent extremism by Boko Haram has driven this woman and child into a refugee camp in Nigeria. Camp centres designed for women provide the specific services they need. Photo: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba.

Striving for peace and justice

Peace and security

The 2030 Agenda aspires to peaceful, just, inclusive societies to underpin sustained development. Around the world, women lead movements for peace and heal divided communities. They prevent conflicts from erupting, a growing imperative in a world prone to violent extremism. They are also highly vulnerable to violations of their rights, such as through rape as a weapon of war.

UN Women’s work described below illustrates contributions especially to the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality, peace and justice, and partnerships.

UN Women Country Representative Dr. Grace Ongile having an interactive session with women at a camp for internally displaced persons in Adamawa State, Nigeria. Photo: UN Women/Ikechukwu Attah.

UN Women Country Representative Dr. Grace Ongile having an interactive session with women at a camp for internally displaced persons in Adamawa State, Nigeria. Photo: UN Women/Ikechukwu Attah.

Preventing and responding to terror

Capture and repeated rape by Boko Haram terrorists left 17-year-old Zeingo (not her real name) pregnant with a child she never wanted to carry. She survived and fled her tormentors, but the trauma of the tortuous ordeal cuts deep. Until her mother brought her to a UN Women social cohesion centre in a camp for displaced people in the Diffa region of Niger, she could not eat or sleep, or interact with other people because of shame over her pregnancy. Through the centre’s expert health care and psychosocial support, she is slowly beginning the long road to recovery. Zeingo’s steps forward are small but important. Short conversations with other women at the centre. Enrolment in a skills development programme to keep a focus on the future. Horror is gradually ceding to hope.

70

per cent of
UN-supported peace agreements
included provisions improving security
and status for women and girls

14

million dollars
directly benefitted women and girls
in conflict and post-conflict countries
from the Peacebuilding Fund,
exceeding its 15% target by 5%

100

per cent increase
in the number of women military experts
deployed to UN peacekeeping missions

Women call for justice in the Sepur Zarco case. The first of its type in Guatemala, it sent two former military leaders to jail for rape and sexual slavery, and stipulated monetary compensation for survivors. Photo: Ohan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images.
Women call for justice in the Sepur Zarco case. The first of its type in Guatemala, it sent two former military leaders to jail for rape and sexual slavery, and stipulated monetary compensation for survivors. Photo: Ohan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images.

Extending justice to survivors

Experts deployed by UN Women and the organization Justice Rapid Response stand at the ready when countries call for assistance with cases of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence. A roster of 200 experts delivers a wealth of instant expertise on subjects, ranging from prosecution to psychosocial support to forensic sciences. In 2016, 19 experts supported investigations around the world, some of whom contributed to the development of ground-breaking legal precedents.

Promoting gender equality has been a core value and a policy goal of Finland for over a century. UN Women’s activities are of relevance in all our development policy priority areas, and UN Women has a central role in advancing women’s rights worldwide. For these reasons, UN Women remains one of Finland’s main UN partners, as reflected in our funding: only a few multilateral organizations continue to receive this level of funding from Finland.

Kai Mykkänen, Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development
Infographic: Conflict

Finance for women on the frontlines

Solving complex peace and security challenges and achieving sustainable peace requires considerable investment, including sufficient resources for women and gender equality. Launched in 2016, the Global Acceleration Instrument for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action mobilized USD 6.7 million in its first year. UN Women serves as the secretariat for the fund, which pools resources from multiple donors. A significant share fuels the vital—but under-recognized—work of women’s civil society organizations on the frontlines of conflict prevention, resolution and recovery.

Debora Barros Fince. Photo: UN Women/Nathan Beriro.

Photo: UN Women/Nathan Beriro.

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions Debora Barros Fince is an Wayúu indigenous activist, human rights defender and lawyer from the community of Bahía Portete, La Guajira, Colombia. She travelled to Havana, Cuba, as part of the “victims delegation” to share her perspective during the peace process in December 2015. The delegation, comprised of survivors from different regions, ethnicities and genders, was unequivocal in its call for peace and reconciliation. Her story links to SDG 16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Debora Barros Fince: “Women must have a voice and a vote in the peace process and in our homes”

“I was a person with many dreams. I graduated from law school in 2003 and wanted to help my parents, my brothers and my community. In 2004, the paramilitary came and massacred our community in Villa Portete. We didn’t even know what ‘paramilitary’ meant. We didn’t know why our families were being exterminated. I survived the massacre and became the spokesperson for the community.

Throughout the course of the Colombian conflict, women have been the worst affected, but our struggle and resistance were not recognized. We have been violated sexually, killed, exploited for our labor, and denied equal opportunities.

The women of Colombia are also protagonists for peace. We are conciliatory by nature; we seek for ways to engage and find a solution. When I travelled to Havana to give testimony, it was a very important moment, not only for me, but for the entire community. We share the same pain as victims [of the conflict], regardless of who our aggressor was.

We worked together as a group. We didn’t make decisions alone. If we could not agree on something, we would talk and resolve the issue. We wanted a peace process that put the victims at the centre.

For sustainable peace, there has to be investments in social development—in education, health, adequate housing and water. And, women must get the role that they deserve. There must be recognition of our struggle and our sacrifices, and true participation. Women must have a voice and a vote in the peace process and in our homes.”

Colombian women play central role in peace process