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Women’s Right to Land in Post-Conflict Situations: an Opportunity to Overcome Discriminatory Laws and a Tool for Transformative Justice


Martínez, Elisenda Calvet. 2017. "Women’s Right to Land in Post-Conflict Situations: an Opportunity to Overcome Discriminatory Laws and a Tool for Transformative Justice." Paper presented at 5th European Conference on Gender and Politics, Lausanne, June 8-10.

Author: Elisenda Calvet Martínez


The restitution of land in post-conflict situations has been object of increasing interest in the past years due to the importance of safeguarding the right of refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes and places of residence in safe and dignified conditions, with the aim to achieve a just and lasting peace. In situations of post-conflict, women become widowed or heads of household; however, local laws and customs do not recognize them inheritance rights or allow them to own property, which leads to discrimination and it also deprives them of their means of subsistence and of sustenance for their family.

Practice shows that despite adopting gender-sensitive peace agreements and new laws to provide for equal rights for women and men, women’s access to land is still restricted because discriminatory local laws continue to apply and it is very difficult to change traditions, leading to the perpetuation of gender discrimination. Therefore, I argue that addressing women’s right to land in post-conflict situations offers an opportunity to overcome discriminatory laws and build a restitution program upon a more equitable system of property ownership. In this sense, the Pinheiro Principles (UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, 2005) provide that States should ensure that housing, land and property restitution programs, policies and practices recognize the joint ownership rights of both male and female heads of the household as an explicit component of the restitution process, and that restitution programs, policies and practices reflect a gender-sensitive approach. Moreover, securing women’s land tenure in a post-conflict context may constitute a tool for transformative justice, understood as a process that challenges the inequalities and community structures and looks to integrate both personal and social transformation, which goes beyond restorative justice.

Keywords: conflict resolution, gender, human rights, social justice, transitional states, women, peace

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Households, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Peace Processes, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2017

Women and Natural Resources Unlocking the Peacebuilding Potential


United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, and United Nations Development Programme. 2013. Women and Natural Resources Unlocking the Peacebuilding Potential. United Nations .

Authors: Adrienne Stork, Cassidy Travis, Silja Halle



“Women’s diverse experiences in times of conflict have powerful implications for peacebuilding. Their capacity to recover from conflict and contribute to peace is influenced by their role in the conflict, whether directly engaged in armed groups, displaced, or forced to take on additional responsibilities to sustain their livelihoods and care for dependents. In spite of efforts by the international community to recognize and better address these multiple roles through agreements such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the dominant perception of women as passive victims in conflict settings continues to constrain their ability to formally engage in political, economic and social recovery, and thereby contribute to better peacebuilding.

One of the unexplored entry points for strengthening women’s contributions to peacebuilding relates to the ways in which they use, manage, make decisions on and benefit from natural resources. Coupled with shifting gender norms in conflict-affected settings, women’s roles in natural resource management provide significant opportunities to enhance their participation in decisionmaking at all levels, and to enable them to engage more productively in economic revitalization activities.

As the primary providers of water, food and energy at the household and community levels, women in rural settings are often highly dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, and are therefore particularly susceptible to changes in the availability and quality of these resources during and after conflict. In particular, lack of access to land – which underpins rights to all other natural resources and is a key asset for securing productive inputs – can force them into increasingly vulnerable situations and expose them to higher levels of physical and livelihood risk, with trickle-down impacts on community welfare. The structural discrimination that women face regarding resource rights and access also limits their political participation and economic productivity.

At the same time, conflict often leads both women and men to adopt coping strategies that challenge traditional gender norms. To meet the needs of their households and compensate for loss of revenue usually provided by male family members, women may assume new natural resource management roles, either by taking up alternative income-generating activities or by moving into traditionally male sectors. In the aftermath of conflict, capitalizing on these shifting roles can contribute to breaking down barriers to women’s empowerment and enhancing women’s productivity in sectors that are often critical to economic revitalization.

Failure to recognize the challenges and opportunities awarded to women in conflict-affected settings by their various roles in natural resource management also risks perpetuating inequalities and deepening grievances linked to natural resource rights, access and control, which have proven to be powerful catalysts for violence. Addressing issues of inequality related to resource access and ownership, participation in decision-making and benefitsharing early on in the peacebuilding process is therefore a critical condition for lasting peace and development.

To strengthen peacebuilding outcomes by enhancing women’s engagement and empowerment in conflictaffected contexts through sustainable natural resource management, this report recommends that national
governments and the international community take the following action:

  1. Promote women’s participation in formal and informal decision-making structures and governance processes related to natural resource management in peacebuilding: Working with natural resource management authorities can help increase women’s participation in decision-making at the sub-national and national levels. However, targeted support is needed for overcoming the structural, social and cultural barriers to women’s formal and informal political participation in conflict-affected settings. This can be achieved by including women and gender specialists early on in peace negotiations in a variety of positions – as negotiators, as expert advisors and as civil society observers – and in mediation support teams, as well as supporting their capacity to engage effectively in these processes. It also requires ensuring that women are represented in relevant decision-making bodies, including through the use of quotas and soliciting inputs from a broad range of women’s groups and networks when elaborating natural resource management policies. In addition gender experts should be part of teams charged with developing policies and other governance tools around natural resource management in peacebuilding contexts, including in supply-chain certification mechanisms, benefit-sharing schemes, and transparency initiatives. Finally, it is essential to provide training and capacity-building and to support the advocacy efforts of women’s organizations and networks.
  2. Adopt proactive measures to protect women from resource-related physical violence and other security risks early in the peacebuilding period: Women in conflict-affected settings routinely experience physical insecurity, including sexual violence, when carrying out daily tasks linked to the collection and use of natural resources. Moreover, while the impacts of environmental contamination and pollution adversely affect all, women are particularly vulnerable, due to heightened exposure in their gendered roles and responsibilities. Protecting women from these risks is not only important to their health, but also key to ensuring that they are able to safely carry out economic and social activities linked to natural resource management. Among other measures, addressing these risks can involve: conducting assessments to identify specific resource and environment-related security and health threats for women in conflict-affected contexts; ensuring that women have safe access to key resources, such as fuel wood and water, in internally displaced persons and refugee camps; supporting the dissemination of innovative technologies, such as improved cook stoves, that protect women from adverse health impacts in carrying out their roles; increasing women’s participation in security sector institutions and conflict resolution  processes; and supporting awareness-raising and training on women’s rights among the staff of government institutions and the national security sector, as well as at the community level, in order to increase gender-sensitive operational effectiveness and security service delivery by the army and police.
  3. Remove barriers and create enabling conditions to build women’s capacity for productive and sustainable use of natural resources: Access to credit, technical support and benefits from natural resource exploitation is essential to improving women’s economic productivity, which in turn is key to their empowerment. Likewise, legal support for the enforcement of land rights and other resource rights underpins women’s ability to productively use natural resources for their recovery. Achieving this can include: identifying women’s specific roles in key natural resource sectors and how those roles may have been affected during conflict, establishing regular consultative mechanisms with a variety of women’s groups and networks on the development of basic service infrastructure in their communities, prioritizing land negotiation and reform processes that improve women’s rights to land. In addition, providing legal aid, conflict management, negotiation and mediation services to women can enable them to enforce their resource-related rights and access dispute resolution mechanisms. Prioritizing access to finance, inputs and skills training for women and men equally, upholding human rights and minimum labor standards for women’s involvement in the extractive sectors and ensuring private companies operating in the extractive sectors engage both men and women during environmental and social impact assessments, as well as throughout the project cycle can further improve women’s productive and sustainable use of natural resources. Finally, women’s representation on commissions established for wealth-sharing and national and sub-national level and the provision of gender expertise for such bodies, should be prioritized and efforts made to ensure that women are included in community based natural resource management initiatives in conflict-affected settings.
  4. Within the United Nations, increase inter-agency cooperation to pursue women’s empowerment and sustainable natural resource management together in support of more effective peacebuilding: Existing inter-agency mechanisms at the global and country levels should be tasked to address the risks and opportunities presented to women by natural resource management in peacebuilding contexts more systematically in their work, including by: conducting pilot programmes to learn lessons on how to integrate the linkages between women, natural resources and peacebuilding in joint assessments and country programming; ensuring that 15 percent of all funding towards UN-supported natural resource management programmes in peacebuilding is allocated to women’s empowerment and gender equality; requiring the collection of sex and agedisaggregated data on peacebuilding and recovery programmes that address and/or have an impact on natural resource management; developing specific targets related to the participation of women and gender experts in natural resource management in post-conflict countries, in line with the priorities and goals set in the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States and the goals for the post-2015 development agenda; supporting further research on the nexus of women, natural resources and peacebuilding, particularly in areas where significant knowledge gaps remain; and integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment issues in meetings of actors working on addressing the linkages between natural resources, conflict and peacebuilding.” (Stork, Travis, and Halle 2013, 7-8)

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Peacebuilding, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Land Rights, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, Violence

Year: 2013

Frictional Encounters in Postwar Human Rights: An Analysis of LGBTQI Movement Activism in Lebanon


Nagle, John. 2019. "Frictional Encounters in Postwar Human Rights: An Analysis of LGBTQI Movement Activism in Lebanon." The International Journal of Human Rights 24 (4): 357-76.

Author: John Nagle


The advancement of LGBTQI rights is now a significant component of many international aid programmes. The successful diffusion of LGBTQI rights is supposed to rest on a successful interaction between international agencies that foster global rights and social movement actors that embed these processes at the local level. Yet, these encounters between global human rights ideas and local practices may not always generate positive dynamics. Drawing on the concept of ‘friction’ – the unstable qualities of interaction between global and local forces – this paper explores the relationship between international actors promoting LGBTQI rights and local social movement activists in post-conflict societies. I argue that the notion of global rights is particularly problematic in the context of post-conflict societies where rights are allocated on the basis of sectarian identity. To empirically illustrate these issues, I look at LGBTQI social movement activism in the divided society of Lebanon. In particular, I examine the emergence and development of Helem – the first recognised LGBTQI rights group in the Middle East and North Africa – which quickly became the poster child for international development and aid agencies in the Global North.

Keywords: human rights, LGBTQ, post-conflict

Topics: Development, International Law, International Human Rights, International Organizations, LGBTQ, NGOs, Post-Conflict, Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2019

Gender and Statebuilding in South Sudan


Ali, Nada Mustafa. 2011. Gender and Statebuilding in South Sudan. 298. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace. 

Author: Nada Mustafa Ali


"South Sudan’s independence ends decades of conflict as well as socioeconomic and political marginalization at the hands of successive governments in Khartoum, which affected women in gender-specific ways. Independence thus opens up opportunities for women’s economic and social empowerment, ensuring that the new country’s political and economic structures and institutions reflect commitments to women’s participation and human rights. In turn, empowering women will enable South Sudan to strengthen its economic and political structures and institutions.

There is great potential for gender equality and respect for women’s rights in South Sudan. The government has expressed commitments to equality between women and men and to women’s participation. South Sudan is relatively egalitarian and lacking in religious extremism. International actors interested in South Sudan recognize that promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and addressing gender-based violence (GBV) are key to maintaining peace and security and helping South Sudan’s economy grow.

Challenges abound, however. South Sudan is severely lacking in infrastructure and has some of the worst human development indicators worldwide. Social and cultural practices harmful to women compound the effects of conflict and marginalization. There are constant internal and external security threats, a limited understanding of gender equality, and a tendency within communities to view gender as an alien and illegitimate concern, given the acute problems that South Sudan faces.

The government of South Sudan, with the support of regional partners and the international community, should ensure that gender equality and women’s rights are fully integrated into and are outcomes of state building. National planning, developing the permanent constitution, and building the country’s new institutions and structures should reflect commitments to gender equality and input from women and women’s groups across South Sudan. The government should cost and meet the full budgetary needs of the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Welfare; ratify and implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; strengthen efforts to prevent GBV and address the needs of GBV victims and survivors; and invest more in quality and accessible health and education” (Ali 2011, 1-2).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Secessionist Wars, Economies, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: South Sudan

Year: 2011

Transitional Justice, Gender-Based Violence, and Women’s Rights


Fanneron, Evelyn, Eunice N. Sahle, and Kari Dahlgren. 2019. "Transitional Justice, Gender-Based Violence, and Women’s Rights." In Human Rights in Africa: Contemporary Debates and Struggles, edited by Eunice N. Sahle, 89-144. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Authors: Evelyn Fanneron, Eunice N. Sahle, Kari Dahlgren


In this chapter, Evelyn Fanneron, Eunice N. Sahle, and Kari Dahlgren examine sources of gender-based violence in the context of conflict. Further, they explore the gendered underpinnings of transitional justice drawing on transitional justice mechanisms (TJMs in Rwanda and Sierra Leone). The chapter pays particular attention to these TJMs’ approach to wartime sexual violence in order to assess the ways in which they have begun to account for gendered harms and the ways in which they have not yet achieved gendered justice. To achieve its aims, the chapter draws insights from feminist concerns regarding human rights discourse and TJMs’ approaches to gender-based violence and wartime sexual violence.

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Transitional Justice, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Rwanda, Sierra Leone

Year: 2019

Fostering Solidarity for Gender/Ethnic Reincorporation: the Experience of Female Indigenous Ex-Combatants in Tierra Grata, Cesar


Santamaría, Ángela, and Fallon Hernández. 2020. "Fostering Solidarity for Gender/Ethnic Reincorporation: The Experience of Female Indigenous Ex-combatants in Tierra Grata, Cesar." Journal of Gender Studies 29, (2): 117-29.

Authors: Ángela Santamaría, Fallon Hernández


This investigation was developed during the first stage of the implementation of the peace accords in the Transit Normalization Hamlet Zone (TNHZ) of Tierra Grata, Cesar, Colombia in 2017. Through interviews, discussions and ethnographic observation, we reconstructed the trajectories of two indigenous women who contributed to the ethnic reincorporation of female Fuerza Autónoma Revolucionaria del Común (FARC) ex-combatants on a micro-local level. Most ex-combatants are entangled in strong patriarchal ties and have encountered myriad difficulties on their path towards reincorporation. This work seeks to answer the following questions: Who are the main actors of the local reincorporation process? What are their personal trajectories? What are indigenous women's main difficulties with reincorporation from an ethnic and gender perspective in Tierra Grata?

Keywords: reincorporation, FARC, Colombia, indigenous women, ex-combatants

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Indigenous Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2020

When There Is No Justice: Gendered Violence and Harm in Post-conflict Sri Lanka


Davies, Sara E., and Jacqui True. 2017. "When There Is No Justice: Gendered Violence and Harm in Post-conflict Sri Lanka." The International Journal of Human Rights 21 (9): 1320-36.

Authors: Sara E. Davies, Jacqui True


Reparative measures for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) attend to the practical needs of victims while also addressing the long-term structural conditions that led to the violence and often endure after conflict. Over the last decade, transitional justice has sought to address high levels of impunity for SGBV, while also addressing the long-term structural conditions causing and exacerbating it. In this article we study the case of Sri Lanka, where crimes have been committed during and after the civil war (1983–2009) but a transitional justice mechanism to redress them is unlikely to be established. The article considers whether in such a situation of impunity gender-sensitive approaches to SGBV prevention can still be promoted to ensure its non-recurrence. We closely examine post-conflict Sri Lanka and women’s ongoing experiences of multiple forms of insecurity and violence to highlight the relationship between enduring structural gender inequalities and reparative justice. Bridging human rights and political economy approaches, we argue that addressing gender inequalities in access to resources and public space is essential to prevent further gender-based violence and structural harms in conflict-affected countries like Sri Lanka.

Keywords: post-conflict, sexual violence, gender-based violence, gender inequality, human rights, transitional justice, Sri Lanka

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Transitional Justice, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Rights, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2017

Women and Peacebuilding in Uganda


Ball, Jennifer. 2019. “Women and Peacebuilding in Uganda.” In Women, Development and Peacebuilding in Africa: Stories from Uganda, 3–29. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Jennifer Ball


Peacebuilding is typically viewed in international arenas as processes and activities engaged in during periods of post-conflict reconstruction, following on the heels of peacemaking and peacekeeping. The peacebuilders are often outsiders, and usually Westerners. This chapter upends those traditional notions, offering a more holistic view of peacebuilding, and one in which local women are key players. The focus is not merely on reconstruction, but also on the prevention and resolution of violence and conflict, by ensuring the socioeconomic and political conditions in which people’s rights and basic human needs can be met. This chapter looks at the roles of women in peacebuilding, and then at women peacebuilders in the Ugandan context. It notes ways in which Ugandan women at the grassroots have played and continue to play significant and often unheralded roles in fraught situations.

Keywords: peacebuilding, Ugandan women, Mazurana, violent conflict, grassroots

Topics: Class, Conflict, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2019

Gendering the ‘Post-Conflict’ Narrative in Northern Ireland’s Peace Process


Gilmartin, Niall. 2019. "Gendering the ‘Post-Conflict’ Narrative in Northern Ireland’s Peace Process." Capital & Class 43 (1): 89-104. 

Author: Niall Gilmartin


The Good Friday Agreement negotiations gave a unique opportunity for the insertion of women’s rights and equal formal representation in the new post-conflict Northern Ireland. Notwithstanding the robust and unambiguous commitments in the text of the agreement, the primary architects of the peace process, however, situated gender and women’s position as peripheral to the main priorities of ‘guns and government’. While conventional forms of peacebuilding claim to be beneficial for all, evidence from the so-called ‘post-conflict’ period around the world demonstrates a continuity of violence for many women, as well as new forms of violence. This article explores the position of women in Northern Ireland today across a number of issues, including formal politics, community activism, domestic violence and reproductive rights. By doing so, it continues feminist endeavours seeking to problematise the ‘post-conflict’ narrative by gendering peace and security. While the Good Friday Agreement did undoubtedly provide the potential for a new era of gender relations, 20 years on Northern Irish society exhibits all the trademarks and insidious characteristics of a patriarchal society that has yet to undergo a genuine transformation in gender relations. The article argues that the consistent privileging of masculinity and the dominance of male power is a commonality that remains uninterrupted by the peace process.

Keywords: gender, Northern Ireland, peace, post-conflict, security

Topics: Domestic Violence, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Political Participation, Peace Processes, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2019

Gender and the Security Sector: Towards a More Secure Future


Arostegui, Julie L. 2015. "Gender and the Security Sector: Towards a More Secure Future." Connections 14 (3): 7-30.

Author: Julie L. Arostegui


In recent decades, the nature of war has changed dramatically. Internal conflicts are being waged by opposing armed groups, often divided along ideological or ethnic lines that increasingly target civilians and wreak havoc on society with severe physical, psychological, social, political, and economic consequences. With the changed nature of conflict has come an increasing demand to consider its varied effects on women and girls, men and boys, and to address their specific needs before, during, and after conflict. There is also an increasing awareness of the importance of including women in peace and security processes. Women are 50 percent of the population and a critical part of society and, without them, real and sustainable peace cannot be achieved. They are not merely victims of conflict; they also play active roles as combatants, peace builders, politicians, and activists, and are often in the strongest position to bring about peace in their communities. Women around the world have emerged as voices of peace, mobilizing across communities and using their social roles and networks to mediate and mitigate violence. They have demanded attention to the complex issues of peace and peace building, and the needs of the communities involved, rather than to just cease-fires and power sharing. The international community has responded with a framework for addressing women, peace, and security, which includes United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions and binding international law. Regional bodies such as the European Union, NATO, and the African Union have also developed strong frameworks around gender equality and women’s rights in order to build sustainable peace, driven by advocacy by women’s groups and the experiences of conflict. With these changes has also come a paradigm shift in the concept of security from one of state security to human security. Whereas traditionally security involved the protection of borders and state sovereignty, the modern concept of security addresses the security of individuals and communities. It broadens both the nature of security threats such as poverty, discrimination, gender-based violence, lack of democracy and marginalization, and the actors involved, including non-state actors and civil society. It means creating societies that can withstand instability and conflict. It is more than the absence of armed conflict; it is an environment where individuals can thrive.2 A security sector that is based in human security takes into account the differing needs of men, women, boys, and girls, and ensures that the full and equal participation of women addresses the needs of all of the population and helps to establish a more peaceful and secure society. Integrating a gender perspective into the security sector is essential: 1) to abide by universally accepted human rights principles; 2) because when both men and women are involved in decision-making processes, there are better outcomes; and 3) using gender perspectives and mainstreaming increases operational effectiveness" (Arostegui 2015, 7-8).

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Law, International Organizations, Peace and Security, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, Security Sector Reform, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2015


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