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The Regional Women’s Lobby in South East Europe

The Regional Women’s Lobby (RWL) for Peace, Security and Justice in South East Europe (SEE) is composed of women leaders in politics and civil society from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

RWL is committed to empowering women and including a gender perspective in all the politics and activities in the region. The goal of RWL is to strengthen the position of women in democratization and the post-conflict recovery process by advancing justice and reconciliation. RWL is dedicated to ensuring sustainable peace and security through the process of European integration of the region.

The RWL was established at a meeting in Zagreb convened by UNIFEM (now UN Women) at the request of a group of women political leaders from the region in July 2006. The women had previously met informally in 2005 in Dubrovnik, where they were first brought to the table together. In the Zagreb meeting these leaders shared information and exchanged dialogue on the political situation in their countries and the region from a gender perspective.

Recognizing that the attainment of lasting peace depends on achieving security for all peoples of SEE, the RWL seeks to promote a people-centered definition of security that transcends traditional military-centered notions of state security and places focus on the individual well-being of women and men.

Members of the RWL are committed to combating all forms of violence, including gender-based violence, as well as all forms of religious and political extremism that undermine a culture of human rights, human security, and peace.

Participation in the RWL is grounded in mutual respect for diversity and the rights and dignity of all people, based on adherence to non-violence, non-discrimination, and respect for international human rights norms and legal standards.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and other international conventions and instruments call upon state parties to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict. During the war and in its aftermath, women of South East Europe were denied protection from gender-based violence including rape. Women were also at the forefront of efforts to advance justice, peace and reconciliation. Nevertheless, today women still continue to be largely absent from official peace making processes.

Established as a reputable body to engage in high level political analysis and advocacy, the RWL serves as a platform to for increasing women’s participation in and influence over political decision making, thus contributing to the implementation of UNSCR 1325.

Towards achieving its mission, the RWL seeks to mobilize support and engage in partnership regionally and globally with diverse strategic actors, including:
• progressive media (national, regional and global);
• women political leaders and men political leaders dedicated to the RWL cause;
• women’s peace networks as well as youth networks;
• security actors, including national police and army, as well as regional actors such as NATO, EU, and UN peace keeping forces;
• mainstream think tanks, experts groups focused on human rights, peace and security and inter-ethnic dialogue… more

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