OSCE SMM Chief Monitor highlights women’s role in search for peace in eastern Ukraine


On March 8, Ertugrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, highlighted the invaluable roles women play on a daily basis in the ongoing search for peace in eastern Ukraine. He called for greater inclusion of women in high-level decision-making forums dealing with peace and security.

Speaking on International Women’s Day, the Ambassador said there was a clear need to integrate a gender perspective and include more women in decision-making processes. “From OSCE SMM monitoring and reporting on the ground in eastern Ukraine to the halls of power, the engagement and empowerment of women must be recognized and encouraged,” he said. “This is both the right and the optimal thing to do, as security and stability will remain compromised as long as the perspectives and resources of more than half the population remain underutilized.”

Apakan said that in many conflicts women had been instrumental in bridging the gap between opposing sides, even though their efforts have seldom been recognized. He referred to the findings of the OSCE SMM’s monitoring throughout Ukraine, which revealed high levels of female participation and engagement in facilitating dialogue, providing humanitarian relief and helping displaced people in the local communities. “Their involvement in issues relating to internally displaced persons has in particular been notable, not only in terms of providing solutions to concrete problems but also in providing a bridge between the displaced and host communities,” he said. “Such bridge-building must be encouraged and replicated in wider efforts to restore peace.”

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe