Samtal efter Kriget har inget kvinnligt ansikte på Dramaten. Foto: Kvinna till Kvinna/ Alice Ilmenska
I 200 år har Sverige varit skonat från krig. Här är det fredligt och tryggt. Kriget, eller rättare sagt, en massa olika krig, härjar någon annanstans. Det är där, långt bortom Sveriges gränser, som människor går igenom krigets fasor. Det är där borta människor dör, förlorar sina nära och kära, sina hem, sitt allt. Det är där borta som mänskliga trauman och smärtsamma minnen kommer till och lever i människors medvetande, ruinerar liv i flera generationer. Men inte här.
This month, May 2014, marks exactly twenty years since the formal ceasefire declaration in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Yet for Armenians and Azerbaijanis who were divided by the conflict, the past twenty years have been marked by political animosity, one-sided media coverage, regular ceasefire violations and needless soldier deaths. For most people, twenty years have passed without a single opportunity to meet someone from the other side, let alone make friends with them. The effects of this are particularly pronounced on the generation born during and after the war, who have no memories of peaceful coexistence and no idea what life is like on the other side of the border. Civil society organisations, including several women’s NGOs, have done their best to bridge this gap, offering young people a stake in a shared future, in spite of their divided present.
In recent weeks, the situation for these organisations has been marked by growing political tensions in the region. Events in Ukraine, particularly the fate of the Crimean peninsula, have highlighted the disparities between the official Armenian and Azerbaijani perspectives on the conflict, while awakening common fears of yet another Russian military intervention in the Caucasus. With Armenia set to join the Eurasian Customs Union, and Azerbaijan facing increasing isolation within Europe owing to its mounting human rights violations, it seems that the lines are becoming more firmly entrenched. Last month, when an Azerbaijani journalist was arrested accused of spying for Armenia, many feared that this marked the beginning of the end for organisations involved in cross-border activities.
With the mission of presenting the first ever civil society monitoring report on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the organisations Society Without Violence and Women’s Resource Centre were selected to represent Armenian civil society in New York last week.
Anna Arutshyan, Society Without Violence and Emmicki Roos, Operation 1325, outside the office of the Armenian mission to the UN. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna/Christina Hagner.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh started in 1988. In 1994, with the involvement of the Minsk Group, a ceasefire was achieved. Since then the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is defined as a frozen conflict.
Armenia being a very patriarchal society and experiencing several hardships at this time (the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Armenia, blockade and an earthquake) totally neglected the issue of sexual and gender-based violence during the conflict and post-conflict period. But the war seriously affected women living in the southern part of Armenia, who were directly involved in the conflict.
In 2013 a monitoring group for UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (mainly consisting of women’s groups) was established in Armenia. Thanks to the involvement of the expert Emmicki Roos from Operation 1325, and with support of Kvinna till Kvinna, it was possible for this group to launch the first ever civil society monitoring report in Armenia. I would say, that quite a few challenges arose when trying to produce this report, since Armenia does not have a National Action Plan (NAP) under the UNSCR 1325, which made the collection of necessary data quite hard.