The embassy hosted the debate in connection with International Women's Day.

Swedish police are working with Jordanian police in the field of pre-deployment training for peace keeping missions. Photo: Helena Rietz


The link between women, peace and security is arguably of special importance in a country like Jordan. Jordan is one of the major contributors of personnel to UNs peace keeping missions with over a thousand military and police staff in nine missions worldwide. It is also a country which is deeply affected by the Syria Crisis in terms of economic, social and not least security related terms. It hosts more than 600 000 Syrian refugees and a large number of refugees from other regional conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

Given the proximity to the Syria conflict and Jordan’s important contributions to international peace keeping, the Embassy in Amman has engaged Jordanians on several fronts to highlight the importance of women in these contexts; not only their key role in achieving sustainable peace, but also of their special needs and human rights in conflict situations.

In connection to International Women’s Day, the Embassy and Swedish NGO Kvinna till Kvinna launched the report Peacebuilding defines our future now: A study of women’s peace activism in Syria in Amman. The report is written by the Badael Foundation, a Syrian NGO. It details the tireless efforts of women inside Syria to reduce violence through various means; by preventing recruitment of child soldiers, by promoting peaceful co-existence between ethnic groups in areas beset by conflict and through economic empowerment for women to support their families. All of which are done despite difficult if not impossible circumstances and at great personal risk.

The report formed the basis for a panel debate with a focus on the Syria peace negotiations. How can the international community ensure that Syrian women of all backgrounds are included in peace talks and have meaningful influence at the outcome of the talks? What can Jordan do to help Syrian refugee women in order to become forces for peacebuilding in their own communities, in Jordan and when they return to rebuild Syria? The debate included engaging perspectives from Jordanian NGOs, UN representatives, Syrians residing in Jordan and the Swedish MFA.

Partnerships and working together

Sweden is also working together with Jordanian police in the field of pre- deployment training for peace keeping missions. Sweden, like Jordan, is a considerable contributor to peace keeping missions and there are positive experiences from both sides of working together on the field. The Swedish Police is world leading in the field of pre-deployment training and gender sensitive learning material.

The focus of the police cooperation is on building capacity of the Jordanian police to make sure that all staff receives specialized training on the protection, special needs and human rights of women and children in conflict situations. What is important is not only what is taught but also how it is carried out. Here, Jordan is encouraged to allow more female peacekeepers to their missions as well as having them come back as trainers to provide important and hands-on perspectives.

The goal with the training is for Jordan to live up to the standards set by the UN for its peacekeepers and a full understanding of the mandate of peace keeping, which means the protection and human rights for all.

By summer, the Jordanian police will be formally inspected by the UN with the aim of achieving an official certificate for their adherence to international training standards, including in the responsibilities of dedicating special attention to women’s rights. Work efforts with the Swedish Police are currently at full speed!

In conclusion, our most compelling observation is the importance of addressing structural problems of gender inequality in ensuring women’s role in preventing and solving conflict. Here, the international community, including Jordan, still has a lot to do. The prevalence of inequality inevitably affects the understanding of women in conflict and the importance also of involving women as peacemakers. Promoting women’s rights in times of peace is as such just as important as promoting the rights of women in times of conflict.

 

Text: Josefine Hellgren, Deputy Head of Mission at The Swedish Embassy in Amman, Jordan