After two weeks of talks and intensive negotiations, the Commission on the Status of Women was concluded on 23 March and the agreed conclusions adopted. On the agenda were women’s and girls’ rights, with a focus on women in rural areas, which was the theme of this year’s meeting. Despite a tougher world climate, progress has been made. The final document now contains important formulations on the fight against violence and sexual harassment, protection of women human rights defenders, and sexuality education in schools, as well as the right of women to own land.

It took the Iraqi army three years to break Daesh/ISIL’s territorial hold of Iraq, which at one point amounted to a third of the country. The war against Daesh/ISIL resulted in large-scale destruction and humanitarian needs on a massive scale. At its peak, over 5 million Iraqis fled their homes and just under half are still waiting to go back.
Many of the major cities formerly held by Daesh/ISIL were completely destroyed as a result of the conflict. One example is Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, renowned for its rich cultural and historical heritage. Following the liberation of the city in July 2017, the focus is now on rebuilding basic infrastructure so that internally displaced persons can go back to their homes and resume some form of normality. However, the challenges of doing so are turning out to be a lot greater than anyone had expected. The Embassy visited Mosul to observe the work of the UN in the area and to see the challenges of stabilisation in the aftermath of war.

On 11 December, the Swedish Embassy in Mexico hosted a seminar on how the gender perspective could be enhanced in the analysis and protective measures offered by the Mexican government to protect journalists and human rights defenders. The event took place in connection with International Human Rights Day, which this year particularly focused on freedom of expression, and the two-week campaign to highlight and combat violence against women.

There is an important story about women, peace and security that needs to be told.
We are putting the spotlight on women who have paved the way – the bold and the brave – and we know there are and can be many more of them.
We are pushing for #MoreWomenMorePeace.