News - the British Community Council, Lisbon
Women have vital role in preventing and resolving conflict
At an event to mark the UN nternational Women’s Day, the UK’s Ambassador to Portugal has called on international actors to back words with practical actions that empower women to get involved in conflict resolution.
Addressing an international audience, which included a number of diplomatic representatives, at St Andrew’s Church, Lisbon, Ambassador Jill Gallard said, “Conflict has a disproportionate effect on women”. She advocated supporting women’s roles in peace building, noting that women were still often undervalued, overlooked or untapped.
Drawing attention to UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, Ambassador Gallard shared simple ideas that the UK government has implemented in shaping the international community’s role in preventing and resolving conflict. “It might be as simple as ensuring that women’s needs are taken into account when organising seminars – providing childcare – or ensuring women’s voices are included as in the recently funded Darfur-Darfur dialogue event where attendance was 30% female”.
Rev Graham McGeoch, minister of St Andrew’s Chruch, welcomed Ambassador Gallard’s words, particularly her suggestion that the international community “provide funding for grassroots women’s organisations, mediators, and peacebuilding groups to help strengthen civil society”.
Quoting the recent “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace”, Rev McGeoch shared that the churches concur that women often bear the brunt of conflicts and that any investment in the prevention and resolution of conflict must go beyond strategies of work for peace and be rooted in human lives bearing witness to being agents of reconciliation.
“This is what the churches mean when we speak of Just Peace”, he added. St Andrew’s Church is a charge of the Church of Scotland in the Presbytery of Europe. It has been offering English-language worship in the Reformed tradition in Portugal since 1866. It is fully committed to ecumenical and inter-faith relations. For more information visit: www.standrewslisbon.com
For more information contact:
Rev Graham McGeoch +351 218 043 410 (manse)
+351 911 768 818 (mobile)