As Mothers of the Land: the Birth of the Bougainville Women for Peace and Freedom

Authored by: Josephine Tankunani Sirivi and Marilyn Taleo Havini

Categories: Peace Support Operations, Statebuilding, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Peacemaking, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Country: Papua New Guinea
Region: East Asia and the Pacific
Year: 2004
Citation: Sirivi, Josephine Tankunani., and Marilyn Taleo. Havini. As Mothers of the Land the Birth of the Bougainville Women for Peace and Freedom. Sydney: Pandanus, 2004.

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Executive Summary

Bougainville is a matrilineal society where women are the custodians of the land, some with chiefly roles. Women’s participation as a group has advanced the peace process in Bougainville since their inclusion in the 1997 negotiations. Yet, without a permanent record, there will be no history of women’s valuable contributions to peace. This book tells the story of one of the deadliest crises of the last decades-the Bougainville conflict-and the peace process that followed, not through the eyes of politicians or military leaders, but through the personal accounts of Bougainville aboriginal women whose commitment and determination played a crucial part in the resolution of the conflict. As mothers of the Land is about women from all sides of the conflict who rose up against division and hatred and stood united in their determination to build a lasting peace. These personal accounts bring invaluable insights into the Bougainville conflict and peace process. They shed light on Bougainville women’s unique contribution to the search for peace.