Women and Gender Issues in Peacebuilding: Lessons Learned from Timor-Leste

Authored by: Sumie Nakaya

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Peacemaking, Political Transitions, Security Sector Reform (SSR), Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Timor-Leste
Region: East Asia and the Pacific
Year: 2011
Citation: Nakaya, Sumie. "Women and Gender Issues in Peacebuilding: Lessons Learned from Timor-Leste." Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice, edited by 'Funmi Olonisakin, Karen Barnes, and Eka Ikpe, 155-69. New York: Routledge, 2011.

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Executive Summary

This chapter analyses violence against women in post-war Timor-Leste, especially in the context of institutional change in the transition from war to peace. The chapter focuses on violence against women not only because it persists in post-conflict states, despite the enhanced political participation and representation of women in decision-making, as the Timor example highlights, but also because civilian security is one of the fundamental requirements of the peacebuilding process. In particular, this chapter addresses three issues related to the political, economic and social dimensions of peacebuilding and the role of women in this process, particularly in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). These include, first, the rule of law, including the reform of criminal codes, the police, the judiciary, and civil and family law; second, the peacekeeping economy and its impact on the sexual exploitation of women; and third, the reform of public administration. These areas are directly related to the role of UN transitional assistance in post-conflict states, including in Timor-LEste, where the policies and priorities of external actors could have an enduring impact on gender relations. Notwithstanding cultural and other local factors that affect the status of women, these institutional frameworks determine the scope of post-war violence generally, not only against women, because institutions established in the process of the post-war transition are based on the realignment of power among groups engaged in civil war violence.