We are delighted to announce that our partners in Sri Lanka, the Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation (CPBR), have been awarded the prestigious Niwano Peace Prize. It is the first time in ten years that the award has been given to an organisation, rather than an individual, and is testament to the power of local peacebuilding.
Sunday 8 March 2015 is International Women’s Day. Women in conflict is a topic that gets much attention – often for the disproportionate effects that war, violence and conflict have on women as victims. But this is not the only story. While it is true that women are often disproportionately affected by conflict, they are also some of the most powerful voices for peace.
This month’s surprise election result in Sri Lanka highlights the crucial need for peacebuilding in this post-war country. Commentators warn of the potential for instability as incoming President Maithripala Sirisena seeks to lead a mixed coalition of ethnic, religious and ideological parties. A peaceful transfer of power is crucial, to avoid a recurrence of the tensions that have caused civil war in the past. Our local partners CPBR have worked for a decade to defuse tensions between religious and ethnic groups on the island and to promote peace between the diverse Sri Lanka communities.
The impact of conflict on women is often overlooked, despite the effects being clear. Ninety per cent of all casualties sustained are civilian, of which a significant amount are women. That’s why we believe a female perspective is integral to the peacebuilding process. With our help, women in conflict zones are now taking action to promote peace both within their local communities and further afield.