Women's Participation in Local Mediation: Lessons from Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen
Largely excluded from formal mediation roles, women across conflict-affected countries in the Arab region have been instrumental in diffusing tensions and mediating conflicts in their own communities. UN Women’s new report “Women's Participation in Local Mediation: Lessons from Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen” sheds light on the diverse mediation roles women have played to resolve conflict and restore social cohesion in their communities. Drawing on various case studies from the four conflict-affected countries, the report demonstrates how women have mediated ceasefires and a halt to violations against civilians, brokered the release of political prisoners, prevented and resolved tribal conflicts and engaged in cross-line negotiations to secure access to water and other vital resources. Yet, their contributions to peace go largely unrecognized. The invisibility and marginalization of women’s efforts means their work is less documented and understood, posing a challenge for those wishing to support them. The report makes a series of recommendations to support women’s local mediation while stressing the importance of understanding the local contexts where women mediators operate and providing assistance in a way that ensures their safety and security.