While violence and conflict have a broadly negative impact on communities and their development, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 recognized that “women and children account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict … and [are] increasingly targeted by combatants and armed elements.” However, women are not only victims of violence and conflict; they also play important roles in international peace and security efforts, including conflict resolution and peacebuilding. However, these roles as they relate to terrorism and violent extremism have remained less explored by policymakers and practitioners. This is particularly important as the impact of armed conflict on women may be further exacerbated by terrorist and violent extremist groups operating in conflict-affected areas, and vice versa.
This workshop, hosted by CGCC and the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) with support from the government of Norway, provided a platform for regional experts and practitioners from a range of professional and national backgrounds to explore the gender dimension of violence and extremism and the ongoing and potential contributions of women in strengthening community resilience to address these challenges in South Asia. Participants offered perspectives from the realms of development, education, the rule of law, and conflict resolution and considered how the roles of women in these areas contribute to challenging violent extremist groups and narratives. Also, the discussions addressed the role that women could play in supporting and facilitating radicalization and violence and how programs have reached out to them. The notable achievements of women and civil society in South Asia were highlighted and offered valuable lessons which may inform responses to violence and extremism in other parts of the world that are confronting similar challenges.
Participants considered the international framework for countering violent extremism (CVE) and offered recommendations and insights for how the development of policy and practice might be informed by some of the particular regional challenges in South Asia as well as the opportunities for engagement in their own communities and countries. Recommendations for intra-regional and international efforts will form part of the outcome documents of this project.
This workshop is part of a series of workshops undertaken by CGCC and ISAS to explore the roles of experts and practitioners in strengthening regional security cooperation in South Asia, particularly on counterterrorism and countering violent extremism. They complement a series of workshops for regional law enforcement officials in South Asia organized by CGCC and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).