Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Director of the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security, has called for a rethink by the international community of its approach to resolving conflict. Speaking to The Mediator’s Studio, a podcast from the Oslo Forum annual retreat of senior mediators and negotiators, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini MBE argues that victims of conflict must be represented at peace talks.
Naraghi Anderlini, who is also Director of the NGO she founded, the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), believes that the nature of warfare has changed and that our systems for dealing with conflict must adapt. “Wars,” she says have “come into people’s homes” and are no longer “in the hands of political and military elites.”
“That’s such an idealistic version of Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, whatever war we’re dealing with right now. And yet our systems keep replicating the same flawed process that doesn’t work. That’s the definition of madness.”
She maintains there must be a shift in mindset from power-sharing to responsibility sharing. “What I think we should do is to say as a global community, okay we’re going to be talking about responsibility sharing. But if you want to be part of this, then you have to recognise that you have a responsibility to bring water to people. If you’re going to be finance minister, how are you going to finance the recovery and the reconstruction?”
Naraghi Anderlini, a key architect of the milestone UN resolution 1325 unanimously adopted by the Security Council in October 2000 on the inclusion of women in peacemaking, argues robustly that women have a transformative impact in the search for peace and must always be included.
She points to the example of Yemen, where it was agreed that one significant element of the negotiations would be the release of detainees. “Fast forward a few months and the UN really has not been able to do very much at all. But the mothers of the detainees, as a group of Yemeni women, they’ve released over 600 detainees. These women care because it’s their kids and their sons and their husbands and they are able to talk within the local cultural context. They bring their own humanity to the story. How do you say no to a mom?”