Women Play an Important Role in Ending Hostilities and Forging Reconciliation

Dec 9, 2016


Jakarta, December 9, 2016 – Women have contributed significantly in ending hostilities and paving the way to resolutions of conflicts in many places in Indonesia. The Hidden Pearls – Heroic Stories of Women Peace Builders is a collection of lessons learned from conflict areas including Ambon, Aceh, and Poso. The book was produced by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of N-Peace, and launched today with a panel discussion at Plaza Indonesia.

“UNDP believes that today, when Indonesia as a united country with diverse ethnicities and religion, is going through tension and challenges, the experience of the women we will hear from will be an inspiration and valuable lesson for the future,” Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Indonesia Country Director said at his opening remarks.

The panelists in the discussion were Yenny Wahid, Director of Wahid Foundation; Suraiya Kamaruzzaman, defender of women’s rights in Aceh and 2012 N-Peace Award winner; Electronita Duan, advocate of women’s economic empowerment in Tobelo, North Maluku, and 2011 N-Peace Award winner; Dr. Suprayoga Hadi, Director General for the Development of Special Region, Ministry of Village, disadvantaged Region, and Transmigration, and 2013 N-Peace Award winner as male advocate of gender equality for peace building; and Syamsul Tarigan, UNDP Indonesia’s National Project Manager, who published the book. The discussion was moderated by the book author Dwi Rubiyanti Kholifah, who is also a 2016 N-Peace Award recipient.

Kamaruzzaman spoke passionately about the need to have a gender expert present in a peace agreement, something she regretted the 2005 Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to end Aceh’s separatist conflict missed.

Kamaruzzaman lamented that while the MOU, which made it possible for the province to enforce Islamic laws, was “gender neutral”, the exclusion of women from the post-conflict leadership and governance has led to the passage of discriminatory provisions toward women. 

 “Forget demanding our rights, we weren’t even allowed to speak up,” she said.

Wahid opened her remarks with the Wahid Foundation’s recent survey that found 11 million Indonesians had the potential to turn into radicalism. The Wahid Foundation tries to forge tolerance by nudging people, especially women, to socialize with people of different ethnicity and religion.

“Most people today only know people who are just like them. Christian women gather only with their church groups and Muslim women with their prayer groups. It’s hard to understand people you know nothing about,” Wahid said.

The book launch and discussion was held as part of UNDP’s support of UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, known as #16DaysOfActivism. 

N-Peace is a multi-country network of peace advocates in Asia that seeks to advance women, peace and security issues. The N-Peace Awards are an annual recognition of women and men who demonstrate leadership in building peace and empowering their communities.

To download a copy of The Hidden Pearls book, click here.


Contact Information :

Alice Budisatrijo
UNDP Communications Specialist

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Indonesia 
Go to UNDP Global