Peacewomen: ‘no secret, the world of war is a world of men’
Swiss human rights fighter and feminist Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold presented to participants of the Caux Forum for Human Security the ‘No Women – No Peace’ temporary exhibition in the IofC conference centre on Tuesday, 12 July.
The former Swiss member of parliament and of the Council of Europe said, ‘It is no secret: the world of armaments, of proliferation, or war budgets is a world of men, of generals, of so-called war heroes.’ Women are not better than men, she conceded, ‘they often support war and destruction, rally behind the war heroes and ignore the consequences’. But it was mainly women who then took on the ‘responsibility to rebuild destroyed societies and care for traumatised people’, she continued. ‘Wreckage-woman are patch-workers in about 160 existing conflict zones,’ she went on. They don’t have budgets of millions, peace budgets don’t exist, even though the reconstruction and peace-building takes longer and costs more, because it takes longer, she argued.
It was with this in mind that she and others had launched the idea that 1000 women peace-makers should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, an unsuccessful bid, but it had led to a continuing developing world network of women – and more than 1000 exhibitions like the one in Caux until the end of the conferences. As President of ‘1000 PeaceWomen Across the Globe’, and through her work with the Council of Europe in many conflict regions, Vermot-Mangold had met many courageous women doing peace work in extremely dangerous surroundings. They obtain food and medicine, look for missing persons, care for orphans and condemn and document murder, rapes, abductions, clear landmines. They take to the streets and organize vigils and round tables. Speaking to an international audience in the CAUXexpo, she concluded, ‘We are convinced that they should not return again to anonymity. This is our common responsibility. Peace work never ends, it starts again and again.’
The exhibition can be visited until 8 August 2011 in the CAUXexpo.