Over the years, Inter Pares has invested in building knowledge and relationships in Canada and internationally concerning the role of women in situations of conflict, post-conflict, peacebuilding, and processes of truth, justice and reparation. This has led to an understanding that while the role of women in challenging impunity for human rights abuses perpetrated against their families and communities is widely recognized and made the centre of peace programming, rarely do women speak about the violence perpetrated against themselves, particularly when it involves sexual violence. Inter Pares and our counterparts from Asia, Africa and Latin America have developed a close collaboration in promoting and protecting the human rights of women who have been victimized in this way, as well as their rights for access to justice and reparations.
Building on this trust and solidarity, Inter Pares is able to act as a responsible convener by bringing people and organizations together around shared agendas: identifying and reinforcing means of effective collaboration; researching, documenting and sharing diverse approaches to social transformation; articulating policy options gleaned from a rich diversity of experience; and nurturing sustainable relationships among the various organizations with which we work.
It is in this spirit that Inter Pares convened a Roundtable, entitled “Women’s Struggles for Justice: Confronting Sexual Violence Against Women in Armed Conflict,” with over 20 participants from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Canada. The one-and-a-half-day Roundtable in September 2007 was held in order to deepen our knowledge and broaden our understanding on the issue of sexual violence in armed conflict, drawing on the diversity of contextual analyses and experiences of our counterparts.