News & Updates 27 September 2023

Regional: AJAR, TJAN Mark Peace Day with Discussion on Grassroots Peacebuilding Efforts in Asia-Pacific

To celebrate International Day of Peace 2023, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) and Transitional Justice Asia Networks hold a public discussion with the theme, “Action for Peace:  Global Discourse, Progress and Learning from Communities Initiative for Sustainable Peace and Accountability in the Region”. The central objective of the vent was to highlight the significance of inclusivity, diversity, and collaboration in peacebuilding efforts. The event recognized that true peace could only be achieved when all voices were heard and represented. Through the discussions, the aim was to promote cooperation among governments, civil society, and international organizations to address global peace challenges comprehensively.

The event, conducted through a hybrid method in Sabang, and on Zoom on Thursday, 21 September 2023, from 14.30 to 17.00 GMT+7, featured three distinguished resource persons. Manuela Leong Pereira, Director of Association Chega ba Ita (ACbit), Pauline Firisua, Chairwoman of The Solomon Islands Trauma Healing Association (SITHA), and  Natascha Zupan, Head of Global Learning Hub for Transitional Justice and Reconciliation. 

Manuela delved into the initiatives led by women survivors in strengthening peace and accountability in Timor Leste. “Our goal is to help women victims and survivors while promoting peace. We aim to bring joy and hope for a better future. Through participatory action research, survivors were sharing stories and building skills. We empower people to take action. We also involve their families in the efforts. We’re working on national programs like CAVR, honoring heroes and victims.” She also reviewed the implementation of the National Action Plan 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security in Timor Leste, shedding light on the vital role of women in building and maintaining peace. “We believe it’s important for women to be active participants. It is challenging to ensure women survivors are part of these discussions, but we’re committed to overcoming it.” 

Pauline shared insights into the survivors’ situation and resilience in promoting peace and accountability in the Solomon Islands. “Looking back on our work, it’s clear we’re facing some big challenges. The Truth and Reconciliation Act, which started in September 2008 with help from AJAR and ICTJ, was a big step. But we’re still not where we need to be because of the Lack of specific peacebuilding platforms provided by TRC researches and statement takers for us to build peace effectively.” She mentioned how there are many abnormal behaviors in the community, rooted from past trauma. The church and cultural beliefs help build resilience among the community. But without government support, it’s only negative peace, not positive peace. “The government has not provided supporting peaceful inclusive space for dialogue, where women and youth participated in peace processes and leadership. Government is still lacking in capacity and training, research, study and analysis.”

Natascha contributed to the global discourse on conflict transformation and peacebuilding. She shared challenges, lessons, and good practices on civil society initiatives for promoting peace and accountability, providing a broader perspective on the global efforts in this crucial domain. 

The discussion was moderated by Amalia Suri, regional program officer of AJAR Amalia Suri, ensuring a thoughtful exploration of the topics and fostering a dynamic and enriching conversation among the resource persons.

As the world celebrated the International Day of Peace in 2023, it will be remembered as a call to action. The discussions and insights shared during the event inspired individuals, communities, and nations to take concrete steps towards peace, justice, and the attainment of the #GlobalGoals. In a world yearning for unity, the celebration stood as a beacon of hope, reminding all that through collaboration and commitment, a future where peace prevails could be built.

The significance of this transformative event is immortalized in the form of a comprehensive graphic recording, visually capturing the essence of the discussions, the resilience of the speakers, and the collective commitment to fostering a world marked by sustainable development, justice, and enduring peace. For those who missed the live event or wish to revisit its impactful moments, the graphic recording is available on YouTube [here](insert YouTube link).