Women’s Contribution to PCVE Efforts in ASEAN
In March 2021, the ASEAN Study on Women, Peace, and Security mentioned four main findings regarding Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) in ASEAN, namely: First, that the agenda of mainstreaming WPS in preventing violent extremism in ASEAN member countries can be carried out through the development of various relevant action plans and that the process of their implementation is monitored through the Regional Action Plans on WPS in member countries. Second, that the peace network, peace building, and women’s peacekeeping are new developments in the ASEAN region. Third, that the WPS approach is increasingly being applied to P/CVE and non-traditional security issues, although there is still protection in handling cases of sexual and gender-based violence in the context of conflict, including crisis prevention and conflict prevention. Lastly, the ASEAN pillar: political security, economic, and socio-cultural communities have been involved in the WPS agenda to build institutional foundations and further regional integration (Phelan et al, 2022).
These are some of the contributions that woman make in PCVE efforts in ASEAN:
The Indonesian government, through the National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism that Leads to Terrorism (RAN PE), has facilitated civil society organizations. Women play a key role in designing and implementing initiatives to prevent violent extremism, both from a gender perspective and through the monitoring of RAN PE. Various activities at the national and local levels proportionally involve women as discussion participants as well as PCVE policy designers in Indonesia.
In 2019, the Philippine Government also implemented NAP PE which facilitates the participation of women in security and conflict prevention. The Philippines is also establishing international cooperation with UN Women to ensure a more inclusive approach.
In Malaysia, they recognize that a counter-hardline approach is not sufficient to address the overall threat and a P/CVE approach is required to respond to the threat. Malaysia’s National Action Plan to Combat and Prevent Violent Extremism (NAPCPVE) is expected to include the contribution of women in NAPCPVE.
Thailand and Cambodia
Thailand and Cambodia both have had broader conflict resolution from a gendered perspective and an acknowledgment of the disproportionate impact of conflict on women.
Brunei Darussalam has supported and shown its approval of P/CVE issues at the regional and global levels that include a gendered perspective in its PCVE efforts. Meanwhile, in Singapore, the country’s National Cybercrime Action Plan (NCAP) includes a gendered perspective in the regulation.
Phelan et al (2022) said this report mentions that Indonesia can be a relevant example regarding the inclusion of women in the prevention of extremism which can also be applied in other ASEAN countries. While ASEAN countries across the region have responded to the need for gender-responsive policies towards P/CVE programs and strategies, it is important to delve into the specific gender dynamics that have a key role in radicalization, recruitment and participation particularly in social media.
Development of Women PCVE initiatives in ASEAN Countries
ASEAN in the Implementation of Women, Peace and Security Agenda in ASEAN and ASEAN Member State section of the prevention sector mentioned that this field: Calls for improving intervention strategies in the prevention of violence against women, including by prosecuting those responsible for violations of international law; strengthening women’s rights under national law; and supporting local women’s peace initiatives and conflict resolution processes (UNSCR 1325 in ASEAN, 2021). Women play unique roles in inculcating ideology and some have facilitated atrocities against local communities (Johnston & True, 2019 in ASEAN, 2021). Women and girls can be simultaneously victims of sexual or gender-based violence, recruiters, fundraisers, and perpetrators—and international terror organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant understand and take advantage of these realities (Sharlan & Feely, 2019 in ASEAN, 2021). In this regard, the following are the efforts of the Development of Women PCVE initiatives in ASEAN Countries:
In line with the United Nations Security General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, Malaysia is currently taking initial steps toward the development of a National Plan of Action to Counter and Prevent Violent Extremism (NAPPCVE) (Government of Malaysia, 2021 in ASEAN, 2021). The Malaysian government will establish a P/CVE effort that not only uses a hard approach, but also a soft approach that is more inclusive within its P/CVE framework.
As one of the countries that encourages PCVE efforts in ASEAN. Indonesia through BNPT supports efforts to increase the role of women in conflict prevention. In addition, regional WPS Working Groups were also formed in 10 conflict-sensitive provinces, especially in: Bengkulu, Lampung, West Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, East Java and Papua. It aims to encourage the contribution of women in the fight against intolerance and extremism.
As a Moderate Islamic state, Brunei Darussalam’s role as well as a party to the ASEAN Manila Declaration to Counter the rise of Radicalisation and violent extremism is invaluable to consider the role of the WPS Agenda in supporting efforts to counter and prevent violent extremism (PVE) and other non-traditional security issues in ASEAN.
In Cambodia, the Women Peace Makers Organization (WPM), a peacebuilding network led by women and youth, tackles conflict and communally combats violence against women. The Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT) is also working to build peace through education, training, research, and practice, to transform the post-conflict environment by addressing fundamental needs and building sustainable relationships. The organization was actively involved in the process of formulating the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women (NAPVW) in Cambodia.
In Laos, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) has worked with governments and religious communities to advance freedom of belief through mutual understanding and peaceful relations. IGE trains and supports the Laos Peacebuilding Team – a volunteer group made up of Catholic laypeople, Protestant clergy, Baha’i community leaders, and Lao Buddhist monks – which brings together government and civil society leaders at the provincial and district levels to discuss the importance of religious freedom (ASEAN, 2021).
In Myanmar, some CSOs have promoted a more participatory and inclusive conflict mitigation approach at the local level although they have not succeeded in significantly changing the traditional approach that has been used so far (ASEAN, 2021).
In the Philippines, 36 different organizations from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao working on issues of peace, human rights, and women designed and implemented The National Action on Women, Peace and Security (NAPWPS) as well as Local Action Plans (LAPs).
Furthermore in Thailand, In April 2015, more than 20 women-led groups formed the Women’s Agenda for Peace (WAP) network, now known as the Peace Agenda of Women (PAOW). PAOW promotes an increased role for women in peacebuilding and peace negotiations. The network helped establish the Southern Border Provinces Administration Center’s Coordination Center for Children and Women in the Southern Border Provinces (2019), and both the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson are women (USAID, 2022).
Meanwhile in Vietnam, The Vietnam Women’s Union worked with the police, the army, and government agencies to design the “Envision 2019: Year of Safety for Women and Children” and encouraged the active participation of women in comprehensive reforms of the security and public order sector (ASEAN, 2021).
Finally, in learning from women’s contributions to the PCVE effort in ASEAN, it is important to identify potential to incorporate gendered perspectives, and be wary of entry points for misogyny, into policies and practices that incorporate elements of risk management and the active involvement of Women-led CSOs and civil society to strengthen P/CVE strategies (Phelan et al, 2022).
- ASEAN. (2021). ASEAN Regional Study on Women, Peace, and Security. ASEAN, USAID PROSPECT, and UN WOMEN.
- Lisa Sharland and Genevieve Feely. (2019). Women, Peace and Security: Defending Progress and responding to emerging challenges. Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Accessed on http://www.jstor.com/stable/resrep23028
- Information provided by the Government of Malaysia on January 4, 2021.
- Melissa Johnston and Jacqui True. (2019). Misogyny & Violent Extremism: Implications for Preventing Violent Extremism. UN Women and Monash University. Accesed on https://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2019/10/misogyny- violent-extremism
- Phelan, A., Gayatri, I. H., True, J., Marddent, A., Morales, Y. R., & Gamao, S. J. (2022). Gender Analysis of Violent Extremism and the Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in ASEAN: Evidence-Based Research for Policy. Government of Canada and the Republic of Korea