"Women for Peace" roundtable supports the inclusion of refugees in host communities

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The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova hosted a roundtable entitled "Women for Peace" on 21 September. Honouring the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the event was organised by the Parliament and the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova (CALM), with the support of UN Women and financial support from Sweden.

Dialogul „Femeile pentru pace”
The "Women for Peace" dialogue organized on the occasion of the International Day of Peace
Photo credit: Stela Donțu/ UN Women

The dialogue was attended by Member of Parliament (MP) Larisa Voloh, Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Administration; Her Excellency Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden in Chișinău; Dominika Stojanoska, the Country Representative of UN Women Moldova; Francesca Bonelli, the Country Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Republic of Moldova; Tatiana Badan, President of CALM; and MPs from the Republic of Moldova, including from the Platform of Women MPs. Mayors from various districts of Moldova, women refugees and Moldovan women hosting refugees participated as well. The event aimed to strengthen dialogue between the Local Public Administration (LPA) and central administration about promoting the social cohesion and inclusion of refugees in Moldova’s host communities.

Dialogul „Femeile pentru pace”
MP Larisa Voloh, Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Administration
Photo credit: Stela Donțu/ UN Women

In her welcome speech, MP Larisa Voloh, Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Administration, mentioned the need for the authorities, together with the entire society, to be actively involved in ensuring social cohesion and alleviating the crises that the Republic of Moldova is going through. "It is very important for us in the Parliament and Government, together with local authorities and the entire society, to get involved and join our efforts to promote peace education through a model based on unity, solidarity, empathy and tolerance,” she said. “[It’s important for us] to maintain stability, security and peace in the country together.”

Dialogul „Femeile pentru pace”
From the left to the right: Her Excellency Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden in Chișinău; Dominika Stojanoska, the Country Representative of UN Women Moldova 
Photo credit: Stela Donțu/ UN Women

Her Excellency Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden in Chișinău, said: "Women play an important role and their voices must be heard during all these peace and security processes. Human rights and social inclusion are an integral part of Sweden's reform strategy for cooperation with eastern European countries, including the Republic of Moldova, in the coming year. Sweden will remain actively involved in providing all the necessary support to women in peacekeeping process in the Republic of Moldova."

Dialogul „Femeile pentru pace”
Her Excellency Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden in Chișinău; Dominika Stojanoska, the Country Representative of UN Women Moldova; Francesca Bonelli, the Country Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Republic of Moldova
Photo credit: Stela Donțu/ UN Women

In this context, Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova’s Country Representative, emphasized that the prosperity and development of all people and the whole world begins with peace. "Since the start of the conflict in this region, the Republic of Moldova has set an example of maintaining peace, democracy, equality and respect for human rights,” she said. “I am firmly convinced that all these actions took place thanks to the determination and commitment of women, along with men, and the support of the Government, the Parliament and the entire society. The participation of women in peacekeeping is the key in this respect, because it is women who bring new perspectives and visions that are necessary to maintaining peace and avoiding conflicts."

Francesca Bonelli, Country Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Republic of Moldova, said that the main goal of UNHCR is to support refugees and host countries such as Moldova. She stressed that out of the 613,000 Ukrainian refugees who have entered Moldova since the war began, 90,000 remain and the majority of them – nearly 60 per cent – are women and girls. “Protecting the rights of women refugees and empowering them is essential to enable them to reach their full potential,” she said, emphasizing the idea that women refugees play a key role in their communities. “They run businesses and schools, provide safe spaces for women who have suffered violence and they manage households. Protecting the rights and well-being of women refugees is essential for building more peaceful societies. We are here to continue to support refugees and host communities alike."

Dialogul „Femeile pentru pace”
Tatiana Badan, President of CALM
Photo credit: Stela Donțu/ Un Women

Tatiana Badan, President of CALM, reiterated the idea that Moldova’s local authorities are ready to support efforts to overcome the humanitarian crisis. "We are for the peace, security and safety of all citizens,” she said. “But to accomplish this great challenge, we need to consolidate and join efforts to provide support through various tools aimed at improving life and public services for all citizens of the country."

During the discussions, the participants tackled the importance of providing aid in any form to both women refugees and women from host communities. This will contribute to overcoming the humanitarian crisis Moldova is facing today.

Dialogul „Femeile pentru pace”
The "Women for Peace" dialogue organized on the occasion of the International Day of Peace
Photo credit: Stela Donțu/ UN Women

In addition to this, the participants highlighted the fact that women's participation makes crisis response and recovery more efficient, inclusive and sustainable. It is very important that they are involved in all decisions related to Moldova’s response to the refugee crisis and peace and seen as active promoters of change. Thus, it is crucial to encourage and especially increase the engagement of women in decision-making, peacekeeping, diplomacy and humanitarian processes.

The event was organised by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova and CALM, with support from UN Women and the financial support of Sweden. The International Day of Peace is marked annually on 21 September.