06 / 1999
I would like to tell you about the peacemaking initiative of two women from two conflicting sides, which have set the beginning of peacemaking process in this region.
In 1988 started the conflict for Nagorny Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is a small portion of land within Azerbaijan with Armenian population.
This conflict resulted in 11 years war that caused a lot of destructions, deaths, presence of around 1 million refugees, occupation of 20
of Azerbaijan territory. And the most awful result : mutual hatred, termination of friendly relations and vengeance that should have been inherited by forthcoming generations. During this hard period, two women, leaders of local committees of Helsinki Civil Assembly, realized the necessity of changing the current situation by starting a peaceful dialog. Women and youth have commenced this dialog. Many collateral actions were held, but I would like to tell you about one action called Peace Corridor.
In June 1994 was taken the decision to hold a meeting between women and young people on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia, in the place called Kazakh-Idjevan, which as it was predicted should have been the place of military operatings. The meeting has been held as follows, the group of Azerbaijan women has passed through the boundary and conducted the meeting on Armenian territory, and the group of Armenian youth has passed the boundary to meet Azerbaijan youth on Azerbaijan territory. The main topic to discuss was to cease fighting in this region, and the proclamation of this zone as Peace Corridor, that would have been a place for negociations in case if the regime of ceasefire, dated May 12th of the same year, was violated. The option of arrangement of an "Human Wall" in case of battle operations was discussed on this meeting as well. Besides that, the result of this meeting was an agreement about systematical interchange of information and organization of collateral cultural programs.
This meeting along with other actions of this kind assisted in elimination of hostility and misunderstanding, that surrounded people in our countries, myth about the "Enemy", that was kindled by mass media. These meetings allowed people to look at each other and to understand each other in a different manner, and what is most important, to make sure that peace is always better than war, and that no idea is worth being solved by conflict. After that, more and more people expressed their desire to participate to such meetings. Today we can say that the national diplomacy makes concrete steps to obtain peace. And the first people to make these steps were women. This example is a convincing evidence of how strong women’s potential is. It is an evidence that women carry kindness and creativeness, and women’s participation in peacemaking is very important.
This text is a contribution to the workshop on ’women and peace’ organized by the Yin Yang (masculine-feminine)workshop of the Alliance for a plural, responsible and united world shortly before the Hague international Conference on Peace (may 1999). This text exists in French in this data base.