Solomon Islands


The Solomon Islands experience of peace agreement negotiations is not one that is generally celebrated by the country’s women. The Townsville Peace Agreement which aimed to halt a civil conflict between warring militias representing different ethnic groups in the country was hastily negotiated in 2000, and in the absence of any civil society participation.  It has often been described as “a militants’ charter” that ignored the devastating impacts of the violence women were exposed to during the conflict. It also ignored the important roles that women had progressed in conflict mediation and peacebuilding.  As a result, the peace agreement included no gendered provisions and was soon to fail.  By 2003, the security situation had deteriorated and the Pacific Island Forum responded to calls for assistance from the Solomon Islands Prime Minister. The Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands ensued, an intervention that aimed to stabilise the country through programs designed to restore the legitimacy and capability of state governance and security institutions and contain and apprehend militia operatives. This linking of statebuilding with peacebuilding has been a RAMSI hallmark and did little to accommodate women’s participation in conflict transition in early years. With time, the mission evolved in ways that allowed for the development of new national policy on gender and security, as well as opening up new opportunities for women’s participation both in public sector roles and as officers in state security agencies.  But local women’s civil society groups point to gaps in this approach. They argue that the effort to equate peacebuilding with statebuilding has not created sufficient opportunities for women to lead peace and reconciliation efforts in their own right and in ways that match the expectations and needs of everyday communities.  They are particularly unhappy that customary processes of atonement and reconciliation, crucial to healing the trauma and disharmony that continues to undermine peace within Solomon Islands communities, have been a neglected aspect of national peacebuilding efforts.


Solomon Islands – Townsville Peace Agreement

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Human Rights
Post-Conflict Issues
Violence Against Women



  1. RAMSI emphasis placed on statebuilding as peacebuilding
  2. Inadequate acknowledgment and support for women’s civil society and customary peacebuilding work during and after the crisis
  3. Lack of women’s voice in formal parliamentary decision-making


  1. Increasing presence of women in public service and state security agencies
  2. Formalisation of policies attentive to gender and women, peace and security
  3. Active network of women within civil society and Churches who agitate for recognition of women customary status as peacebuilders and community leaders