|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5766th Meeting (AM & PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT ‘PERVASIVE’ GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
AS IT HOLDS DAY-LONG DEBATE ON WOMEN, PEACE, SECURITY
Members Adopt Presidential Statement as Secretary-General
Urges Strengthening of Collective Response to ‘Hideous’ Behaviour
The Security Council expressed its deep concern today that gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, remained pervasive despite its repeated condemnation of all acts of violence, including killing, maiming, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse in situations of armed conflict.
In a statement read out by Akwasi Ose-Adjei, Foreign Minister of Ghana, which holds the rotating presidency for October, the Council said such acts had become systematic in some situations, reaching “appalling levels of atrocity”. It stressed the need to end impunity as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking peace, justice, truth and national reconciliation. The Council called on all parties to armed conflict to respect international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls, especially as civilians, and to bear in mind the relevant provisions of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.
Presidential statement S/PRST/2007/40 summarized today’s Council debate on “Women and peace and security”, in which more than 50 speakers participated, and which was intended to take stock of progress in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
According to the statement, the Council stressed the importance of women in conflict prevention and resolution and in peacebuilding, and the need for their full and equal participation in peace processes at all levels. It was concerned that the constant underrepresentation of women in formal peace processes would result in shattered economies and social structures, lack of the rule of law, poverty, limited access to education and other services, and various forms of discrimination and stereotypes.
Concerned about the low number of women appointed as Special Representatives or Special Envoys of the Secretary-General to peace missions, the Council urged the Secretary-General to appoint more women to pursue good offices on his behalf. It reaffirmed its call for broader gender mainstreaming in all peacekeeping operations and welcomed United Nations policies to promote and protect the rights of women.
The Council reiterated its call upon Member States to continue fully and effectively to implement resolution 1325 (2000), and on the international community to provide financial and technical support for national implementation. It called on the United Nations system, civil society and other relevant actors to provide assistance, in line with national priorities, to Member States, particularly those affected by armed conflicts, in the rapid development of national action plans for implementation. It also emphasized the importance of adopting and promoting regional approaches towards implementation.
Opening the debate, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that, since the adoption of the landmark resolution, women had increasingly participated at all levels of peacemaking and peacebuilding, and peace processes had increasingly empowered women and advanced gender equality. However, countries in conflict or those emerging from it needed to establish their own national action plans and take ownership of the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
He stressed that the collective and individual response to violence against women, which had reached hideous proportions, must be strengthened. The Security Council should establish a mechanism dedicated to monitoring violence against women and girls. For their part, Member States should actively consider proposals to strengthen the Organization’s gender architecture, replacing several current structures with one dynamic United Nations entity. “We all have a collective role and responsibility in accelerating the implementation of resolution 1325 –- this Council, Member States, the UN system, other international and regional actors, and civil society. On this anniversary of its adoption, let us rededicate ourselves to that mission,” he concluded.
In his introductory remarks, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that 2007 had seen a number of significant advances in the contribution of women to the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding. Some of those advances had taken place in countries where peacekeeping operations were deployed, such as Haiti and Liberia. Last November, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had adopted a Policy Directive on Gender Equality. Since February, the number of women in senior civilian positions had increased by almost 40 per cent, and included the appointment of Ellen Margrethe Løj as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to lead the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Over the last seven years, the strategy of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been to focus on implementation of the individual parts of resolution 1325 (2000), he said. However, a concerted, integrated approach was needed to address rape and sexual violence in conflicts and in post-conflict situations. While rape was used as a weapon of war in situations like the one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur, addressing that war crime required going beyond political compromise, and power- and resource-sharing agreements. In combating such crimes, the role of the Security Council was important in ensuring that the mandates and resources it authorized took into account the situation faced by women and girls on the ground.
Rachel N. Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, said resolution 1325 (2000) was primarily about how to make the world safe for equal participation by women and girls in matters of peace and security. Determined action to eradicate gender-based violence would be required to make those goals attainable. Impunity for perpetrators and an insufficient response to the needs of survivors were morally reprehensible and unacceptable. “Sexual violence in conflict, particularly rape, should be named for what it is: not a private act or the unfortunate misbehaviour of a renegade soldier, but aggression, torture, war crime and genocide.”
Gina Torry, Coordinator of the non-governmental coalition NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said it was unfortunate that the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) could not be said to be coherent and effective, but noted that the opportunity to discuss that assessment was valuable. Women and girls in conflict situations were still subjected to widespread and systematic sexual violence, while women remained largely excluded from decision-making structures and marginalized in peacemaking and peacebuilding processes. The integration of resolution 1325 (2000) into the Security Council’s work had been inconsistent. Resolutions should contain gender-specific language and standard provisions for regular and adequate monitoring of and reporting on the implementation of the resolution by field missions.
Joanna Sandler, Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), added that women’s access to peace processes had been highly uneven. Women were participating in, but not winning, elections, and the rampant violence reported against women in conflict situations represented just the tip of the iceberg. The global response must be stepped up by expanding services to the survivors of such violence, focusing on transitional justice and ensuring that peacekeeping operations made life safe for women and girls.
Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Ose-Adjei of Ghana said the apparent lack of political will shown by some Governments, coupled with genuine financial and human resource constraints on the part of others, had all contributed to the inadequate institutional responses noted by various speakers. Since the Security Council had more than a functional interest in ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women in all aspects of peace and security, it could explore a follow-up mechanism that would allow it to monitor closely the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in a more coordinated and systematic fashion.
Agreeing in general with the recommendations made in the Secretary-General’s report, some speakers had reservations about the idea of establishing a Council monitoring mechanism to evaluate national implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). In that regard, the representative of the Russian Federation said such a mechanism would duplicate other efforts within the system rather than lead to improvements. Colombia’s representative said it would result in the creation of a mechanism whereby the Council would single out countries on thematic issues that belonged in the General Assembly.
Canada’s representative called on the Council to establish a monitoring mechanism in the form of a committee or working group with a mandate to regularly monitor progress in the resolution’s implementation throughout the Council’s work. That mechanism would increase the Council’s capacity to design and implement peace support mandates to better respond to violence against women and girls, and to ensure the integration of prevention strategies in the work of United Nations country teams.
Other Government officials who took the floor were Ol’ga Algayerová, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia; Pierre Chevalier, Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium; Eddy Pratomo, Deputy Minister and Director-General for Legal Affairs and International Treaties of Indonesia; Bert Koenders, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands; and Marjatta Rasi, Under-Secretary of State of Finland.
Also making statements were the representatives of the United States, Panama, United Kingdom, China, Qatar, France, Congo, South Africa, Peru, Italy, Portugal (on behalf of the European Union), Spain, Sweden, Guatemala, Japan, Iceland, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Israel, Egypt, Mexico, Zambia (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community), Austria, Germany, Sudan, Argentina, Republic of Korea, Australia, Honduras, Norway, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nicaragua, Guinea, Malawi, Denmark, Kenya, Costa Rica, Viet Nam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Benin.
The meeting began at 10 a.m. and was suspended at 1:15 p.m. It resumed at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 7:05 p.m.
The full text of Presidential Statement S/PRST/2007/40 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security and recalls the relevant statements of its President as reiterating that commitment.
“The Security Council reaffirms the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the primary responsibility of the Security Council under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security.
“The Security Council recalls the 2005 World Summit Outcome (General Assembly resolution 60/1), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (A/CONF.177/20/Rev.1), the outcome document of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” (A/S-23/10/Rev.1), in particular the statements in these documents concerning women and peace and security and the Declaration of the forty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women (E/CN.6/2005/11).
“The Security Council recognizes the importance of ensuring the respect for the equal rights of women and, in this regard, reaffirms the importance of the equal role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, and stresses the need for their full and equal participation in peace processes at all levels. The Council urges Member States, regional and subregional organizations and the United Nations system to enhance the role of women in decision-making with regard to all peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction and rebuilding of societies as vital in all efforts towards the maintenance and promotion of sustainable peace and security.
“The Security Council is concerned that armed and other types of conflicts still persist in many parts of the world and are an ongoing reality affecting women in nearly every region. In this regard, the Council expresses deep concern that civilians, particularly women and children, continue to account for the vast majority of victims of acts of violence committed by parties to armed conflicts, including as a result of deliberate targeting, indiscriminate and excessive use of force. The Council condemns these acts and demands that those parties immediately put an end to such practices.
“The Security Council reaffirms in this regard that parties to armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of affected civilians, in particular, giving attention to the specific needs of women and girls.
“The Security Council recognizes the constant underrepresentation of women in formal peace processes and is deeply concerned about persistent obstacles and challenges resulting from situations such as violence against women, shattered economies and social structures, lack of rule of law, poverty, limited access to education and other resources, various forms of discrimination and stereotypes.
“The Security Council remains concerned about the low number of women appointed as Special Representatives or Special Envoys of the Secretary-General to peace missions. The Council urges the Secretary-General to appoint, taking into account the principle of equitable geographical representation, more women to pursue good offices on his behalf. The Council urges Member States to redouble their efforts to nominate women candidates to the Secretary-General, for inclusion in a regularly updated centralized roster. In turn, the Council calls on the Secretary-General to increase the profile and transparency of this procedure, and issue guidelines to Member States on the process of nomination to senior posts. In addition, the Council reaffirms its call for broader gender mainstreaming in all peacekeeping operations, and welcomes United Nations peacekeeping operations policies to promote and protect the rights of women and to take into account a gender perspective as set out in resolution 1325 (2000).
“The Security Council takes note of the second follow-up report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security (S/2007/567), and the various initiatives and actions undertaken by the United Nations entities in the context of the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000); calls on the Secretary-General to update, monitor and review the implementation and integration of the Plan; conduct a system-wide evaluation in 2010 of progress achieved in implementing the Plan in 2008-2009, and report thereon to the Council.
“While welcoming the progress achieved so far, the Security Council recognizes the need for full and more effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
“In this regard, the Security Council reiterates its call on Member States to continue to fully and effectively implement resolution 1325 (2000), including, where appropriate, through the development and strengthening of national efforts and capacities, as well as the implementation of national action plans or other relevant national level strategies.
“The Security Council calls on the international community to provide, where needed, financial and technical support, as well as adequate training, for national implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and on the United Nations system, civil society and other relevant actors to collaborate and provide assistance in line with national priorities to Member States, particularly those affected by armed conflict, in the rapid development of national action plans, and work closely with national mechanisms responsible for the implementation of the resolution, including, where appropriate, through the United Nations country teams. To this end, requests the Secretary-General to include in his annual report to the Council, information on progress on measures taken to improve, where appropriate, the capacity of relevant Member States, to implement resolution 1325 (2000), including information on best practices.
“The Council emphasizes the importance of strengthening cooperation between Member States as well as the United Nations entities and regional organizations in adopting and promoting regional approaches to the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in all its aspects.
“The Security Council strongly condemns all violations of international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law, committed against women and girls in situations of armed conflict, including killing, maiming, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse. In this regard, the Council urges the complete cessation by all parties of such acts with immediate effect.
“The Security Council is deeply concerned that despite its repeated condemnation of all acts of violence, including killing, maiming, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse in situations of armed conflict, and despite its calls addressed to all parties to armed conflict for the cessation of such acts with immediate effect, and for the adoption of specific measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape, and other forms of sexual abuse, as well as all other forms of violence, such acts remain pervasive, and in some situations have become systematic, and have reached appalling levels of atrocity. The Council stresses the need to end impunity for such acts as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking peace, justice, truth and national reconciliation.
“In this context, the Council reiterates paragraph 9 of resolution 1325 (2000) and calls on all parties to armed conflict to respect fully international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls, especially as civilians, in particular the obligations applicable to them under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977, the refugee Convention of 1951 and the Protocols thereto of 1967, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979 and the Optional Protocols thereto of 1999 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and the two Optional Protocols thereto of 25 May 2000, and to bear in mind relevant provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to include in his reporting to the Council on situations of armed conflict, information on: progress in gender mainstreaming throughout the United Nations peacebuilding and peacekeeping missions; data on the impact of armed conflicts on women and girls, including account of instances of all forms of violence against women and girls, including killing, maiming, grave sexual violence, abductions and trafficking in persons, committed by the parties to armed conflict; special measures proposed and taken to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape, and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence in situations of armed conflict, in order to end impunity, ensure accountability and uphold a zero tolerance policy for violence against women and girls.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to prepare a follow-up report on the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), incorporating information on the impact of armed conflicts on women and girls in situations that are on the agenda of the Council, and also information on their protection and on the enhancement of their role in peace processes, to be submitted to the Security Council in October 2008, and may request the Secretary-General to give an oral briefing on the progress of the report.
“The Security Council decides to remain actively seized of this matter.”
The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General’s report on women and peace and security (document S/2007/567), which reviews implementation of the United Nations System-wide Action Plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in the past year.
According to the report, the United Nations system has made significant progress in many substantive areas of the Plan, including mainstreaming a gender perspective, human rights, peace and security, advocacy, capacity-building, training, development of manuals and guidelines, improving accountability and building partnerships with women’s national machineries, organizations and networks.
However, there were still gaps, the report says. For that reason, the 2008-2009 Action Plan is reconceptualized into a results-based programming, monitoring and reporting tool, with focus sharpened on the thematic areas of prevention, protection, participation, relief and recovery, and partnerships.
To further accelerate the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), the Secretary-General recommends that Member States develop their own action plans, for which the United Nations should provide support. In addition, the United Nations system should work closely with national mechanisms to implement the resolution, and the international community should provide resources in a timely and sustainable manner.
The Organization should also accelerate the development of a comprehensive information management system to share relevant lessons learned with Member States, the Secretary-General says, adding that operational inter-agency coordination must be strengthened in all such efforts. All stakeholders must engage leadership at the highest levels in advocacy for the resolution, especially in conflict and post-conflict countries. Grass-roots women’s initiatives should be supported, and monitoring and reporting at all levels must be improved, both within the United Nations system and within Member States.
Also before the Council was a concept paper to help guide discussion on the topic. Conveyed by a letter dated 8 October 2007 from the Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations and addressed to the Secretary-General, the paper (document S/2007/598) presents the expected outcome of the agenda item, saying the debate should help strengthen the growing international awareness of the importance of the role of women in the maintenance of peace and security in peacekeeping.
Statement by Secretary-General
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that since the passage of the landmark resolution, women had increasingly participated at all levels of peacemaking and peacebuilding, and peace processes had increasingly empowered women and advanced gender equality. But there was so much left to do. Countries in conflict or those emerging from it needed to establish their own national action plans and take ownership of the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
He said the United Nations system must take a more evenly coordinated approach, establish truly joint programmes with Governments, driven by national priorities. It needed to clarify the roles and responsibilities of country-level United Nations entities and to work better as a team so as to give countries access to a common entry point. More women were needed in leadership positions during peace operations.
The collective and individual response to violence against women, which had reached hideous proportions, also must be strengthened, he stressed. The Security Council should establish a mechanism dedicated to monitoring violence against women and girls. For their part, Member States should actively consider proposals to strengthen the Organization’s gender architecture, replacing several current structures with one dynamic United Nations entity. “We all have a collective role and responsibility in accelerating the implementation of resolution 1325 –- this Council, Member States, the UN system, other international and regional actors, and civil society. On this anniversary of its adoption, let us rededicate ourselves to that mission,” he concluded.
JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that, in 2007, there had been a number of significant advances in the contribution of women to the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding. Some of those advances had taken place in countries where peacekeeping operations were deployed, such as Haiti and Liberia. Last November, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had adopted a Policy Directive on Gender Equality in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and, together with the Department of Field Support, was overseeing a joint action plan on implementation of the resolution through the Interdepartmental Gender Taskforce. The post of Gender Adviser had been upgraded to the P-5 level.
He said there was also commitment to increase the number of women serving in civilian field leadership positions, as well as in operational military and police roles. Since February, the number of women in senior civilian positions had increased by almost 40 per cent and included the appointment of Ellen Margrethe Løj as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to lead the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Member States were urged to work closely with the Department in putting forward suitably qualified female candidates.
Underlining the ongoing zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel, he said there were currently several related policies pending the General Assembly’s consideration. In addition, the Department had adopted a welfare and recreation policy to improve the wellness, working and living conditions of all United Nations peacekeeping personnel.
Over the last seven years, the Department’s strategy had been to focus on implementation of the individual parts of resolution 1325 (2000), he said. However, it was time to review that individualistic or disparate approach. A concerted, integrated approach was needed to address rape and sexual violence in conflicts and in post-conflict situations. It could only be applied in cooperation with the national authorities, United Nations country teams and bilateral and non-governmental organization partners. That called for a strengthened United Nations gender architecture.
While rape was used as a weapon of war in such situations as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur, addressing that war crime required going beyond political compromise and power- and resource-sharing agreements, he said. In combating such crimes, the role of the Security Council was important in ensuring that the mandates and resources it authorized took into account the situation faced by women and girls on the ground. The political leadership of the United Nations, through the Special Representative, was a vital tool in eliminating sexual violence, as he or she could be enormously effective in advocacy, dialogue and good offices.
Peacekeeping missions played a key role in providing preventive, physical protection through patrols, he said, pointing out that, in some locations, those patrols made the difference between life and death, and deterred rape, abductions and other forms of torture. Missions also played a crucial role in facilitating and assisting national efforts to reform institutionally discriminatory structures, including rule-of-law institutions and legal frameworks. No effort should be spared in placing more women in senior-level operational positions in the military and policing, so as to encourage local women to take on similar roles. Policing should be improved as a service equally accessible to women.
While it was a national Government’s responsibility to ensure such accessibility, the mission had a role to play in monitoring and developing capacity-building programmes for human rights and judicial institutions, he said. “If we are to be effective in implementing this resolution, it is crucial that we share a common understanding of the factors which affect the role of women and their capacity to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security. We must also commit to identifying ways in which our different roles at the national and international level can link together in an integrated and effective manner.”
RACHEL N. MAYANJA, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, introduced the report of the Secretary-General containing the results of a second implementation review of the 2005-2007 United Nations System-wide Action Plan on resolution 1325 (2000) and an update of the Action Plan for 2008-2009. She said progress had been made through an increased political commitment to gender equality; enhanced capacity-building on gender mainstreaming; improved advocacy; and better engagement with Member States and civil society. The lack of such key elements as baseline data, performance indicators and timelines negatively affected the monitoring, reporting and accountability processes.
She said the updated Action Plan for 2008-2009 had three new main features: a sharpened focus through the consolidation of 12 areas into 5 (prevention, participation, protection, relief and recovery, and normative; a results-based management framework; and the development of a common set of indicators. It was imperative for international organizations, national Governments and civil society to work together to identify priorities and develop a practical implementation strategy on women, peace and security at the national level.
Member States played a critical role in implementing the resolution at the national and local levels, she said. As national Governments shaped peacemaking and rebuilding efforts, their commitment to women, peace and security enhanced women’s empowerment in survival and reconstruction efforts. India deserved tribute for sending an all-woman police contingent to Liberia. The United Nations system, other multilateral institutions and international partners should be held accountable for supporting nationally owned plans and strategies, and ensuring that they met international standards and norms.
She said resolution 1325 (2000) was primarily about how to make the world safe for equal participation by women and girls in matters of peace and security. Determined action to eradicate gender-based violence would be required to make those goals attainable. Impunity for perpetrators and an insufficient response to the needs of survivors were morally reprehensible and unacceptable. “Sexual violence in conflict, particularly rape, should be named for what it is: not a private act or the unfortunate misbehaviour of a renegade soldier, but aggression, torture, war crime and genocide.”
Despite the Council’s repeated condemnation and demands for action, sexual violence remained pervasive, she emphasized, warning that, unless it was addressed without delay, thousands of women and girls would continue to die and tens of millions more would be sexually brutalized, traumatized, tormented, stigmatized and ostracized. The Council could help by establishing a dedicated mechanism to monitor the situation of women and girls in conflict and hold the belligerent parties accountable for sexual and gender-based violence. All Governments, parliaments, international organizations and civil society were urged to join a worldwide campaign on violence against women and girls, to be launched by the Secretary-General later in the year.
JOANNE SANDLER, Acting Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said there had been much progress in the establishment of systems, plans and processes for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), but the real measure of progress was women’s contribution to more sustainable peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction strategies, as well as better protection of women and girls in conflict zones. There was a long way to go before those goals were reached.
From UNIFEM’s experience in 30 countries, she said, women’s access to peace processes had been highly uneven. They were participating in, but not winning, elections, and the rampant violence reported against women in conflict situations represented just the tip of the iceberg. The global response must be stepped up by expanding services to the survivors of such violence, focusing on transitional justice and ensuring that peacekeeping operations made life safe for women and girls. In addition, Member States must establish a Security Council mechanism to monitor national implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
GINA TORRY, Coordinator, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) could not, unfortunately, be said to be coherent and effective, and the opportunity to discuss that assessment was valuable. The NGO Working Group, comprising 12 organizations, provided gender and human rights expertise at high levels of international policymaking and represented a unique and important linkage between women in conflict-affected regions and United Nations policymakers.
Seven years after the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), what had its implementation meant for women and girls in all the situations on the Council’s agenda? she asked. Women and girls in conflict were still subjected to widespread and systematic sexual violence, women remained largely excluded from decision-making structures choosing between sustaining peace and engaging in conflict, and they remained marginalized in peacemaking and peacebuilding processes -- matters of international peace and security.
The integration of resolution 1325 (2000) into the Security Council’s work had been inconsistent, she continued. Greater efforts should be undertaken to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for crimes against women -– particularly sexual violence -– not only in the home States of the suspects or where the crimes occurred, but also in those where they were found. While no monitoring or accountability mechanisms could ensure the resolution’s coherent and effective implementation, integrating it into the Council’s work mattered, as could be seen in the case of resolution 1706 (2006) -- adopted following a Security Council mission to Sudan -- which both invoked resolution 1325 (2000) and contained useful gender-specific language.
Resolutions should contain gender-specific language, although the “gender mandate” should also be reflected in the directives, guidance, terms of reference and incentive structures for a mission’s staff, she said. Mandates should also contain standard provisions for regular and adequate monitoring of and reporting on the implementation of 1325 (2000) by field missions. Even if some field missions had such mandates, the data and trends regarding many violations were still lacking. Reports should provide a picture of the security situation in regard to women. Such accountability mechanisms would address inconsistency in invoking resolution 1325 (2000) in the Council’s directives to the field. The Council should also consider a focal point and an expert-level working group with appropriate leadership to provide more effective monitoring and reporting on the implementation of 1325 (2000).
OL’GA ALGAYEROVÁ, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, associated herself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, expressing strong support for the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). The active and equal participation of women in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping was the best means of eliminating gender-based violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of violence perpetrated against women during conflicts. Mainstreaming the gender perspective into conflict prevention -– including the development of gender-sensitive early-warning mechanisms -- had increased women’s participation in peacekeeping operations and decision-making while gender training for all staff had been promoted by action plans and other important initiatives within United Nations entities.
Because an appropriate presence of women in the military had a clearly positive effect on troop behaviour, the resolution’s provisions were fully relevant to any security sector reform plan, she said. Gender training by United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations in Sudan were appreciated, as was training by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW), Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. A gender perspective had also been mainstreamed into some humanitarian assistance programmes and into post-conflict reconstruction, while the special needs of women and girls were also reflected in the majority of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.
PIERRE CHEVALIER, Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, said that, at the present moment, thousands of women were victims of horrific violence in conflict situations, and action was urgently needed. It was now seven years since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), but the questions and challenges remained intact, despite the efforts of the international community, and the scourge of sexual violence continued. More than awareness-raising, better reporting instruments leading to better targeted actions were also needed.
The Security Council must do more when it defined the mandates of peacekeeping missions to protect women and ensure their participation, he said. The gender perspective in such mandates must be clear and streamlined. Nationally, Belgium had prepared a gender dimension charter for its armed forces, and resolution 1325(2000) was a factor in the approval of aid projects. In the United Nations system, all bodies must be involved in implementing the resolution, but the Council must show the way through better targeted reporting.
EDDY PRATOMO, Deputy Minister and Director-General for Legal Affairs and International Treaties of Indonesia, said the fair treatment and protection of women must be incorporated into all phases of peace processes. Key to that goal was the identification of women who could best participate in peace negotiations through their links to the greater community and their stake in the outcome. Such considerations must extend to post-conflict situations and the workings of the Peacebuilding Commission. In addition, grass-roots efforts could be used to involve women in peacebuilding.
To encourage the development and dispersion of best practices in those areas, he proposed that regional organizations become involved in conducting workshops, and that better databases be developed. The efforts of civil society organizations should also be encouraged. Resolution 1325(2000) was only the beginning of a journey to improve the lot of women in conflict situations. It should not discourage continued thinking about new and creative ways to empower women and “raise their voices to a higher plane”.
ILYA I. ROGACHEV (Russian Federation) said it was important that the Council’s work in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) not duplicate the activities of other United Nations bodies, such as the Human Rights Council, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Peacebuilding Commission and the General Assembly. The Council could not be the only body focusing on sexual violence during armed conflict, and a balanced approach must be found. The concept of responsibility to protect should first be discussed in the Assembly, and the United Nations as a whole should give priority to violence against women.
He said the Council should not reduce the scope of resolution 1325 (2000) to sexual violence alone, while ignoring violence against women in general. Equal attention should be paid to all cases of violence against women and children, including mutilation. Crimes by armed forces, including private contractors, required increased attention from the international community. While agreeing with the conclusions in the Secretary-General’s report regarding the need to overcome shortcomings in the resolution’s implementation in general, the Russian Federation did not agree with the proposal to create a Council machinery for monitoring the resolution, as that would duplicate other efforts rather than lead to improvements. It was, therefore, “bewildering” that senior United Nations officials had made statements on the eve of today’s debate, prejudging its outcome.
ALEJANDRO D. WOLFF ( United States) agreed with the Secretary-General that the groundwork had been laid for the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), but more remained to be done. The important contribution that women could make in mediation, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction must be recognized at the national level, otherwise a critical resource would go untapped and a great part of the people, often a majority, would be excluded. The United States strongly supported the appointment of women to senior positions throughout the United Nations system, particularly those of Special Representatives and Envoys.
He said one of the key challenges was reducing violence against women in conflict situations. Sexual violence was reprehensible in any context, but it was especially heinous when used to achieve military objectives. It was particularly abhorrent when those charged with restoring peace became perpetrators of sexual violence. The Council had condemned such behaviour and urged troop-contributing countries to ensure full accountability on the part of perpetrators. The United Nations had made considerable efforts to enforce a zero-tolerance policy and had made progress in training and oversight. All allegations must be investigated properly and appropriate action must be taken.
RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) described the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) as an important milestone and noted that, while much progress had been achieved, much more remained to be done. For that reason, the United Nations must help Member States implement their national plans and empower women within the Organization itself.
Noting that the rising use of sexual violence in war had reached epidemic proportions, he urged the Council to review the mandates of its peacekeeping operations to ensure they focused properly on the practice, while also supporting assistance for the victims. Those guilty of sexual violence in war should be prosecuted, particularly through the International Criminal Court.
KAREN PIERCE ( United Kingdom) said the Council had a key role to play in protecting women against violence, which was occurring in greater proportion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Burma and many other conflict situations. Horrible sexual cruelty had been reported in those situations, and such acts must be reported and followed by concrete action on the ground.
Supporting the call to ensure that peacekeeping mandates focused on the problem, she said Member States should be able to look to the United Nations for guidance and assistance in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), adding that the voice of women should be heard at all levels. However, the United Kingdom was disappointed that the statement that would result from today’s meeting would not call for a special report of the Secretary-General on gender violence within the next six months. Hopefully, the reporting of other bodies would fill the resulting gap.
LIU ZHENMIN (China) said that, although progress had been made in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in many areas, capacity-building at all levels still left much to be desired, as did the problem of inadequate funding. There was also a lack of close coordination between the international and national levels. The Council should further enhance the resolution’s implementation by strengthening coordination and cooperation with the various organs within the United Nations system. It was also necessary to enhance the participation of women in all stages of a peace process and pay attention to their role. Respect for and protection of women were manifestations of social civilization and should be incorporated into peace processes from beginning to end.
He said countries should be encouraged to formulate, on the basis of their specific situations, national plans of action for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), with vigorous support from the United Nations and the international community. The 2005 World Summit Outcome document emphasized that the progress of women was the progress of all of humankind. That was equally true in the field of peace and security. The comprehensive implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) would constitute an important guarantee for the realization of that goal.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar) reaffirmed his country’s support for the goals of resolution 1325 (2000), stressing the need to protect women and girls, and to take firm action against the perpetrators of sexual abuse, whether by parties to conflict or by United Nations peacekeeping personnel, in order to put an end to impunity. Many countries in conflict had succeeded in establishing national mechanisms for the advancement of women, but needed financial and technical support.
Overcoming the challenges involved did not require the creation of new mechanisms and bodies, or new reports, he said. Existing reports of the Secretary-General should instead include all the necessary information on gender mainstreaming and the protection of women. At the level of national implementation, United Nations peacebuilding, humanitarian and reconstruction operations should backstop efforts by Member States to strengthen their capacities.
JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT (France), aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said it was necessary to ask how resolution 1325 (2000) was being implemented, when 27,000 cases of sexual violence had been recorded in last year in the South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone. It must also be asked what new means were needed to end all such situations in which women were victims of systematic violence. It was, finally, necessary to explain that many peace processes still took place without women and without taking into account their concerns and contributions.
To answer those questions, France had supported a specific report by the Secretary-General, the call for which had regrettably been rejected, he said. Turning to post-conflict phases, efforts should focus on the protection of women and the rehabilitation of victims, the administration of justice, women’s participation in decision-making processes and the reconstruction of institutions that endorsed gender parity. The ongoing participation of non-governmental organizations should be supported in all such efforts.
LUC JOSEPH OKIO ( Congo) stressed that violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations must be condemned, as must impunity. Implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) required closer cooperation between Member States and the United Nations. Congo was working to mainstream the gender perspective in all aspects of life and in peace activities. At the regional level, Congolese women were involved in activities of the International Conference on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development of the Great Lakes Region.
Additional efforts must be made to appoint women executives to high-ranking posts within the United Nations, he said, stressing also the need to establish a mechanism on women, peace and security to enhance implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa), aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said women had played a pivotal role in his country’s liberation and had also been in the forefront in developing a constitutional framework centred on a non-sexist and non-racist policy in the negotiations for a new South Africa. Women held key Government, business and civil society positions and, with the country’s increasing participation in the international arena, its representatives in peacebuilding and peacekeeping efforts had always included women. South Africa had learned from experience the importance of building solidarity among role players, particularly women.
Despite those efforts, he said, more work was needed in support of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict areas, who made up a disproportionate number of the victims of violence. They were among the first to be affected in war situations and also formed the highest numbers of casualties. Survivors were victimized and traumatized yet again because they were women. However, women and girls should not be seen only as victims. They often played a meaningful role in the recovery and reintegration of families into society, and had been instrumental in bringing democracy to post-conflict societies. For instance, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia had been a major contributor to resolution 1325 (2000).
He said Member States should continually look at measures to ensure the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and emphasized that full implementation required the resolve of Member States in forming partnerships with civil society, the private sector and community-based organizations. South Africa had advocated the inclusion of gender-based violence on the list of war crimes during the negotiations on the Rome Statute, and had presented a woman candidate to sit on the International Criminal Court when it had subsequently been created. The country had also joined with Sweden and others to promote the “Partners for Gender Justice Initiative” and had recently hosted the “Africa Regional Meeting on Gender Justice”.
LUIS ENRIQUE CHÁVEZ BASAGOITIA (Peru) said the Secretary-General’s report reaffirmed that women and girls remained the major victims in armed conflict, and expressed concerned at reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war. The international community must continue to use all mechanisms to put an end to violations of the human rights of women and girls in armed conflict. The International Criminal Court had a role in the fight against impunity, and States must ensure that the perpetrators of such crimes were punished.
Welcoming the new Plan of Action, he said United Nations operations must support Member States in building national capacities to achieve gender equality and empower women. It was important that the international community support national implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and the Plan of Action by providing adequate financial resources in a timely and sustainable way.
MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) said the relationship between protection and empowerment was crucial in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and had been discussed at great length. Italy agreed with those who had said it was time to review the so-called “segmented approach” of many units working on the same issue. A mutually reinforcing, coordinated and integrated approach was needed.
He asked whether the presidential statement to be adopted could really be seen, from the point of view of those who suffered on the ground, as a message of hope. There was no need for more messages and more information in order to stop their suffering. At the end of the day, the situation on the ground must be seen as a setback and action must be taken from that perspective.
Council President AKWASI OSE-ADJEI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ghana, speaking in his national capacity, said that securing the full and meaningful involvement of women in building and maintaining international peace and security was one of the foremost challenges facing the world community. The Security Council was to be commended on its leadership and determination in bringing the goals set out in resolution 1325 (2000) to fruition. Not only was the United Nations a pacesetter in gender-mainstreaming, but it also extended vital support to Member States in the fulfilment of their obligations under the resolution.
He said those Governments that were far advanced in developing national action plans to mainstream a gender perspective in the training of military personnel, especially those sent on peacekeeping missions, were worthy of emulation. A gender perspective was also increasingly being integrated into aid packages designed for countries that had recently emerged from conflict. Those positive trends demonstrated what could be achieved if Member States committed themselves fully to the effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
Nonetheless, challenges and gaps that had been highlighted during the debate deserved serious attention, he said. The apparent lack of political will on the part of some Governments, coupled with genuine financial and human resource constraints, had contributed to the inadequate institutional responses noted by various speakers. Ghana had made considerable progress in developing the necessary legal and institutional frameworks to facilitate the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and it would be seeking closer collaboration with civil society groups and its respective counterparts abroad. Since the Security Council had more than a functional interest in ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women in all aspects of peace and security, it could similarly explore a follow-up mechanism that would allow it to closely monitor implementation of the resolution in a more coordinated and systematic fashion.
BERT KOENDERS, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, noted that approximately one third of all women in the Congolese Kivu Provinces had been raped. In Sudan, tens of thousands of women had been molested, mutilated and sexually abused, and not a singe person had been held accountable. Violence against women had become a weapon of modern warfare. The Netherlands was developing a national action plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) that would not “remain another piece of paper”. Leadership was needed more than anything else, and the Netherlands called for an agenda for action.
He said the plan must first focus on the need to include women in security strategies. That meant investing more strongly in security sector reports and in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes to ensure that violence against women did not continue after the end of a conflict. A second focus was the need to support empowerment. A fund for women’s rights and empowerment had recently been created, and it was to be hoped that donors would follow that example by pooling their resources. A third focus was the need for the speedy conclusion of consultations on a new United Nations gender entity, which would have to make violence against women an urgent issue. Finally, impunity had to be stopped and the Council could play its role by referring cases to the International Criminal Court. The Netherlands also supported a dedicated monitoring mechanism.
JOÃO SALGUEIRO ( Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed concern over recent reports of systematic rape and brutality against women in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Those reports demonstrated the importance of further implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and the European Union supported the formulation of a national action plan launched by the Congolese authorities last month.
Noting that the rights of women and girls, and gender equality were the core of various international instruments, he said the European Union actively promoted their full implementation within its membership and in its policies with third countries. It had mainstreamed gender-equality concerns in its development, cooperation, defence and security policies. The European Union had launched a three-year partnership with UNIFEM to build capacity and improve accountability for gender equality. A gender perspective cross-cut different dimensions of the European Union’s external action, including crisis management, post-conflict reconstruction, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector reform, peacebuilding and rule-of-law activities.
The European Union was also committed to creating a clear United Nations framework to respond to sexual exploitation and abuse, he said. It would stay actively engaged in the Ad-Hoc Working Group’s discussions. While it considered zero tolerance of abuse and sexual exploitation to be crucial, the preventive dimension should not be forgotten.
He said that, due to its deep concern about the continued use of sexual violence against women in conflict situations, the European Union would welcome a report on by the Secretary-General on the global problem of sexual and gender-based violence. Judicial and legal systems should be strengthened, particularly in countries going through protracted crises. The Peacebuilding Commission was a privileged forum for addressing gender equality and contributing to the active participation of women in post-conflict reconstruction, institution-building and decision-making. Women should also be included in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Monitoring and reporting mechanisms should be improved to ensure accountability.
JUAN ANTONIO YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain), aligning himself with the European Union, said there had been slow progress in the international community’s efforts to ensure the effective participation of women in peace processes on all levels and in protecting women and girls during conflicts. That was evident from the draft presidential statement to be adopted following the debate, to which Spain subscribed fully.
He said his country had drafted a national action plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) that would focus on six basic goals: strengthening the gender perspective in all phases of its participation in peace missions; ensuring specific training in the different aspects of resolution 1325 (2000) for personnel participating in peace missions; guaranteeing that women, adolescents and girls in conflict and post-conflict areas fully enjoyed their human rights and encouraging their participation in the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements; promoting equal treatment of women and men in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities; and encouraging dissemination of resolution 1325 (2000), as well as the work of Spanish civil society in regard to it.
Spain was also moving towards full integration of women into its military, he said, adding that peacebuilding was a broad process, in which development assistance was fundamental. Between 2004 and 2007 Spain had doubled the amount of official development assistance (ODA) it directed towards gender issues, and was drafting a plan on women and peacebuilding to implement resolution 1325 (2000).
ANDERS LIDÉN ( Sweden) urged the Secretary-General, the Security Council and all Member States to increase the number of women in senior peacekeeping field positions. Last year, Sweden had launched a national plan for the implementation of the resolution, based on a holistic view of security, development and human rights. The United Nations system had made considerable effort towards the same goals, but it needed to redouble its efforts to counter violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Central to that purpose was transitional justice, which would be the subject of a discussion today, organized by the Partners for Gender Justice and co-chaired by South Africa and Sweden, he said. The work of that partnership was important to implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in its focus on empowering women to participate in, and gain improved access to, the justice sector. Sweden called on other Member States to carry its work forward by initiating concrete programmes in that area. More attention should also be paid to the incorporation of women into demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programmes. Experiences from Sierra Leone and Liberia had shown that former women combatants or those associated with fighting forces faced more difficulties than men in being accepted back into their communities.
JORGE SKINNER-KLEE ( Guatemala), reiterating his country’s support for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), said the international community should not rest until it saw an improvement in the situation of women and girls in conflict. Guatemala supported the creation of mechanisms for that purpose and for ensuring the mainstreaming of a gender perspective throughout United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Noting that his country had just recently emerged from conflict, he said it had reaffirmed gender equality in the army, with nearly 1,000 women on active duty in all grades. The Guatemalan contingent in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was led by a woman. Gender advisers should be more widespread in the United Nations system, and impunity for violence against women should no longer be tolerated.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said the principles of resolution 1325 (2000) had increasingly been applied in post-conflict situations, but many countries emerging from conflict had slid back into violence. Japan was pleased to note that gender perspectives had been integrated into the work of the Peacebuilding Commission in both Burundi and Sierra Leone. As Chair of that body, Japan would make every effort to have it follow up on the issues of today’s debate.
The human security approach that Japan had been promoting focused on the empowerment of individuals and communities, as well as on their protection from threats to safety and well-being, he said. In order to put the concept of human security into practice and promote concrete action, Japan had supported the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security since 1999, and hoped that it would be utilized, together with the Peacebuilding Fund, to support concrete projects facilitating women’s initiatives for post-conflict reconstruction.
MARJATTA RASI, Under-Secretary of State of Finland, said her country had participated in peacekeeping operations for more than 50 years and also had a long history of advancing women’s rights. Finland was drafting a national action plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) that would pay special attention to the development of a gender perspective for national capabilities. Special attention would also be paid to women’s recruitment for crisis-management operations.
She said there was a need to pay increased attention to the equal and active participation by women in activities ranging from conflict prevention to peace negotiations through reconstruction and political participation. Without their involvement, there would be no sustainable peace, and the support and respect of the majority of the population might be lost.
The international community was in a key position to promote gender-balanced participation by all parties, she said, referring to efforts undertaken by the International Women’s Commission. Founded by Palestinian and Israeli women, together with UNIFEM, the Commission worked for a just and sustainable peace in that region. Other locally initiated dialogues, such as meetings of the Kosovo Women’s Network and the Serbia’s Women in Black, should also be recognized and encouraged.
HJALMAR W. HANNESSON ( Iceland) said the 2008-2009 System-wide Action Plan should be a results-oriented monitoring and reporting tool for strengthened inter-agency coordination, enhanced accountability and gender mainstreaming. Iceland fully endorsed the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in the promotion of implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). The Commission should integrate a gender perspective into all phases of its work. The equal participation of women in peace processes was fundamental to achieving, maintaining and promoting sustainable peace. The United Nations system, Member States and civil society must consistently work together to implement resolution 1325 (2000) at all levels, translating words into action.
ROSEMARY BANKS ( New Zealand) welcomed the presidential statement to be adopted at the conclusion of the debate, particularly the request for the inclusion of greater disaggregated data on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls in relevant reporting by the Secretary-General. New Zealand was taking a number of concrete steps to reinforce its support for resolution 1325 (2000), including encouraging women to undertake peacekeeping assignments in both high-risk areas such as Afghanistan and operational missions like the one in Timor-Leste.
Among other measures, New Zealand had withdrawn its final reservation to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, she said. The country had also taken a proactive attitude to resolution 1325 (2000) and was involved in programmes to train police for regional assignments. Through its development cooperation, peacekeeping efforts and domestic policies, New Zealand would continue to seek ways to enhance and strengthen the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said more emphasis should be placed on the effectiveness of the realization of the new Plan of Action for 2008-2009, more participation by civil society and more capacity-building to sustain positive changes with respect to the situation of women in conflict-damaged countries. There was also a need to expand the exchange of best practices, knowledge and experiences of women who had been involved in peacebuilding. The inclusion of the culture of peace in the “prevention” thematic area would also help at the field level.
In Kazakh culture, the role of women in society and politics had been critical, and the country was notable for its multiethnic nature, she said. Its experience in strengthening harmony amid such diversity might, therefore, be of use to the world public. More actions should be undertaken by Member States and the United Nations system to expedite the attainment of the goals of resolution 1325 (2000).
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) said women and children continued to be the most adversely affected by armed conflict, and they were increasingly targeted by combatants and other armed elements. Durable peace and reconciliation were heavily compromised if the perpetrators of such acts were not prosecuted.
The Council had a vital role to play in ensuring that targeted measures were taken to protect women and girls from rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict situations, he said, describing its referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court as a landmark decision. However, there was still a lack of political will to recognize women’s contributions to peace, and their capacity as peacemakers must be strengthened. It was essential to create awareness of peace negotiations as a tool for achieving gender equality. Liechtenstein supported the idea of a mechanism for reporting on and monitoring implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
DAN GILLERMAN ( Israel), stressing that women must play an equal role in all aspects of the State and civil society, said their advancement would translate into advancement and progress for all. National mechanisms for the advancement of women needed strengthening to ensure their active participation in the formulation of public policy on matters of peace and security. In Israel, the women’s equal rights law, amended in the spirit of resolution 1325 (2000), mandated that the Government include women in any group appointed to peacebuilding negotiations and conflict resolution. Tzipi Livni, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, had been appointed last week to lead negotiations with the Palestinians.
He said that, due to the important choices being made on the ground, namely the existence of a Palestinian Government that accepted the Quartet principles and was committed to dialogue with Israel, a sense of renewed hope and optimism could be felt. As Israeli and Palestinian leaders continued to meet, there was a movement of Israeli and Palestinian women working together, from across civil society and the political spectrum, to advocate for peace. Israel took great pride in their leadership. Only with the full participation of women in all aspects of conflict resolution, peacemaking and security would there be viable social, economic and political subsoil for democratization, sustainable development and peace to grow.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said there were institutional gaps and challenges within the United Nations in terms of implementing resolution 1325 (2000). That was caused by a lack of non-core resources from voluntary contributions on the one hand, and the absence of a clear vision on the other. There was also a lack of effective reporting and evaluation on the ground. The vital role that the Peacebuilding Commission could play in designing a conceptual framework to deal with the issue was being ignored.
He said there was a need for a clear system-wide action plan that joined all principle organs of the United Nations in its implementation. It could be created through the adoption of simultaneous resolutions by the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Member States did not need to be scrutinized by a monitoring mechanism in their full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), as suggested by the Secretary-General. All that was required was a collective international effort to strengthen the capacities of States to assist with the implementation process and to provide the financial resources and technical assistance that would make progress possible.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said that, in the past seven years, many States had reaffirmed their commitment to resolution 1325 (2005), and much progress had been achieved. However, an integrated and coordinated strategy was still lacking. It was true that a large part of the responsibility for women’s protection and empowerment was borne by States. When women become the pillar of communities during conflicts, they were part of the security of those communities. Therefore, women’s issues were crucial to peacekeeping efforts.
He said stronger justice systems and effective national legislative frameworks, along with strengthened international machinery, must root out impunity, while many other measures must be taken to make a concrete difference on the ground. Mexico was deeply concerned over the continuing use of sexual violence, which could not be tolerated, either by national Governments or the international community. The time had come for real action in the field to stop it.
LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE ( Zambia), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said resolution 1325 (2000) and the six subsequent presidential statements on women and peace and security provided a solid framework for action in all areas of a peace process. Greater coordinated efforts were required, however, to achieve the resolution’s full implementation, and the international community should give sustained support to the development of national action plans, including financial and human resources help, which would eventually drive that implementation.
Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendations, he commended the “holistic and coherent” United Nations System-wide Action Plan for 2008-2009, saying its full realization was the responsibility of the international community. The Security Council should hold national Governments accountable for its implementation. SADC called for an investigation of all cases of violence and sexual abuse, especially those committed against women and children. The culture of impunity must be stopped.
SADC was encouraged by progress on the mainstreaming of gender in relevant disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, and commended the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in reintegration projects, he said. Awareness of resolution 1325 (2000) should be broadened, and it was important to build capacity at the local level, particularly the capacity of national women’s groups on the ground. Women should be encouraged to run for office, especially in countries emerging from conflict.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said that, as a member of the “Friends of 1325”, her country underlined the importance of sharing experiences and points of view. Colombia had taken various national actions towards implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) with the help of non-governmental organizations and UNIFEM. Important roles had also been played at the regional level by the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Women.
Addressing the Secretary-General’s recommendations, she underscored the importance of the General Assembly’s contribution to the strengthening of cooperation with Member States in establishing accountability mechanisms pertaining to resolution 1325 (2000). Colombia noted with reservation the suggestion regarding the establishment of a Council mechanism to monitor national implementation. That would result in the creation of a mechanism whereby the Council would single out countries with respect to thematic issues that belonged in the Assembly. Cooperation, constructive dialogue and effective support were preferable when dealing with issues concerning human rights.
GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria), associating himself with the European Union, said the full potential for engaging women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding had not yet been achieved, although women around the world were ready to bear key responsibilities in that respect. For example, women in the Arab world and throughout the Middle East had become a driving force for political, social, economic and cultural development, as proved by an international conference held in Vienna during May. Similarly, women leaders and experts from Serbia and Kosovo would come together in the Austrian capital next month.
The role of women needed further improvement within the United Nations system, he continued, noting that, until very recently, there had not been a single woman among the 54 Special Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General. Austria strongly supported the zero-tolerance policy concerning sexual abuse and exploitation by United Nations personnel, and urged the Security Council to consider establishing a permanent monitoring mechanism on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). Austria was confident that its recently adopted national action plan for the resolution’s implementation would be an effective tool for reinforcing efforts to integrate gender aspects fully into peace and security activities.
THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany), associating himself with the European Union, welcomed the initiative to develop a mechanism to ensure the systematic integration and implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in the Security Council’s work, including resolutions, reporting requests and field missions. Germany welcomed the fact that the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund had integrated a gender perspective into their work.
He said the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment was an essential part of the United Nations mandate. A coherent and effective implementation of that mandate, including resolution 1325 (2000), needed a coherent and effective gender architecture. Germany’s activities included concrete projects aimed at ending violence against women all over the world. Many of those projects had been conducted in cooperation with non-governmental organizations.
JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said the main challenge implementing resolution 1325 (2000) was that its provisions had not been systematically institutionalized and there were no accountability mechanisms in place. Given the volatile situation of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there was an urgent need for the resolution’s systematic implementation and monitoring. The Security Council could make a difference in that respect, given its crucial involvement in the effective, timely and systematic implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). Canada called on the Council to establish a monitoring mechanism in the form of a committee or working group with a mandate to monitor regularly progress made in implementing 1325 (2000) throughout the Council’s work.
He also called on the Council to commit to regular consultations with representatives of women’s organizations in the countries on the Council’s agenda, and recommended that it make fuller use of the analytical support and guidance available from specialized United Nations agencies. The Council should also ensure that disaggregated data and information on grave violations of women’s and girls’ human rights, and their participation in peace and reconstruction processes were produced and utilized in the work of the Council, which should also ensure that information on violence against women and girls was included in all reports of the Secretary-General submitted to it. A monitoring mechanism and the regular presentation of disaggregated data would increase the Council’s capacity to design and implement peace support mandates, to better respond to such violence and to ensure the integration of prevention strategies to address violence against women and girls in the work of United Nations country teams.
ABDALMAHMOOD MOHAMAD ( Sudan) said it was important that the issue of women and armed conflict not overshadow the broader issue of women, peace and social development, including the right to development. For greater participation by women’s in peacemaking, technical assistance was needed, particularly in the form of training programmes in the fields of health and education. For that purpose, Sudan relied on relevant United Nations agencies and bodies, and stressed the importance of abiding by the principle of national ownership of those programmes and activities, which must respond to national priorities and focus on building the capacity of local institutions.
At the national level, women’s empowerment had been one of Sudan’s top priorities, he said. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Darfur Peace Agreement both included provisions safeguarding the active participation of women in peacebuilding. Tradition and history since independence had accorded women important roles in all aspects of political, economic, social and cultural life. A national strategy to empower women had been adopted this year, and their participation would give dynamism and direction to the upcoming Darfur peace talks in Libya. In conclusion, Sudan wished to warn against “unpleasant trends” within the United Nations that politicized the issues of women to settle political scores. That would only harm women further.
JORGE ARGÜELLO ( Argentina) said it was necessary to reinforce efforts to ensure the systematic implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in all areas, and to foster the inclusion of a gender perspective in all Security Council resolutions, as well as the work of the Peacebuilding Commission. While progress had been made -– notably through UNIFEM’s field activities, the academic activities of INSTRAW and in efforts by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security and the Inter-agency Network on Women and Gender Equality -– it was necessary to build on those foundations, so as to achieve a greater impact on the United Nations system while making tangible progress with respect to gender equality and the situation of women.
From its own experience, Argentina recognized the importance of launching national action plans to implement resolution 1325 (2000), he said. Those should be developed through a participatory process and include monitoring and accountability mechanisms to secure greater participation by women in decision-making processes while ensuring that their claims were taken into account at all levels. In that respect, Argentina had fully incorporated United Nations recommendations on the subject of gender into its participation in peacekeeping operations. Women had access to all ranks of Argentina’s security forces’ hierarchy and participated in peacekeeping operations in Haiti and Cyprus. An implementation mechanism, perhaps based on the model of resolution 1612 (2005), would be an indispensable and efficient tool.
PARK HEE-KWON (Republic of Korea) said it was unfortunate that the efforts towards implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) had been rather fragmented and incoherent. As a result, women continued to be marginalized in peacebuilding processes, and gender perspectives had not been adequately integrated into all phases of peace processes. Most appallingly, sexual violence was growing in many countries in conflict. Poor implementation was not the fault of the Secretary-General, but due to the Security Council’s lack of accountability.
The new Action Plan’s attempt to fill the monitoring, evaluation and accountability gap might improve reporting, but it was not the solution for the greater problem, he said. Most urgently needed was a dedicated and effective Council mechanism for the overall integration of resolution 1325 (2000) in the Council’s work, and a serious effort against sexual violence. Regional approaches should be considered in a complementary way, but the ultimate accountability still lay with the Council.
FRANCES LISSON ( Australia) said the involvement of women in peace processes was important not only for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, but also for the social and economic issues that were essential to long-term, sustainable development. For that reason, the Australian Government had launched this year a gender equality policy for the Australian Aid Programme to reduce poverty by empowering women. In addition, the country continued to fund activities in the Asia-Pacific region aimed at increasing women’s participation in decision-making for peace and security at all levels. Such efforts not only helped fully implement resolution 1325 (2000), they also increased the availability of related information. Australia’s own peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts also actively engaged women at all levels and in many roles. The country would keep working towards full implementation of the resolution.
IVAN ROMERO MARTINEZ ( Honduras), condemning all manifestations of violence or oppression directed at women, said the implementation of resolution of 1325 (2000) should be pursued as part of all Security Council efforts. The time had come for action, as a lack of sensitivity and commitment was still allowing threats to women in many conflict zones. Honduras had been making comprehensive efforts to empower and protect women, and welcomed programmes of the United Nations system that integrated a gender perspective. The country also welcomed the new System-wide Action Plan for implementation of the resolution. Sexual abuse must be addressed immediately, and the value of a woman or a girl must be affirmed and protected by a collective consciousness worldwide.
MONA JUUL (Norway) said the process leading up to the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) had increased understanding of the roles, needs and vulnerability of women and girls, providing a useful platform for redoubled efforts to ensure women were included in peace processes. Still, the situation was far from satisfactory. For that reason, the Council should develop a monitoring mechanism to help prevent and redress violence against women, develop a transparent mechanism to ensure that gender issues were addressed and reported in all peace operations, and to mandate a reporting mechanism on sexual violence within peacekeeping missions.
In addition, efforts must be expanded beyond traditional institutional boundaries, she said, cautioning that stove-piping could not be allowed to hinder actual progress on the ground. For example, insufficient attention to health issues may contribute to the collapse of peace processes. It was necessary to develop gender-specific health indicators to better assess peace and reconstruction processes. Road maps for health recovery, accompanied by concrete action, could be used as a peacemaking tool.
MIRJANA MLADINEO ( Croatia) said peace agreements, post-conflict reconstruction and governance had a better chance of success when women were involved, partly because they had a more inclusive approach and addressed key issues that might otherwise be ignored. Women would also include children’s concerns in peacemaking and post-conflict phases. Their exclusion from peace negotiations and the drafting of constitutions meant that their rights, not only as victims, but also as citizens and former combatants, would not be fully represented. Even among child soldiers, up to 40 per cent were girls.
She said that, in 2006, women from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs had visited her country to gather experience from Croatian women in dealing with post-war situations. That showed that, over the last decade, women across the world had managed to become increasingly involved in conflict-resolution processes. Croatia had participated in 15 United Nations peacekeeping operations with 7 per cent of its peacekeepers being female. The country was implementing a zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in field operations.
NDUKU BOOTO (Democratic Republic of the Congo), aligning herself with SADC, said one of the major objectives of implementing resolution 1325 (2000) was the inclusion of the gender dimension in all aspects of peace and security, and ensuring full participation by women and girls in the management and settlement of disputes. The achievement of that goal depended on the resolution’s implementation by Member States, with the participation of the United Nations and civil society. Governments were called upon to provide capacity-building for women.
She said it was important that the Secretary-General appoint more women Special Representatives and Envoys, and increase the role of women in United Nations operations on the ground. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was concerned at the increasing and unprecedented violence in the east of the country, particularly sexual violence motivated by the perpetrators’ need to destroy an entire nation by attacking the dignity and physical and moral integrity of its women. Security and cracking down on the perpetrators was a national priority, but giving the regular forces the means to deal with the militias was vital. As a catastrophic consequence of the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, HIV/AIDS was wreaking havoc in the country. There was a need to end impunity and punish the perpetrators.
MARIA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) said that, since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), the political contributions of women, which had always been valuable, had begun to win greater appreciation. Women had played a key role during the war of foreign aggression, and they had been key actors in achieving reconciliation and reconstruction at all levels.
She thanked all United Nations agencies involved in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and requested that they continue their work. Impunity must be ended for perpetrators of sexual exploitation, particularly peacekeepers, and more women must be appointed to positions of responsibility to help remedy conflict situations and put their skills to proper use in that area.
ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW ( Guinea) said his country valued greatly the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and had instituted an international mechanism to further its goals nationally. Last October, in fact, Guinea’s First Lady had organized a celebration on the anniversary of the resolution’s adoption. Guinea had found peace again thanks in good part to the efforts of the nation’s women, and it was a pleasure to see that the new Action Plan for further implementation of the resolution was, indeed, action-based. Guinea appealed to the international community to increase its assistance to national efforts to implement the resolution, and to ensure the protection and mobilization of women in peacebuilding, both in Guinea and the wider subregion.
STEVE D. MATENJE ( Malawi) urged the United Nations to take further deliberate steps to increase the participation of women in the highest level decision-making positions in peacekeeping operations, conflict prevention, peace negotiations, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. Incorporation of the gender perspective in those areas was critical for the achievement of sustainable and lasting peace, both at the national and international levels, and for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. He noticed with concern that institutional gaps and challenges, such as inadequate funding for gender-related projects and insufficient institutional capacity for gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations, impeded the full implementation of the System-wide Action Plan. He hoped, however, that adequate and predictable mechanisms would be introduced to support full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). He supported establishing a Council mechanism to monitor the resolution’s implementation at the national level, as that would help to address gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.
LARS FAABORG-ANDERSEN ( Denmark), associating his delegation with the statement made by Portugal for the European Union, said implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) was as important as ever. Women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations could not afford delay. The 2008-2009 Action Plan was conceptualized to become a results-based programming, monitoring and reporting tool, and its sharpened focus on the five thematic areas of prevention, protection, participation, relief and recovery shifted the focus from project to programme implementation. It also provided a broader framework linked to national peace and reconstruction processes, and committed the United Nations system to enhancing coherence and integrating a gender perspective. Increasing the visibility of the outcome and impact of the initiatives were the responsibility of the United Nations system.
He expressed hope that, in another year, protection of the rights of women and girls during and after conflict would have increased. A major lesson learned in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in 2005 to 2007 was that, without concerted efforts of Government and civil society at the national level, implementation remained elusive. Effective links between the Action Plan and national implementation efforts were not yet well established and required special attention. In its efforts to contribute to implementing the resolution, his country had found that the resolution was still little known at the country and grass-roots level, and he urged the Council to work on visibility alongside implementation efforts.
Z.D. MUBURI-MUITA ( Kenya) affirmed the centrality of gender equality in all spheres of life, for which reason his country had adopted a national policy on gender development. Kenya welcomed, in that context, the significant progress made in implementing resolution 1325 (2000).
However, that progress was slow and more needed to be done in tackling institutional and organizational gaps, he said. Those gaps included a lack of capacity to understand and implement gender-mainstreaming programmes; a lack of leadership in implementing resolution 1325 (2000); inadequate accountability mechanisms; and inadequate resources and inter-agency coordination. In that light, Kenya welcomed the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report, in the hope that the accountability, monitoring and reporting system would be strengthened.
JORGE URBINA ORTEGA ( Costa Rica) said violence against women, particularly in armed conflict, had become endemic and should be approached with mechanisms that went beyond well-intentioned improvisation. Women should have a major role in any decisions taken in the areas of conflict prevention and resolution, as well as in post-conflict peacebuilding. To ensure progress towards peace and security, and the effective protection of human rights for all, women must be effectively empowered. The multidimensional nature of the problems women faced in armed conflict required systemic treatment. Costa Rica was concerned about the compartmentalization of cross-cutting issues, and discussions on the United Nations gender architecture should, therefore, start without delay.
HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said that, while progress had been reported in a wide range of spheres of activities, most important of all was the increased political commitment of many entities to gender equality and women’s empowerment within peace processes. The large number of entities involved pointed to the potential of the United Nations system to advance the cause, but it also showed the need to ensure effective inter-agency coordination.
Despite the progress made, gender imbalance had not been adequately addressed, leaving women underrepresented in the United Nations Secretariat, he said. Capacity-building, coordination and cooperation should be improved considerably and, as always, the question of adequate and predictable funding required undivided attention. Viet Nam agreed with the intention to consolidate all activities of United Nations entities under the updated 2009-2009 Action Plan into five thematic areas, and supported the proposed establishment of a database on good practices and lessons learned.
U MAUNG WAI ( Myanmar) said that, in his country, Government policies, traditional practices and non-governmental organizations had helped ensure that the needs and priorities of women and girls were addressed, even as the country had faced the challenges posed by 18 armed insurgent groups, and had made progress along its political road map. Myanmar, therefore, took exception to the unfounded allegations of sexual violence levelled at its armed forces by the representative of the United Kingdom.
The false accusations of gang rape originated in reports issued by organizations associated with insurgent groups. Their reports had been found by the Security Council to be at variance with reality, he said. Rape, let alone gang rape, was regarded by Myanmar’s people and Government as a most dastardly crime, and the full force of law was applied against perpetrators when it occurred. In the particular case in question, three separate investigations had been undertaken.
MOHAMMED TOUHID HOSSAIN, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, recalled with pride that his country, as a Council member in 2000, had been closely involved in the adoption of resolution 1325 (200). However, seven years since, there was still a need to ensure adequate representation of women in all phases of peacemaking. In that area, and in understanding the situation of women and girls who were victims of conflict, there was a need for better data and information-sharing.
He said that, as one of the largest troop contributors and a member of the Peacebuilding Commission, his country was ever conscious of the responsibility to incorporate resolution 1325 (2000) into pre-deployment training and peacebuilding efforts. A strong Security Council mechanism was needed to monitor implementation of the resolution, and Bangladesh supported the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report. A critical need was high-level commitment to an effective accountability mechanism, as well as ending impunity for perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence.
AHMED AL-JARMAN ( United Arab Emirates) said seven years had passed since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), which had entrenched a concept for the protection of women during armed conflict and striven to promote their participation in conflict prevention. Implementation, however, was far from accomplished, as women and children were still the main victims of conflict.
Condemning all violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations, he emphasized the role that the Peacebuilding Commission could play in addressing the issue, and underlined the need to involve civil society in implementing resolution 1325 (2000). There was also a need to adopt a gender perspective in all peacekeeping operations, including through increasing the role of women in decision-making. As for women victims in occupied Palestine and the women of Iraq, the United Arab Emirates called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities, as, without the political will to find a solution, the region would continue to live in insecurity and instability, which nourished violence against women.
JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin) said significant progress had been made in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), but there had been delays in many areas. For better progress, all relevant organizations should report on their activities to implement the resolution and other measures. Violations of women’s rights were intolerable and the international community must document and fight them resolutely, using all mechanisms possible, including the International Criminal Court.
The new Action Plan would help to better focus activities and integrate the efforts of various actors, he said. In that way, the Action Plan could help synergize efforts at all levels. The Government of Benin agreed fully with the implementation framework and allied itself fully with its goals. The Government had just created a strategy to help women develop their potential, including through free education. The international community should provide resources and technical assistance to support such efforts.
* *** *For information media • not an official record