Security Council Urges Renewed Measures to Improve Women’s Participation in Peace Processes, Reaffirming Key Role Women Can Play in Rebuilding War-Torn Societies
Security Council Urges Renewed Measures to Improve Women’s Participation in Peace Processes, Reaffirming Key Role Women Can Play in Rebuilding War-Torn Societies
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6196th Meeting (AM & PM)
Security Council Urges Renewed Measures to Improve Women’s Participation in Peace
Processes, Reaffirming Key Role Women Can Play in Rebuilding War-Torn Societies
The Security Council this morning called for a wide range of measures to strengthen the participation of women at all stages of peace processes, focusing on the period after peace agreements have been reached, as it began an intensive day-long discussion on the topic.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1889 (2009), the Council reaffirmed its landmark 2000 resolution 1325 on “women and peace and security”, and condemned continuing sexual violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations. It urged Member States, United Nations bodies, donors and civil society to ensure that women’s protection and empowerment was taken into account during post-conflict needs assessment and planning, and factored into subsequent funding and programming.
It also called on all those involved in the planning for disarmament, demobilization and integration programmes, in particular, to take into account the needs of women and girls associated with armed groups, as well as the needs of their children.
Through the text, the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit a report within 12 months focused on women in post-conflict situations, and to ensure cooperation between the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict and the Special Representative on sexual violence in armed conflict, whose appointment had been requested by last week’s resolution 1888 (2009).
“A cessation of conflict should not result in the marginalization of women and girls, nor their relegation to stereotypical roles,” United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said as she opened the discussion on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Emphasizing that the resolutions passed today and last week could intensify efforts to realize resolution 1325 (2000), she called on the Council to take the lead in creating effective monitoring on women’s situations in conflict and post-conflict countries. Attention, she said, must also be given to safeguarding the newly acquired roles that women were playing during and after conflict, including those at decision-making levels.
Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, introduced the latest report of the Secretary-General on the issue (document S/2009/465), affirming that women and girls continued to be victims of gender-based violence in situations where open hostilities had subsided and thus were outside of the radar screen of the international community.
Commending the Council for its adoption of resolutions 1888 and 1889, she said it was critical for the body to continue to play a strong advocacy role to root out sexual violence in conflict and to be relentless in its insistence on women as peacekeepers, peacebuilders and decision-makers.
Failing to address women’s needs in transitional governance, livelihood support, public service and judicial systems could slow recovery and undermine peace, according to Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), who added that women were a powerful positive force for long-term peacebuilding. UNIFEM was now testing an analytical tool on meeting such needs.
Aha Hagi Elmi Amin, representing the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said resolutions 1888 and 1889 laid out important steps on international obligations to ensuring women’s rights in conflict. However, without accountability for those resolutions, persistent impediments to their implementation would remain. Strong, high-level leadership, a coherent approach towards implementation and a concrete monitoring mechanism to address gaps were needed.
Following those presentations, speakers agreed that efforts for the protection and engagement of women in conflict and post-conflict situations must be ramped up, with many expressing regret that progress in the area had been slow despite the seriousness of the problem. “Why, after almost 10 years, was there still a need to reaffirm resolution 1325?” Sweden’s representative asked on behalf of the European Union. He also wondered why sexual violence itself was not decreasing. He maintained that women must be empowered, accountability must be established and commitment must be transformed into action.
Other speakers emphasized that women’s empowerment must be built into the broader development efforts of post-conflict countries. Speaking in his national capacity, Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem of Viet Nam, which holds the Council presidency for the month of October, said that from his country’s post-conflict experience, State and society needed to pay full attention to both civilian women and those having served in armed forces or having been involved in military activities, making sure that a complete range of services was available for them.
United Nations involvement was essential, he said, recalling that the Organization had carried out many development projects to assist Viet Nam following the end of its conflict, including those that ensured women’s equal participation in all aspects of socio-political life. He expressed deep gratitude for that assistance and those of other development partners.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Croatia, China, United States, France, Libya, Japan, Mexico, Russian Federation, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Austria, Costa Rica, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Brazil, Germany, Philippines, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Italy, United Republic of Tanzania, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Finland, Nigeria, Singapore, Portugal, Iceland, Australia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Denmark, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Argentina, Indonesia, Ukraine, India, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Netherlands, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and the Federated States of Micronesia (on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States).
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m., adjourned at 1 p.m., reopened at 3:10 p.m. and closed at 7:16 p.m.
For today’s debate on “Women and peace and security: responding to the needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations for sustainable peace and security”, the Security Council had before it a “concept paper” (document S/2009/490), submitted by the Permanent Representative of Viet Nam.
The paper states that with the adoption in 2000 of resolution 1325, the Council recognized the importance of gender mainstreaming at all stages of peace processes, including peacekeeping, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. Further, resolution 1820 (2008) and other documents emphasizes that, for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, actions has to be undertaken to address women’s needs and ensure women’s equal participation in mediation and negotiation processes, in all aspects of peacekeeping, in the management of humanitarian assistance and in post-conflict reconstruction.
There have been significant gains towards implementing those resolutions, the paper states, particularly in enhancing the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including women and girls, and promoting the participation of women in peace and security processes. Gaps and challenges remains, however, in the post-conflict period, in which women’s potential contribution is constrained because of their exclusion from decision-making processes and inadequate recognition of their needs and how they could be financed.
The paper notes that the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) reports that of almost 17,000 projects for 23 post-conflict countries over 2006 to 2008, less than 3 per cent targeted gender issues. Women accounted for just 7 per cent of negotiators.
In order to enhance an effective response to women’s needs in post-conflict reconstruction, women’s participation in peacebuilding, planning and monitoring must be prioritized and supported from the earliest possible stages, according to the paper. Neglect of women’s needs in planning processes in conflict and post-conflict situations, in particular regarding physical security, productive asset and income control, access to basic services and access to decision-making, could impose serious costs on recovery and undermine efforts to reassert the rule of law and restart the economy. For women’s essential role in peace processes, women’s needs, priorities and concerns in conflict situations must be addressed and resourced in a timely and systematic way.
The paper suggests that participants in today’s debate may discuss, among other things, evaluation of the impacts of conflicts on women and girls and assessment of their needs in post-conflict situations; identification of ways and means to promote and sustain women’s roles in post-conflict reconstruction and reintegration, election, justice and security sector reforms; and women’s participation in nation-building, governance and policymaking bodies for socio-economic development.
In addition, delegations may consider coordinated and coherent United Nations support for national capacity-building initiatives in addressing the security, recovery and development needs of women and girls; and the role of Member States in ensuring women’s empowerment, both political and economic, the protection of women’s and girls’ rights and measures to promote women’s participation in all post-conflict activities and gender mainstreaming in post-conflict strategies.
Also before the Council was the Secretary-General latest report on women peace and security (document S/2009/465), which observes, among other things, that United Nations entities and Member States have made progress in some areas of implementation of Council resolution 1325 (2000) over the past year, with major strides in training and capacity development, and provision of support for developing national action plans.
It notes that achievements has occurred in training women in leadership, and in carrying out civic and electoral responsibilities, with the consequence of increasing the number of women in public office in some post-conflict contexts. Close collaboration is developing between the United Nations system, Member States and civil society organizations in implementing the resolution.
However, the Secretary-General’s report also stresses that a number of implementation difficulties persist, including how to reverse the extent of sexual violence. Specific and concrete interventions are needed to address sexual violence, which continues to assail women and girls virtually everywhere armed conflict occurs. Legislation to end impunity and reform designed to support greater participation of women in all peace, humanitarian and reconstruction processes are needed.
The report goes on to propose a number of specific actions to be taken, including, among others, that the Security Council should reiterate its commitment to the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000); Member States must not only condemn violations of the rights of women and girls during armed conflict, but also take swift action in prosecuting those who commits gender-based violence in the context of armed conflict, and, where necessary and appropriate, use all existing provisions under international law.
It also proposes that the Security Council should vigorously pursue a strategy to ensure an increase in women’s participation in all peace processes, particularly in negotiation and mediation, as well as in post-conflict governance and reconstruction, including an increase in the number of women Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, as well as in peacekeeping missions as military, police and civilian members.
The Council last considered the issue of “women and peace and security” on 7 August (see Press Release SC/9726). On 30 September, the Council adopted unanimously resolution 1888 (2009) on protection of women and girls from sexual violence in armed conflict (see Press Release SC/9753).
Action on Draft Resolution
At the outset of the meeting, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1889 (2009), the full text of which reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Reaffirming its commitment to the continuing and full implementation, in a mutually reinforcing manner, of resolutions 1325 (2000), 1612 (2005), 1674 (2006), 1820 (2008), 1882 (2009), 1888 (2009) and all relevant statements of its Presidents,
“Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and bearing in mind the primary responsibility of the Security Council under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security,
“Recalling the resolve expressed in the 2005 United Nations General Assembly World Summit Outcome Document (A/RES/60/1) to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, the obligations of States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Optional Protocol thereto, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocols thereto, recalling also the commitments contained in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as those contained in the outcome document of the twenty-third Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-First Century” (A/S‑23/10/Rev.1), in particular those concerning women and armed conflict,
“Having considered the report of the Secretary General (S/2009/465) of 16 September 2009 and stressing that the present resolution does not seek to make any legal determination as to whether situations that are referred to in the Secretary-General’s report are or are not armed conflicts within the context of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto, nor does it prejudge the legal status of the non-State parties involved in these situations,
“Welcoming the efforts of Member States in implementing its resolution 1325 (2000) at the national level, including the development of national action plans, and encouraging Member States to continue to pursue such implementation,
“Reiterating the need for the full, equal and effective participation of women at all stages of peace processes given their vital role in the prevention and resolution of conflict and peacebuilding, reaffirming the key role women can play in re‑establishing the fabric of recovering society and stressing the need for their involvement in the development and implementation of post-conflict strategies in order to take into account their perspectives and needs,
“Expressing deep concern about the under-representation of women at all stages of peace processes, particularly the very low numbers of women in formal roles in mediation processes and stressing the need to ensure that women are appropriately appointed at decision-making levels, as high level mediators, and within the composition of the mediators’ teams,
“Remaining deeply concerned about the persistent obstacles to women’s full involvement in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and participation in post-conflict public life, as a result of violence and intimidation, lack of security and lack of rule of law, cultural discrimination and stigmatization, including the rise of extremist or fanatical views on women, and socio-economic factors including the lack of access to education, and in this respect, recognizing that the marginalization of women can delay or undermine the achievement of durable peace, security and reconciliation,
“Recognizing the particular needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations, including, inter alia, physical security, health services including reproductive and mental health, ways to ensure their livelihoods, land and property rights, employment, as well as their participation in decision-making and post-conflict planning, particularly at early stages of post-conflict peacebuilding,
“Noting that despite progress, obstacles to strengthening women’s participation in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding remain, expressing concern that women’s capacity to engage in public decision making and economic recovery often does not receive adequate recognition or financing in post-conflict situations, and underlining that funding for women’s early recovery needs is vital to increase women’s empowerment, which can contribute to effective post-conflict peacebuilding,
“Noting that women in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict situations continue to be often considered as victims and not as actors in addressing and resolving situations of armed conflict and stressing the need to focus not only on protection of women but also on their empowerment in peacebuilding,
“Recognizing that an understanding of the impact of situations of armed conflict on women and girls, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, adequate and rapid response to their particular needs, and effective institutional arrangements to guarantee their protection and full participation in the peace process, particularly at early stages of post-conflict peacebuilding, can significantly contribute to the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security,
“Welcoming the United Nations initiative to develop a system similar to that pioneered by the United Nations Development Programme to allow decision-makers to track gender-related allocations in United Nations Development Group Multi‑Donor Trust Funds,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to appoint more women to senior United Nations positions, particularly in field missions, as a tangible step towards providing United Nations leadership on implementation of its resolution 1325 (2000),
“Welcoming the upcoming establishment of a United Nations Steering Committee to enhance visibility and strengthen coordination within the United Nations system regarding the preparations for the 10th anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000),
“Encouraging relevant actors to organize events during 2009-2010 at the global, regional and national levels to increase awareness about resolution 1325 (2000), including ministerial events, to renew commitments to “Women and peace and security”, and to identify ways to address remaining and new challenges in implementing resolution 1325 (2000) in the future,
“1. Urges Member States, international and regional organisations to take further measures to improve women’s participation during all stages of peace processes, particularly in conflict resolution, post-conflict planning and peacebuilding, including by enhancing their engagement in political and economic decision-making at early stages of recovery processes, through inter alia promoting women’s leadership and capacity to engage in aid management and planning, supporting women’s organizations, and countering negative societal attitudes about women’s capacity to participate equally;
“2. Reiterates its call for all parties in armed conflicts to respect fully international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls;
“3. Strongly condemns all violations of applicable international law committed against women and girls in situations of armed conflicts and post‑conflict situations, demands all parties to conflicts to cease such acts with immediate effect, and emphasizes the responsibility of all States to put an end to impunity and to prosecute those responsible for all forms of violence committed against women and girls in armed conflicts, including rape and other sexual violence;
“4. Calls upon the Secretary-General to develop a strategy, including through appropriate training, to increase the number of women appointed to pursue good offices on his behalf, particularly as Special Representatives and Special Envoys, and to take measures to increase women’s participation in United Nations political, peacebuilding and peacekeeping missions;
“5. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that all country reports to the Security Council provide information on the impact of situations of armed conflict on women and girls, their particular needs in post-conflict situations and obstacles to attaining those needs;
“6. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that relevant United Nations bodies, in cooperation with Member States and civil society, collect data on, analyze and systematically assess particular needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations, including, inter alia, information on their needs for physical security and participation in decision-making and post-conflict planning, in order to improve system-wide response to those needs;
“7. Expresses its intention, when establishing and renewing the mandates of United Nations missions, to include provisions on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women in post-conflict situations, and requests the Secretary-General to continue, as appropriate, to appoint gender advisors and/or women-protection advisors to United Nations missions and asks them, in cooperation with United Nations Country Teams, to render technical assistance and improved coordination efforts to address recovery needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations;
“8. Urges Member States to ensure gender mainstreaming in all post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery processes and sectors;
“9. Urges Member States, United Nations bodies, donors and civil society to ensure that women’s empowerment is taken into account during post-conflict needs assessments and planning, and factored into subsequent funding disbursements and programme activities, including through developing transparent analysis and tracking of funds allocated for addressing women’s needs in the post-conflict phase;
“10. Encourages Member States in post-conflict situations, in consultation with civil society, including women’s organizations, to specify in detail women and girls’ needs and priorities and design concrete strategies, in accordance with their legal systems, to address those needs and priorities, which cover inter alia support for greater physical security and better socio-economic conditions, through education, income generating activities, access to basic services, in particular health services, including sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights and mental health, gender-responsive law enforcement and access to justice, as well as enhancing capacity to engage in public decision-making at all levels;
“11. Urges Member States, United Nations bodies and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, to take all feasible measures to ensure women and girls’ equal access to education in post-conflict situations, given the vital role of education in the promotion of women’s participation in post-conflict decision-making;
“12. Calls upon all parties to armed conflicts to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps and settlements, and ensure the protection of all civilians inhabiting such camps, in particular women and girls, from all forms of violence, including rape and other sexual violence, and to ensure full, unimpeded and secure humanitarian access to them;
“13. Calls upon all those involved in the planning for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration to take into account particular needs of women and girls associated with armed forces and armed groups and their children, and provide for their full access to these programmes;
“14. Encourages the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Support Office to continue to ensure systematic attention to and mobilisation of resources for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment as an integral part of post-conflict peacebuilding, and to encourage the full participation of women in this process;
“15. Request the Secretary-General, in his agenda for action to improve the United Nations’ peacebuilding efforts, to take account of the need to improve the participation of women in political and economic decision-making from the earliest stages of the peacebuilding process;
“16. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure full transparency, cooperation and coordination of efforts between the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on sexual violence and armed conflict whose appointment has been requested by its resolution 1888 (2009);
“17. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Security Council within 6 months, for consideration, a set of indicators for use at the global level to track implementation of its resolution 1325 (2000), which could serve as a common basis for reporting by relevant United Nations entities, other international and regional organizations, and Member States, on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in 2010 and beyond;
“18. Requests the Secretary-General, within the report requested in S/PRST/2007/40, to also include a review of progress in the implementation of its resolution 1325 (2000), an assessment of the processes by which the Security Council receives, analyses and takes action on information pertinent to resolution 1325 (2000), recommendations on further measures to improve coordination across the United Nations system, and with Member States and civil society to deliver implementation, and data on women’s participation in United Nations missions;
“19. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Security Council within 12 months on addressing women’s participation and inclusion in peacebuilding and planning in the aftermath of conflict, taking into consideration the views of the Peacebuilding Commission and to include, inter alia:
a. Analysis on the particular needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations,
b. Challenges to women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding and gender mainstreaming in all early post-conflict planning, financing and recovery processes,
c. Measures to support national capacity in planning for and financing responses to the needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations,
d. Recommendations for improving international and national responses to the needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations, including the development of effective financial and institutional arrangements to guarantee women’s full and equal participation in the peacebuilding process,
“20. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, speaking on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the Security Council’s “milestone” resolution 1325(2000) provided a global framework for mainstreaming gender in all peace processes, including peacekeeping, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, as well as in the general maintenance of international peace and security.
She also underlined the importance of “seizing the opportunity created by a cessation of hostilities. “Addressing those needs is critical for long-term peace. So too, is empowering women and girls in order that they can play their rightful role in conflict prevention and peace-building”, she said. In nine years since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), not enough had been accomplished in that area. Only 16 countries had adopted national action plans for its implementation.
With the tenth anniversary of the resolution and the review of its implementation fast approaching, she encouraged all Member States to take action and called on the Council to demonstrated leadership in creating effective monitoring. Attention must be given to safeguarding the newly acquired roles that women were playing during conflict, including decision-making.
She added that “a cessation of conflict should not result in the marginalization of women and girls nor their relegation to stereotypical roles”, stressing that any exclusion of women in peace negotiations and mediation should not continue into the implementation of a peace settlement, affirming that women’s participation was crucial in that context.
RACHEL N. MAYANJA, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on women and peace and security (S/2009/465), which she said identified progress in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), outlined challenges and provided recommendations for addressing them. She affirmed that women and girls continued to be victims of gender-based violence, not only during conflicts, but also where open hostilities had subsided, and thus were outside of the radar screen of the international community.
Progress, she said, was evident in the areas of training and capacity-development and, as a result, women’s participation had been strengthened in some situations in mediating and negotiating peace, in searching for justice, in fostering reconciliation, in supporting disarmament and demobilization, in rebuilding national institutions and in furthering mine action. She welcomed the adoption, by many Member States, of national action plans to guide implementation of the resolution, but cautioned that such plans must still be implemented and must be backed by resources.
Commending the Council for its adoption of resolution 1888 (2009), she said it was critical for that body to continue playing a strong advocacy role to root out sexual violence in conflict and to be relentless in its insistence on women as peacekeepers, peacebuilders and decision-makers. She informed the Council that preparations were under way for the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of resolution of resolution 1325 (2000). It was expected that the Council would convene a ministerial-level meeting next year to review progress to date and to take action to reinvigorate efforts towards the full implementation of the resolution. Greater resolve was required from all for that to happen, she said, stressing that warring parties and other violators must be held accountable.
INÉS ALBERDI, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said women’s leadership was an integral part of early recovery and peacebuilding efforts. Failing to address women’s needs in transitional governance, livelihood support, public service and judicial systems could slow recovery and undermine peace. Women were a powerful positive force for long-term peacebuilding. Women represented less than 10 per cent of members of official peace negotiation teams. Such a “striking absence” at that level meant that women lacked voice in everything that followed.
She said post-conflict planners should always investigate women’s specific needs and allocate sufficient resources to meet them. UNIFEM had developed an analytical tool in that regard, and was working with several partners to develop guidance on gender as a cross-cutting issue in post-conflict needs assessments. That guidance would be tested in the current needs assessment process in Pakistan, she added.
The risk of sexual violence after a conflict would keep women from resuming market activities, keep girls from school and discourage women from engaging in politics. Moreover, she said, the failure to prosecute crimes of sexual violence sent a message to perpetrators that they could act with impunity. She noted with great concern the increased number of women human rights defenders threatened or murdered in the past year, particularly in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
She said a central part of peacebuilding was economic recovery. That usually translated into job creation for young men, often at the expense of adequate investment in women’s employment and livelihood needs. In particular, women needed land rights and control of productive assets. Women’s agricultural and market activities sustained food security, as well as large numbers of family members. Providing them credit and protecting their property rights would have a significant multiplier effect on peacebuilding.
She said that Security Council resolutions 1820 (2008), 1882 (2009) and 1888 (2009), as well as the text adopted today, represented building blocks of a potentially powerful system for equalizing women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, for strengthening women’s protection during and after conflict, and for ensuring long-term prevention of conflict.
She said that today’s resolution called for the development of indicators on resolution 1325 (2000). The difficulty of obtaining data must not be a reason for not trying to get it. “It is time for us all to count the number of women at the peace table, the number of women raped in war, the number of internally displaced women who never recover their property, the number of women human rights defenders killed for speaking out,” she added.
Targets should also be set to report against next year, she said. The aim could be for at least a 50 per cent increase in the number of women uniformed peacekeeping personnel. A higher target should be set to increase the number of women mediators and Special Representatives of the Secretary-General. At least 15 per cent of post-conflict funding should be earmarked for women’s empowerment and women’s recovery needs. Beyond the Peacebuilding Commission, a stronger system-wide architecture should be set up for leadership, funding, monitoring and accountability for the women, peace and security agenda.
ASHA HAGI ELMI AMIN, representative of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said she was there today as an advocate for the political, economic and social rights of women in Somalia, having formed in 2000 the “Sixth Clan” to carve out a space for Somali women in the country’s male-dominated political world. Through that Sixth Clan identity, Somali women had participated for the first time as equal partners in the peace process. Quotas for women in Parliament had been ensured. The NGO Working Group coalition served as a bridge between women, human rights defenders and policy-makers at Headquarters.
She said the resolution adopted today laid out important steps on international obligations to ensuring women’s rights in conflict, as did resolution 1888 (2009) that had been adopted last week. However, without accountability for those resolutions, persistent impediments to their implementation would remain. Strong, high-level leadership, a coherent approach towards implementation and a concrete monitoring mechanism to address gaps were needed.
She said that women had the potential to add immense value to peace processes and negotiations, bringing tolerance, compassion, forgiveness and practical solutions that were the basic tenets of reconciliation. In Somalia, women often represented and spoke for the silent majority of unarmed civilians, who were mainly women and children.
Women’s participation in peace processes was not optional -- it was a requirement, she said. Yet, it was not only women’s jobs to bring those voices into all conflict resolution and rebuilding efforts. Men must also ensure that women’s rights and interests were meaningfully addressed in all peace processes. In 12 months, the tenth anniversary of adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) would be celebrated. “We now look to you, the international community, to live up to your obligations to women in conflict by ensuring that women are engaged in all levels of decision-making in conflict resolution processes.”
The international community must also work to ensure that the rights and interests of women were addressed in such processes, and to demonstrate marked improvement in the number of women in any peacebuilding and civilian peacekeeping support provided by Governments. She said: “Women are not only victims in conflict, but agents for positive change.” What women still lacked was coherent and practical support from the international community. Women needed that support to secure their places in decision-making positions, to help end conflicts and to rebuild their respective countries to ensure sustainable peace.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said the issues related to women, peace and security addressed over the past months had been prompted by the lack of implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). The Secretary-General’s report provided a depressing analysis of the many obstacles and challenges to women’s participation in peace processes. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had appointed three of the nine women who had ever held the post of Special Representative, and had appointed a female Deputy Secretary-General. Yet, while the numbers of women were growing steadily among key United Nations leadership functions in the field, there still had never been a female Special Envoy.
Today’s debate was about the particular contribution of women to peacebuilding -- about seizing the “golden hour” window of opportunity, namely at the point of emergence from conflict. The Council had agreed that more attention should be focused on the links between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Ensuring the engagement of local female populations was one obvious link that empowered women both make peace and to build it. Although they were often the survivors of some of the worst effects of conflict, women were usually relied upon to form the foundation of a post-conflict society. They frequently fulfilled that role with no say over the peace process and no voice in any post-conflict planning, he said.
In the year leading up to the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000), there was a need to identify practical ways to assure women a central role in peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding. Over the next year, he said, there was a need to generate imaginative solutions, making use of the whole United Nations system, to the many obstacles hampering implementation of that resolution. The number and standard of national-level implementation strategies must also be increased and, among other things, indicators must be agreed upon to measure progress.
RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia) said almost a decade had passed since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), and there had been much progress in the area of the empowerment of women, including in training women for leadership positions. There had also been an increase in female peacekeeping personnel. The Security Council also contributed to significant advancements on the issue of women and children, and had adopted resolutions 1820 (2008) and 1888 (2009) on sexual violence in armed conflict. He added that resolution 1882 (2009) addressed, among other things, sexual violence against girls.
Those commitments were commendable, but putting words into action was the only way forward. “Women still have a long way to go,” he said, noting that progress was needed in protecting and promoting women’s human rights, in armed conflict as well as in times of peace. Women did not enjoy equal participation and full involvement in mediation and negotiation processes. They did not participate equally in processes of post-conflict reconstruction. What also concerned him was that women and girls were not guaranteed safety in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons.
He said that UNIFEM had reported a substantial gap in financing women’s needs in post-conflict situations, largely because they had not been included from the beginning of the peace process or in peace negotiations. He added that while Croatia had included elements of resolution 1325 (2000) in its national strategy on gender equality, there were still gaps in its implementation that needed to be continuously monitored. Lastly, he extended his appreciation to the women of South-East Europe who had experienced the burden of destruction and violence of armed conflict in the region but had found ways to reach across borders and serve as peacebuilders in the region.
ZHANG YESUI ( China) said that since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), women were shouldering much more responsibility in peace processes, but there was still a long way to go. Post-conflict considerations were particularly important in that context. Women’s rights and interests should be incorporated in all areas of those processes, and women’s participation should be ensured.
The countries concerned should have primary responsibility in reaching those goals, but the international community should support them in their efforts, he said. After the passage of the two recent resolutions on women, peace and security, he expressed hope that the Secretariat would fulfil the reporting duties outlined in those texts in an effective and efficient manner.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) agreed that armed conflict continued to have a devastating impact on women and girls, and said that implantation of resolution 1325 (2000) must be intensified. In post-conflict situations, peace terms should certainly take into account those most affected by conflict, that was women and girls.
She cited the activism of women’s and girls’ groups in Liberia as an example of their effectiveness in peacemaking. She affirmed that such groups should be supported in those efforts, and said that the combat against impunity for sexual crimes was also crucial in post-conflict situations. She looked forward to the implementation of all relevant resolutions, including the appointment of a special representative, the increase of women staff in peacemaking and the improvement of monitoring and reporting.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said much had been done to implement resolution 1325 (2000). The Council had included provisions of the resolution in peacekeeping mandates, while United Nations agencies and funds, as well as the Secretariat, had stepped up efforts to protect women in post-conflict situations. The Secretary-General’s report cited burgeoning initiatives regarding training, assisting women victims and combating impunity in times of conflict and post-conflict.
The United Nations was not alone in its endeavours, he continued, noting that the European Union had demonstrated its commitment and had, among other things, adopted guidelines on violence against women, as well as a global policy regarding implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). A long list remained, however, of dramatic women’s protection issues the international community must tackle.
He said today’s resolution incorporated major advances in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), including the development of indicators. The Council had taken to heart observations by France regarding transparency, cooperation and coordination in implementing the relevant resolutions. The medical needs of women victims of rape had been taken into account as well. He supported the proposal to organize a ministerial meeting on the anniversary of 1325 (2000) in October 2010.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM (Libya) said that despite adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) and successive resolutions and presidential statements on the situation of women during and after conflicts, data from the field indicated that women and their children were increasingly the principal victims of conflict and the main target of combatants. In addressing the empowerment of women and their special needs in the post-conflict situations, the suffering of Palestinian women due to the occupation of the Zionist entity and the recent crimes committed in Gaza could not be neglected. Condemning strongly the acts of violence against women and girls during and after conflict, he stressed the importance of strengthening the role of women in, among other things, the economic sector.
Libya had undertaken several initiatives to empower women and to enhance their role in society. Women in Libya faced no obstacles in attaining high positions in the army and in civilian institutions. He went on to describe several steps the African Union had taken to promote empowerment of women, including the initiative to declare the coming decade the “decade of women”. Other initiatives included a 2004 action plan to empower of women and promote their participation in adoption of poverty reduction strategies.
He said that while the Security Council had adopted numerous resolutions, it was not enough, as those texts must be implemented. Such implementation required coordination between relevant United Nations bodies. The promotion of women’s rights was often not considered a priority. He emphasized in that regard the importance of women’s empowerment in all aspects of life.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said that since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), there had been positive developments, but that many innocent women and children still lived in fear in conflict and post-conflict situations. It was vitally important to ensure that women’s perspectives and needs were reflected at every stage of the peace process. That was the most effective way to prevent conflicts from recurring. The Secretary-General and heads of international and regional organizations should be encouraged to appoint more women to decision-making positions and as high-level mediators and members of negotiating teams.
He said the Council should continue to explore how United Nations peacekeeping missions could better protect women and children in conflict, by providing such operations with adequate resources, training and logistical support. It was important to attach higher priority to the protection of women in mission planning and to strengthen the gender units through the appointment of gender advisers. It was also totally unacceptable that perpetrators of sexual violence against women and girls were shielded by a culture of impunity. Efforts must be redoubled to end impunity, including by effectively utilizing targeted sanctions.
He said a way must be found to ensure the empowerment of women in post-conflict situations by improving their socio-economic conditions. That could be achieved by promoting access to health services, education, income-generating activities and land and property rights. Welcoming today’s resolution, he emphasized that the human security approach provided valuable guidelines to both protect people’s lives and dignity and empower them to realize their full potential. One good example of that approach was the project funded through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security to deliver health care, education and counselling to women and girls in Nepal.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) repeated his appeal for the respect of all humanitarian and human rights of women and girls in both conflict and post-conflict situations. The resolution adopted this morning and last week were good steps towards that objective, although progress had been slow thus far. He stressed that women must have more opportunities to participate in peacemaking at all levels.
He said it was particularly important for assessment indicators to measure the implementation in resolutions related to women and peace and security, and to identify challenges that must be met to fulfil their objectives. It was particularly important to assure the monitoring of the progress of women in filling decision-making posts related to peacemaking.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) noted with satisfaction that the range of issues discussed today enjoyed the attention not only of the Security Council, but also of many units of the United Nations and other international bodies. However, he said, genuine gender equality in peacemaking must still be assured. He welcomed resolution 1888 (2009), but noted that there was a need to bear in mind that women and children were still victims to terrorism, excessive use of force and other hazards, besides the more obvious gender violence occurring during armed conflict.
In commemorating the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000), he hoped that events would be used not only to mark its achievements, but also to assess challenges that had not yet been met, and to work towards a plan to meet them.
PAUL ROBERT TIENDREBEOGO (Burkina Faso) said that one year after adoption of resolution 1820 (2008), the post-conflict period was one marked by devastating impacts on women and children, including sexual violence. Even camps for refugees and internally displaced persons sometimes became areas of insecurity for women, instead of islands of tranquillity. All programmes in post-conflict situations must take into account the need for women and girls to access health services and the need to benefit from traditional systems.
He said peacebuilding was first and foremost the responsibility of States. For States, the situation of women and girls must therefore be an absolute priority. A legislative framework must be set up that took into account the needs of women and girls, and the need to end impunity. National awareness-raising was also necessary, as was integrating gender issues in security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. There was also a need to guarantee women’s effective participation in all stages of peace processes.
The implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) was a collective endeavour, which included the efforts of States, the international community and the United Nations. Every agency of the United Nations system should play its role in that regard. In addition, cooperation between the United Nations and regional and national organization must be strengthened. The Council must take into account women’s needs in peacekeeping mandates, and call for the appointment of more women as mediators, Special Representatives and Special Envoys. All those actions, however, could only be achieved if backed by human capacity-building and adequate resources.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said his country was committed to bolstering women’s roles in the promotion of peace and security with regard to conflict prevention, resolution and ending sexual violence and impunity. Given Ugandan women’s extended role in peacebuilding and reconciliation within the framework of United Nations resolution 1325 (2000), he said the Government’s key goal was to monitor progress in implementing that resolution.
Giving further examples of how far the Government had supported women’s participation in peace efforts, he cited how, between 2006 and 2008, Uganda had enabled women to partake in peace talks with Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in neighbouring Sudan’s Juba region. To promote women’s equal participation, the Government had ensured that resolution 1325 (2000) had been used as a reference while a peace agreement was being signed by both parties in June 2009. He recalled that Uganda was the first and only country to adopt a “3-in-1” national action plan on Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) and the Goma Declaration.
Since implementing resolution 1325 (2000) must begin in the early stages of post-conflict situations, he expressed concern that women’s participation in peacebuilding had been limited because funds were lacking. To ensure that all of women’s legitimate concerns were met, he urged in-depth consultations on ways to develop indicators. Uganda had held the first such workshop from 14-16 September on working more closely with civil society and the wider international community to come up with indicators for the country’s action plan related to women’s protection.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING ( Austria) welcomed the considerable progress made on strengthening the “protection pillar” of resolution 1325 (2000), with the adoption of resolutions 1820 (2009) and 1888 (2009) on sexual violence, and resolution 1882 (2009) on children and armed conflict. He expressed hope that the to-be-appointed Special Representative on sexual violence in armed conflict would fully take into account women’s participation when carrying out his or her mandate.
He also said progress was urgently needed on other pillars of resolution 1325 (2000), and great value lay in focusing the debate on responding to the needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations. Investing in women meant investing in the future, he said, and ensuring women’s and girls’ access to education was one of the cornerstones for their empowerment. Resolution 1325 (2000) rightly placed women at the heart of peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery, not merely as victims, but as agents of change and equal partners in peace negotiations.
Nevertheless, he said, women continued to be largely excluded from decision-making processes. It was also necessary to more consistently address women’s priorities in the daily work of the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. Austria would continue to advocate an increase in the number of women appointed to senior United Nations positions at Headquarters and in the field. To that end, he requested that the Secretary-General take concrete steps for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Political Affairs to more efficiently implement resolution 1325 (2000), in particular by creating the posts of full-time senior gender advisers in the Department of Political Affairs and in that Department’s mediation support unit.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said that, while the broad scope of resolution 1325 (2000) was one of its main strengths, that breadth had also made it difficult to use the text to effectively address some key challenges. Its weak implementation framework and the absence of adequate follow-up mechanisms had hampered progress, making overall implementation “slow and uneven”. In order to re-energize implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), he said, it was necessary to consolidate a global strategy with clear targets and benchmarks that allowed assessment and progress review.
On the Secretary-General’s report, he said that, in addition to enhancing a gender perspective to conflict resolution and peace consolidation, it was necessary to strengthen women’s participation in the efforts of the international community, particularly in the prevention and protection areas. In that regard, he supported the call to design a strategy that included more equitable representation of women at senior and decision-making levels within the United Nations. He also expressed support for complementing the Security Council’s response with measures to increase women’s access to justice, health, education and social protection, especially to survivors of exploitation and abuse.
Further, he asserted that sustainable peace could not be built on the status quo that in many cases had been characterized by discrimination, inequality and unbalance of power. Frequently, those structures were part of the root causes of conflict. Finally, speaking on behalf of the Human Security Network, which Costa Rica chaired, he welcomed consideration of the process that had led to the adoption of the new resolution before the Council today, and pointed out that the members of the Network were committed to supporting meaningful steps to promote and enhance the role of women in peace processes.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey) said that, since the adoption of Council resolution 1325 (2000), there had been much progress across a broad range of issues for the protection and promotion of women’s rights in conflict situations, particularly in terms of raising awareness about the challenges they faced. Thanks to the efforts of the international community, a strong understanding of the need for gender equality and women’s empowerment -- as a prerequisite for international peace and security -- was slowly taking hold.
It was encouraging to see the results of gender-sensitive projects and programmes bearing fruit, not only in improving the general conditions prevailing in those conflict-affected societies, but also in transforming women’s views about their role in peace processes. In that context, he said it was worth noting that 64 per cent of Afghan women now believed that they should contribute to post-conflict reconstruction of their society.
Despite such progress, much remained to be done, he continued. More effective actions must be taken to protect and empower women. Addressing the particular needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations -- with a specific emphasis on their physical security, mental and reproductive health, employment, education and access to social services and justice -- was a priority issue that should be tackled from the very beginning of the peacebuilding process. Likewise, equally strong measures were needed to increase the participation of women in post-conflict recovery efforts and peace processes, since that would increase the effectiveness of those efforts.
In the peacebuilding context, the clearest entry points to support women’s participation in decision-making were through the political processes and security sector reform, he continued. That was why Turkey had given its strong support to projects aimed at ensuring increased participation of women in the post-conflict political processes, in particular peacebuilding and reconciliation.
For example, in Afghanistan alone, Turkey continued to support various programmes dedicated to empower women in politics and governance, while undertaking many other projects with a view to providing equal and modern education opportunities to girls. The months ahead in the run-up to the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000) next year provided ample opportunity to translate words into deeds in order to ensure the basic and human rights of women all around the world, he concluded.
Council President PHAM GIA KHIEM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, speaking in his national capacity, said that, in today’s debate, Member States, representatives of international organizations and other stakeholders would jointly take stock of measures to enhance the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). In preparation for that undertaking, Viet Nam and Switzerland had jointly organized an international seminar on the topic in Hanoi in July.
From his country’s own experience and from the perspective of human rights, he said, the causes of conflicts must be eliminated and measures to protect the rights of women and girls must be combined with the promotion of their role in ending conflicts and in post-conflict reconstruction. In addition, he stressed that the reconstruction process required comprehensive efforts to meet people’s basic needs in the full range of areas, and the State and society needed to pay full attention to both civilian women and those having served in armed forces or having been involved in military activities.
United Nations involvement was essential, he said, noting that the Organization could play a role in helping promote local governments and peoples take ownership of efforts to empower women and ensure the protection of their rights, especially as post-conflict societies were being rebuilt. He also recalled that the Organization had carried out many development projects to assist Viet Nam following the end of its conflict, including that ensured women’s equal participation in all aspects of socio-political life. He expressed deep gratitude for that assistance and those of other development partners.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) said there had been an alarming increase in sexual violence in various conflicts. Moreover, the cessation of hostilities did not guarantee an end to such violence. In fact, quite the opposite was occurring. For instance, in post-conflict situations, the influx of refugees and displaced persons, the presence of large numbers of demobilized ex-combatants, the widespread lack of economic opportunity and general breakdown of social norms all contributed to increased levels of sexual violence.
Gender-based violence was often exacerbated by impunity and the absence of effective judicial institutions, he continued. Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) emphasized the responsibility of all States to put an end to impunity, but formal justice systems often lacked the required resources. Today, the International Criminal Court was addressing sexual violence in several situations and thus contributed to the fight against impunity.
He said only 2.4 per cent of signatories to peace agreements were women and, thus far, no woman had ever been appointed as a chief mediator. Therefore, efforts to guarantee the full and equal participation of women must be considerably strengthened. Member States and intergovernmental bodies must pursue strategies to ensure an increase in women’s participation in peace negotiations and mediation, as well as in post-conflict reconstruction. Such efforts would strengthen the perception that women were stakeholders -- as opposed to mere victims or aid recipients. He welcomed the establishment of a United Nations steering committee to enhance the visibility and strengthen coordination within the United Nations system regarding the preparations for the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000).
ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed recent action in the Council on matters related to women, peace and security, but expressed concern at the lack of implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). Indeed, after almost 10 years, he wondered why there was still a need to reaffirm its provisions, and why sexual violence itself was not decreasing. To make progress, women must be empowered, accountability must be established and commitment must be transformed into action, he maintained.
In accordance with the resolution just adopted, he underlined the need for stronger processes by which the Council could receive, analyse and take action on information related to resolution 1325 (2000). He also welcomed the decision by the General Assembly to establish a composite United Nations body dealing with women and gender issues, and urged that the momentum be kept going on the matter, stressing that there must be a coherent strategy for the whole area of protection of women and women’s rights. He called the European Union seminar on national action plans for resolution 1325 (2000) in Brussels on 2 October an example of a comprehensive agenda in the area, and said that the Union was committed to the full implementation of all relevant resolutions on women and peace and security.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) highlighted the critical period immediately following conflict, saying: “What is done or fails to be done has enormous repercussions for the process of peace consolidation. That is why we must spare no effort to ensure that the needs and priorities of women and girls are properly dealt with from the earliest possible moment.” Post-conflict recovery strategy must make girls and women a priority, especially those that were victims of sexual violence. However, she said, they were not simply victims to be protected but they must be acknowledged and empowered as central actors in the establishment of lasting peace.
She said that as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configuration for Guinea-Bissau, Brazil had had the privilege of witnessing the extraordinary determination and vitality of the women in that West African country. There, as in many places, women played a central role in the economy, and without them, recovery would be a much more difficult task. “We must strive to ensure that the important part women play in the economy is also reflected in their political participation,” she said.
The Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) contained disturbing findings in several country-specific situations. Perpetrators of acts of abuse must be promptly and effectively brought to justice in order to avoid cycles of violence, she said, adding that she was encouraged to see the manner in which so many organs of the United Nations system had committed to implementing the provisions of the resolution 1325 (2000). She mentioned that the challenges related to that text were complex, and that a coordinated approach would be required to avoid duplicating or overstepping of competences. The Security Council was uniquely mandated to deal with the widespread or systematic use of sexual violence in armed conflicts.
THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany) said the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Burundi, in which rape and sexual violence still persisted, demonstrated the urgent need to further improve the situation for women. Women and children needed to be protected from violence, especially in post-conflict situations, where police protection often did not exist. Sustainable peace could not be achieved without protecting the most vulnerable -- women and children.
He stressed that women were not only victims of conflicts, but powerful agents for peace and security. Therefore, empowering them to fulfil that potential was of the utmost importance. The system of granting microcredits to women had proved successful in spurring development. Empowering women would also help in security sector reform as well as in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes.
Germany had advocated the inclusion of gender advisers in all European security and defence policy missions, and he said deploying female soldiers had enhanced the success of operations. All German police and military personnel had to undergo gender training. With the adoption over the past two weeks of Security Council resolutions 1888 and 1889, a whole range of tools was now available to help prevent sexual violence. The new composite gender entity would help to coordinate all instruments that already existed, he said, stressing that work on establishing that entity should begin quickly. Moreover, the United Nations needed to continue working together with women’s civil society groups in post-conflict areas.
HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. ( Philippines) said the role of women in matters of peace and security was of particular significance to his country, where the Constitution recognized the role of women in nation-building. The Supreme Court had taken unprecedented moves to ensure that women benefited equally and participated directly in the judiciary. Further, in August last year, Congress had passed a “Magna Carta” for women that mandated the representation and participation of women in policy-making. The Philippines action plan on 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) would be the blueprint to ensure that women were able to meaningfully participate in all peace processes and decision-making on peace and security issues.
He said today’s debate should not just celebrate the role of women, but also presage a shift on the international community’s approach from narrow humanitarian and relief activities to more comprehensive efforts towards sustainable peace in post-conflict situations. Gender-sensitivity in a post-conflict environment would mean women’s access to employment opportunities, land, capital, education and health services. It also meant looking at the role of women in ensuring food security and prioritizing the conditions at refugee settlements.
JIM MCLAY ( New Zealand) said resolutions 1888 and 1889, adopted over the past 10 days, as well as other resolutions on women in conflict situations, were considerable advances in developing a comprehensive set of norms to protect women and girls in conflict situations and enhance their participation in post-conflict peace processes. He strongly called on States, regional groups and the United Nations system to turn those words into action, emphasizing the importance of the leadership and coordination of the United Nations for that purpose.
An integrated approach for each of the pillars of resolution 1325 (2000) was necessary, he said, and for that reason, he maintained that the mandate of the Special Representative requested by resolution 1888 (2009) should cover all aspects of the women and peace and security agenda, not just the issue of sexual violence. Stressing that women needed access to shelter, health care, livelihoods, education and justice, as well as to become part of the political process and stay free from violence, he described efforts of his country’s provincial reconstruction team in Bamiyan Province in Afghanistan towards those ends, and recommitted his country to the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
JEAN OLINGER ( Luxembourg) said progress in the implementation of the recommendations of resolution 1325 (2000) had been unsatisfactory. The year 2010 would be an especially important year as the Beijing World Conference on Women would celebrate its fifteenth anniversary and the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) would mark its tenth. He hoped that, by that time, the proposed composite United Nations gender entity would have been established.
Women and girls were often the main victims of conflicts and had particular needs, which must be taken into account in the respective needs assessments crafted to help countries emerging from conflict. It was important that women were involved in peacebuilding efforts. He endorsed the recommendations of the Secretary-General, in particular the recommendation to increase participation of women in all peace processes.
He went on to say that Member States must show the political will to implement resolution 1325 (2000). They should not tolerate impunity. A clear follow-up mechanism should be set up to monitor progress made. He underscored the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in that regard, and in ensuring that women’s organizations were heard in consultations.
HENRI-PAUL NORMANDIN ( Canada) said that a peace that lasted was a peace owned by all, including women. Action was needed now, particularly in the field, to make resolution 1325 (2000) a reality. The Security Council had heard time and again that sexual violence against women and girls was prevalent in post-conflict societies and that women and girls had unequal access to social services, income-generation opportunities and power.
He called on the Security Council to raise a strong and sustained voice to allow women in post-conflict environments to transcend the status of victim and become empowered as agents of positive change. Among other measures, every United Nations peacekeeping mission should have a well-trained, full-time gender adviser whose work was systematically integrated throughout the operation, with official access to mission leadership and stable resources to carry out their functions.
MORTEN WETLAND ( Norway) said the international community had for too long been indecisive on implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) until last week, when it became a top priority by the passage of the first of two resolutions within a week. The course of the next few months, leading up to the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000), must consist of specific achievements to be measured.
While a more accurate assessment was needed, he was certain that more empowerment of women was needed and that budgeting for women’s needs was lacking. His country had recently directed $50 million for that purpose. He encouraged the Secretary-General to confirm his leadership in women’s equality throughout the Organization, with specific actions towards that end.
ANNE ANDERSON ( Ireland) focusing on the importance of roles and responsibilities, said it was imperative that the duality of women’s situation -- as both victims and actors -- was fully recognized. Men had always inhabited those two spaces simultaneously; victims and victors -- waging the wars while authoring the peace. Yet women had largely been imprisoned in the victim role; collateral damage in war and add-ons at the peace table. That pattern had been recurring over centuries. Implementing resolution 1325 (2000), which attempted to overturn those patterns, therefore meant climbing mountains. “To get to first base, we need real, transformative, attitudinal change,” she declared.
The Secretary-General’s report made for sober reading. There were some bright spots, particularly on the training front, but the statistics told their own stories, she said. Ireland was developing its national action plan and had embarked on a cross-learning initiative guided by the experiences of women and men in countries emerging from conflict.
She underlined the importance of coordination, saying that, within the United Nations system, there should be a “one stop shop” to offer guidance and advice to Member States in drawing up their own national action plans. She suggested the Inter-agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security be tasked with identifying such a focal point. At the national level, there was also a role for focal points to provide drive and leadership.
GIAN LORENZO CORNADO ( Italy) said sexual violence continued to be used with impunity as a weapon of war. That had to stop. Italy had committed itself to making that a priority and had, among other things, convened an international conference on the issue in Rome this year. Violence against in women and girls was a war crime and a crime against humanity, he said, adding that a sense of impunity was widespread among perpetrators. In its efforts to turn the tide in that regard, the Council, over the past two years, had shown leadership.
He said resolution 1820 (2008) had been a watershed and had opened the way for the Council to adopt resolutions 1882 and 1888 over the past 10 days ,which created tools to fight that impunity. It was now up to the Council to implement them in full. Blanket amnesties must be off the table, he added.
He said women were agents of change, and that had been one of the key messages of resolution 1325 (2000). Progress must be achieved in empowering women to ensure their participation in every phase of peacebuilding. Global peace and security depended also on women’s actions on a level of equality. The resolution adopted today had been a first step in that regard. After a conflict, women were often victims of abuse, but also, among other things, pillars of their families and communities. Peace built without their input would not be lasting. Women must be enabled to champion issues that were important to them. Their resource and capacity-building needs must be given full consideration.
BEGUM K. TAJ (United Republic of Tanzania), expressed concern that, despite several measures that were undertaken in response to resolution 1325 (2000), progress had been limited and women and girls continued to suffer the brunt of war, in particular the devastating effects of sexual and gender-based violence. However, she noted that the appointment of a special representative on sexual violence in armed conflict would “add impetus to the United Nations work in fighting these horrendous acts” against women, girls and even boys. Such a move would allow for three things: participation; protection; and prevention. “We deplore the use of sex as a weapon of war and call for our concerted efforts to end impunity,” she said.
She called for the promotion and enjoyment of human rights for women and girls living in conflict zones. Access to education, health and other humanitarian assistance were basic human rights, and as such, she strongly condemned those parties in conflict zones that destroyed schools, health facilities, and prevented access to education. The Security Council must consider taking action, including implementing targeted sanctions, against such parties,” she said.
Women’s involvement was necessary to ensure the legitimacy of decision-making, make sustainable peace and to protect women and girls, she urged, adding that implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions on peace and women and security were necessary tools. The United Nations must lead by example in its advocacy for women by appointing more women to senior leadership positions, including in areas dealing with conflict resolution and peacebuilding. At the grass-roots level, she underscored a need to address the causes of non-participation of women in peace processes, and to empower them socially, politically and economically.
HEIDI GRAU ( Switzerland) said implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) remained deeply unsatisfactory, as the facts in various studies by UNIFEM had clearly shown. The question now was how real progress could be made and whether actual commitment existed to achieve its implementation. Her country had recently evaluated its 2007 national action plan and would contribute to increasing secondments of female personnel to peacekeeping operations, as well as increasing the number of women mediators. Switzerland planned to carry out specific gender training and improve gender mainstreaming in all aspects of its foreign policy.
She said it was essential to strengthen the responsibility of the Council and to improve monitoring of resolution 1325 (2000). The initiative of the NGO Working Group, entitled “Accountability and Action for the 10th Anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325” would conduct monthly analyses of all measures taken by the Council, in close cooperation with Switzerland. She invited all States to join in those efforts by providing political and financial support. The mainstreaming of gender aspects in all peacekeeping operations, the consistent use of the sanctions regime and the establishment of a strong high-level gender unit were key elements for improving the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
The Council could make a better strategic use of the instruments now available and should consider the creation of new instruments, she said. The informal group of experts on the protection of civilians in armed conflict could deal with the prevention aspects in the relevant resolutions. A pool of women experts or a commission for the promotion of women at high level would further the empowerment aspects of the resolutions.
KIM BONGHYUN (Republic of Korea), noted progress in some areas of implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), especially in terms of developing national action plans and collaboration among partners, including the United Nations entities such as UNIFEM, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). While that was encouraging, he noted persistent difficulties in implementing the resolution, especially in eradicating sexual violence, ensuring women’s full participation in the peace process and bolstering post-conflict funding for women’s needs.
“We are all aware how serious the situation is and how difficult it can be to reverse the extent and impact of sexual violence,” he said, citing as a positive step last week’s adoption by the Council of resolution 1888, which identified several specific steps to prevent and respond to sexual violence. Moving on to the lack of women’s participation in the peace process, he said women continued to be virtually absent from the peace table and to be severely underrepresented as third-party mediators in most conflict-affected countries.
He urged Member States and the United Nations to take more vigorous initiatives to ensure that women were engaged in all levels of decision-making, and to add more women to senior roles, especially in peacekeeping operations. In terms of the deficit in post-conflict funding for women’s needs, UNIFEM had reviewed almost 17,000 projects in consolidated and flash appeals for 23 post-conflict countries over three years, and had indicated that less than 3 per cent of the initiatives submitted for funding explicitly targeted gender issues. In addition, only 8 per cent of proposed budgets in post-conflict needs assessments included specific elements addressing women. He therefore suggested that United Nations entities do more by utilizing quick impact projects, which would meet urgent community needs in post-conflict areas.
LULAMAH RULUMENI ( South Africa) said that while women might often be the first casualties of war, they remained active agents of change and played a meaningful role in the recovery and reintegration of their families. Women were also instrumental in bringing about democracy and reconciliation in post-conflict situations. The African Union and subregional organizations offered several advantages in pursuit of effective conflict prevention and resolution. Such organizations had also taken concrete steps to integrate gender policies, programmes and activities to ensure that women would participate fully in conflict resolution and management processes. Gender equality and the empowerment of women was one of the founding principles of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), she added.
She said there was an urgent need to advocate more strongly for the equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. All actors should ensure sufficient resources to address empowerment through educational programmes. Member States should be encouraged to finalize national action plans on implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), which would provide for training of both women and men. It was important to build solidarity among all actors, particularly women. To that end, it was important that women in local communities be allowed to participate in finding solutions for reconstruction. The equal representation and participation of women in formal peace processes and the negotiating tables could not be overemphasized.
JARMO VIINANEN ( Finland) said that although women usually knew what was best to rebuild their communities in the aftermath of war, they were often excluded from peace talks, as well as early-recovery and peacebuilding phases. Finland favoured women’s full participation in post-conflict peacebuilding. He called for the adoption of international norms that would ensure women’s involvement in such processes, and for women to use their skills and leadership. He also called for a new perspective on security and development, one that would empower women and put them at the heart of social, economic and political policies and decision-making and guarantee their human rights.
Turning to the United Nations position in promoting the role of women, he noted that no woman had ever been appointed as a lead mediator in the Organization’s peace processes and called for that to change. The Secretary-General must ensure that all his envoys and representatives included women in all official peace processes. International and regional organizations were also urged to include women’s participation as part of their post-conflict needs assessment and to deploy gendered budget allocation tools.
Noting the General Assembly’s recent proposal to begin work on establishing a composite gender entity, he said such a move was long overdue and hoped that it would be up and running by mid-2010 as a crucial stepping stone in the Organization’s support for women’s rights and their role in conflict and post-conflict contexts. The best way to prevent sexual violence was to ensure the full participation and rights of women and children, which the mandate of the new Special Representative had to bear in mind. He stressed that indicators were necessary to track what had and had not been done, coupled with ways to monitor compliance and political will, to ensure that women were included in peace processes.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) said that without a doubt, new strategies were needed to accelerate the fulfilment of resolution 1325 (2000). In that context, she pointed out the effectiveness of mainstreaming gender as borne out by the example of India’s deployment of an all-female peacekeeping contingent in Liberia, as well as the programme for the care of rape victims by the Forum of African Women Educationalists. She said, however, that much more needed to be done to develop national action plans for the implementation of the resolution by Member States.
She reiterated Nigeria’s firm support for all relevant Council resolutions and the Organization-wide zero-tolerance policy on sexual violence against women and girls, and she commended the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for providing police and military escorts for women and girls to enable them to undertake their tasks. She affirmed the continued commitment of her Government to the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
VANU GOPALA MENON ( Singapore) said there remained a serious gap in the translation of paper commitments to reality. It was a sad fact that the impact of conflict was borne disproportionably by women. As a country began to emerge from war, women and girls had specific priorities and needs in areas like physical security, socio-economic conditions, education, income-generation, access to basic services, as well as gender-responsive law enforcement and access to justice. Unfortunately, there was a substantial gap in financing for women’s needs in post-conflict situations, which crippled the ability of women to contribute meaningfully to their societies. Efforts to include women in peacebuilding and reconstruction processes were often limited, and women often lacked the organizational force to make their voices heard.
He said it was vital that the international community redouble its efforts to empower women. Resolutions 1888 and 1889, adopted within the past 10 days, showed that the United Nations must lead by example on gender issues, chiefly by incorporating gender units into its peacekeeping mandates, and promoting increased participation of women in its political, peacebuilding and peacekeeping missions. The simple presence of women military, police and civilian peacekeepers had a tremendous positive effect on local communities. Yet women currently constituted just 2 per cent of military and 8 per cent of police personnel in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Singapore would be working with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to promote its “Power to Empower” global campaign to recruit more women police for peacekeeping operations.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal), concurring with the statement delivered earlier by the representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), noting that last August, Portugal had adopted a national plan of action to contribute that effort at the national, regional and international policy levels. The plan involved a year-long participatory process incorporating wide-ranging governmental contributions together with consultations with universities, non-governmental organizations, the media and other civil society sectors and global networks.
In concrete terms, the Portugal’s plan translated, at the international level, to the promotion of policies, strategies and legislation to prevent armed violence, including domestic armed violence, as well as in the systematic integration of a gender dimension into development programmes. He said the plan also emphasized that women and girls were relevant and capable drivers of change in peacebuilding and development activities. Accordingly, Portugal had taken a wide view of policies needed to ensure protection and empowerment of women, and a wide interpretation of the relevant Council resolutions.
JÓN ERLINGUR JÓNASSON ( Iceland) reiterated his country’s strong commitment to resolution 1325 (2000) and pointed out that Iceland was one of the few countries that had a national action plan to promote implementation of that text. Within the ambit of the resolution, Iceland had opted to focus on post-conflict reconstruction and women’s access to peace negotiations, believing that was essential for sustainable peace. In that regard, last year Iceland had organized an international conference on resolution 1325 (2000), with four main themes, to ensure that women were included in formal and informal peace processes.
That conference’s first theme was to raise awareness about the resolution among the international community, Governments and within societies coming out of conflict. Secondly, the conference aimed to ensure commitment from the United Nations and Member States, especially with regard to the Organization’s gender architecture. Thirdly, Iceland had called on the United Nations and its Member States to use the resolution’s upcoming tenth anniversary as an opportunity to beef up implementation. Lastly, to ensure implementation, accountability was crucial. Iceland had urged the Security Council to hold Member States accountable for ensuring that the resolution was implemented based on politically endorsed performance targets and timelines.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) endorsed all the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report on women and peace and security. Expressing particular support for the proposal to convene in 2010 a high-level event to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), he also backed calls to fight against impunity and to assure women’s equal and full participation in peace efforts. He agreed also that an accurate, more coherent system of data collection was necessary to monitor progress, address gaps in implementation and better facilitate the sharing of best practices.
Australia, he said, was partnering with Governments throughout the Asia and Pacific region to boost women’s capacity for peacebuilding at the local and regional levels. He described examples such as the March 2009 Women for Peace conference in Timor-Leste, as well as the Regional Women’s Community Media Network, which raised awareness and supported the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). He also emphasized the important role of civil society in women’s protection and empowerment, and recommitted his country to those goals as the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 approached.
MAGUED ABDELFATTAH ABDELAZZIZ ( Egypt) said there were still many challenges to overcome towards realizing the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), especially regarding the lack of information and data. Moreover, targeted legislation to protect women’s rights often could not be implemented during conflict. Legislative and judiciary efforts must be strengthened to enhance women’s opportunities in exercising their rights to live in peace and security within integrated policies that achieved equality. Underlining the links between development, peace and security, he said providing security for women necessitated strengthening the United Nations capabilities to settle dispute. There was also a need to enhance social and economic development of women.
He said empowering women and promoting their participation in decision-making processes was also a task for the Peacebuilding Commission and other United Nations bodies, along with active participation of civil society. That would enhance the role of Governments and communities in protecting women and extending better services to them. It was crucially important to underline the role of education, culture and empowerment in alleviating women’s conditions in peace, as well as in conflict situations. All schools must be protected from deliberate bombardment, including in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The bombardments of schools in Gaza must be condemned.
PALITHA T. B. KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said the empowerment of women was one of the most effective mechanisms for their protection, and he noted that, since his country had ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women some 28 years ago, proactive steps had been taken to fully implement its provisions through national legislation.
He noted with concern the continued use of sexual violence, often widely and systematically, against civilians, particularly women and girls, in armed conflicts and their aftermath. Although Sri Lanka had been embroiled in a brutal armed conflict for 27 years, he was proud to report that his country was not among the countries that the Secretary-General’s report listed where grave sexual offences were reported to have been committed by security forces against civilians caught in armed conflict and its aftermath. In fact, no allegations of rape had been made against Sri Lankan security forces as they had successfully advanced on and recently defeated a terrorist group what had waged a 30-year war against the Government.
He believed one of the factors that could have contributed to that record was the training provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the “prompt action” taken whenever allegations were made. He cited the example of a 16-year-old school girl who had been raped and murdered by six soldiers in August 1996. The Government had launched an investigation into the case and the six soldiers involved had been arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
He also welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendation to give equal attention to sexual violence in all situations of concern where sexual violence was perpetrated against civilians, and that the United Nations would remain engaged to take on a greater global advocacy role on the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations. “We also strongly support the Secretary-General’s recommendation to ensure an increase in women’s participation in post conflict governance and reconstruction,” he added.
JAN GRAULS ( Belgium) welcomed the Council’s cohesiveness and foresight on women’s issues in recent weeks. He said resolution 1325 (2000) must be the central tool in advancing those issues in matters of peace and security, despite the fact that the international community had “nothing to be proud of”, as the situation of women in countries wracked by conflict had not improved since its adoption. He called that an unacceptable situation.
With the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) just one year away, there was little time for the international community to make up the shortcomings in its actions and improve the situation of women. He pointed out that creating women’s mediation teams and appointing female lead negotiators were among measures that could be taken quickly. He also maintained that resources for women’s issues must be provided. Announcing that Belgium had created a national action plan, he said it was crucial for all nations to create such plans. Belgium could share its experience in that context, he offered, proposing to assist the Peacebuilding Commission to become more active in that effort.
ERIK HOEEG ( Denmark), associating himself with the statement made by the representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the increased awareness across the United Nations system on women’s issues, evidenced by the recent successive Council resolutions on women and peace and security, and the decision by the General Assembly to establish a unified United Nations gender entity. He urged that the momentum must not be lost.
Resolution 1325 (2000), he said, was the backbone of Council resolutions on women and peace and security, highlighting the necessity to address the issue of women as peacebuilders as well as victims of war. To fulfil obligations under that text, greater, active participation of women in peacebuilding and reconstruction was required, women’s special needs during and after conflict had to be recognized, and effective protection of women was needed. Impunity for crimes against them must be ended. Those were the objectives of Denmark’s national action plan, revised last year to put a stronger emphasis on the untapped potential of women, with focus on visibility at country level.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) expressed hope that the recent momentum on women’s issues in the Council would provide concrete benefits. He said that when the brutal, misogynistic Government of the Taliban had been toppled in his country in 2001, Afghanistan and the international community had made a promise to each other that what had happened to women under the Taliban’s rule would never happen again. Those promises were kept through the best efforts of Afghanistan and its partners, through legal initiatives, better access to services and an opportunity to play an active role in the socio-political life of the country.
Nevertheless, he said, Afghan women did not enjoy the freedom and security they deserved because of insecurity and extremism, with the Taliban increasingly targeting women and girls who only wished to exercise their rights. Weak and fragile State institutions in parts of the country had regrettably restricted the ability of the Afghan Government to fully protect such rights. He affirmed that the will was there, however, to ensure that all women enjoyed their rights in safety. The country, with international assistance, was therefore addressing its insufficient governance.
In that regard, he emphasized the importance of the international forces’ new focus on protecting the population, and the Government’s efforts of trying to improve the legal status of Afghan women, for example, through the review of over 60 of the more controversial articles of the proposed Shia family relations law. He maintained that national reconciliation must not force Afghanistan to betray its own hope for a stable future, but instead must bring about equal justice and rights for all.
ROBERT G. AISI (Papua New Guinea) said there was no doubt that the international community had fully accepted the fact that participation of women in conflict resolution and the post-conflict peacebuilding process was an integral, if not critical, part of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Even in the pre-conflict stage, the voices of women should be sought to determine the nature and degree of an impending conflict situation. During debates on the responsibility to protect, his country had said that, too often, the voices of women were not heard.
With his country’s experience with a 10-year conflict on Bougainville, he was cognizant of the fact that threats to peace were often most imminent in the earliest, post-conflict stages. The fragility of peace there could not be underestimated. While commending the current United Nations project Bougainville, he said there might be a need for more specific references to the provisions of resolution 1325. There should be more clarity in where and in which specific areas women and girls could contribute in the project.
He said the pacific region had made, and continued to make, every effort in implementing resolution 1325 (2000). The Pacific Islands Forum had recently adopted a comprehensively packaged provision to address sexual and gender-based violence. The work of many non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, which played effective facilitation roles in enhancing implementation of resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1829 (2008), was to be commended.
JORGE ARGÜELLO ( Argentina) said his country was developing an implementation plan for resolution 1325 (2000). It had incorporated specific policies in the implementation of resolution 1820 (2008), as well. From the perspective of the United Nations system, participation of women in post-conflict peacebuilding processes was key to incorporating the gender question in all stages of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. To that end, it was important to improve the information systems from the various agencies and programmes. The cooperation of Member States was required to increase the participation of women in the field. From the perspective of the State, it was important to incorporate the role of women in post-conflict rebuilding activities in the national implementation plans for resolution 1325.
He said the empowering of women was a fundamental element in increasing their participation in reconstruction. The new institutions must consider the interests and needs of women, and ensure their rights. At the same time, it was necessary to invest in the education and training of women, so they could take their place in the newly created institutions, particularly electoral processes and in the judiciary.
As there was no chance for empowerment in an environment of violence, the State must put an end to gender violence. The role troop-contributing countries could play was key, as they were in a position to carry out initiatives towards improving the lives of women. Together with UNIFEM, Argentina was organizing a workshop on gender and human rights, aiming at increasing the awareness of the authorities and the population of Haiti with regard to gender issues.
MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said armed conflict was devastating to any human being, but had disproportionate effects on women and girls. Their voices were silenced in conflict and women become disempowered. There was a need to advocate at all levels, the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians. The international community should continue to develop strategies to ease the bleak reality faced by women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations. Women and girls should not be marginalized in peace agreements, but be a central part of it. Women should be enabled and empowered to play an active role in the many spheres of post-conflict life, beyond earning livelihoods.
He said that, in a post-conflict situation, women could serve as one of the main building blocks and instruments of peace. Due to continuing violence, however, women faced physical, mental and societal barriers in post-conflict, which undermined their role in peace. International support should, therefore, meet the multidimensional needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations. That objective must be met with adequate funding. His country supported more women playing key roles in peacekeeping missions, and had sent female personnel as military observers, staff officers and members of its contingents for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
Peacekeepers must have adequate capacity to carry out provisions related to gender issues, he said. It was also important that provisions on sexual violence within the mandate of peacekeeping missions be in line with other provisions, such as protection of civilians. Mandatory training on addressing sexual violence for all peacekeeping personnel should be continued and supported.
OLHA KAVUN ( Ukraine) said that, in spite of all international efforts, women continued to be the most vulnerable victims of armed conflict. They were targeted for sexual violence and constituted the majority of refugees and displaced persons. She welcomed Council efforts to pay attention to the particular needs of women affected by armed conflict, when considering actions aimed at promoting peace and security. It was important that the Secretary-General’s reports dealing with specific conflict situations incorporate gender perspectives and that United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding personnel had appropriate training on the protection, rights and particular needs of women. Peacekeeping mandates should provide a clear mandate to address the protection of women and girls against all sexual violence, abduction, enforced prostitution, trafficking and threats imposed by military, paramilitary and other groups.
She said the Council had a special responsibility to support women’s participation in peace processes by ensuring a gender balance in United Nations peacekeeping missions. That could foster confidence and trust among the local population. Women were still underrepresented in decision-making and their initiatives and visions for peace and security were rarely heard during peace negotiations. Women should not be viewed primarily as victims of armed conflict. The international community should use the potential of women as agents of preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India) said the issue of women and peace and security had implications that were cross-cutting and multidimensional. The need for discussing those issues in the universal forum of the General Assembly could not be overemphasized. Achievements in terms of deployment of women in United Nations peacekeeping forces had been, at best, modest. Given the critical role of the United Nations in peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding, the United Nations must lead by example. Precisely for that reason, India had contributed a female peacekeeping unit of 100 personnel in Liberia – the only one of its kind among ongoing peacekeeping operations.
He said it was “a matter of deep regret” that the international community had to debate again and again the issue of sexual and other forms of violence against women and girls in situations of armed conflict. That behaviour had to be “unequivocally, unambiguously and resolutely” condemned, whether perpetrated by parties to armed conflict, peacekeeping personnel or humanitarian actors. All cases of gender based violence in armed conflict must be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted. He stressed that the international community must enhance cooperation on the issue of women, peace and security by providing new and additional financial resources, sharing of experiences and capacity-building in the areas of justice and the rule of law.
SHEKOU TOURAY (Sierra Leone) said that, in addition to the international human rights instruments dedicated to the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of women and children ratified by his country, Sierra Leone, as a post-conflict country, had continued to demonstrate its strong commitment to the promotion of women’s and girls’ rights by mainstreaming their concerns into the national development policies, programmes and plans.
Driven by the conviction that as principle victims of war, women and their children should be brought on board peacemaking, peacebuilding and peace-consolidation processes, as well as national recovery efforts, he said practical measures had been taken along those lines. In the years following the Lomé Peace Agreement and the Beijing World Conference on Women, there had been considerable elevation in the status of Sierra Leone’s women at the national, regional and international levels with regard to their participation in public affairs, he observed.
Continuing, he stated that, even in the face of the current global economic meltdown, the Government had not relented in adopting measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis on health-care delivery services to its women and girls. However, with barely a year until the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), he believed that in spite of the tremendous gains made so far, more action was needed to ensure the full implementation of that landmark text and other relevant resolutions.
FEODOR STARČEVIĆ ( Serbia) said the resolution adopted today would further contribute to the goals of eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, and improving women’s participation in post-conflict planning. Noting that vulnerable groups such as women, children, older people and others were most affected by the tragic events in the region of the former Yugoslavia, he pointed out that Serbia continued to provide assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, many of whom were single mothers, girls and older women.
The empowerment of women through their full engagement in decision-making had been recognized as a vital part of post-conflict democratic reforms in the field of economy, security and human rights in his country, he said, pointing out that, today, women held many high-ranking positions in all three branches of Government. There was also a very vibrant network of non-governmental organizations led by women who were very active in addressing the issues of war crimes, transitional justice and reconciliation. He pledged that Serbia would continue to support the efforts of the Security Council in those important issues.
HERMAN SCHAPER ( Netherlands) said the protection of women during conflict implied a different way of pursuing crisis management, for example the provision of patrols to accompany women fetching water. The empowerment of women in matters of peace and war meant allowing them the voice of citizens who directly wanted to contribute to conflict prevention, the maintenance of peace and post-conflict reconstruction. On those counts, he welcomed recent actions of the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
Enhancing the role of women in matters of peace was not limited to conflict-beset countries, he stressed, saying that studies had shown that women’s participation in international peacekeeping deployments helped such operations win the trust of the population in Afghanistan. An October 2009 seminar in Madrid, co-organized by his country, would focus on the incorporation of more women into armed forces. Bilateral experience of the Netherlands also showed that working closely with non-governmental organizations was effective in women’s issues. Finally, he said that today’s discussion should be seen as part of a wider debate on gender issues, and in the light of the General Assembly’s decision to establish a composite gender entity.
DIEGO MOREJÓN ( Ecuador) said that for 60 years, the United Nations had played a central role in combating all forms of discrimination and violence against women. Ecuador had ratified all relevant international treaties on that matter. By adopting resolution 1325 (2000) the Security Council had recognized the need to incorporate a gender perspective in all phases of the peace process.
He said there was an urgent need to achieve greater cooperation between the primary bodies of the Organization, keeping in mind that the General Assembly was the universal organ to give a normative framework that guided the decisions of all States. All Member States must systematically apply international law to combat the obstacles for the enjoyment of women’s rights. His country had developed a new constitutional framework that recognized women’s rights. In order to guarantee equality, Ecuador was working towards establishment of a national council for gender equality.
ILENIA MEDINA-CARRASCO ( Venezuela) said her country was concerned at the tone adopted in a number of statements made today. Venezuela respected the norms of international law and condemned all violations of human rights of women. Such violations undermined coexistence and constituted serious crimes. Her country was committed to the promotion and respect of the rights of women. She was in favour of ensuring that all entities of the United Nations in the field of human rights address the issue of women in armed conflict, and she drew attention to the role of the Human Rights Council in that regard.
She went on to say that the Security Council continued to address items on the agenda of the General Assembly, which did not contribute to a balanced discussion. The Council could not be judge and party to the process of the Rome Statute. According to that Statute’s Article 16, the Council might indefinitely stall the investigation or trial the International Criminal Court was seeking to carry out, in particular when agents or officials of a permanent Council member was involved.
Continuing, she said one such permanent member had demanded diplomatic immunity for its agents and military and security personnel. That situation promoted impunity for grave crimes against women and children. She supported all efforts in the Assembly to ensure a comprehensive deliberation in order to achieve women’s empowerment in the context of a just and egalitarian society.
JAIRO MONTOYA PEDROZA ( Colombia) said his country had implemented an affirmative policy for women at national and local levels, including through the establishment of women’s community councils, which strengthened gender mainstreaming at a regional level. Programmes for rural women had also been launched, and a dialogue forum for indigenous people had benefited women. Women also benefited from programmes such as the “Laboratories of Peace”, which aimed to build peace in conflict-affected areas.
There were also law enforcement programmes to redress the grievances of women victims of violence, including those who had been harmed at the hands of illegal armed groups, he said. In all those efforts, the support of the United Nations system was irreplaceable. He reaffirmed Colombia’s commitments to all the Organization’s resolutions and programmes that strengthened women’s roles in peacebuilding.
JEEM LIPPWE ( Federated States of Micronesia), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States, said there was still significant progress required to ensure equal and substantive participation of women in all levels of peace and security decision-making. He was concerned that the negotiation of peace agreements and planning for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration continued to take place with little consideration of resolution 1325 (2000).
He therefore strongly supported establishment of effective monitoring and accountability mechanisms for implementation at the global, regional and national levels. The Council should establish those mechanisms as a matter of urgency. That should be part of an overall strengthened effort and increase of funding by the Council, other United Nations bodies and Member States to implement resolution 1325 (2000).
He said that, in discussing the needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations, it was critical to consider the prevention of conflict situations, particularly in relation to the security implications of climate change. Unabated climate change risked increased violent conflict in many parts of the world, potentially beyond the capacity of the international community to mount an adequate response. In General Assembly resolution 63/281, the international community had, for the first time, recognized an explicit connection between climate change and international peace and security.
Adverse impacts of climate change altered the distribution and quality of natural resources, such as fresh water, arable land, coastal territory and marine resources. Such impacts, he said, also weakened Government institutions and led to internal and international migration. They could also interfere with the ability of nations to maintain territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Climate change furthermore severely jeopardized implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). By adequately responding to the climate crisis, the international community could prevent likely conflict situations and protect the rights of women and children.
TETE ANTONIO, Permanent Observer for the African Union, hailed the General Assembly’s recent adoption of a resolution that endorsed the creation of a composite United Nations gender agency that would be headed by an Under-Secretary-General, as a major step forward. He urged the Security Council to provide its full support to such a body once it had been established. He said he was pleased that the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000) would take place during the African Women’s Decade (2010-2020), and expressed hope that would help the African Union and the United Nations cooperate better, especially regarding greater gender equality.
As one of the African Union’s founding principles, gender equality played a central role in its acts, protocols and declarations and other instruments. In terms of addressing the challenges faced by women during and after armed conflicts, he said the African Union had taken measures to strengthen the African Women’s Committee on Peace and Development and had also adopted the African Union Gender Policy in January. That Policy advocated for equality and deplored all forms of gender-based violence, especially during conflict. It also supported punishing such acts and endorsed the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and other instruments as a basis to intervene in Africa.
Speaking on forthcoming opportunities and challenges, he said it was crucial to strengthen the involvement of women in peace and security efforts within, for example, Sudan and Somalia. It was also vital to integrate the lessons learned into prospective cooperation efforts between the United Nations and regional organizations to ensure peace and security. Moreover, the African Union was determined to face up to the challenge of ensuring that its nascent peace and security framework was reflective of how it perceived women and peace and security, with the Council’s support and international partners.
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