|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6852nd Meeting (PM)
Security Council, in Statement, Reaffirms Commitment to Protection of Women
in War-Torn Countries, Urges Wider Role for Women’s Groups in Peace Efforts
Reaffirming a broad range of commitments to empower and protect women in conflict-affected countries, the Security Council this afternoon called on the international community to give women’s civil society organizations a prominent role in the negotiation, planning and implementation of peace processes and post-conflict development programmes.
“The Security Council takes note of the important role that civil society, including women’s organizations, can play in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, peacebuilding and post-conflict situations”, Council Members said, through a statement read out by Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala, Council President for October.
The statement had been agreed upon by the Council in preparation for the annual review of progress in implementing resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security, which recognizes both the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and the importance of women’s participation in peace processes.
An open debate on the topic had been planned for Monday, 29 October, and was expected to include briefings from the Head of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of women (UN-Women), Michelle Bachelet, and the head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, but it was cancelled because of the extreme weather that developed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Ms. Bachelet attended today’s meeting.
In the presidential statement, the Council endorsed the Secretary-General’s call for a stronger commitment to address challenges to women’s participation in all levels of peacemaking (see Background), and encouraged international and regional organizations, Member States and all representatives of the Secretary-General to promote the active engagement of women’s organizations in all stages of peacemaking and peacebuilding.
Underlining the primary role of national Governments in empowering women in conflict situations, the Council also reaffirmed in that context the importance of the international framework for human rights, the fight against impunity for those who commit gender crimes and attention to gender issues in electoral support efforts, peacekeeping mission mandates and judicial and security sector reform programmes.
The Council welcomed the role of UN-Women in coordinating programmes for women and girls throughout the United Nations system, as well as the role of Gender Advisers in assisting the capacity-building activities of civil society organizations and Governments and providing training and awareness-raising on gender issues for peacekeepers.
It reiterated its call to deploy Women Protection Advisers in peacekeeping missions, stressing the need to ensure that gains made in women’s protection and empowerment must be sustained during mission drawdowns and transitions.
Before reading the presidential statement this afternoon, Mr. Rosenthal expressed solidarity with the host country and all those affected by the storm.
The meeting began at 3:13 p.m. and ended at 3:36 p.m.
The full text of the statement contained in document S/PRST/2012/23 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its commitments to the full and effective implementation of resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), and 1960 (2010) and recalls all statements of its President on Women and Peace and Security as reiterating the Council’s commitments.
“The Security Council urges all parties to fully comply with their obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979 and the Optional Protocol thereto of 1999 and strongly encourages States that have not ratified or acceded to the Convention and Optional Protocol to consider doing so.
“The Security Council underlines the primary role of national Governments, affected by armed conflict, to enhance participation of women in prevention and resolution of conflict and in peacebuilding within the framework of the women, peace and security agenda. The Council further stresses that United Nations entities should continue to support and supplement, as appropriate, efforts of national Governments in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
“The Security Council takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security (S/2012/732) for the purpose of implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and particularly welcomes its call for enhanced participation, representation and involvement of women in prevention and resolution of armed conflict and in peacebuilding, as well as a stronger commitment to address challenges to such engagement of women at all levels.
“The Security Council welcomes the role of UN-Women in contributing to the implementation of resolutions on women and peace and security. The Council welcomes briefings by the Under-Secretary-General/Executive Director of UN-Women. The Council notes with satisfaction the increased coordination and coherence in policy and programming for women and girls within the United Nations system, welcoming efforts to avoid duplication and overlap since the creation of UN-Women.
“The Security Council recognizes the contributions of civil society, including women’s organizations, through informal interactions with members of the Council at Headquarters and during Council field missions.
“The Security Council recognizes the need for more systematic attention to the implementation of women, peace and security commitments in its own work to ensure the enhancement of women’s engagement in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding and to continue to integrate appropriate gender perspectives into the mandates of relevant United Nations peacekeeping missions as well as in other relevant thematic areas of peace and security.
“The Security Council welcomes the contribution of Gender Advisers to the implementation of resolutions on women, peace and security by providing training and awareness-raising of United Nations peacekeepers and assisting in capacity-building activities of national Governments, as well as those of civil society. In this regard, the Security Council underlines the need for continued, appropriate and regular training for Gender Advisers.
“The Security Council reiterates its call to deploy Women Protection Advisers to peacekeeping missions. The Council stresses the need to ensure that gains made in the protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment are sustained during United Nations mission drawdown and transitions.
“The Security Council takes note of the important role that civil society, including women’s organizations, can play in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, peacebuilding and post-conflict situations and encourages the international community, regional organizations and concerned Member States to promote their active engagement and effective participation in a variety of roles, as appropriate, with a view to the implementation of 1325 (2000).
“The Council welcomes the efforts of Member States to implement resolution 1325 (2000) at the national level, including the development of national action plans or other national-level strategies, and encourages Member States to continue to pursue such implementation.
“The Security Council recognizes the important engagement by men and boys as partners in promoting women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, peacebuilding and post-conflict situations.
“The Security Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s call upon his Special Envoys and mediators, as well his senior representatives in United Nations mission context, to regularly consult with civil society, including women’s organizations, as well as with women and girls from affected communities, enabling them to actively engage in all stages of peace processes.
“The Security Council stresses the importance of promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls in the context of the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and other relevant Security Council resolutions. The Security Council acknowledges that human rights of women and girls are at particular risk during armed conflict and post-conflict situations and notes that civil society members working on women’s human rights issues may be targeted in a number of these situations. The Council urges concerned Member States to pay special attention to addressing these risks.
“The Security Council stresses the importance of assisting Member States in promoting women’s full and equal participation in post-conflict electoral processes and constitutional reform. The Council encourages concerned Member States conducting these electoral processes to continue their efforts, with support from United Nations entities, to address the gender dimension in all phases of electoral processes, noting that specific attention must be paid to women’s safety prior to, and during, elections.
“The Security Council underscores the need for Member States in post-conflict situations, in consultation with, inter alia, civil society, including women organizations, to address the specific requirements and priorities of women and girls in their national strategies to improve their socio-economic conditions, participation in income generating activities, and their access to education and basic services.
“The Security Council stresses the need for continued efforts to address obstacles in women’s access to justice in conflict and post-conflict settings, including through gender-responsive legal, judicial and security sector reform and other mechanisms.
“The Security Council reiterates its strong condemnation of all violations of applicable international law committed against women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence and killing and maiming, in armed conflict and post-conflict situations and urges the complete cessation by all parties of such acts with immediate effect. The Security Council also urges Member States to bring to justice those responsible for crimes of this nature.
“The Security Council notes that the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern committed against women and girls has been strengthened through the work of the International Criminal Court, ad hoc and mixed tribunals, as well as specialized chambers in national tribunals. The Council reiterates its intention to continue forcefully to fight impunity and uphold accountability with appropriate means.
“The Security Council draws attention to the importance of a comprehensive approach to transitional justice in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, encompassing the full range of judicial and non-judicial measures, as appropriate.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General in his next annual report to give an update on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) to include, inter alia, achievements, gaps and challenges to the implementation of the resolution as well as this statement of its President.”
The Security Council had before it the Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security (document S/2012/732). Presenting an overview of progress and information on specific issues, particularly related to the implementation of the Council’s relevant resolution 1325 (2000), the report also contains observations and recommendations and is based on contributions from 27 United Nations system entities and eight regional and subregional organizations.
Highlighting the important strides taken in the past year in promoting women’s rights in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding, the report mentions major initiatives. Among them, the report states that the development of and initial reporting on the 1325 (2000) indicators, steps taken to implement the seven-point action plan on gender-responsive peacebuilding, the adoption of the United Nations strategic results framework on women and peace and security and the civilian capacity review have helped to identify good practices, set shared targets and identify areas that need further attention.
At the national level, the number of countries that have articulated their priorities on women and peace and security through national action plans has continued to grow, the report states. Yet, translating norms into practice must, in the end, be measured against real change in the lives of women, girls, boys and men across the continuum from conflict to peace, the report states before outlining progress in the areas of prevention, participation, protection, relief and recovery.
Making a series of recommendations, the Secretary-General says he remains concerned about the continued slow progress in women’s participation and representation in peace talks, including of provisions for promoting women’s and girls’ rights in peace agreements and in increasing women’s representation in elected and appointed posts.
He is also concerned about the persistence of serious protection gaps, obstacles to women’s and girls’ access to justice and the slow change in the share of budgets allocated to women’s empowerment and gender equality in post-conflict contexts. To ensure more robust progress across the whole women and peace and security agenda in the coming year, according to the report, three areas, indicated below, require action.
Consistency in the implementation of international norms and standards on the human rights of women and girls in all efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and build peace needed to be addressed, the report states. In that context, the Secretary-General commends the growing inclusion of explicit references to women and peace and security commitments across the Security Council’s actions, and encourages the Council to consistently continue this practice. He also calls on Member States and regional organizations to explore means to ensure the continued implementation of women and peace and security resolutions within the framework of mission drawdown and transitions and he urges Member States and regional organizations to acknowledge and support the role women’s organizations can play in informing these processes.
Determination in addressing challenges to women’s and girls’ participation and representation also needed more action, and to that end, the Secretary-General encourages Member States and regional organizations that support peace processes to lead by example and appoint more women as mediators, co-mediators and advisers to mediation processes. Among a range of suggestions, he calls on all Member States and United Nations entities supporting post-conflict elections to continue their efforts in addressing the gender dimension in all phases of electoral processes.
Continued improvement of tracking and accountability systems for the implementation of women and peace and security commitments was also needed and the Secretary-General says in that report that he has, among other things, asked United Nations entities to increase coordination in the development of adequate and flexible gender responsive monitoring and tracking systems so that these are relevant at the country level but with the ability to be reported at the global level, including budget gender marker systems.
The Council also had before it a letter dated 2 October 2012 from the Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2012/774) that contains a complementary note for the open debate of the Security Council on women and peace and security.
The note explains that women’s civil society organizations are frequently excluded from formal conflict resolution processes, political dialogue and post-conflict peacebuilding and their central role in reconciliation and long-term conflict prevention is often unrecognized. The open debate will be based on the Secretary-General’s report and will provide a forum for the Council, Member States and other stakeholders to review progress achieved and discuss ways of addressing key challenges in implementing commitments on women and peace and security, the note states. The debate will for the first time see the Security Council consider the specific role played by women’s civil society organizations in conflict prevent, resolution and recovery.
The note highlights three sub-themes: implementation of peace accords, United Nations transitions, including mission drawdown, and the security environment for women’s civil society organizations. It also invites Security Council members and other Member States to consider the means of building women’s organizations’ engagement in implementing peace agreements, good practices in integrating women’s security and other priorities into transitions, such as mission drawdown planning and benchmarking, and the means of ensuring protection of women’s human rights defenders in conflict and post-conflict situations.
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