Fifteen years after the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, the Security Council this afternoon continued Tuesday’s high-level debate on strengthening implementation of that and subsequent resolutions, urging “action instead of talk”.
Today, speakers noted that despite progress made since adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) implementation of all its provisions still lagged. Women and children still suffered disproportionally in conflict and post-conflict countries, especially now that groups such as Boko Harem and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS) specifically targeted women through violent extremism. “As we reflect on the past 15 years, the ravages of war, displacement and violent extremism should only push us to redouble our resolve,” the representative of Canada said.
Speakers also emphasized the need for including women in all stages of peace processes, peacekeeping and peace building. The representative of Liberia noted in that regard that her country’s journey to peace after 14 years of conflict bore testimony to the vital contribution of women to peace, security and conflict resolution. The impact of Liberian women on the 2003 negotiations that had led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was well-documented, she said.
The representative of Viet Nam, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), voiced deep concern about the unprecedented threats posed by wars and conflicts, the rise of violent extremism, and the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced people. Particularly alarming was the horrendous phenomenon of widespread sexual violence against women and girls. She stressed that regional organizations played an essential role in implementing global obligations and commitments to better protect women and girls from sexual violence, discrimination and social exclusion.
Speakers in today’s debate also included the representatives of Austria, South Africa, Serbia, Nepal, Greece, Czech Republic, Denmark, Albania, Australia, Turkey, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, Iceland, Montenegro, Rwanda, Portugal, Iran, Armenia and the Russian Federation.
For more information, see Press Release SC/12076 of 13 October. Yesterday’s and today’s meeting combined counted a record 110 speakers.
The meeting started at 3:06 p.m. and adjourned at 6:02 p.m.
JAN KICKERT (Austria), associating himself with the European Union, welcomed today’s launch of the Global Study, which provided important lessons learned. He was alarmed by the brutal and incessant violence which had caused the biggest wave of refugees and internally displaced persons in recent history. Violent extremism was marked by unprecedented aggression against women and girls. Women activists should be supported. A dedicated mechanism in the Council and regular briefings would increase the capacity of the 15‑member body to take timely action. As there was a need for champions that took the lead he was in favour of reviving a women leader’s network. His country would work on implementing resolution 1325 (2000) in all regional organizations. Together with Finland, Turkey and Kazakhstan, his country would strive to adopt the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Action Plan and, in that regard, called on the Russian Federation to join. Civil society efforts were critical.
THEMBILE JOYINI (South Africa) said his country’s history underlined the influential role that women could play in post-conflict settings. Women in his country had been at the forefront of driving reform. Addressing sexual violence in conflict was an integral aspect of the overall women, peace and security agenda. He encouraged the Council to develop a broader framework of prevention, for example by explicitly referencing sexual violence in conflict in all relevant country-specific resolutions. Access to justice for women in conflict and post-conflict settings through conscious policies was essential to building a fair, equitable and equal society. Women should also be involved at every phase of the peace and security agenda. Promoting the role of women in mediation would strengthen the potential to find sustainable solutions. Good practices, challenges and lessons learned must be documented by all stakeholders.
MILAN MILANOVIĆ (Serbia) welcomed the recommendations of the Global Statement. He said his country had adopted a National Action Plan in 2010. It addressed 15 specific goals that had been implemented. There was, for instance, a structure of institutions for gender equality, including a “Person of Trust. The current Plan was now being evaluated with a view to adopt a National Action Plan for the next five years. He noted that at present, 31 per cent of the security system consisted of women. Women in command positions accounted for 19 per cent. Government agencies and non-governmental organizations had taken preventive measures against violence against women and children. He then described his country’s activities with the OSCE, as Serbia held the chairmanship of that organization.
DURGA PRASAD BHATTARAI (Nepal) said the national action plan for resolution 1325 (2000) had resulted from transparent, inclusive consultations. As a top, troop- and police-contributor, Nepal was committed to increasing the number of women in its army and police forces, deploying more women to peacekeeping, and integrating the protection of women and girls into pre-deployment training. The 2006 Gender Equality Act, along with the amendment of 56 gender discriminatory laws, had sped other reforms. Sexual violence was a serious crime. The Constitution, promulgated last month after eight years of consultations, was “extraordinarily progressive”, notably in outlining that at least one‑third of parliamentary members must be women and that offices of either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the lower house, and Chair or Vice-Chair of the upper house must be held by women.
NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said today’s security environment differed dramatically from that of 15 years ago. She voiced deep concern about the unprecedented threats posed by wars and conflicts ravaging many States and regions, the rise of violent extremism, and the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced peoples. Particularly alarming was the horrendous phenomenon of widespread sexual violence against women and girls. Those challenges, new and old, necessitated stronger commitment and more determined and coordinated actions from the international community. Women had an important role in that regard, and must be empowered as active participants in conflict resolution and peace processes.
Regional organizations played an essential role in implementing global obligations and commitments to better protect women and girls from sexual violence, discrimination and social exclusion, she said. The best way to implement the women, peace and security agenda was to protect and promote women’s rights, empower women and increase their involvement in all economic development and political processes, particularly in decision-making positions. Speaking in her national capacity, she added that, while protection of and support to women as victims was essential, she strongly believed in the value women could bring and contributions they could make to conflict prevention and resolution, as well as post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction.
CATHERINE BOURA (Greece) said that much more needed to be done in translating the intent of resolution 1325 (2000) into results on the ground. Gender-inclusive peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding could contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. Women needed to be part of the decision-making at all stages of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation processes. She said that her county’s National Programme of Action for Substantive Gender Equality covered a wide range of public policies at the national and regional levels with the aim of empowering women and girls and promoting their participation in all policy fields on an equal basis. On the basis of the Programme, the Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality monitored all national policies at the governmental, regional and local levels, and assessed their impact on gender by rating their results. Follow–up and evaluation of the policies would be based on statistical data and the development of gender indicators, using United Nations and European Union criteria.
EDITA HRDÁ (Czech Republic) said that resolution 1325 (2000) was a visionary document that recognized the role of women in prevention and resolution of conflict and post conflict reconstruction. Measurable indicators had shown remarkable progress, but also gaps in implementation. Her country had tried to implement the resolution both nationally and internationally. A long‑term national framework had been adopted for gender equality, as well as a national action plan. Internationally, her country had focused on training Jordanian female soldiers in the disposal of explosive devices. In her country’s humanitarian aid, special attention was given to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. The participation of women was indispensable in peace efforts. Council resolution 1325 (2000) and similar ones should become obsolete when all their principles and provisions were implemented and respected.
IB PETERSEN (Denmark), noting that his country had been among the first to shape a national action plan to implement resolution 1325 (2000), emphasized the use of women’s untapped potential in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, negotiations, peacebuilding and peacekeeping. It was widely known that the absence of women in early peace negotiations and reconstruction measures had deleterious effects on good governance. While the Global Study had recognized progress, all States must develop national action plans and the root causes of war and conflicts must be addressed. For its part, his Government had identified a number of “1325” commitments, including focusing on promoting women as peacebuilders and ensuring mandatory military and peacekeeping training on the role of gender. Denmark would also continue to focus on recruiting female police officers to international missions.
ERVIN NINA (Albania) stated that while his State was not a post‑conflict country, it had been striving to achieve higher standards on the path to consolidating peace and democracy. Peace and security could not be achieved without joint efforts by both men and women. Albania had focused on enhancing women’s leadership and increasing their participation in political decision-making, as well as in the police and armed forces. Civil society had also played an important role and the Government had systematically supported women’s organizations.
GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) said that women and children continued to suffer disproportionately in conflict and post-conflict countries, where maternal mortality rates were twice as high, education parity had not been achieved, and the rates of violence, including sexual violence, were escalating. To help stop the catastrophe, Australia would pledge an additional AUD 4 million over three years to the Global Acceleration Instrument on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, in recognition of the fact that more was needed to support the critical role of women’s organizations in preventing and resolving conflict, building peace and ensuring relief and recovery. The women, peace and security agenda must be implemented across the military, and accordingly the Australian Defence Force was deploying more women and increasing their numbers in senior decision-making roles.
MURAT UĞURLUOĞLU (Turkey) said stronger political will was needed to achieve gender equality, and both empowerment of women and girls, and recognition of their rights. Horrific acts against women and girls by groups such as Da’esh and Boko Haram required a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy, and in that context, he urged eliminating the root causes of conflict. A comprehensive approach to decision‑making and policy, as well as peace processes, mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding was also essential, and women’s involvement in them should be promoted. He welcomed the creation of a technical committee on gender equality in the context of ongoing negotiations in Cyprus, expressing hope it would assist the search for a just, comprehensive settlement to the problem. In Syria, women and children had an important role to play in rebuilding their country.
U KYAW TIN (Myanmar), associating with ASEAN, said sexual violence was a crime abhorred by his country’s traditional values. The penal code outlined severe penalties for such abuse and the Constitution forbade impunity. Military personnel had been trained to observe both military codes of conduct and relevant civil laws. As a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Myanmar had established women’s institutions and implemented a 10‑year strategic plan for women’s advancement. It also had endorsed the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2014. In the coming days, eight ethnic armed groups would sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, creating the conditions needed to eliminate the violent impacts of conflict on women.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh) said that “women are always unfortunately at the receiving end of the consequences of social inequities and political games”. He urged Member States to propose concrete measures to stop violence against women and the proliferation of conflicts. Empowering women entailed them having command over resources as well as adequate leadership capability for the efficient management of those resources. Women must be fully engaged in the economy and at all levels of decision-making processes. The main responsibility to protect women fell on national Governments. For its part, Bangladesh had made progress in reducing child mortality and developing capabilities of women through microcredit and skill training. The Government had also adopted a quota system for women in the national legislative Assembly as well as recruitment in the civil service. Bangladesh supported the active participation of women in all peace processes.
OMER DAHAB FADL MOHAMED (Sudan) said his country had adopted a 25‑year women’s strategy. It had adopted a national strategy to combat violence against women, as well as a national plan for the advancement of women. An independent human rights commission had been established, chaired by a woman. Special attention was being focused on combating violence against women, especially in internally displaced persons’ camps. Women occupied 30 per cent of parliamentary seats. His Government had sanctioned a national law on human trafficking and had hosted a regional conference to combat human trafficking, adopting the Declaration of Khartoum. All those efforts, however, were being impeded by the intransigence of rebel movement which hampered delivery of assistance to the areas they were operating in. He called for a comprehensive approach to addressing the issue of women, peace and security through reconstruction, resettlement of internally displaced persons, as well as lifting all restrictions and sanctions that impeded national efforts in that regard.
CHARLENE ROOPNARINE (Trinidad and Tobago) said her country was committed to implementing resolution 1325 (2000), noting that in 2010, it had introduced the first General Assembly resolution on women’s decision-making in disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control matters. The text’s language reflected Arms Trade Treaty provisions on gender-based violence and violence against women and girls. At the national level, the Constitution guaranteed equal rights for men and women, while regionally, the country had worked with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs to strengthen the role of Latin American and Caribbean women in combating illicit small arms and light weapons trafficking. Trinidad and Tobago was a candidate for the Executive Board of UN-Women for the 2017-2019 period.
KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia) said that areas controlled by non-State actors and terrorist groups were zones of grave risk for women and girls. Member States must embark on an elaborate and holistic approach to address that but at the same time remain sensitive to nuance and detail. Georgia had declared 2015 the “Year of Women” and was in the process of introducing laws that promoted and protected the rights of women. Several plans had been adopted aimed at combating gender stereotypes and violence against women. Georgia remained committed to fully implementing the Beijing Declaration and planned to collaborate with the United Nations and European Union in November at a conference on gender equity in Tbilisi. The human rights situation remained to be a serious challenge in the Georgian territories which “are under illegal Russian military occupation”, he said. Women in those areas suffered from grave violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to education in their native language.
YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said conflict parties should respect their international humanitarian and human rights law obligations to protect civilians, including women and girls. Reiterating his condemnation of all sexual violence against women and girls in conflict situations, he said not all such acts had received due attention and response at international and regional levels. More resolute and targeted measures were required to end impunity, while commitments to protection must be free of selectivity and politically motivated approaches. He highlighted a regional project on “Women for Conflict Prevention and Peace Building in the Southern Caucasus” to enhance advocacy for an increased role for Azerbaijani women in decisions on conflict prevention and resolution at national, regional and international levels. He said Azerbaijan was proud of Council resolution 2122 (2013), adopted under its presidency, aimed at strengthening women's role in conflict prevention and resolution.
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia) underlined the importance of granting women a primary role in the maintenance and consolidation of peace and in the prevention of conflicts. To achieve all objectives of Council resolution 1325 (2000) more needed to be done. Steps must be taken to ensure the protection of women and their participation in all stages of peace processes. That was all the more important with the proliferation of violent extremism, where women were deliberately targeted and their human rights violated. His country had held a dialogue with civil society in that regard. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to the Quartet of the National Dialogue, which underlined civil society’s importance. It was an indispensable partner in conflict and post-conflict situations as well as in early warning of conflict. Civil society must therefore be strengthened and supported.
MILOŠ VUKAŠINOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said his country had created a solid legal and institutional framework for the advancement of gender equality, and recent gender action plans had defined priority measures for improvement and advancement, in line with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the overall 2030 Agenda. In September, during the global leaders meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment, Bosnia and Herzegovina had committed to prompt implementation of the Istanbul Convention’s framework strategy, greater inclusion of women and the reduction of segregation in the labour market, the prevention of and fight against domestic violence, and support for women victims of sexual violence in conflict.
AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka) said resolution 1325 (2000) was a landmark document rightly focusing on the impact of conflict on women and girls and their exclusion from conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Sri Lanka had made strides by adopting a women’s charter two years before the Beijing Platform for Action and had already had a national women’s action plan in place. A drawn-out conflict in the country had resulted in a large number of female victims, who had become orphans, war widows and women single-handedly heading households. That had made them participants in all areas of peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Successful peacebuilding required the meshing together of gender equality, women’s empowerment, human rights and development, with financial stability being an important factor in that regard. He gave the assurance that Sri Lanka would proceed with its reconciliation and peacebuilding process with active participation of women at all levels.
MARJON V. KAMARA (Liberia) said that her country’s journey to peace after 14 years of conflict bore testimony to the vital contribution of women to peace, security and conflict resolution. The impact of Liberian women on the 2003 negotiations that had led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was well-documented. The Liberian Government would ensure passage of the draft Domestic Violence Act, which had been endorsed by the Cabinet in June and was being considered by the national legislature. To improve women’s access to justice, the Government was working with the judiciary to realize the smooth decentralization of Criminal Court E, which had been established to adjudicate cases of sexual and gender-based violence. The Government had made provisions in the national budget to support implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) across the country in order to increase support for economic empowerment programmes and expand their coverage for women and girls in rural areas.
EINAR GUNNARSSON (Iceland) said good proposals in the Global Study included designating sexual violence as a criterion for sanctions and establishing an informal expert group under the Council to ensure information and monitoring by the entire United Nations. Placing gender experts in all sanctions’ expert groups would also foster implementation. The Organization should work systematically to promote women’s participation in peace processes, improve training to meet women’s humanitarian and security needs, and ensure women’s economic and political status, and legal rights, were better emphasized in peacebuilding processes. The proposal to direct 15 per cent of peacekeeping funding towards resolution 1325 (2000) objectives should be viewed as an “absolute” floor. More than 20 per cent of Iceland’s peacebuilding contributions in 2014 had gender equality and women’s empowerment as their primary goal.
ŽELJKO PEROVIĆ (Montenegro), associating himself with the European Union, said armed conflict often impacted women more than men, as they lost access to basic services, education and economic opportunities, and increasingly, were subjected to sexual violence. The potential of women to facilitate conflict resolution and peacebuilding was often undermined, which in turn, undermined those initiatives. Female experts could add communication lines to local communities that were not open to male soldiers, building trust, and could alert to the specific needs of women and girls. It was crucial to involve them as decision makers. Changing entrenched cultural beliefs about women as decision makers required constant advocacy, education and awareness-raising, along with monitoring to force people and institutions to be aware of their biases.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS GRANT (Canada) said that enhancing the empowerment of women and girls had long been a priority of his country’s foreign policy. Resolution 1325 (2000) highlighted how emergency and conflict stations exacerbated threats to human rights and the vital role of women and girls in furthering international peace and security. As women worldwide continued to face violence in conflict situations, as witnessed in the systematic campaigns of ISIS and Boko Haram, accountability remained elusive and the United Nations had witnessed shortcomings. In response, Canada supported projects to address the specific needs of women and girls in conflict and emergency situations and had, among other things, provided $3 million in support of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, he said. “As we reflect on the past 15 years, the ravages of war, displacement and violent extremism should only push us to redouble our resolve.”
JEANNE D’ARC BYAJE (Rwanda) said there was a need to move beyond rhetoric and towards specific actions in the women, peace and security agenda. The current political landscape saw a rise in violent conflicts and extremism where women were particularly targeted. In her country, violence had reached its peak with the genocide of Tutsis. Lessons learned from the genocide, however, had given way to women empowerment. In mending the social fabric and promoting peace and reconciliation, women had contributed to the rebuilding of a shattered nation. Today, Rwanda had the highest representation of women in Parliament in the world, namely 46 per cent. Women were also critical actors in mediation and reconciliation. In May 2010, her Government had adopted an action plan, which sought to strengthen women’s capacity in peace and security. A range of policies had been adopted to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, and punish offenders.
CRISTINA MARIA CERQUEIRA PUCARINHO (Portugal), noting that her delegation had co-sponsored the resolution adopted Tuesday, described her country’s first National Action Plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), as well as its second edition (2014-2018) which was approved last year. Portugal was a firm supporter of mainstreaming the women, peace and security agenda in all Council resolutions. It had also joined other countries in organizing Arria Formula meetings, whose purpose was to give a voice to women’s organizations and to raise awareness among Council members on women’s specific needs in conflict-affected settings. Besides achievements, the Global Study highlighted that obstacles and worrying trends were emerging, which required and deserved a shared and renewed commitment to the women, peace and security agenda. Among other things, Portugal committed to increase women’s participation in internal missions for the promotion and maintenance of peace and security, humanitarian aid and crisis management; to continue to actively promote the women, peace and security agenda in the main multilateral fora of which Portugal was a part; to raise awareness of the importance of establishing national action plans to implement the resolution; and to include the women, peace and security agenda in its development aid programmes.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran) said women were a key resource for promoting peace and stability. Women’s participation and inclusion made humanitarian aid more effective, strengthened the protection of civilians, contributed to the political settlement of disputes, helped to maintain sustainable peace and accelerated economic recovery. “Today, we find ourselves at a turning point for the cause of women and girls,” he said. Conflicts in recent years, especially in the Middle East, had taken new and abhorrent forms and dimensions, and constituted unprecedented challenges to the stability of the region. The spread of violent extremism and takfiri ideology threatened the life and rights of women and girls in an unprecedented way. Women and girls had been targeted for systematic sexual violence and slavery and rape by extremists and terrorists. The international community should make clear that there would never be any leniency for those who subjected women and girls to the most inhumane acts of corporal and mental abuse. Condemning such “barbaric acts”, he expressed his country’s support for the Secretary-General’s “Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism”.
ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said his country had always been at the forefront of the promotion and protection of women’s rights, emphasizing the importance of confidence-building measures, including people-to-people contacts, in implementing resolution 1325 (2000). Links between that text and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and Beijing Platform and Action Plan should be recognized. This year, Armenia had submitted to the United Nations its national review on Beijing+20 and its fifth and sixth joint periodic reports on the Convention. People in Nagorno-Karabakh were still under threat, while civilians in Armenia’s border territory had been targeted by Azerbaijani armed forces. Armenia had always advocated confidence building measures that could involve women lining across dividing lines, especially in conflict areas.
Taking the floor a second time, the representative of the Russian Federation rejected accusations by his counterpart from Georgia. His Government’s position had been repeatedly stated. To concerns expressed about women in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, he invited to a relevant Council meeting the representatives of women’s non-governmental organizations from those areas to provide first-hand accounts of the “real” situation.
The representative of Azerbaijan, taking the floor for the second time, rejected the statement made by Armenia’s representative, saying it was full of distortions and diverted attention from that country’s violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. On 1 September, Armenian forces had opened fire from positions in the occupied territories and disrupted a wedding ceremony, directly targeting civilians and wounding three. That was not a new phenomenon, she said, as Armenia had committed numerous crimes against civilians and ethnic cleansing in the contested area. The crimes were part of a systematic policy of hardened expansionism.
She said documents adopted by international organizations referred to crimes committed by Armenia as a blatant breach of international humanitarian law. In resolution 853 (1993), the Council had condemned “attacks on civilians and bombardments of inhabited areas”, and expressed “grave concern” at the displacement of large numbers of civilians on the territory of Azerbaijan.
The representative of Georgia, taking the floor for the second time and responding to the statement of the Russian Federation, said Georgia was an open, democratic society which hosted hundreds of national and international non-governmental organizations. The Russian Federation was not an open society, and exercised control over occupied Georgian territories, which were now run by ethnic Russians. Hundreds of thousands of Georgians had been ethnically cleansed from those regions. Although open to discussions, his country requested from the Russian Federation, the return of the Georgian pre-war population to the areas concerned. Georgia wanted a peaceful settlement of the issue, but Russia had to comply with the signed 2008 agreement, which excluded any authorized foreign military force on Georgian soil.
Taking the floor a second time, Armenia’s delegate rejected allegations by his Azerbaijan counterpart, saying his statement on women, peace and security had fallen short of addressing the “real” situation on the ground. Rather, his comments were “full of lies” against Armenia. It was well documented that Azerbaijan had unleashed a war against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, with the aim of extinguishing the Armenian population. As a result, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians had become refugees and internally displaced persons, suffering under a State terror that continued today in the form of shelling of Armenian villages.
Rather than using baseless propaganda, he suggested that Azerbaijan concentrate on the mounting human rights violations taking place in its territory in the form of persecution of women’s human rights defenders, illegal marriages and high gender-selective abortions, among other abuses. He asked whether it was possible for Azerbaijan to promote the women, peace and security agenda, and achieve lasting peace, when it systematically oppressed its own women and peace advocates.
The representative of the Russian Federation said it was clear that his counterpart from Georgia was worried about women from Abkhazia and South Ossetia participating in any discussion. Such assessments were not acceptable within the framework of a proper Council discussion.