Women, War and Peace

Women’s rights organizations welcome UNSC support on the implementation of a United Nations Resolution which will take action on indicators which assess and address the impact of war upon women and which stress the need to include women in the peace-building process and the resolution of conflicts and crises.

UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, issued a statement yesterday welcoming the support of the UN Security Council on the implementation of the measures outlined in Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. “The Security Council’s commitment to take action on these indicators represents one of the most significant moves by the international security system in recent years to accelerate implementation of resolution 1325,” declared the Executive Director of UNIFEM, Ines Alberdi.

Ines Alberdi went on to claim that “The indicators will reveal where women are experiencing exclusion and threats to their security and help identify good practices. They will be much more than numbers on a paper. They will provide a sensitive barometer of the current situation and help identify future priorities”.

Resolution 1325 involves 26 indicators and covers four areas:

  1. The participation of women in all aspects of conflict prevention and peace-making;
  2. The prevention of violence against women;
  3. The protection of women’s rights during and after a conflict;
  4. The needs of women involved in relief and recovery.

The indicators are a response to Resolution 1889 of October 2009, which called for indicators to be implemented at a global level to track the success of measures drawn up under Resolution 1325 of 2000. They were drawn up by 14 UN entities coordinated by the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and were developed in close association with Member States and women’s civil society groups.

DR Congo: Rape capital of the world

The plight of women in conflict is highlighted by the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which Margot Wallstrom, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, has described as “the rape capital of the world”. Returning from a trip to this central African country, she called on the UNO to bring in measures which effectively end impunity, impose accountability and punish those who violate the rights of others.

From might to right, from rule of war to rule of law, from bullets to ballots

“From might to right, from rule of war to rule of law, from bullets to ballots” declared Margot Wallstrom, who added “If women continue to suffer sexual violence, it is not because the law is inadequate to protect them, but because it is inadequately enforced”. She pledges herself to a world where “women, even in the war-torn corners of the world, can sleep under the cover of justice”.

In the DR Congo, according to the UN Population Fund, over 8,000 women were raped last year during fighting among warring factions. Many were raped as they went to fetch firewood, others were raped in their homes or as they slept in their beds.

For Margot Wallstrom, the key issue and the main factor fuelling the rising sexual violence in the DR Congo and elsewhere, is the notion that the culprit will escape with impunity and this, she claims, is the rule and not the exception. She highlighted the many cases of politically-motivated rape not only in the DR Congo but also in Kenya and Guinea.

It is in this context that the UNSC provides support for the 26 indicators which will provide a framework to protect women, guarantee their safety and be effective in their recovery in the event of sexual violence. If the perpetrators of these crimes are tracked down and punished, it will be a message to others to respect human rights and not violate them just because they are carrying a weapon.



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey