Two events recently took place at UN Headquarters that are critical to UN's mandate to build and maintain peace, but that do not receive enough attention.The first event was "Broadening the Concept of Peacekeeping: The Contribution of Civil Society to the Unarmed Protection of Civilians". Speakers emphasized the high rate of civilian casualties in armed conflicts and the unique ability of civil society groups to attend to civilian needs, which often go unaddressed in the chaos of violent conflict and international response. The event recognized the specific role of women in the protection of civilians by civil society actors, and the ways in which the UN peacekeeping and protection architectures could make better use of trained civilians for the unarmed protection of civilians.
The second event, “Civil Society Consultation on the Human Right to Peace,” discussed the recent drafting by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee of a draft declaration on the Right to Peace, and how the Right to Peace depends on presence of human security, not simply the absence of war. Speakers at the event echoed WILPF's position in calling for the equal participation of women and the full implementation of SCR 1325. The HRC is now seeking consultations before the draft is presented to the HRC in June. Both events were attended by wonderful PeaceWomen interns.