A SPECIAL 1325 ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325: Women, Peace and Security. To mark this historic day, PeaceWomen has produced a special newsletter issue featuring an overview of the anniversary events, recently released reports on women and armed conflict, UN statements and statements by peacewomen, and a useful fact sheet on women and armed conflict. Due to the large number of events that took place, reports released, and statements made, this issue is particularly lengthy; we tried to be as comprehensive in our coverage as possible. ENJOY!
Although we have not included our regular calendar section in this newsletter issue, to read about upcoming events, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/frame/calendar/calendar.html
1. 1325 NEWS FOR PEACEWOMEN
Refugees Sexually Abused in West Africa, U.N. Staff Cleared
October 22, 2002 - Aid workers in West Africa are sexually abusing refugees, the investigative office of the United Nations said in a report issued this morning, yet there is no evidence that U.N. staff have engaged in such behavior. For the full story by Jim Wurst of UN Wire, go to: http://www.unfoundation.org/unwire/util/display_stories.asp?objid=29778
UN Press Briefing on Women, Peace and Security: Women Shaping Peace
October 23, 2002 – To mark the second anniversary of Resolution 1325, the Chilean Ambassador to the UN and the Chilean Mission hosted a press briefing, moderated by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tx) with 3 women from war-torn countries (Uganda, Israel, and India). All three women spoke about their experiences of conflict and Resolution 1325 in relation to women's agency as peacebuilders, among other things. Although all three women spoke at the press conference, only the woman from Uganda was allowed to address Security Council members during the Arria Formula that same afternoon. To read the UN press briefing about the press conference, go to:
Concern Over Violence Against Women in Togo
October 24, 2002 - The UN Human Rights Committee this week began its examination of the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Togo. In its alternative country report entitled "Violence against Women in Togo", which has been submitted to the Committee, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has expressed its grave concern at the widespread violence against women in the private and community spheres as well as at the hands of state officials. For the full story on Pambazuka news, go to: http://www.pambazuka.org/newsletter.php?id=10826
Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security
October 28-29, 2002-The Security Council Open Debate, to mark the second anniversary of the adoption of 1325, began on the 28th and concluded on the 29th. During the open debate, Secretary-General Annan introduced his Report on Women, Peace and Security, a report that was requested in Resolution 1325 (2000). To view the Secretary-General's report online, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/unindex.html under New Additions.
37 countries spoke addressing a variety of issues, including the role of women as agents of change and not only as victims, and the need for a gender advisor in DPKO. The WILPF-UN office plans to put the statements made in the Open Meeting on the PeaceWomen website as soon as we can. Please look for them in the next few weeks, along with all Arria Formula statements and summaries. In addition, a more detailed set of observations about the Open Debate will be posted to the PeaceWomen website in the next week. Look for it under New Additions at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/unindex.html
Women in Eastern DRC Call On All Actors to Work for Peace
October 31, 2002 - A consortium of women's development and human rights groups of South Kivu Province has made an impassioned plea to all stakeholders in the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to resolve their differences and to channel their efforts into establishing a peaceful and stable nation. For the full story on IRIN news, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=30695&SelectRegion=Great_Lak...
Launch of UNIFEM Independent Assessment
November 1, 2002 – UNIFEM launched their Independent Experts Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and the Role of Women in Peacebuilding yesterday at an event at the UN. According to the independent study, if the plight of women in war is to be improved, the United Nations and governments must make a greater effort to include women in all aspects of peace operations, including crafting peace and reconciliation programs. For coverage by UN Wire, go to:
http://unf-staging.groupstone.com/unwire/util/display_stories.asp?objid=.... To view a detailed press release by UNIFEM about the independent assessment, go to: http://www.unifem.undp.org/newsroom/press/pr_021031.html
For More News please see: http://www.peacewomen.org/news/newsindex.html
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2. FEATURE REPORT:
Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security: Two Years On
31 October 2000-31 October 2002
The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security
On October 31st, the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security released their report Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security: Two Years On, an annotated compilation of activities and initiatives by governments and inter-governmental bodies outside the UN system in the past year. The report does not focus on activities and initiatives within the UN system because these are the subject of the Secretary-General's Report that was submitted to the Security Council this past week. Two Years On is intended to supplement One Year On (available on-line at http://www.peacewomen.org/un/UN1325/since1325.html). The report highlights the actions and initiatives of intergovernmental bodies such as the African Union, WHO and the ICTY, governments including Afghanistan, Canada and Senegal, NGOs in many different countries as well as the NGOs in the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. In addition to this annotated list, the report includes a large annex of statements, resolutions, and declarations. We have included below the introduction of the report with a link to the full report online:
The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security was formed in 1999 to advocate for the first open session and subsequent resolution on women, peace and security of the United Nations Security Council. The group includes the Hague Appeal for Peace, International Alert, the International Women's Tribune Center, the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. These non-governmental organizations work with UN departments, supportive member states, and networks of local and regional women's NGOs towards the advancement and implementation of Resolution 1325.
Unlike most Security Council Resolutions, 1325 has a constituency of active organizations and individuals that know and quote its clauses and expect its full implementation. These groups and individuals have pooled their efforts, networks and expertise to spread the good news about the international commitments enshrined in Security Council Resolution 1325, and will continue to work towards ensuring its full implementation.
Since October 2000, however, many opportunities have been missed that could have made a lasting impact on women affected by war – opportunities to include greater representation of women in high level decision-making on conflict transformation, peace, and security matters, in peace negotiations, and in conflict prevention. Women's experiences are a valuable but overlooked early warning indicator of conflict. But the officially recognized international peace and security bodies and mechanisms do not adequately or systematically incorporate the information that women working on peace and security generate regularly, not to mention their talents and energies in the ‘official' modes of negotiation and resolution.
There have, however, been some notable advances since the historic unanimous adoption of the Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security – advances that offer encouragement and point towards the type of action needed for fuller implementation of Resolution 1325.
In October 2001 the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security produced One Year On, an annotated compilation of activities, initiatives, publications and decisions taken since October 2000 by the UN system, governments and non-governmental organizations. This year's compilation, Two Years On, is intended to supplement One Year On (available on-line at http://www.peacewomen.org/un/UN1325/since1325.html).
Unlike the earlier counterpart, it does not attempt to detail the activities and initiatives related to Resolution 1325 that have taken place within the UN system since these are the subject of the Secretary-General's Report requested by Resolution 1325 and submitted to the Security Council in October 2002. Two Years On concentrates on the work involving governments and inter-governmental bodies outside the UN system or those related to the UN that would not be detailed in the Secretary-General's Report. This compilation is most concerned with highlighting the breadth and depth of the work of non-governmental organizations and individuals who have consistently endeavored to identify alternatives to war and advance the cause of real peace despite the persistent marginalization of their efforts.
We note, however, that not all organizations or individuals have access to the media or internet to document their peacebuilding activities and neither is it regarded as a priority in the face of day-to-day survival emergencies in conflict zones. Therefore, we make no claim that the items in this report represent the actual extent of the work women and civil society organizations are doing all over the world to promote peace.
As an ongoing work in progress, this annotated listing of activities and initiatives will continue to be developed and will seek to monitor, complement, and build on the work of the UN and the substance of the Secretary-General's Report. These updates will appear on www.peacewomen.org in an effort to provide a sense of the activities, initiatives, publications, and decisions taken since October 2000, as well as background and sources of further information.
A number of high activity focus areas have been highlighted in this resource document, which covers the period October 2001- October 2002. These include developments and activities relating to:
The African Union
The International Criminal Court
The Middle East
The Inter-Congolese Dialogues
In this report, we have included an annex which contains key declarations and statements made by civil society peacebuilders and women's organizations in support of the advancement of the implementation of Resolution 1325 in UN and member state actions.
We hope you find this report useful and affirmative. If you have additions and updates, comments please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the full report online, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/NGO%20reports/pwomen/NGO2YearsOnRes1...
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3. FEATURE STATEMENTS
In the events of this past week, many statements were made addressing the second anniversary of Resolution 1325, from a variety of different backgrounds and perspectives. Below we have featured statements by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, peacewomen activists from war-torn countries, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and the President of the Security Council (Cameroon).
STATEMENT BY THE NGO WORKING GROUP ON WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY
NGO Working Group On Women, Peace and Security presented a statement to Security Council members at the Arria Formula on October 23rd, read by the coordinator of the Working Group, Indira Kajosevic. We have included the full statement below:
Dear Chair, Excellencies, and friends of Women, Peace and Security,
1. On behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, I would like to thank the Governments of Cameroon and Singapore, for convening this meeting today and the many member states supportive of the agenda we are here to discuss. We would also like to thank the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues, the Division for the Advancement of Women and UNIFEM for eliciting the perspectives of NGOs and women's organisations in their work. We look forward to continuing our collaborative and complementary work to implement Resolution 1325 with the United Nations and member states.
2. In the context of the escalating tension and conflict in the Middle East and Iraq we have to date heard too few women's voices, despite the call from women in the region for the establishment of a Women's Council on the Middle East. We have seen public opinion throughout the world express its strong objection to the use of force with respect to Iraq in massive demonstrations. We applaud the Security Council convening an open forum on Iraq this month and support the vital need for a continued multi-lateral approach. We urge the Security Council to also consult with women's organisations and members of civil society inside and outside Iraq. It is important to hear the voices of women who are on the frontline and holding communities together on a daily basis.
3. Afghanistan is seen as a test case for the implementation of 1325. Last October at an Arria Formula, you heard Jamila (Director of the NGO Afghan Women's Welfare Department then living as a refugee in Pakistan). She has since opened an office in Kabul with plans for a sub-office in Jalalabad, and is working with Afghan communities in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Jamila clearly identified funding as a priority need, a year later Afghan women are still asking donors to fulfil their funding promises to help improve the position of women and encourage recognition of women's rights in Afghanistan beyond Kabul. There is commendable work being done on the ground, but we need the commitment of the international community to support Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.
Afghan women, crossing the divides of the conflict, articulated clear recommendations in the Brussels Declaration (in December 2001). Yet, their commitment to participate in the reconstruction process in their country is thwarted, on account of insufficient resource distribution and insecurity in areas outside Kabul.
4. We call on you to move from ad hoc to systematic consideration of women and gender perspectives in every Council action – in particular your field missions, mandates, resolutions and reports. More information on what women are doing in conflict situations should be routinely integrated in country and thematic reports from the Secretary-General. A regular item on women, peace and security on the Council's agenda would serve to monitor and measure such actions, good practices in the field and at UN headquarters.
5. The critical role of civil society in providing key information and solutions to conflict was recognised by the United Kingdom in the open debate they chaired on Gender, Conflict and Peacekeeping in July.
In the context of conflict prevention, NGOs have initiated identification of gender-sensitive early warning indicators, highlighting the linkages of micro level violence to the macro level, such as increased cases of gender-based violence, sex-specific migration and employment patterns. In rural Kenya, for example, women often start wearing traditional belts believed to protect their sons from being killed when they are anticipating the outbreak of conflict. Further information on this work is available from the NGOWG.
6. Until recently, attacks against women during armed conflict were seen as an inevitable consequence of war. For the first time, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have convicted individuals of rape as an instrument of genocide and torture, as a war crime and as a crime against humanity. However, women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone have reported brutal rapes, sexual slavery and torture committed by male combatants, which to date have been subject to impunity. Resolution 1325 affirms the need for accountability for war-time violence against women. This still needs to be urgently advanced.
7. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force on 1 July 2002, confirming that crimes of sexual violence must be tried as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It provides a permanent mechanism to try individuals, who commit such acts of atrocity. The NGOWG calls upon the Security Council to fully use the powers granted to it in the Rome Statute and to maintain the integrity of the Rome Statute, resisting political pressure from those, who seek to undermine the effectiveness and independence of the Court. We urge you not to renew the controversial Security Council Resolution 1422; a renewal would provide immunity from the Court's jurisdiction to those participating in UN operations producing double standards that are contrary to international law, including the Statute as well as the UN Charter. Since September 2002, the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute has opened the period for nomination of candidates for the first 18 judges of the Court. The NGOWG calls on governments to ensure a gender balance and geographical spread when electing judges and prosecutor to the International Criminal Court. We urge that these mandates also be carried out in the appointment of investigators, legal counsel and other staff.
8. Two years after the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1325 in the Security Council there is still only one woman Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the existing field missions. We join the call to the Secretary-General to appoint more women as Special Representatives and Special Envoys of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and to reach the target of thirty per cent by 2005 and gender balance soon thereafter.
We agree with Jean-Marie Guéhenno of DPKO and many Member States that much more needs to be done to include women at all levels of peacekeeping processes. We strongly recommend that a gender unit for DPKO be established at headquarters, consisting of a team of senior gender advisers. We urge that adequate funds be made available and sustainable for this unit. It has been three years since the inauguration of the first Office of Gender Affairs, yet the capacity of DPKO at headquarters to support such offices is severely limited due to lack of resources and expert staff. It is vital that every peacekeeping mission has a Senior Gender Adviser and that this post is separate to the position of the Human Rights Adviser.
We consider it vital that effective gender awareness training is provided for peace support operations personnel at all levels – in part through the investment of adequate resources – thereby complying with the focus on "Training of Security and Peacekeeping Force" in the Security Council's Aide-Memoire.
9. We recommend that donors restore adequate levels of funding to UNHCR and organisations working with the UN on the ground with refugees and internally displaced populations in order to effectively implement the Policy and Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women. We concur with the SG report findings that policy directives and guidelines on protection for refugee and displaced women have been formulated by the office of the UNHCR. However, there is still a need for gender sensitisation in their implementation. An assessment report on UNHCR guidelines and policy on protection of women is available from the NGOWG.
Over the past year, numerous advances have been made at national and regional levels in recognising and acting upon the pivotal role that women and girls play in societies' struggle for sustainable peace:
-During the recent Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone, the authorities worked to ensure the equitable participation of women – from election officials to elderly, nursing and pregnant voters in camps for the internally displaced. These efforts included gender sensitive hiring practices, facilitation of women's access to polls, and prevention of voter intimidation.
-At the level of peace support operations, MINUGUA, the UN Verification Mission in Guatemala, continues to call attention to and act upon gender discrimination.
10. The NGOWG would like to close by reiterating the statement made by the Canadian government's International Development Agency in their operational framework for gender-aware peacebuilding:
"Peacebuilding is a two-fold process requiring both the deconstruction of the structures of violence and the construction of the structures of peace". The inclusion of women in these processes is crucial to the establishment of sustainable peace.
For the online version of the NGO Statement, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/voices/speech/NGOstatement10_23.html
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4. STATEMENTS BY PEACEWOMEN FROM WAR-TORN COUNTRIES
Angelina Atyam, from Northern Uganda, was the only woman who officially addressed the Security Council at the Arria Formula on October 23rd. For Angelina's full statement, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/voices/speech/Angelina.html
Gila Svirsky, a member of Women in Black Israel, spoke at the press conference at the UN on October 23rd and although she was initially prevented from speaking due to the sensitivity of Middle East politics, she was allowed to say a few words and answer some questions. For Gila's full statement, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/voices/speech/Gila.html
Teesta Setalvad, a senior journalist and women's rights activist from India, was not able to come to New York for the anniversary events, although her statement was included in a press kit. Vahida Nainar, of Bombay's Voice of Women, Women's Caucus for Gender Justice and the Solidarity Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws, came in her place to raise awareness about the violence in Gujarat. For Teesta's full statement, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/voices/speech/Teesta.html
Sabine Sabimbona, Representative of the Collective Burundian Women's Associations, CAFOB, was unable to come to New York for the Arria Formula due to travel complications. However, her statement was read and made available to Security Council members during the Arria. For Sabine's full statement, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/voices/speech/Sabine.html
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5. STATEMENT BY SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was the first speaker to address the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security on October 28th. During his remarks he introduced the report produced by his office on Women, Peace and Security, and briefly highlighted some of its findings and recommendations. We have included excerpts of his statement below:
… Two years ago, the Security Council adopted resolution 1325, a landmark step in raising awareness of the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, and of the vital role of women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
Since then, the Council has maintained close attention to this key aspect of international peace and security. It has used the Arria Formula to hear directly from women living in countries mired in conflict. During missions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo and Sierra Leone, Council members have met with women's groups and networks. And last July, the Council held a further open discussion on the issue.
Resolution 1325 has also galvanized the UN system into looking more critically at our own work, and how we deal with gender perspectives not only in peace-making, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, but also in humanitarian, disarmament and reconstruction activities.
And more importantly, women at the grassroots level around the world have found the resolution an effective tool in bringing greater attention to their needs and priorities, and in supporting their efforts to contribute to peace processes.
…The world can no longer afford to neglect the abuses to which women and girls are subjected in armed conflict and its aftermath, or to ignore the contributions that women make to the search for peace. It is time they are given the voice in formal peacebuilding and peace-making processes that they deserve. Sustainable peace and security will not be achieved without their full and equal participation. Just as your work can promote gender equality, so can gender equality make your work more likely to succeed.
For the full statement by the Secretary-General to the Security Council, go to: http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=133
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6. STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
The President of the Security Council, made a statement on behalf of the Council on October 31st in connection with the second anniversary of the Security Council's adoption of resolution 1325. We have included the full statement below:
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the continuing and full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and welcomes the increasing focus over the last two years on the situation of women and girls in armed conflict, and recalls the Statement by its President of 31 October 2001 (S/PRST/2001/31) and the meetings held on 25 July 2002 and 28 October 2002 as expressions of that commitment.
"The Security Council welcomes the Report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security (S/2002/1154) and expresses its intention to study the recommendations contained therein. The Council also welcomes the efforts of the United Nations system, Member States, civil society and other relevant actors, to promote equal participation of women in peace and security.
"The Security Council remains concerned about the slow progress in the appointment of women as special representatives and envoys of the Secretary-General, and urges the Secretary-General to increase the number of women serving as high-level representatives to achieve the overall goal of gender balance. The Council also urges Member States to continue to provide candidates to the Secretary-General for inclusion in a database.
"The Security Council, reaffirming the importance of gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations and post-conflict reconstruction, undertakes to integrate gender perspectives into the mandates of all peacekeeping missions, and reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to ensure that all reports submitted to the Security Council in accordance with such mandates systematically address gender perspectives. The Council also requests the Secretary-General to provide systematic training of all staff in peacekeeping operations on gender perspectives, and to integrate gender perspectives into all standard operating procedures, manuals and other guidance materials for peacekeeping operations.
"The Security Council considers that the appointment of gender advisers at sufficiently senior levels at Headquarters is necessary. The Council notes that some progress has been made in gender mainstreaming at mission level, specifically through the establishment of gender units and gender advisers, but that more remains to be done in order to ensure that gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations and post-conflict reconstruction is thorough and effective, and applied systematically.
"The Security Council undertakes to integrate gender perspectives into the terms of reference of its visits and Missions to countries and regions in conflict. To that end, the Council requests the Secretary-General to establish a database of gender specialists as well as women's groups and networks in countries and regions in conflict, and to include gender specialists in the teams where relevant.
"The Security Council recognizes the vital role of women in promoting peace, particularly in preserving social order and educating for peace. The Council encourages its Member States and the Secretary-General to establish regular contacts with local women's group and networks in order to utilize their knowledge of both the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, including as victims and ex-combatants, and of peacekeeping operations, to ensure that those groups are actively involved in reconstruction processes, particularly at decision-making levels.
"The Security Council, recalling its resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1324 (2000) and 1379 (2001), encourages Member States, the entities of the United Nations system, civil society and other relevant actors, to develop clear strategies and action plans with goals and timetables, on the integration of gender perspectives in humanitarian operations, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes, including monitoring mechanisms, and also to develop targeted activities, focused on the specific constraints facing women and girls in post-conflict situations, such as their lack of land and property rights and access to and control over economic resources.
"The Security Council deplores the continuing occurrence of sexual exploitation, including trafficking, of women and girls in the context of peacekeeping operations and humanitarian activities, and calls for the further development and full implementation of codes of conduct and of disciplinary procedures to prevent such exploitation. The Council encourages all actors, in particular troop-contributing countries, to enhance monitoring mechanisms, and to investigate and prosecute effectively cases of alleged misconduct.
"The Security Council condemns all violations of the human rights of women and girls in situations of armed conflict, and the use of sexual violence, including as a strategic and tactical weapon of war, which, inter alia, places women and girls at increased risk of contracting sexually-transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
"The Security Council decides to remain actively seized of this matter and requests the Secretary-General to prepare a follow-up report on the full implementation of resolution 1325 to be presented to the Security Council in October 2004."
To view the presidential statement online, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/UN1325/presstatement.html
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7. RESOURCES FOR PEACEWOMEN:
Although reference has been made to most of these resources already in this newsletter, below we have included the full titles of all the recently released, or soon to be released, reports and information about where to find them online:
Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security: Two Years On
The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security
For the full report online, go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/NGO%20reports/pwomen/NGO2YearsOnRes1...
Report of the Secretary General on Women, Peace and Security
For the full report, go to: http://daccess-ods.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/634/68/PDF/N0263468.pdf?Open...
UNIFEM's Progress of the World's Women 2002: The Independent Experts' Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women's Role in
This report will be available in the next few weeks. When the report is available we will post the link on the PeaceWomen website.
To view a detailed press release by UNIFEM about the independent assessment, go to: http://www.unifem.undp.org/newsroom/press/pr_021031.html
The International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) recently introduced a new webpage on Gender Aspects of Conflict and
Peace at http://www.un-instraw.org/en/research/gacp.
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8. FACTS FOR PEACEWOMEN: A Fact Sheet on Women and Armed Conflict
This Fact Sheet was prepared by the International Women's Tribune Center (a member of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security) and circulated by the NGO Working Group at a number of the 1325 anniversary events, including the press conference at the UN on October 23rd, where it was included in a press kit.
"Women who know the price of conflict so well, are also often better equipped to prevent or resolve it" Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, 24th October 2000.
Women and children are generally most affected during times of conflict. During wartime, women and children are at particular risk of human rights abuses because of their lack of status in most societies. Such abuses include sexual and gender based violence, sexual exploitation and recruitment as soldiers. Women are also disproportionately affected by a lack of basic services endemic to conflict and displacement -such as adequate medical care, nutrition, sanitation and shelter -due to discrimination and their own powerlessness. Displaced and refugee women and girls, elderly women, women heads of household and women held in detention and detention-like conditions are more vulnerable to the impact of conflict.
IN CONFLICT AND POST-CONFLICT SITUATIONS, THERE ARE:
30 countries and areas, including: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bouganville, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chechnya, Colombia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, India, Israel, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Western Sahara.
15 of the above countries with UN Peacekeeping Operations,
12 of the above countries with UN Political and Peace Building missions
3 of the above UN peacekeeping operations with gender advisers (Sierra Leone, East Timor and Democratic Republic of Congo.)
WOMEN SERVING IN UN CIVIL AND MILITARY OPERATIONS TOTAL:
4% of the police and
3% of the military
0% in UN military peace keeping missions in Afghanistan, Burundi, Cambodia, Golan Heights, Liberia or Tajikistan.
WOMEN IN CONFLICT AND POST CONFLICT SITUATIONS
Rwanda: Approximately 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide and an estimated 5,000 pregnancies resulted from those rapes.
Sierra Leone: Over 50% of women experienced some form of sexualized violence during conflict in 1999;
Bosnia: An estimated 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during 5 months of conflict in 1992.
GIRLS IN WAR:
Sierra Leone: Of an estimated 4,500 children abducted following the 1999 invasion of the capital, Freetown, 60% were girls, the majority of whom suffered repeated acts of sexual violence.
Worldwide: Approximately 40 million people have fled their homes due to armed conflict and human rights violations, an estimated 80% of whom are women and children. There are an estimated 20 million refugees and persons of concern to the UN High Commission for Refugees around the world, 80% of whom are also women and children.
Colombia: An estimated 1.5 million people have been displaced internally by ongoing conflict, with 80% women and children.
Bosnia: An estimated 60% of women trafficked in Sarejevo are between the ages of 19 and 24.
Albania: Due entirely to the participation of women, a UNDP weapons-for-development program collection was highly successful. In the town of Elbasan, women collected 2,332 weapons and 1,801 tons of ammunition. In the town of Diber, women collected 2,407 weapons and 855 tons of ammunition
Georgia: 1,300 units of arms and ammunition and 210 kg of pure explosives were collected by the OSCE.
Mali: Women were credited for organizing the first "burning of arms" in a public ceremony which has since become an annual celebration of a policy against small arms and light weapons.
Liberia: Women demanded, worked for and achieved 80% disarmament before elections in 1995 under the leadership of Madam Ruth Perry.
Of the 17 countries with over 100,000 children orphaned by AIDS, 13 are countries in conflict.
In 1999, 99,000 women signed a Women's Peace Petition presented to the UN General Assembly, calling for at least 5% of the national military expenditure each year over a 5-year period to be redirected towards health, education and employment.
In the last 2 years, women have been actively involved in peace negotiations in Burundi (the Lusaka Peace process), Afghanistan (the Bonn process), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (The Sun City process).
WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?
- To be equal participants in conflict resolution, peace negotiations, reconciliation and reconstruction
- To be part of peacekeeping missions and among key decision-making staff on the ground
- To have gender advisors as part of every mission
- For all peacekeepers to be trained to protect the particular rights and needs of women in conflict
"There can be no peace without gender equality and no development without both peace and equality."
Angela King, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women
SOURCES: The State of Women in the World Atlas by Joni Seager,
http://www.saferworld.co.uk/usefu.htm; http://www.ipsnews.net/ hivaids;
http://www.unhcr.org; UNIFEM 2002 World Report on Women;
http://www.who.int/frh-wnd/vaw/infopack; The Year in Review - UN Peace Operations 2001 (DPI)
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