June 24, 2009 Arria Formula Meeting Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Peace Negotiations: Implementing Security Council Resolution 1820

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Arria Formula Meeting Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Peace Negotiations: Implementing Security Council Resolution 1820

In July the Security Council is expected to hold a debate on Women, Peace and Security under the Presidency of Uganda. The focus will be the first Secretary-General's report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1820. To complement that debate, the UK will host an Arria formula meeting on an important aspect of SCR 1820: addressing sexual violence in peacemaking. The objective is to bring to Council members' attention the outcomes of a high-level UN Colloquium (22-23 June) on how peace agreements could better systematically address conflict-related sexual violence.

To date, conflict-related sexual violence has not been comprehensively addressed in mediation processes. Nor is there any guidance for mediators on how to do so, even in situations where sexual violence has been a feature of a conflict, through its widespread and systematic occurrence and/or its use as a tactic of war. Conflict-related sexual violence has not been included as a prohibited act in ceasefire agreements, although it has been mentioned under general "protection of civilians" provisions in four ceasefires. Levels of post-ceasefire sexual violence have not been monitored and therefore high levels of conflict-related sexual violence can continue unabated after the conflict has supposedly ended. Security arrangements and DDR processes have rarely mandated a specific response to sexual violence in efforts to restructure security forces and institutions.

Justice and reparation provisions in many peace agreements make references to women. But in some cases amnesty has been granted for conflict-related sexual violence, even when that violence has been perpetrated at the scale of a war crime or a crime against humanity. The record of reparations systems for victims of sexual violence has been uneven. Such systems are often absent. When they do exist, they sometimes have the effect of re-stigmatising survivors. Socio-economic provisions in some comprehensive peace agreements have addressed sexual violence, but again inconsistently. No guidance exists on what approaches best ensure prevention and protection in support of long term recovery.

The UN Colloquium will review technical proposals for ensuring systematic attention to sexual violence in mediation processes, as well as means by which the Security Council may more consistently ensure that relevant expertise be included in UN-sponsored mediation efforts. The Colloquium is jointly sponsored by UNIFEM, UNDP, DPA, OCHA and DPKO on behalf of "UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict" and in partnership with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC), with financial support from the government of Norway.

Key issues - The invited speakers will address:

- The consequences of not addressing sexual violence in peace processes for the credibility of efforts to reassert the rule of law and for the sustainability of recovery efforts
- Key principles to guide future conflict mediation and peacemaking efforts to ensure that the issue of sexual violence is addressed in peace accords and at appropriate stages of the peace process
- Addressing challenges to raising difficult human rights issues - particularly when there is no strong domestic constituency advocating for attention to the issue.
- How can the Security Council strengthen accountability on the issue of addressing and preventing sexual violence in UN peacemaking and mediation efforts?
- What capacities and resources are needed within the UN system systematically to address conflict-related sexual violence in mediation processes?
- What role can Member States play as part of Contact or Friends Groups in peace processes to support women’s involvement in peace negotiations from the early stages?
- How can regional organisations take leadership on this issue?
- How can the protection of civilians be more effectively addressed through peacemaking and mediation efforts?


Mr Jan Egeland Director: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs; and Former UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
President Joaquim Chissano: UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the LRA-affected areas; former President, People's Republic of Mozambique; Chair, Africa Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government
Dr Denis Mukwege: Co-founder of the General Referral Hospital of Panzi, DRC; United Nations Human Rights Prize 2008 Awardee; Olof Palme Prize 2008 from Sweden; Human Rights Prize from the French Government; The African of the Year 2008.
Ms. Luz Mendez: President of the Advisory Board, National Union of Guatemalan Women

Format of the Arria-formula meeting:

The Chair will make introductory remarks before giving the floor to the invited speakers to make their individual presentations. The session will then be opened up for questions from invited non-governmental organisations and Security Council members. We hope to have a lively interactive dialogue.