On 22 October 2015, the Permanent Mission of Denmark, in cooperation with the Reaching Critical Will (RCW) programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), hosted a side event on Arms Trade, Small Arms, and Gender Based Violence. Speakers included Ray Acheson and Mia Gandenberger (WILPF Reaching Critical Will), and Katherine Ronderos (WILPF-Colombia).
Ray Acheson, director of RCW, presented on their recent publication: “Women, Weapons and War.” The paper, as well as exploring the synergies related to gender and women in a number of multilateral instruments such as resolutions, treaties, and commitments on conventional weapons and women's rights and participation, also provided a comprehensive “gendered feminist critique” of these instruments. By offering several concrete recommendations to states and other actors, the final aim of work was to underline problems with categorising women as a vulnerable group, with undermining women's participation and gender diversity in disarmament, with reinforcing violent masculinities, and with perpetuating structures of patriarchal militarism.
Mia Gandenberger, programme manager at RCW, presented on the recently published work from RCW entitled: Gender-Based Violence and the Arms Trade Treaty. The briefing paper provided some background on the terminology around Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and highlighted relevant questions for risk assessments under Articles 6 and 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Katherine Ronderos, who offered a local perspective on GBV and on the ATT, explaining how they both strongly apply to and influence the local context, made the last intervention. Ronderos analysed the impact of weapons proliferation in Colombia by providing alarming statistics on the number of women killed by illegal guns and the linkages between the abusive use of weapons, also by police and security forces, and sexual violence. Taking Colombia and its over five decades of internal conflict as an example, she expressed the importance of, and necessity for, disarmament and demilitarisation efforts in post-conflict situations.