By Joanna Lockspeiser
In February 2016, the Government of Ukraine launched the Ukrainian National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. As civil war continues to rage in the Eastern European country – which is gripped by ethnic conflicts and a foundering economy – the NAP comes at a critical time.
Bullet holes in Kiev, 2014. Photograph by Ivan Bandura
Since 2014, the armed conflict has created a situation of insecurity, which carries a threat to women’s security and respect for human rights. Women have been deeply affected by displacement in the wake of violence. Due to limited economic opportunities linked to austerity measures, women bear the brunt of the burden of care in the face of reduced resources, and face particular risks, especially those affected by internal displacement. Despite numerous legislative protections, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and women-focused NGOs have reported an increase in cases of domestic violence, rape, prostitution and “survival sex”.
In light of this context of insecurity, Ukraine’s adoption of a NAP creates an opportunity to for action in the country. It is critical to ensure implementation of the NAP commitment to include civil society in NAP implementation and monitoring, including around disarmament, demobilization, reintegration (DDR) processes. WILPF notes with concern that the NAP states that civil society participation in NAP implementation is “upon consent” of the Order of Ministries, and urges that this consent be provided and that their full and substantive participation be integrated in the implementation and monitoring phases. This engagement should be further strengthened to address key gap areas including disarmament and action addressing how proliferation of weapons impacts women’s security.
The NAP is one step forward in identifying key aspects to address gender equality in Ukraine. Action to ensure effective and inclusive implementation is critical to moving from words to action.
For more, see PeaceWomen’s analysis of Ukraine’s National Action Plan here.