Gender, Conflict and Peacekeeping

Friday, June 7, 2002


June 3-21, 2002: U.N. Women's Treaty Committee in Session
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has opened its 27th biannual session in New York to monitor implementation of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The 23-member committee is reviewing the reports of eight of the 169 states that are party to the convention: Suriname, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Republic of the Congo, Belgium, Tunisia, Zambia, Ukraine and Denmark. For more information

June 6, 2002: Sudan Woman Winner of Interaction 2002 Humanitarian Award
Awut Deng Acuil, a peace worker in southern Sudan, has been declared a winner of the InterAction 2002 Humanitarian Award, in honour of her "extraordinary leadership" in promoting peace and development in the war-torn country. For more information:

April 2002: Secretary-General Appoints Patricia Durrant of Jamaica as United Nations Ombudsman
The Secretary-General announced the appointment of Patricia Durrant of Jamaica as United Nations Ombudsman. The appointment is at the Assistant Secretary-General level. Her appointment is a cause for celebration because her perspectives and support have been of enormous value to the advocacy efforts of the Women, Peace and Security community throughout the world. For more information:

June 2002: NGO Working Group Report on SC mission to the Great Lakes Region
The Working Group on Women, Peace and Security recently published a document reporting on efforts to facilitate women's participation in the Security Council Mission to the Great Lakes Region. This report describes the efforts of the NGO Working Group in collaboration with women's organization in the field to request Security Council missions to take into account gender considerations and women's important roles in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. For the full Report:

For More News please go to:

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If Not Now, When: Addressing Gender-based Violence in Refugee, Internally Displaced, and Post-Conflict Settings

The Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium (RHRC) is currently engaged in a two-year project to improve international and local capacity to measure, prevent, and respond to gender-based violence (GBV) in conflict-affected settings. To this end, the RHRC recently completed a global investigation of current GBV-related field issues and practices. The resulting report, If Not Now, When: Addressing Gender-based Violence in Refugee, Internally Displaced, and Post-Conflict Settings, reconfirms that GBV is an integral component of armed conflict, even as it illustrates that opportunities to protect those most vulnerable are being missed. For the full report see stimulus for acts of GBV committed during armed conflict varies. Sexual violence, for example, may be random--the "spoils of war"--resulting from a breakdown in social and moral systems during periods of conflict. More often, war-related sexual violence is systematic, for the purposes of destabilizing populations and destroying bonds within communities, advancing ethnic cleansing, expressing hatred for the enemy, or supplying combatants with sexual services. Other forms of GBV that may increase during war and its aftermath include early or forced marriage, female infanticide, domestic violence, and trafficking in women.International precedents, such as Security Council Resolution 1325, suggest that the humanitarian community is increasingly recognizing GBV as an affront to universally accepted human rights guarantees; GBV undermines public health and the restoration of refugee and internally displaced families and communities. However, If Not Now, When? finds that a lack of political will to enforce codes of conduct and zero tolerance policies for international forces, as well as considerable disparity in the implementation of national laws against GBV, contribute to the lack of protection of refugee women and children.

The premise of equal access to human rights is fundamental to the humanitarian agenda. When extended to humanitarian interventions, a human rights approach both insists that GBV is addressed with the context of humanitarian assistance, and that any efforts to confront GBV are inclusive of the population served and squarely rooted in the needs identified by those most vulnerable. As the findings of the report illustrate, those most at risk on all counts in refugee, internally displaced, and post-conflict settings are women and children. Their disproportionate vulnerability is informed by their subordinate status. Thus, any framework for humanitarian action must use the language and the perspective of human rights and gender equality if the most vulnerable are to be assisted.

The most effective models to address GBV in humanitarian settings involve coordination of programming across different sectors, including those dealing with health, social and legal services, and security. To date, none of the countries profiled in If Not Now, When? are applying this approach nationwide. Scant data is available about the prevalence of GBV or best practices for quantitatively and qualitatively describing the problem, and many humanitarian aid agencies lack the tools to comprehensively address GBV. Additionally, GBV programs have often developed vertically, independent of the cross-cutting sectors that could provide broad support in the prevention of and response to GBV; in some cases, GBV programs have also been developed independent of other in-country international and local GBV programs.

UNHCR's guidelines to promote the protection of refugee women and to prevent and manage sexual violence have heightened awareness regarding the major protection, legal, medical and psychosocial components of GBV prevention and response. The Inter-agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Refugee Settings produced a reproductive health field manual with a chapter about GBV programming and monitoring activities, while the RHRC has integrated GBV as a technical area within reproductive health programming. RHRC member agencies are currently providing direct and indirect support to GBV programming for refugee and internally displaced populations worldwide, through field-based programs and through global technical assistance.

To increase and strengthen GBV prevention and response activities, the RHRC is drafting a series of field-friendly GBV assessment, program design, monitoring and evaluation tools, to be published this fall. The tools are meant to facilitate data collection on the nature and scope of GBV, and well as to provide guidelines for improved program design and implementation. For more information regarding the report or the tools manual, please refer to the RHRC webpage at, or contact Jeanne Ward,

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NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security
The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security formed in 1999 to push for the adoption of a Security Council resolution on women, peace and security, and to advocate for its implementation. The Working Group's efforts facilitated the unanimous passing of Security Council Resolution 1325 in October 2000. Members continue to monitor closely the implementation of 1325 at various levels--from providing information to the Security Council to training women in conflict zones on advocacy and capacity-building to working in cooperation with UN agencies to form gender-sensitive policies and programs. Member organizations have programs in areas affected by conflict and have developed close collaboration and links with women's organizations, research institutions and government official working in the field. These organizations currently include:

- International Alert (
- Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children (
- Hague Appeal for Peace (
- International Women's Tribune Center (
- Women's Caucus for Gender Justice (
- Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (

Working with relevant UN departments, the NGO Working Group has helped to ensure that meetings take place between women's NGOs in the field and Council members. During the mission to Kosovo (June 2001), a group of women had an opportunity to speak to Council members - at 22h30 in an ambassador's hotel room. Despite the unfortunate time and venue, the meeting was a success, and resulted in a Security Council expression of support for the efforts of Kosovan women in a Presidential Statement to the Press (SC/7077).

The experience of women's organizations in the Security Council visit to the Great Lakes region (see report link in news section) highlights the importance of a gender units in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and United Nations Peacekeeping missions. The Working Group is currently focusing efforts on pushing for the necessary resources and budgetary allocations to form gender units, including a senior gender advisor at DPKO.

In addition, the Working Group is collaborating to ensure equal gender representation and gender mainstreaming in the International Criminal Court.
For Background information, Publications, Statements, Letters, and Contact for the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security please visit

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Women and Peace in United Nations Documents: an Analysis by Sara Poehlman-Doumbouya. Please visit:
For more information on women and the UN please visit:

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Women's International League for Peace and Freedom-US National Congress
June 26-30,2002, Goddard College in Plainfield, VT
Blanche Weisen Cook speaking; readings, poetry, drama by WILPF authors; workshops on WILPF's major campaigns (Cuba, disarmament, racism, corporate power); Middle East panel; Ruckus Society trainings, Bread & Puppet theater, and more. Registration: or 215-563-7110.

Council of Europe conference plans peacemaking role for women
June 20 and 21, 2002, Strasbourg
European equality ministers are to meet for a Council of Europe conference in Skopje on the role of women in peacemaking and conflict prevention.The aim of the conference is to draw up policy guidelines to promote gender equality. It will also look at the issue of women's participation in the decision-making process, the problem of trafficking of human beings and building an effective framework for the promotion of gender equality. For more information visit:

For a listing of other upcoming events:

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As tensions escalate between India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the participation and experiences of women in preventing violence and resolving this conflict are urgent. PeaceWomen recommends two resources that offer women's perspectives on and solutions to armed conflict in Kashmir. regionalindex.html#Asia

Butalia, Urvashi (Ed.) (2002). Women Speaking Peace: Voices from Kashmir. London: Zed Books.
Kashmir has been, for some years, a key issue on the Indian political map. More than a decade of conflict has deeply affected people's livelihoods and living environments, their health, their eating habits, their work and workplaces, and their access to education. The impact of these things is felt most sharply in the lives of women, and yet, few discussions on Kashmir pay attention to this. This book reflects the range of women's experiences in this conflict. How has the conflict affected them?

Key Components for an Equitable and Long Lasting Peace: Armed Conflicts and Women in Kashmir
This Indian women's rights activist looks at the effect of conflict in the disputed territory of Kashmir on women and the important role that women play in peace-building efforts. Her argument highlights how a feminist perspective can contribute to human security in this conflict.

To get involved or take action, please consult with NGOs working on peace and disarmament in India and Pakistan. You can find contact information compiled by projects of the Women's International League for these NGOs at:



For a comprehensive annotated bibliography of books, articles and analyses on women's peace theory and activities, as well as NGO position papers, reports, speeches, statements and tools for organisational building. Please go to:

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Horn of Africa Women Launch a Web Site
A group of Horn of Africa female leaders have launched a Web site to aid discussion among women in Eritrea, Malawi, Somali, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The Horn of Africa Region Women's Knowledge Network (Hawknet), introduced at a five-day conference on women and information communication technologies in Nairobi, is designed to allow women to discuss regional issues, Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, regional director of the U.N.Development Fund for Women, said. Gumbonzvanda said Hawknet would be used to discuss the marginalization of Africa, information communication technologies, human resource development and information exchange for women. "It's a powerful initiative through which women can participate in global debates," she said (Nairobi Daily Nation, June 7). Contact information can be found at:

Questions, concerns and comments can be sent to
1325 news and other submissions should be directed to

This issue features:

1. Current 1325 E-News
2. Analysis of 1325: Background and Position Paper on Gender Unit at DPKO, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security
3. Security Council's Open Debate on Gender, Conflict and Peacekeeping
4. PeaceWomen Campaign: "Putting Peace into Practice"
5. Resources on Gender and Peacekeeping
6. PeaceWomen Calendar Events
7. Feature PeaceWomen Contact