Friday, January 18, 2008

Women and Peace and Security

In October of 2000 the Security Council of the United Nations adopted its landmark resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. This resolution was an effort to protect the rights of women across the globe and remove barriers to their equal participation and full involvement in the maintenance and promotion of sustainable peace. Every year since 2000, this resolution has been reaffirmed. Three months ago, in October, an open debate was held to discuss progress on the implementation of this resolution. I recently became aware of this debate and the efforts that are being made to safeguard women around the world.

This year the Council expressed their concern that armed conflicts persist in many parts of the world and are an ongoing reality affecting women. Specific acts of violence against women and girls continue to occur including killing, maiming, sexual violence, rape, exploitation and abuse. A statement by the Security Council reported:

"such acts remain pervasive, and in some situations have become systematic, and have reached appalling levels of atrocity. The Council stresses the need to end impunity for such acts as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking peace, justice, truth and national reconciliation. In this context, the Council reiterates paragraph 9 of resolution 1325 (2000) and calls on all parties to armed conflict to respect fully international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls, especially as civilians."

As part of the effort to stop atrocities committed against women during war, the Council recommended that women be made a more vital part of formal peace process. I believe it would be extremely beneficial to have women more involved in peace talks, and providing gender perspective during the making of policies and programs promoting peace in their various countries. Women continue to be underrepresented despite the U.N.'s efforts toward this goal.

The obstacles women in many countries face result from shattered economies and social structures, lack of rule of law, poverty, limited access to education and other resources, and various forms of discrimination and stereotypes. My native country is one in which women's rights have been a priority for many years. We haven't been held back significantly by the above obstacles. However, I knew nothing about this initiative which has been an ongoing effort for seven years! Why isn't the U.S. promoting this resolution in a major way?

Perhaps the atrocities of war regarding women are so far removed from us that we do not realize their seriousness? Maybe we feel these acts are not the fault of our soldiers? Do we think that American women are already adequately represented in forming policies and procedures regarding peace initiatives?

As a U.N. member nation, have we fully participated in the Women and Peace and Security Resolution? (Read more about it here!)


Bored in Vernal said...

btw, just wanted you to know that in a February 2003 speech, soon before the United States invasion of Iraq (which he had been unable to get UN approval for), George W. Bush said, "free nations will not allow the United Nations to fade into history as an ineffective, irrelevant debating society!"

Rich said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this important topic.

Today's Sinfest seemed oddly relevant.

Ami said...

I've had the plight of women in other countries on my mind a lot.

It isn't just war. In Russia, 3/4 of women experience domestic violence at some point. Women in some countries have no rights at all. If she gets pregnant after being raped, she might be accused of being unvirtuous.

But what about war, extreme poverty, and famine? The woman who has to watch her child die because there aren't sufficient services to help her?

But I'm at a loss for what I can substantially do. I have my own children. My husband needs help for his business. We don't really have extra income.

And the women's right activists around here are still worried about abortion rights and how persecuted we American women still are in the workplace. And the entertainment media is still obsessed with how lame men are. PULEASE.

Right now, I figure I need to first get a voice loud enough. This is one of the reasons I want to be a successful writer.