By Grace Jennings-Edquist
A fighter of the pro-government Ras Kimboni Brigade with a belt-fed machine gun in Somalia, October 2012 (Photo: Albany Associates/Flikr Creative Commons)
The Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence during 1-8 May provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on the international community’s progress on conflict prevention as it relates to the WPS Agenda.
As the Global Study on UNSCR 1325 found last year, action on conflict prevention, including demilitarisation, must be prioritised if the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 is to be effectively implemented. Many member states that purport to be “friends” of the WPS Agenda continue to invest in militarism and arms. However, arms are integrally tied up with violent masculinities, sexual and gender based violence, and normalisation of force as a method of dispute resolution. Counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism efforts which are gender blind also threaten to blindly continue militarised approaches to state security, while putting at risk women’s human security and peace.
A holistic understanding of conflict prevention includes strengthening small arms controls; further preventing SGBV by harmonising firearms laws with other national laws; and incorporating means to prevent the diversion of legal arms into the illicit market. It also requires seeking constructive alternatives to preventing terrorism and violent extremism. It is time to re-think failed approaches, listen to women, and take action for peace.
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