El Geneina, 30 September 2010 – More than 50 representatives gathered yesterday in El Geneina, West Darfur, to discuss women’s rights in the Darfur state. The event marked the third and final in a series of Darfur-wide forums on UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. The occasion was led by the Wali’s (Governor’s) Advisor for Women and Children, with assistance from UNAMID. The meeting’s objective was the formal establishment of the El Geneina state Committee on UNSCR 1325.

Unanimously adopted on 31 October 2000, UNSCR 1325 is a landmark legal and political framework, which acknowledges the importance of the participation of women and the inclusion of gender perspectives in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peace-building and governance. It is the first resolution ever passed by the UN Security Council that specifically addresses the impact of war on women, and it stresses the importance of women's equal participation and full involvement in all efforts to maintain and promote sustainable peace and security. The resolution underscores the responsibility to protect women and girls from human rights abuses, including gender-based violence, and emphasizes the vital importance of mainstreaming gender perspectives in all aspects of conflict.

The 29 September meeting was intended to spearhead the future development of a Terms of Reference for the Committee and provide for a monitoring mechanism for a plan of implementation for West Darfur – cementing plans to implement UNSCR 1325 across all states within Darfur. A significant aspect of the event was the make-up of the working group. The gathering included representatives of internally displaced persons, Government Ministries (Education, Finance, Planning, Youth and Sports, Health and Social Affairs), the Commission for Reconstruction and Development, a variety of civil society organizations, representation from women and labor unions, the Popular Defense Force, the National Service, armed movements, UNAMID, and the United Nations Populations Fund.

Being the final state within Darfur to establish a Committee on UNSCR 1325, the event represented a regional milestone in the protection and promotion of women’s rights. The day included speeches by the Wali’s Advisory Office and UNAMID’s Senior Gender Advisor, Yegerawork Angagaw, stating “UNAMID would continue to provide ongoing capacity-building, technical and advocacy support.” Participants broke up into groups around the four UNSCR 1325 commitments – participation/representation (gender mainstreaming); protection; prevention; and, ending impunity (including crimes of sexual and gender based violence). The discussions rounded off with plans for the future to develop a Terms of Reference and a monitoring mechanism for the work of the Committee, along with a concrete timeframe for implementation. The day closed with a speech by the Wali’s Advisor on Women and Children, who advised, that “the implementation of 1325 would bring change throughout West Darfur.”