ESCWA opened today its scheduled activities of the Tenth Anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 concerning women, security and peace. For the occasion, the Regional Commission launched its study entitled "The Means to Strengthen the Role of Women in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building", with an emphasis on case studies from Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.
In her opening address to inaugurate the activities, Chief of ESCWA Centre for Women (CFW) Afaf Omer reminded the audience that it is women and children who bear the brunt of wars, which they are not responsible for waging. They remain at the receiving end of conflict repercussions, whereas it is the men who are mostly the negotiators and decision-makers on such violence.
Omer noted: "It is in this context that Security Council Resolution 1325 was envisaged. Security Council Resolution 1325 is a major breakthrough for the rights of women in the context of armed conflict of war. It was adopted on 31 October 2000 and calls upon member countries of the United Nations to protect women and girls in conflict due to the disproportionate effect of conflict on them, to include women in conflict resolution and peace building processes and to increase their representation in political decision making processes on all levels."
"Today, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the resolution. Ten years after its adoption by the Security Council, the picture has not changed much. We still see women and their children, the primary victims of conflict and casualty of war excluded from the peace table. Despite all this, some progress was made, and we see more and more member countries joining in the efforts of raising awareness of this crucial topic and preparing for drafting action plans in order to implement the elements of Resolution 1325," the CFW Chief added.
Omer then presented the ESCWA study on "The Means to Strengthen the Role of Women in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building" to a crowd of international experts in women affairs, governmental officials from The Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, and officials from UN and civil society organizations. She explained that the study analyses how the implementation of international legal instruments for the protection of women and girls in armed conflict and war can – and hopefully will – contribute to protecting them better in such situations. It comprises four parts: a regional overview and three country studies (Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq).
The regional study provides a brief background on the situation of conflict in the region, giving special attention to the devastating consequences of armed conflict and war specifically on women and girls. It then discusses how the implementation of international legal instruments, specifically Security Council Resolution 1325 and the subsequent Security Council Resolution 1820 that was adopted in 2008, can – and hopefully will - contribute to better protection of their rights and provides a number of concrete recommendations for policy makers. It also mentions the importance of the full implementation of CEDAW and the lifting of reservations by member states.
It further points out ten factors that have enabled a devastating escalation of the negative effects armed conflict and war have had specifically on women, among those the lack of awareness for the gender dimension of conflict and war, the lack of good governance, and the lack of international legal instruments before Security Council Resolution 1325. It concludes that the increased awareness and attention the situation of women in armed conflict and war gained after the resolution and related documents, is a positive sign and a step in the right direction, and that although we still see horrendous crimes against women in current conflicts sets the scene for hope and action.
It provides ten recommendations for international organizations, governments and the civil society how to make the best possible use of these international legal instruments, specifically Security Council Resolution 1325 for the better protection of women and increased involvement of women in conflict resolution and peace building.
The three country studies provide an insight into the concrete situation of women under occupation and during war and armed conflict in each of the countries, and show how the implementation of international legal instruments can contribute to the protection of human rights in these concrete conflict situations and to improved conflict resolution and peace building by integrating women into the process. They provide detailed information on each country's situation separately, but also highlight similarities, and provide a number of recommendations for further improvement and increased implementation of the available international legal instruments.
The ESCWA meeting will continue until tomorrow 26 October, with a workshop on drafting national plans to implement 1325 in member countries. Such plans would ensure women's participation in conflict-resolution and peace building.
The study is available on the following link: http://www.escwa.un.org/information/publications/edit/upload/ecw-09-3-a.pdf