“It’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world and to think about how you can start to make a difference, even when you’re a kid.”
Rwanda's new parliament was seated this month, with higher female representation than any other country in the world
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An excerpt from the Amnesty International report, "CAR: Human rights crisis spiralling out of control":
In the Solomon Islands in the south-west Pacific, where two in three of the estimated female population of 252,000 ha
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Two Indonesian women peace activists have won the 2013 N-Peace Awards for their efforts to promote women's equality a
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The Secretary General's 2013 report (S/2013/525) on Women, Peace and Security noted there were measurable advances in
NATO has just released a Review Study of the Practical Implications of UNSCR 1325 for the conduct of NATO-led Operati
PRESIDENCY OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL FOR OCTOBER: AZERBAIJANAZERBAIJAN'S SUPPORT FOR WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL
Azerbaijan's stated priorities as an elected member of the Security Council include non-proliferation, disarmament and counter terrorism efforts, and strengthening Council working methods. Azerbaijan's relevant international commitments include: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (Acceded 10 July 1995) and its Optional Protocol (Ratified 1 June 2001)RECOMMENDED SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION POINTS ON WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY
Women, Peace and Security , The Security Council is expected to hold an open debate to mark the 13th anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000). Conflict prevention is at the core of this agenda, and requires investment in equality and peace.Women's full and meaningful participation is necessary in all peace negotiations, security processes, donor conferences, and for all negotiated documents that seek to resolve conflict
To download the October 2013 MAP, please click here
As the presidential election approaches in 2014, with the security transition at the year's end, Afghan women, including parliamentarians and rights activists, are concerned that the hard-won political, economic and social gains achieved since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001 may be rolled back or conceded in negotiations with the insurgents. Afghanistan's stabilisation ultimately rests on the state's accountability to all its citizens, and respect for constitutional, legal and international commitments, including to human rights and gender equality. There will be no sustainable peace unless there is justice, and justice demands that the state respect and protect the rights of women, half its population.
Following the Taliban's ouster, Afghan women worked hard to reverse the damage wrought by more than two decades of a civil war that deprived them of the limited progress towards gender equality experienced in earlier times. As a result of international support, donor aid and their own efforts, women are now an essential part of the post-Taliban order and have played a major role in reconstructing the state and its institutions. 40 per cent of all schoolchildren are girls. Women are more than 27 per cent of parliament. They are in the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and are lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists and civil society activists.
In the last twelve years, women's legal status has improved considerably. Gender equality is enshrined in the constitution. The Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law criminalises rape for the first time. The state is now legally bound to protect women from violence. The ministry of women's affairs (MOWA) and the government's National Action Plan for Women (NAPWA) place empowerment at the heart of state building. Yet, women still struggle to avail themselves of their rights and to consolidate and advance their progress.
The implementation of laws to ensure women's rights and support their political and economic participation is uneven. Years of prioritising counter-insurgency over community policing have impeded the emergence of a police force able and willing to protect women from violence. Women are a mere 1 per cent of the Afghan National Police (ANP). Female police are marginalised and often incapable of responding effectively to incidents of violence against women. A fraction of the incidents of gender-based violence are tried under the EVAW law. Very few cases even make it to the formal justice system; most are decided by jirgas or shuras (local councils) mainly dominated by strongmen.
Moreover, persistent insecurity and violence threaten women's political, economic and social rights. Those in positions of authority are regularly threatened; many have been killed by insurgents. Militants have attacked girls' schools, students and staff. Qualified female teachers and health workers are reluctant to work outside relatively secure urban centres, undermining rural women's and girls' access to education and basic health services.
Since the formal transfer of the security lead to the ANSF in mid-2013, insurgent threats to women have increased. Their rights are also under attack from yesterday's warlords, now powerbrokers both within and outside government. Rearming their militias as a hedge against what may happen in the 2014 elections or after the transition and attempting to consolidate their electoral base, including by demonstrating independence from the West, they could undo women's fragile gains.
The reversal of progress is already evident. With presidential and provincial council elections due in April, the latest electoral law has reduced the quota –guaranteed seats – for women in provincial assemblies from a quarter to a fifth. If passed by both houses of parliament, a change in the Criminal Prosecution Code disqualifying relatives of the accused from testifying against them would severely constrain women's ability to take abuse cases to court. Conservative members of parliament have strongly opposed the EVAW law, calling it un-Islamic when it was introduced in parliament in May 2013. Though it remains valid at least until a vote in parliament, the attention its detractors have received could undermine its already limited use. A wide range of Afghan and international women's rights organisations have urged President Hamid Karzai, who enacted it by decree in 2009, to speak in favour of the law and endorse its implementation.
In the July 2012 Tokyo Framework defining the terms for continued donor aid after the security transition, Kabul pledged to improve governance, enforce rule of law and protect human rights, including by the EVAW law. Signalling that it will not accept the erosion of women's rights, the international community should continue to support women activists and NGOs and in the interest of sustainability help such NGOs gain financial independence by giving core, as well as project-based funding.
If patchy implementation of the laws that protect and empower women raises doubts of Kabul's commitment, women are as much, if not more concerned about the efforts, with international backing, to broker peace with the Taliban. They have been sidelined in a process that will determine their future and that of their country. The role of female representatives in Kabul's High Peace Council (HPC) and Provincial Peace Councils (PPC) is largely limited to public outreach. It does not extend to talks with the insurgency. Given their exclusion and the opacity of the negotiations, there is reason for concern. The government and parliament may be tempted to backtrack on pro-women constitutional provisions and laws to assuage conservative powerbrokers within and outside the armed insurgency.
Women activists and parliamentarians are not comforted by rhetoric from Kabul and the international community, including U.S. and EU assurances that any peace settlement would be based on respect for the constitution and women's rights. Agreement on protecting the rights of women must be a prerequisite rather than an elusive desired outcome of any reconciliation process.
If women, peace and security is part of your working life or institution's accountability then the numbers 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106 and 2117 are really important and meaningful to you. But let's be honest – most people have no idea what's behind these numbers and why they matter at all.
Resolutions and action in the last 100 days
In one week's time the UN Security Council will hold its annual Open Debate on Resolution 1325. The world's leaders will speak to their nation's commitment and actions in regard to women, peace and security, or UNSCR 1325: WPS as it is often abbreviated.
Australia – what can we do?
One year on from the introduction of Australia's National Action Plan, our international opportunities are apparent. As a nation, we can:
1.Maintain Australia's emphasis on WPS staying at the forefront of the UNSC agenda both during Australia's Presidency and in all relevant deliberations throughout the period of Australia's seat on the Security Council and identify an ongoing advisory group of civil society representatives whose core business is WPS
2.Sustain funding to international development agencies whose core business is women's safety and security linked to conflict prevention and resolution, peace building, transitional justice and women's rights
3.Sustain the government commitment to the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative to accelerate women's leadership in peace and security policy and planning in our region
4.Continue to collaborate in and support the implementation of Pacific Regional Action Plan through civil society networks and political, diplomatic and official channels
5.Continue to improve embedding the WPS agenda in the Australian government's approach to human resource management for defence, AFP and deployed personnel
6.Resource evidence gathering, information exchange and dialogue with wider networks such as the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict or the WPS Academic Collective
7.Contribute to shaping how peace and security are defined and prosecuted in the Proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post- 2015 Development Agenda and through other regional or national plans and policy development for Women's Empowerment, Gender Equality, Peace and Security in countries such as Bougainville, Burma or Fiji.
What you can do
As an individual, you can:
1.Write to your political representative now to let them know that funding for women, peace and security must be a vital part of Australia's foreign aid and security budgets
2.Promote and transfer knowledge to your networks about agencies like IWDA, whose work priortises safety and security for women and girls. Follow IWDA on Facebook and Twitter.
3.Track the monitoring of the UN system in relation to WPS at www.peacewomen.org and share this information to increase public support and momentum
4.Donate your time, money or expertise to strengthen international dialogue between civil society organisations, government and the UN as we work towards the post 2015 Development Goals.
5.Watch the following video by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF International) and share it to champion a wider definition of security:And keep an eye out on IWDA's website for a report titled “Pacific Peacewomen's Perspective on the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security” to be launched ahead of the 13th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (October 31st) which will highlight women, peace and security narratives from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Bougainville and Tonga and link these to the key pillars of the action plan.
To read the full document, click here.
UN-NGLS is pleased to announce the publication of its report Advancing Regional Recommendations for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the synthesis of a four-month consultation conducted in writing and via teleconferences with 120 regional civil society networks.
The consultation, launched on 31 May 2013, gathered critical analysis from civil society on the UN post-2015 development agenda. This initiative was conducted in partnership with the Post-2015 Development Planning Team of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, and with support from the UN Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation.
UN-NGLS has synthesized the findings according to four main objectives for the post-2015 development agenda, which surfaced through clear convergence of priorities identified by regional civil society networks:
* Rebalance power relations for justice
* Fulfill human rights and overcome exclusion
* Ensure equitable distribution and safe use of natural resources
* Establish participatory governance, accountability and transparency
Section I of this report - Regional Convergences – presents summary of the principal civil society recommendations for achieving each of these four objectives, representing expert analysis received from all regions during the consultation. Sections II-VI provide detailed reports of the findings from each region, organized according to the four main objectives that were identified.
The report can be downloaded here.
The present report is submitted pursuant to the presidential statement of the Security Council dated 26 October 2010 (S/PRST/2010/22), in which the Council requested me to continue to submit an annual report on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and the presidential statement dated 31 October 2012 (S/PRST/2012/23), in which the Security Council requested me to include information on, inter alia, achievements, gaps and challenges to the implementation of the resolution as well as the statement of its President. It provides an overview of progress since last year in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), and puts forward recommendations for consideration by the Security Council, Member States, and regional organizations. The report draws on information provided by entities of the United Nations system,1 including field missions and country offices, contributions from Member States,2 regional organizations3 and civil society partners.
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