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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 52, November 2000

Security Council Resolution on Women and Peace and Security

On October 31, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted its first ever resolution on the theme of ' and Peace and Security.' Among the main terms of resolution 1325 (2000), the Council:

"1. Urges member states to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict;

2. Encourages the Secretary-General to implement his strategic plan of action (A/49/587) calling for an increase in the participation of women at decision-making levels in conflict resolution and peace processes;

3. Urges the Secretary-General to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys to pursue good offices on his behalf...;

4. Further urges the Secretary-General to seek to expand the role and contribution of women in United Nations field-based operations, and especially among military observers, civilian police, human rights and humanitarian personnel;

5. Expresses its willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations and urges the Secretary-General to ensure that, where appropriate, field operations include a gender component;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to provide to member states training guidelines and materials on the protection, rights and particular needs of women...;

7. Urges member states to increase their voluntary financial, technical and logistical support for gender-sensitive training efforts...;

8. Calls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective...;

9. Calls upon all parties to armed conflict to respect fully international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls as civilians...;

10. Calls upon all parties to armed conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse...;

11. Emphasizes the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes including those relating to sexual violence against women and girls, and in this regard, stresses the need to exclude these crimes, where feasible, from amnesty provisions...;

15. Expresses its willingness that Security Council missions take into account gender considerations and the rights of women...;

16. Invites the Secretary-General to carry out a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace-building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution, and further invites him to submit a report to the Security Council on the results of this study...;

17. Requests the Secretary-General, where appropriate, to include in his reporting to the Security Council, progress on gender mainstreaming throughout peacekeeping missions and all other aspects relating to women and girls..."

Warmly welcoming the resolution - adopted following a two-day (October 24-25) open debate on the issue in the Council - Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), noted: "No full-scale study of the impact of armed conflict on women and their role in peace-building has ever been conducted. The intertwining forces of gender inequality and conflict threaten international peace and security. Today, members of the Security Council established a new precedent for the 21st century. Without international action, women caught in conflicts have no security of any kind. And without women' full participation, the peace process itself suffers."

Addressing the Council debate on October 24, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated: "The United Nations has learnt the hard way that peace and security depends on rapid response to early indications of conflict. We know that conflict prevention requires imaginative strategies. We know that conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace-building call for creative and flexible approaches. In all these areas, we have seen examples of women playing an important role - not least on my own continent, Africa. And yet the potential contribution of women to peace and security remains severely undervalued. Women are still grossly under-represented at the decision-making level, from conflict resolution to post-conflict reconciliation. We are here today because we are determined to change that, and because we know that changing it is the responsibility of all of us - men and women alike. This Council, in its statement on International Women' Day this year, acknowledged that women and girls are particularly affected by the consequences of armed conflict. You recognized that peace is inextricably linked to equality between women and men. And you declared that maintaining and promoting peace and security requires women' equal participation in decision-making. I am here today to ask you to do everything in your power to translate that statement into action. To help ensure that women and girls in conflict situations are protected; that perpetrators of violence against women in conflict are brought to justice; and that women are able to take their rightful and equal place at the decision-making table in questions of peace and security."

Note: for extensive coverage and extracts from the Security Council debate, see the website of UNIFEM, http://www.unifem.undp.org.

Reports: The Secretary-General' remarks to Security Council meeting on Women and Peace and Security, October 24 - UN website (http://www.un.org/womenwatch/news/articles/kasc.htm); Security Council looks at women in conflict areas, US State Department (Washington File), October 24; Equal role for women in war urged, Associated Press, October 24; Stronger decision-making role for women in peace processes is called for I day-long Security Council debate, UN Press Release Sc/6937, October 24; Security Council concludes open debate on women and peace and security, UN Press Release SC/6939, October 25; Security Council, unanimously adopting resolution 1325 (2000), calls for broad participation of women in peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction, UN Press Release SC/6942, October 31; UN Security Council calls for global assessment of impact of war on women, UNIFEM Press Release, October 31.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.