United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 was adopted unanimously in October 2000. The Resolution 1325 calls for the adoption of a gender perspective to consider the special needs of women and girls in conflict affected areas. Given that women and girls are the most vulnerable ones in the conflict affected areas, this resolution calls on the parties to refrain from violence against women and girls. It also reaffirms the important role of women in prevention and resolution of the conflict and for sustainable peace in the regions.
The other important point that Resolution 1325 touch upon is that members states need to ensure more participation of women at all decision-making levels, either it be national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict. If we go more into the details, it calls upon the parties in the conflict to adhere to women rights, support women political participation, and support their engagement in peace negotiations and post-conflict restructuring. More importantly member states need to ensure that women and girls are not sexually abused in the conflict affected regions.
I had the chance to attend a seminar organized by United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on Global Security: What Gender has to do with it? The panelist discussed the importance of women rights and their inclusion in the peace-building process. They were of the view that women and girls are under the serious threat of abduction, slavery, abuse and rape in conflict affected areas and there are no programs to assist them by the respective governments. Recent episodes of rape and sexual violence by ISIS in Syria and Iraq are one example where women and girls are facing the brunt of war. Panelists from Nordic countries explained in detail that how these countries have ensured gender equality in all the institutions.
Ms Elisabeth Rehn, Former Minister of Defense of Finland while given her keynote address at the seminar said: “Peace is not possible without women, and when women partake in peacekeeping it lasts longer!” Studies have also found that when women are in conflict prevention and resolution, this can have long-term and sustainable impact on the society. Columbia is one example where women have played an important role for successful negotiations between the Columbian government and left wing guerilla fighters. Ambassador Nylandar, Norwegian Special Envoy to the Columbian Peace Process said: “Columbia’s peace negotiators have established a representative gender commission, which helped in resolving the crisis swiftly.” Panelist at the seminar have also highlighted the role of women in NGOs who have played an important role in raising voice for women’s equal participation and the role that women can play promoting peace and security.
It is a enormous responsibility to ensure that the normative framework spurred by resolution 1325 is not just given periodic prominence and attention, but that it lies at the heart of the UN’s work on peace and security. The impact study on the implementation of Resolution 1325 by UN (2010) shows that UN missions around the globe have achieved little success in turning around the limited participation of women in peace negotiations and peace agreements. More progress has been made in women’s participation in politics. The achievements so far has been pretty modest especially in incorporating a gender perspective into disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs. On the other hand women have performed better in reintegration phase.