Security Council Adopts Resolution 1888 and 1889 on Women and peace and security
In September and October 2009 the UN security council adopted resolutions 1888 and 1889 which improves the mechanisms for implementing a reduction of the violence being perpetuated against women during armed conflicts.
Resolution 1888 (SCR 1888) calls on the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative to intensify efforts to end sexual violence against women and children in conflict situations and who should engage on a high level with military and civilian leaders.
Below are the press releases from the UN website announcing these important developments.
ARC is delighted with these resolutions. We have been campaigning on these issues over the last few years. Activities included:
Contribution at UNA-UK (www.una-uk.org) conference at Warwick University in 2007 referring to the use of Rape in the DRC as a recruitment tool by all sides in the conflict.
Question to Kate Allen of Amnesty International at Action For UN Renewal's annual Erskine Childers Lecture in 2008; regarding human rights abuses and Rape in the conflicts in the DRC.
Question to the filmmaker Lisa F Jackson at the 2008 Human Rights Watch Screening of the Film: The Greatest Silence: Rape in the DRC regarding who is abrogating their responsibility to protect the women subjected to rape in the DCR and giving impunity to the perpetuators.
The recommendation in the article "Eastern DRC: What Should the International Community be doing?" regarding "The United States, European Union and African Union should appoint envoys for women's and children's security in the DRC."
These resolutions are an important part in the advancement of humanity. While we do not accept any credit for their passing we are delighted that the UN Security Council has acted on this important issue. Congratulations and well done to those (such as WILPF (http://www.wilpf.org/)) who campaigned on these issues. Let us hope they become effective as soon as possible. Civil society will need to continue their effectiveness.
Sexual Violence Tsar
|"Ban Ki-moon has urged the creation of a senior UN post on women and armed conflict, with particular focus on sexual violence. She has also called for investigations into sexual violence in the DRC, where the UN estimates that well over 200,000 women have been rapes during the last 12 years.|
|From: New World Winter 2009. Published by The United Nations Association of the UK. www.una-uk.org|
Karl Miller Oct 2009
Security Council Adopts Resolution 1888: Women and peace and security
On 30 September 2009, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1888 (SCR 1888) that aims to further strengthen the efforts of the international community to combat sexual violence in armed conflict. The resolution, co-sponsored by more than 60 UN Member States, calls on the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative to intensify efforts to end sexual violence against women and children in conflict situations and who should engage on a high level with military and civilian leaders.
SCR 1888 builds on two earlier resolutions: SCR 1325, adopted in October 2000, which provides a political framework that makes women and a gender perspective relevant to all aspects of peace processes; and SCR 1820, adopted in June 2008, which recognizes the links between sexual violence in armed conflict and its aftermath, and sustainable peace and security. SCR 1820 commits the Security Council to considering appropriate steps to end sexual violence and to punish the perpetrators and requests a report from the UN Secretary-General on situations in which sexual violence is being widely or systematically employed against civilians and on strategies for ending the practice. Through SCR 1888, the Special Representative would coordinate a range of mechanisms and oversee implementation of both SCR 1325 and SCR 1888.
Other provisions of the text include identifying women’s protection advisers among gender advisers and human rights protection units; the strengthening of monitoring and reporting on sexual violence; the retraining of peacekeepers, national forces and police; and calls to boost the participation of women in peacebuilding and other post-conflict processes.
“With its resolution … the Security Council is sending an unequivocal message a call to action,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said immediately following the text’s adoption, expressing also regret that previous responses to sexual violence had not been able to “stem the scourge.” He pledged to continue to ensure effective follow-up by the UN system, saying that the new gender entity recently agreed upon by the General Assembly should strengthen the work for women’s empowerment.
Speaking as the current chair of the Security Council, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We are here to address an issue that has received too little attention, not only in the Council but also by all governments around the world.” She stressed that the “dehumanising nature of sexual violence does not just harm a single individual or a single family or even a single village or a single group – it shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings, it endangers families and communities, erodes social and political stability, and undermines economic progress.”
Ms. Clinton noted the gravity and brutality of sexual crimes committed in North and South Kivu, the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where 1,100 rapes were reported each month with an average of 36 daily. More than 10% involved children 10 years old or younger. Sexual violence has worsened since the beginning of this year in areas controlled by both the insurgent Force dèmocratiques de libération du Rwanda and the Uganda-based Lord’s Resistance Army, as well as in areas of deployment of the recently integrated Congolese Army.
While the DRC and the Darfur region of Sudan are perhaps the most widely publicised examples, rape as a tactic of war has been and is still used in war zones across the world such as Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad and Burundi, she stressed, adding that in too many countries and in too many cases, the perpetrators of this violence are not punished, and so this impunity encourages further attacks.
According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), while overrepresented in numbers of victims and underrepresented at the peace negotiation table, women have successfully led grassroots peace movements in communities shattered by violence, from Guatemala to Northern Ireland. However, women have been largely neglected as third-party mediators and even as representatives of the UN in conflict-affected countries. The UNIFEM representative noted that a group of women’s activists from the eastern DRC seeking to participate in peace talks was excluded from the process.
Bedouma Alain Yoda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, said sexual crimes created long-lasting enmity between peoples, making it hard to bring about peace. Degrading the dignity of women reduced their crucial ability to contribute to peacemaking.
Jorge Urbina (Costa Rica) said the proposed Special Representative would play a strategic role in giving visibility to the issue of sexual violence and help to organize concerted action to combat it. It was necessary to harmonize that provisional mechanism with the new gender entity established by the General Assembly in resolution 63/311. To avoid duplication, it was important to define the way in which the Special Representative would be integrated into the new entity and to preserve the coordination, roles and responsibilities of agencies on the ground, in particular with regard to protection, he stressed.
Vitaly Churkin (Russian Federation) said that while sexual violence was an appalling crime that required harsh punishment and condemnation, attention to other violations of women’s rights should not be weakened. Sexual violence should not be considered separately from all other issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment, including their fully fledged participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction. Through joint efforts, the number of sexual violence incidents during conflict could not only be decreased, but progress could also be made towards ensuring gender equality, he said.
For related information, see also:
UNIFEM’s portal on Women, Peace & Security: http://www.womenwarpeace.org
NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security: http://www.womenpeacesecurity.org
International Women’s Tribune Centre (IWTC) blog on SCR 1820: http://www.iwtc.org/1820blog/?p=311#
During the 5 October 2009 “Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security,” which marked the 9th anniversary of SC Resolution 1325, the Security Council, under the presidency of Vietnam, adopted another resolution on the theme of women, peace and security – Resolution 1889 – which follows closely on the heels of the 30 September 2009 adoption of SCR 1888.
SCR 1889 focuses on women’s participation and urges Member States, UN bodies, donors and civil society to ensure that women’s protection and empowerment is taken into account during post-conflict needs assessment and planning, and factored into subsequent funding and programming.
The resolution also calls on all those involved in the planning for disarmament, demobilization and integration programmes, in particular, to take into account the needs of women and girls associated with armed groups, as well as the needs of their children. Through the text, the Council also requests the Secretary-General to submit a report within 12 months focused on women in post-conflict situations, and to ensure cooperation between the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict and the Special Representative on sexual violence in armed conflict, whose appointment had been requested by SCR 1888.
“A cessation of conflict should not result in the marginalization of women and girls, nor their relegation to stereotypical roles,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said as she opened the discussion on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Women are likely to put gender issues on the agenda, set different priorities and possibly bridge the political divide more effectively. Experience also suggests that women’s contributions in post–conflict situations can make a critical difference to community survival and reconstruction,” Ms. Migiro said, speaking on behalf of Mr. Ban. Attention must also be given to safeguarding the newly acquired roles that women were playing during and after conflict, including those at decision-making levels.
Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, introduced the latest report of the Secretary-General on the issue (S/2009/465), affirming that women and girls continued to be victims of gender-based violence in situations where open hostilities had subsided and thus were outside of the radar screen of the international community. She said it was critical for the Council to continue to play a strong advocacy role to root out sexual violence in conflict and to be relentless in its insistence on women as peacekeepers, peacebuilders and decision-makers.
Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), stressed that failing to address women’s needs in transitional governance, livelihood support, public service and judicial systems could slow recovery and undermine peace. Furthermore, women were a powerful positive force for long-term peacebuilding.
Aha Hagi Elmi Amin, representing the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said SCR 1888 and SCR 1889 laid out important steps on international obligations to ensuring women’s rights in conflict. However, without accountability for those resolutions, persistent impediments to their implementation would remain. Therefore, strong, high-level leadership, a coherent approach towards implementation and a concrete monitoring mechanism to address gaps were needed.
Following the presentations, speakers agreed that efforts for the protection and engagement of women in conflict and post-conflict situations must be scaled up, with many expressing regret that progress in the area had been slow despite the seriousness of the problem. Other speakers emphasized that women’s empowerment must be built into the broader development efforts of post-conflict countries. Speaking in his national capacity, Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem of Viet Nam, which holds the Council presidency for the month of October, said that from his country’s post-conflict experience, State and society needed to pay full attention to both civilian women and those having served in armed forces or having been involved in military activities, making sure that a complete range of services was available for them.
The text of SCR 1889 is available online.