WOMEN SUFFER DISPROPORTIONATELY DURING AND AFTER
WAR, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD DURING DAY-LONG DEBATE
ON WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY
Briefed by Peacekeeping Under-Secretary-General, Senior Gender Adviser
For UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo
NEW YORK, 29 October (UN Headquarters) -- Women and girls suffered disproportionately during and after war, as existing inequalities were magnified, and social networks broke down, making them more vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations told the Security Council today.
The Council met on the third anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), which expressed concern that women and children accounted for the majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict and reaffirmed the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Thirty-seven Member States, including high-level government officials of Germany, Netherlands and Fiji, participated in the day-long debate.
Briefing the Council, Jean-Marie Guéhenno said that, over the past year, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had taken concrete steps to implement resolution 1325 (2000), working on such issues as: increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations; integrating a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations; training in gender awareness and HIV/AIDS issues; preventing and responding to serious misconduct by peacekeeping personnel; and trafficking. Currently, women made up 4 per cent of the total police personnel in peacekeeping missions, and figures were equally low for the military, he said, urging Member States to continue their efforts to provide more women for service in those areas.
Real progress in gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations had been made, he said, due to the presence of full-time gender advisers. There was, however, a long road ahead, and gender mainstreaming in post-conflict environment was not easy. Gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping must not be seen as an afterthought, but as the key to any peacekeeping mission’s success, he said in conclusion.
Also briefing the Council, Amy Smythe, Senior Gender Advisor of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), said that in the law of the gun had devastated the condition of women in that country. In that context, a Gender Unit was set up in March 2002 to integrate a gender perspective within MONUC and to work with the Congolese population to bring the conflict’s effect on women to the attention of decision makers. Among the Unit’s activities were training and research, communication and dissemination of gender-sensitive information within MONUC, outreach to the Congolese population, capacity-building for women leaders, and advocacy, monitoring and evaluation of women’s participation in the peace and transition process.
Among the key successes of her Unit, she said that it had built a foundation for gender considerations, and creative networking was leading to attitudinal changes. Priority action points that had emerged from her experience included that gender units must be appropriately staffed and supported; and personnel recruited for peacekeeping operations should consist of a substantial proportion of women. The Council should hold national governments accountable for implementing gender-related provisions in peace accords, and the culture of impunity must end.
In the ensuing debate, speakers urged the Council to ensure that mandates focused expressly on gender perspectives and that the necessary resources were made available. The Council must also ensure that women were involved in all aspects of decision-making processes regarding conflict resolution, they said. The appointment of an Interim Gender Adviser in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was welcomed, but hope was expressed that the permanent position of Senior Gender Adviser would soon be filled. The Secretary-General was urged to appoint more women as his special representatives and envoys.
Some speakers drew attention to the sexual violence against women during conflicts and in post-conflict and crisis situation, including by humanitarian personnel, and called for an end to impunity for perpetrators of such crimes. In that regard, some said, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court recognized the specific impact of armed conflict on women by criminalizing sexual and gender violence, and put an end to impunity through ensuring effective investigation and prosecution of those crimes by the Court.
Kerstin Müller, Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, said full and active participation of women in all political and economic decision-making, including peace processes, was a prerequisite for improvement of the current situation. Women were also indispensable agents in the process of building democratic structures and strengthening civil society.
She said gender implications must be an integral part of the analysis and decisions of the Council. Past Council resolutions, particularly those concerning the Middle East region, had too seldom included the necessary provisions. It must, sooner rather than later, be guaranteed that a gender perspective was fully integrated into Council resolutions and mandates.
Agnes van Ardenne-Van Der Hoeven, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, said gender must become part of the Security Council’s day–to-day business. Member States must ask for feedback on the issue from the Secretary-General’s special representatives, as well as in his reporting; they must put forward women candidates for key posts; they must strengthen the position of women in peace and security operations; and they must learn from one another’s experiences.
Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Kaliopate Tavola, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum countries, said experience in the Pacific had highlighted the importance of implementing the principles and framework encapsulated in resolution 1325 (2000). Highlighting the critical role played by women in promoting peace in the region, he said the contributions and leadership of women, both in traditional and contemporary settings, were critical to ensuring meaningful and sustainable peace.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Syria, Pakistan, China, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Russian Federation, Cameroon, Guinea, Angola, United Kingdom, United States, Italy (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Australia, South Africa, Colombia, Bangladesh, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, United Republic of Tanzania, Ukraine, Philippines, Croatia, Canada, Azerbaijan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Timor-Leste and India.
Mr. Guéhenno and Ms. Smythe addressed questions and comments raised. The representative of Pakistan took the floor for a second time to reply to India’s statement.
The meeting, which started at 10:15 a.m., was suspended at 1:20 p.m. The Council reconvened at 3:07 p.m. and adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider the topic of Women, Peace and Security on the third anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) on that topic.
In that resolution, the Council called on all actors involved in peace negotiations, peacekeeping and peace-building to adopt a gender perspective that included the special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.
Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, the resolution also supported measures to promote local women's peace initiatives and indigenous processes for conflict resolution. It also supported measures to ensure the human rights of women and girls in conflict situations, as well as in the post-conflict development of constitutions, electoral systems, police and judiciary.
The Council urged Member States to increase the participation of women at decision-making levels at Headquarters and in the field. It also urged the Secretary-General to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys. In that regard, the Council called on Member States to provide candidates.
Expressing concern that women and children accounted for the majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict, the Council called on all parties to armed conflict to protect women and girls from gender-based violence. It emphasized the responsibility of all States to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including those relating to sexual violence against women and girls.
Also by the resolution, the Council invited the Secretary-General to carry out a study and report to it on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace-building and the gender dimension of peace processes and conflict resolution. The report would include progress on gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping. The resulting report was presented in open meetings on the topic on 28 and 29 October 2002.
On 31 October 2002, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the provisions of resolution 1325 through a presidential statement marking the second anniversary of its adoption. By the statement, it also condemned continuing violations of the human rights of women and girls in conflict situations, and recognized the vital role of women in promoting peace. It noted some progress in gender mainstreaming at the United Nations, but sought the naming of more women as special representatives and envoys of the Secretary-General.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO said women and girls did not experience conflict in the same way as men and boys, and suffered disproportionately during and after war. Existing inequalities were magnified, and social networks broke down, making them more vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation. When the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) came into such volatile environments, it needed to listen to their voices. Women could have a positive impact when their knowledge, skills and motivation were harnessed in the name of peace and rebuilding a country.
He said that, over the past year, the DPKO had taken concrete steps to implement resolution 1325 (2000), particularly in multidimensional peacekeeping operations such as those in Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Afghanistan. In those missions, gender experts -- working either alone or as part of a Gender Affairs Unit -- were playing an active role, putting gender issues at the centre of peacekeeping. The Peacekeeping Department had been working on: increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations; integrating a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations; training in gender awareness and HIV/AIDS issues; preventing and responding to serious misconduct by peacekeeping personnel; and trafficking.
Women made up 4 per cent of the total police personnel in DPKO missions, and figures were equally low for the military, he said, urging Member States to continue their efforts to provide more women civilian police and military personnel to peacekeeping operations. He also called for the inclusion of women and men with experience in gender-based crimes. The Peacekeeping Department itself had started to encourage more women applicants by targeting professional women’s associations with vacancy announcements. At the Director level and above, the number of women had increased fourfold over the past year. In its 15 missions, women represented one third of all professional staff. The DPKO intended to be more effective in the coming year in identifying suitable women candidates for senior positions.
All too often, however, gender mainstreaming was reduced to an accountancy exercise, he said, and the need to include a gender dimension, in the programmes they were managing, was overlooked. Programmes needed to take into account the different needs of women and men. In the past, adult, male ex-combatants were the focus of attention, leaving out women who were ex-combatants or working in support roles such as cooks, wives or even girls abducted and forced to work as sexual slaves. To demystify gender mainstreaming, a number of field manuals were being produced. A gender resource package was in the final stages of development. In the coming year, a field manual on gender issues for military commanders and on gender issues in mine action would be produced.
Gender Affairs Unit or gender specialists had improved the mission’s effectiveness in discharging its mandate. The Senior Gender Adviser in Kosovo had helped the transitional government draft a Law on Gender Equality. In Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, gender advisers were training national police forces in how best to handle gender-based crimes. In Afghanistan, gender analysis had helped the mission plan more inclusive elections.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations continued to prevent and respond to the problem of HIV/AIDS in peacekeeping operations, he said. HIV/AIDS Policy Officers were deployed in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), and the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). The grave allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation of refugees and internally displaced women and children by humanitarian and peacekeepers had strengthened DPKO’s resolve to uphold a “zero-tolerance” stance, and had provided all missions in July with an updated set of disciplinary directives. In the coming year, the Peacekeeping Department would ensure that each mission had an active strategy to prevent and respond to the problem, he said.
Trafficking of women was a complex, multifaceted problem that had links to organized crime networks. The DPKO was currently undertaking a lessons learned study on anti-trafficking programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, he continued.
Real progress in gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations had been mad, due to the presence of full-time gender advisers, he said. There was, however, a long road ahead and gender mainstreaming in post-conflict environment was not easy. Gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping must not be seen as an afterthought, but as the key to any peacekeeping mission’s success. He looked forward to strong collaboration with Member States, as well as with United Nations and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to ensure that peacekeeping operations would bring lasting and positive change to the lives of women and girls, and their communities.
AMY SMYTHE, Senior Gender Advisor of MONUC, said that in the Democratic Republic of Congo the law of the gun had devastated the condition of women.
In that context, she said, the Gender Unit was set up in March 2002 to integrate a gender perspective within MONUC and to work with the Congolese population to bring the conflict’s effect on women to the attention to decision makers. Among the Unit’s activities were training and research, communication and dissemination of gender-sensitive information within MONUC, outreach to the Congolese population, capacity-building for women leaders, and advocacy, monitoring and evaluation of women’s participation in the peace and transition process.
A primary task, she said, was to sensitize section and division chiefs on resolution 1325 and then all partners in the agencies and the international community. Second was gender-sensitization training of military observers, civilian police, other civilian personnel and the Congolese National Police. Sessions in Kisangani and Bunia had already resulted in improved awareness by police of the rights of women and men. Trainees deployed in Kindu were working closely with women’s groups on cases of violence against women.
Regrettably, she said, despite the serious need for women military and civilian police officers, their proportion was steadily decreasing, and there were few women National Police trained. In the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement (DDRRR) programme, the challenge was to make women’s concerns integral to all activities. Material on gender issues was distributed to personnel, and outreach was undertaken in Lubero and Kamina.
Regarding activities outside the Mission, she said the first major political activity was to support women in the inter-Congolese dialogue in Sun City. Because of the poor representation of women as delegates at that event, other women were invited as “experts”. The outcome of Sun City reflected the voices of those women. However, the constitutional provision on gender was vague, and so far only 7 per cent of government representatives were women.
She described a network of partners that had been developed for whom the key issues were security, national unity and democratic governance, sexual violence against women and impunity, women’s representation in government and other post-conflict issues. Regarding sexual violence, she said that the police would have to play an important role in preventing the tens, if not hundreds, of rapes that had been occurring, and there was hope that a constitutional provision against impunity would be effective.
Among key successes of her Unit, she said that it was important that a foundation had been laid for gender considerations, and that creative networking was leading to attitudinal changes. Priority action points that had emerged from her experience were that Security Council field visits had tremendous effect; gender units must be appropriately staffed and supported; and personnel recruited for peacekeeping operations should consist of a substantial proportion of women. The Council should hold national governments accountable for implementing gender-related provisions in peace accords, and the culture of impunity must end.
Statements by Council Members
KERSTIN MÜLLER, Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, aligning herself with the statement to be made by Italy on behalf of the European Union, said her country, a relatively new member of the group of friends of resolution 1325 (2000), recognized the great political and practical value of the resolution. Much had been said about the terrible toll women had paid in conflict situations, for which they were largely not responsible. In that context, she pointed to the importance of including gender-related crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Full and active participation of women in all political and economic decision-making, including peace processes, was a prerequisite for improvement of the current situation, she said. Women were also indispensable agents in the process of building democratic structures and strengthening civil society.
She said gender implications must be an integral part of the analysis and decisions of the Council. Past Council resolutions, particularly those concerning the Middle East region, had too seldom included the necessary provisions. It must, sooner rather than later, be guaranteed that a gender perspective was fully integrated into resolutions and mandates. Resolution 1325 (2000) was only credible if it was established as a benchmark and visibly implemented by the peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building forces. Each female soldier patrolling with her male colleagues in the streets of Kabul demonstrated to the local population the aim of resolution 1325 (2000) better than any general informational effort.
Her country, which would be leading a Council mission to Afghanistan in the coming days, intended to take up the gender perspective there and encourage Afghan partners to provide for stronger involvement of women in decision-making processes, she said. The support of women’s human rights and their empowerment in all spheres of life was an overarching objective of all German projects in Afghanistan.
In peace operations, she said, special gender advisers had been nominated as part of the human rights section. However, resolution 1325 (2000) provided for a much broader mandate, including nation-building, security, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes, and economic and humanitarian affairs. Facilitating active participation of women in conflict prevention and resolution and post-conflict management in all relevant forums, therefore, commanded not only the additional attention of all United Nations personnel but of the Council, as well. The active involvement of civil society should be further encouraged and supported.
FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said today’s meeting was a clear expression of the Council’s continued interest of the role of women during conflicts and post-conflict stages. Resolution 1325 (2000) did not only deal with the question of peacekeeping operations but also with other issues, including the rights of women and girls.
Resolution 1325 (2000) pointed out that women and children constituted the overwhelming majority of those affected by armed conflict, as they suffered most from conflict and were soft targets for attacks. In times of conflict and forced occupation, women were deprived of their basic rights. The situation of Palestinian women in the occupied territories was a case in point.
He stressed the importance of taking concrete steps to implement resolution 1325 (2000). There was a need to integrate gender issues in the mandates of peacekeeping missions and to provide the necessary financial and financial resources. Since education and work were of crucial importance for the liberation of women, it was necessary to identify the legal and social barriers preventing them from education and work. It was of extreme importance to give attention to ex-combatant women and girls and their needs.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said that, despite human rights instruments, women’s suffering in conflict situations had continued, as symbolized by their situation in Jammu and Kashmir where the Indian army used rape as a weapon. Other women there had been left destitute because their husbands had been killed or maimed; he urged international help for them. Crimes against women had also been committed in last year’s anti-Muslim violence in the Indian State of Gujarat.
Supporting resolution 1325, he said the best way to protect women was to prevent and resolve conflicts. He reiterated the measures that had been suggested by his delegation in last year’s meeting, for example, that the targeting of women should be made a war crime. War-affected women should be surveyed and compensated; United Nations operations should regularly report on the situation of women; and the fullest possible participation of women should be encouraged in the full scope of peace processes.
GUANGYA WANG (China) said the adoption of resolution 1325 was an historical step to protect women and strengthen their role in peacekeeping. Since its adoption, many positive results had been achieved in peacekeeping missions and reconstruction. Successes should be studied and replicated elsewhere.
To further implement the resolution, the Council should intensify its efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, and make sure that criminals who committed violence against women in conflict were brought to justice. In addition, women should participate in all phases of peace processes, as lasting peace could not be realized without the participation of women, he said. China would continue to work with the international community for the complete implementation of resolution 1325.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria), aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said the statements made by Mr. Guéhenno and Ms. Smythe had been extremely useful since both speakers refused to engage in the usual platitudes often used when discussing the topic, and were not accepting the status quo. The Council should take their recommendations into account in a serious and sustained manner. Adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) three years ago clearly represented a significant success in international community efforts to place the role of women in armed conflict in its proper place.
Resolution 1325 (2000) was an important legal framework for action by the Council, he said, but the results of implementing its provisions had been meagre. He said that, often, women were the guiding force for peace, as had become clear during Council missions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kosovo. Council action, in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), should take into account that cooperative work with women in conflict zones was extremely useful. Women should be participating at all stages of peace negotiations and should be subjects, not just objects, in efforts for peace, he concluded.
JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France) hailed the progress made in the past year in the application of Security Council resolution 1325, including the adoption of the proposal to create the post of gender adviser in the DPKO. He encouraged the DPKO to develop its local network of advisers for gender issues, noting that it was essential that advisers with United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL), United Nations Mission to Liberia (UNMIL), and soon hopefully the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI), coordinated with each other so as to have a better grasp of the regional dimension of the problem. Additionally, he called for Security Council reports that systematically included information on the situation of women and children.
The challenges in the application of resolution 1325 were not, however, a matter solely for the Secretariat and the Security Council, he said. They needed to be addressed every day by the entire United Nations system in a spirit of cooperation and imagination, not just once a year during commemorative debates. Members should constantly seek to increase women’s contributions and their role in United Nations field operations, particularly as military observers, members of civilian police, human rights specialists and members of humanitarian operations. As the Secretary-General observed in his report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, the disproportionate impact of conflict on women demanded more robust intervention by the international community. In that regard, three key elements -- prevention, justice and participation -- were essential.
France would propose a draft resolution to the Council on the question of child-soldiers when it came up for debate soon, he said. That draft would ensure that debates addressed the specific question of reintegrating girl-soldiers.
On the issue of justice, he said women should not only be the beneficiaries in the fight against impunity, but also the actors in it. In that regard, he drew attention to the gains linked to the establishment of the International Criminal Court, as the Rome Statute, through its dual aspects of prevention and punishment, was a key element in the protection of women.
The stabilization and reconstruction of societies undermined by conflict would not be a lasting success without women’s active participation in public life, he continued. Accordingly, he urged Security Council missions in the field to always include contacts with women’s associations. The challenges to implementing Security Council resolution 1325 were the collective responsibility of all -- international organizations, States and civil society.
INOCENCIO ARIAS (Spain) said that there had been an alarming increase in the victimization of women in conflict, though much action had been taken in the international arena. Measures must be adopted to both protect women and also promote women’s participation in all areas of peace processes. Spain had encouraged women’s participation in elections and reconstruction efforts in post-conflict situations.
The media had an important role to play, as well, in addressing gender concerns, he said. Coordination was necessary within the United Nations system to make sure both protection and participation of women was comprehensive in post-conflict situations.
HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile) said that progress towards implementation of the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report on women, peace and security had not been what he expected. It was necessary to approach the problem from a broader perspective in which gender equity was achieved in all areas.
In that regard, he said, the participation of women and girls and the mainstreaming of the gender perspective in both informal and official processes were key to ensuring that political structures, economic and social institutions and the security mechanisms agreed upon in peace talks facilitated the achievement of greater equality between women and men.
He said the time had come to bridge the gap between talk and action. One of the courses of action to take in order to achieve the full implementation of resolution 1325 was to seek to develop efficient follow-up mechanisms that would allow for systematic monitoring of implementation. He also recommended that the reports of the Secretariat on peacekeeping operations contain a specific chapter on gender issues in relation to resolution 1325. The task of achieving the full implementation of the resolution was a joint one, in which not only governments but also the United Nations system and civil society must participate.
MARIA ANGELICA ARCE DE JEANNET (Mexico) said the experience regarding gender mainstreaming in MONUC, as highlighted by Ms. Smythe, might be of use to the mission in Liberia. Resolution 1325 (2000) was part of a broader effort to include a gender perspective in all areas of the work of the United Nations. That effort dated back to the 1975 conference held in Mexico, and required closer cooperation and coordination between the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and the Secretariat.
As one of the friends of resolution 1325 (2000), her country had proposed including references to that text in resolutions on peacekeeping mandates and had consistently spoken out for including the gender perspective in peacekeeping operations, she continued. It was important that the post of Senior Gender Adviser in the DPKO would be filled as soon as possible.
She said few missions had gender specialists, as high-level posts in civil service continued to be dominated by men. Member States must propose a larger number of women as candidates for special representative of the Secretary-General. A profound change in the mindset in the Secretariat and Member States was needed. The Council must keep open communication channels with NGOs, particularly in those regions where there were peacekeeping operations. The Council must also consider the relevance of setting up follow-up machinery for resolution 1325 (2000), and an additional resolution could be adopted on the topic. It would focus the attention of the membership of the United Nations at large on the issue.
SERGEY N. KAREV (Russian Federation) said that in the three years since the passage of resolution 1325, many issues had been resolved. The Council remained focused on protection of women in armed conflicts; however, many recommendations had not yet been implemented. He hoped inter-agency activities in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) would enhance the protection of women and girls in armed conflict and strengthen their participation in peace-building activities.
He said measures undertaken by the United Nations alone were not sufficient, as the specific needs of women and girls in armed conflict should be taken into account by all States. Civil society could play a great role in that regard. The problem of combating any manifestation of discrimination and violence against women would be considered in a comprehensive manner not only in the Council, but also in other international forums.
IYA TIDJANI (Cameroon) said the meeting provided an opportunity to assess the implementation of resolution 1325 and last year’s presidential statement, which noted the low proportion of women in many peacekeeping positions. He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations to strengthen women’s role in peace processes and welcomed the establishment of positions for gender equality in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone, he welcomed measures that had been taken for gender equality and the protection of women. But much needed to be done, and it required the cooperation of all Member States, civil society and the entire international community. He appealed for support to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and to regional women’s networks.
ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW (Guinea) said that resolution 1325 and the ensuing activity concerning women, peace and security were very positive developments since modern conflict had a devastating effect on vulnerable groups. The efforts of various actors must now be coordinated to make further progress, and the United Nations had a great role to play.
The network of women leaders in Guinea, he said, had conducted a conference in Conakry to support other regional efforts, illustrating the important role played by women in peace-building in the Mano River Union and other regions. The international community must back their initiatives. In addition, the issue should be broadened to ensure the protection of civilians in armed conflict. He hoped that today’s meeting would result in action along those lines.
ISMAEL ABRAAO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) had been an important landmark in addressing the issue of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations. The protection of women in armed conflict and the promotion of their role in conflict resolution, as well as adoption of a gender perspective for peacekeeping operations, were at the centre of international concern. If fully enforced, the resolution could effectively contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security.
Violence against women increased in armed conflict, he said. Women and girls were most exposed to HIV/AIDS, as they were victims of sexual violence. The Secretary-General had shown leadership in ensuring that a gender perspective in the United Nations was a reality. However, women were still under-represented in the decision-making processes. He paid tribute to Angolan women for the role they had played during the difficult years of conflict in his country. Among other things, Angolan women had been instrumental in maintaining the social cohesion in the cities, villages and refugee camps. His country had developed a gender perspective in addressing the problems, but assistance of the international community in that regard was vital.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said today’s discussion was further proof of the Council’s intention to remain seized with the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). That resolution was a landmark, as it turned attention for the first time to those most affected by conflict. The Council had recognized that women were most affected by armed conflict, but also often held the key to peace, and was a beacon of hope.
He said his country had undertaken several actions to mainstream the gender perspective, including introducing compulsory training on gender, child protection and human rights issues for United Kingdom peacekeepers. It was also developing a database of United Kingdom-based women experienced in peacekeeping and would share that database with the DPKO upon completion. Sir Jeremy Greenstock was working hard to get women in Iraq actively engaged in the reconstruction of their country. In 2001, his Government had created two conflict-prevention pools to bring together the resources of all departments in London concerning conflict prevention in order to produce a coherent effort to tackle the issue.
The Council had a key role to play in giving real meaning to provisions of resolution 1325 (2000) and holding the United Nations system to account, he said. The Council should include a gender perspective in all its resolutions, mandates and progress reports. Last year, the United Kingdom had joined others to strive for a Council mechanism to monitor progress on the issue. A more coordinated approach between all actors, including NGOs, was necessary, as were more resources. The Council must continue to focus on implementation and hold to account all those responsible for implementing resolution 1325 (2000). Finally, it must continue to place gender in the mainstream of its work and thus remain, in the truest sense, “seized of the matter”.
AGNES VAN ARDENNE-VAN DER HOEVEN, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, associated her statement with that to be made by Italy on behalf of the European Union. She said resolution 1325 was the framework for Dutch policy on women, peace and security. It presented women not simply as victims, but also as active agents in conflict resolution. Sadly, women were still hardly involved in that way.
Gender, she said, must become part of the Security Council’s day–to-day business. She pointed to the recent resolution on Liberia, which built on resolution 1325, as a good example of how things could be done. Member States must ask for feedback on the issue from the Secretary-General’s special representatives, as well as in his reporting; they must put forward women candidates for key posts; they must strengthen the position of women in peace and security operations; and they must learn from one another’s experiences.
In that context, she recommended a study commissioned by her Government on the issue, which had resulted in a better gender balance in the Dutch armed forces, and better training for the protection of women and girls, which the Netherlands was also promoting among aid agencies. Her country was also providing more active support to women’s groups taking part in peace talks, and pooling ODA and non-ODA funds in order to respond more flexibly to security and stability issues and address in the needs of both men and women trying to rebuild their lives and countries.
KALIOPATE TAVOLA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Fiji, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum countries, said experience in the Pacific had highlighted the importance of implementing the principles and framework encapsulated in resolution 1325 (2000). UNIFEM’s recent work on women, peace and security in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu had highlighted the breadth of the impact of conflict on women and the critical role played by women in promoting peace in the region. The contributions and leadership of women, both in traditional and contemporary settings, were critical to ensuring meaningful and sustainable peace.
Establishing a gender adviser post last year in the Best Practices Unit of the DPKO had been an excellent decision, he said, welcoming the appointment of an Interim Gender Adviser in the Peacekeeping Department. He hoped the permanent position of Senior Gender Adviser would be filled shortly. He was also pleased that UNIFEM’s gender conflict-situation analysis project was now under way, and encouraged other departments to follow the example of the Department for Disarmament Affairs in launching a gender action plan.
He asked the Council to ensure that mandates focused expressly on gender perspectives and that the necessary resources were made available. In considering mandates, the Council must pay special attention to ensuring that women were involved in all aspects of decision-making processes regarding conflict resolution, including the formal negotiation. He also encouraged the Council to include gender advisers or specialists in its missions as a matter of course.
The pressure to mainstream a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations must be maintained, he said, adding that more work could be done on gender perspectives training for United Nations peacekeepers. For its part, Fiji placed strong emphasis on the deployment of women in overseas peace and security operations, such as those in Cambodia, Croatia, Kosovo and the Solomon Islands. He called on the Secretary-General to appoint more women as special representatives, especially in matters relating to peacekeeping, peace-building and preventive diplomacy. The United Nations needed to lead by example.
Mr. GUEHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, responding to Germany’s concern at the delay in filling a D-1 post on gender issues in Afghanistan, said there was already a related P–4 post in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and it was very important to recruit the right D-1. In that effort, recruiting efforts were being pursued. He agreed with the concern with reporting on women’s situation in conflict areas, which could help shed light on women’s situation and also mobilize resources. Good reporting, however, required a systematic approach, and he hoped the gender package created by the DPKO would help in that effort.
Ms. SMYTHE, Senior Gender Adviser of MONUC, thanked Members for recognizing that women were not only victims but also agents of change. Regarding France’s question on the relationship between MONUC and the Government Ministry of Human Rights, she said there had been informal discussions to attempt to sensitize the Ministry on the need to integrate gender concerns into all areas of work. She planned to work not only with that Ministry, but also many ministries and governmental bodies. With the collaboration of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), she hoped that more work could be done with the Government. Her job was to make sure that women’s voices were being taken into account in all areas, and to coordinate various partners in that effort.
When the Council resumed its meeting in the afternoon, MARCELLO SPATAFORA (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union had recently discussed a new initiative which built on resolution 1325 and could serve as a basis for setting up a road map for strengthening a gender perspective in European Union conflict management.
Women, he said, were not only victims of armed conflict, but also active agents and often direct participants in conflict and in informal peace processes, although they were frequently excluded from formal peace processes.
He said the Union believed that the full implementation of resolution 1325 could only be achieved through an increased recognition of the crucial role of women. One of the most important issues to be addressed concerning women and armed conflict remained their participation in conflict resolution and the negotiation of peace agreements at the national and international levels.
The European Union, he said, welcomed the creation last spring of a gender focal point position in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and encouraged the Secretary-General to intensify efforts to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys, especially in matters related to peacekeeping, peace-building and preventive diplomacy.
He said much more needed to be done to make those involved in conflicts aware of relevant international laws and to prosecute and punish those who violated them. In that respect, the Union called on all States to ratify and implement the International Criminal Court Statute and to actively cooperate with the Court.
JOHN DAUTH (Australia) reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to resolution 1325, which had caused significant progress. Much more needed to be done, however, as women and girls remained overwhelmingly the main victims of armed conflict. Women also continued to be significantly under-represented in all phases of peace operations.
He provided examples of Australia’s measures to implement the resolution in the Pacific region; he mentioned programmes in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville and the appointment of an Australian policewoman as the United Nations Police Commissioner in Timor-Leste.
Finally, he asked the United Nations Secretariat what the main hurdles were in implementing resolution 1325 in current peacekeeping operations, and whether the Secretariat had put into place any institutional mechanisms to monitor progress. He also asked about efforts to mainstream the resolution’s recommendations into the work programmes of all United Nations agencies. All organizations and States needed to take concrete action if further progress was to be made.
TILANA GROBBELAAR (South Africa) said the leadership role women could have in situations of conflict prevention and resolution and in post-conflict peace-building efforts remained underutilized. The Millennium Declaration had agreed on the importance of achieving gender equality and empowerment of women. Women’s participation was critical, especially during periods of transition, so as to ensure gender mainstreaming in the areas of democracy, good governance and human rights. The African Union had decided to include women in peace processes and had acknowledged that failure to ensure gender equality and empowerment of women undermined a peaceful and violence-free environment.
She said her country had consistently stressed the importance of gender mainstreaming in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The valuable gender mainstreaming work by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues in the recent peace processes was testimony to the urgent need for that unit at United Nations Headquarters. She hoped the human resources capacity of the Office would be expanded, and recommended establishing centres of excellence for training women for leadership in peacekeeping operations.
LUIS GUILLERMO GIRALDO (Colombia) said his delegation was working with others in an informal setting on framing initiatives to enable the United Nations to follow the policy of gender equality and give particular attention to women and children in armed conflict. In Colombia, violence against the civilian population by illegal, armed bands had led to domestic problems and had forced many women and children to suffer severe consequences. Another problem was the presence of women soldiers in the illegal armed gangs, who were often victims of sexual violence.
His Government had given particular attention to women’s participation in topics relating to peace and security. The illegal armed bands, of which women soldiers constituted half of the membership, must disarm, demobilize and be reintegrated. Topics such as reinsertion and return were essential to ensure that there would be reconciliation.
SAIDA MUNA TASNEEM (Bangladesh) said that gender equity was a key component of her country’s international activities, and helped encourage the tolerance and moderation that was characteristic of Bangladeshi society. For further implementation of resolution 1325, an adequate level of women’s representation at all levels of peacekeeping was needed, along with zero tolerance for war crimes against women and girls. Issues pertaining to gender must be mainstreamed, and women’s empowerment must be carried out both politically and economically.
Women’s networks should be energized, she said, during all stages of peace processes. Simple, innovative ideas, such as microcredit, could render an immense service in women’s empowerment and the stabilization of local economies. The contributions of Bangladesh in such areas were well known, and the country was eager to share its experiences with other. The United Nations should play a part in sharing such information.
TOSHIRO OZAWA (Japan) said that Japan fully supported resolution 1325 and would intensify its efforts to implement it. Currently, a gender perspective was being taken into account in all aspect of Japan’s programmes of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. Also, for the first time in its history, Japan last year included seven women in a peacekeeping unit.
However, gender perspectives, he said, had to be more systematically integrated into all activities related to peace and security. He hoped that the Security Council, Member States, the United Nations System, NGOs and civil society as a whole would all do everything in their power to fully and systematically implement the recommendations of the resolution.
KIM SAM-HOON (Republic of Korea) said he was encouraged that gender specialists were now assigned to 10 United Nations peacekeeping operations and coordinated by a gender adviser at the Peacekeeping Department headquarters. Progress had also been made in providing gender-perspective training to staff in peacekeeping operations. He would like to see greater detail and elaboration in references to gender issues included in peacekeeping operations reports. He also encouraged collection of data related to peace operations disaggregated by gender and age
He said there had been no meaningful increase in the number of women appointments as special representatives and envoys of the Secretary-General. His country hoped that the investment of personnel, expertise and training by the United Nations would serve as a catalyst in getting all actors on board, including parties to armed conflict, for materializing the full vision of resolution 1325 (2000). In that context, the continuing willingness of the Council to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations would be instrumental, as it would reinforce the work of other United Nations bodies in strengthening the role of women as active agents of change, both in times of peace and of conflict.
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE (Indonesia) said the rights of women in armed conflict should be acknowledged as an explicit priority, and firmly entrenched in peacemaking, peace-building and conflict-resolution processes, as well as in demobilization and reintegration plans. He emphasized efforts to make women central to peace-building, improving protection and assistance for women, placing women and gender perspectives at the core of peace processes, and fostering gender justice. Networking among women stakeholders, such as the Mano River Women Peace Network, was valuable.
He stressed the need to address the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls in humanitarian crises and conflict situations, including those cases involving humanitarian workers and peacekeepers. There was also a need for contributing countries to incorporate the six core principles of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Emergencies, as well as relevant provisions in the Beijing Platform for Action, among other things. He encouraged contributing countries to develop disciplinary measures and accountability mechanisms and to improve awareness of responsibilities of United Nations peacekeepers, especially in the protection of vulnerable populations.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said that the adoption of resolution 1325 was an acknowledgement of the need to involve women fully in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security and to make that role concrete and visible. Three years later, however, there was still a gap between resolve and reality. He asked if a gender perspective had truly been incorporated into all peacekeeping operations and if provisions had been made for the required training of staff consistent with the resolution.
The appointment of an interim gender adviser in the DPKO was a welcome development, he said, and it was important to ensure that such an adviser had the support of the United Nations system, as well as Member States. He hoped that senior gender advisers would become standard practice in peacekeeping operations.
He said that countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had set a goal of reaching a minimum target for women’s representation in decision-making by 2005. Her country was also working to ensure the security of refugees. Further progress in making resolution 1325 “a way of our political life” would only come if the necessary political will, adequate funding, staffing and training were applied to the issue. Today’s debate was a valuable contribution towards that effort.
VALERIY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine) said issues such as women and girls in armed conflict had often been discussed as a separate item, rather than being integrated into the wider deliberations of the Council. Gender perspectives had to be systematically integrated into all peace-building, peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts, as well as during humanitarian operations and reconstruction processes. Also, humanitarian responses in conflict situations must include systematic reporting on sexual violence, emphasize the special reproductive health needs of women and girls, and reflect strengthened policy guidance on responses to gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. The Rome Statute reflected a groundbreaking development in the criminalization of sexual and gender violence.
He said the international community should use the potential of women as agents of preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peace-building. The contributions of informal peace initiatives by local women’s groups and networks should be recognized and supported. Regional organizations also played an important role in protecting women and supporting their role in peace-building. The Council had a special responsibility to support women’s participation in peace processes by ensuring gender balance in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
BAYANI MERCADO (Philippines) said that conflict resolution and peace processes must essentially have a gender dimension, and include both men and women actors at all levels. To do that, both formal and informal processes must be pursued through collaboration with NGOs and civil society.
In the Philippines, he said, women were at the forefront of conflict resolution and had taken lead roles in the Philippine peace process, for which the groundwork had been laid by a Unification Commission headed by a woman. In addition, special emphasis had been put on training young women leaders in peace-building. He looked forward to the next session on the Commission on the Status of Women and other opportunities to increase the commitment of the international community to promote the participation of women in all levels of conflict prevention.
VLADIMIR DROBNJAK (Croatia) said, as a country that not so long ago had been exposed to the horrors of war, Croatia had gained a worthy know-how on the issue. The Government’s Commission for Gender Equality had incorporated a chapter on women and armed conflict in its National Policy for the Promotion of Gender Equality, and had developed an implementation programme. The Commission would continue to inform women about the work of the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. It would educate women and children about landmines, and secure appropriate assistance for displaced persons and refugees. He then described some results achieved, including adoption of the Law on Gender Equality by Parliament.
He said NGOs in Croatia played an active role in the promotion of women’s roles in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building. When it came to negotiating peace, post-war reconstruction and reconciliation, women were still grossly under-represented. There was, therefore, a need to enhance the role of the main bodies of the United Nations, so that they could streamline their efforts towards the empowerment of women.
GILBERT LAURIN (Canada) said that his country strongly and actively supported full implementation of resolution 1325. He welcomed progress integrating that resolution into day-to-day efforts of the United Nations and joined other speakers in recognizing the vast amount of work left to be done. He asked Mr. Guéhenno about the prospect of undertaking gender initiatives similar to that of the Department for Disarmament Affairs and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. He said that incorporating gender perspectives in all training modules was particularly important.
He welcomed recent United Nations measures to counter sexual exploitation and abuse, and asked Mr. Guéhenno about follow-up actions in the areas of conduct and discipline in peacekeeping missions. Calling for explicit reference to gender considerations in all Council mandates and more reporting on the issue to the Council, he asked Ms. Smythe about the challenges she faced in ensuring that information found its way from the field to the Council. Council missions should also explicitly address gender, he said. In addition, he reiterated the absolute need for gender balance in the United Nations system.
Canada continued to implement the commitments it made at the time of the adoption of resolution 1325, he said. He called on all States to take their commitments seriously.
YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that the planning of all peacekeeping operations must take into account protection of the human rights of women and girls. In that regard, local and international NGOs could serve as reliable sources of information. Cooperation between international organizations was also indispensable in the effort. He said that the suffering of women in captivity during armed conflicts dwarfed any other problem under the topic, and should be especially addressed and recognized by the Security Council.
He was pleased that during the last decade international legal frameworks had been adopted for the protection of women and girls during armed conflict, including the Statutes for international Tribunals. Other forms of violence, such as hostage-taking, must be acknowledged in the international legal regime, as well. To deal effectively with the problems of women refugees, such women should be integrally involved in their own assistance. Women had unique skills to contribute to peace and development, and their concerns should be fully incorporated into all efforts to maintain peace and security.
ILEKA ATOKI (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said sustainable peace and security could not be realized without the emancipation and participation of women. Their contribution at the local level to cohesion of society during conflicts was undeniable. States must guarantee women participation in all stages and at all levels of peace processes. The Transitional Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo guaranteed the participation of women in all areas -- economic, social and cultural -- to ensure full participation of women in the development of the nation. Achieving gender equality and enabling women to take part in decision-making was crucial, he said.
He said Congolese women had committed themselves to advancing the causes of peace and development and remained involved in the peace process and in solving the problems of war widows, women combatants and children infected by HIV/AIDS. The Government was determined to deal with the needs of women in areas of conflict and to support the role of women in the peace process. He welcomed the announcement that a UNIFEM office would be opened in his country and supported MONUC’s efforts to reduce tensions and develop peace-building.
He hoped that the violations to the integrity and well-being of women would be prosecuted. He welcomed the presence of women in peacekeeping operations, which improved access and support for local women. It would be useful to set up a code of conduct for peacekeeping staff and a system of reporting sexual violence, he said.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that women and girls continued to be prime targets in conflicts, due to their perceived role as bearers of cultural identity and their vulnerability. There had been advances in their legal protection, but it must be complemented by practical and operational measures, particularly through the United Nations presence in the field. In that context, he welcomed the appointment of an interim gender adviser and hoped that the permanent position would be filled shortly.
He said that there was a continued need for close cooperation between the Security Council and the General Assembly, since the effect of armed conflict on women was particularly grave when a culture of violence and discrimination against women existed prior to such conflict. However, the attention given to the participation of women must be at least as strong as the one given to the need for their protection. Progress in the appointment of women as special representatives and envoys had been disappointing.
Despite some measures taken by parts of the United Nations system, he said, there was obviously a long way to go. It was not clear that coordination mechanisms were strong enough, and the Council itself had not been consistent enough in incorporating resolution 1325 in its relevant resolutions.
JOHAN LOVALD (Norway) said that the time was ripe to move beyond the mobilizing phase and review implementation of resolution 1325. In the area of reporting on conflict situations, he urged the Secretary-General to put greater emphasis on gender issues in all reports to the Council, and called on the Council to mainstream elements of resolution 1325 into all future resolutions. In addition, recruitment of the gender focal point should be completed promptly, followed by further strengthening of that position.
Gender issues, he said, formed an integral part of Norway’s United Nations training courses, and Norway had appointed a senior gender adviser to the Sri Lankan peace process. He welcomed the policy of zero tolerance for United Nations personnel engaging in acts of sexual exploitation and abuse. To speed up the implementation of resolution 1325, he urged a close look at the recommendations in the reports of the Secretary-General and of UNIFEM.
HJALMAR W. HANNESSON (Iceland) said his Government had, for the past three years, financed the post of a gender expert at the UNIFEM office in Kosovo and had stressed the importance of hiring both men and women for the Icelandic Peacekeeping Unit (Iceland Crisis Response Unit). He welcomed the appointment of an interim gender adviser to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and hoped that the permanent position of a senior gender adviser would be filled shortly. Staff working directly on gender issues must be included in all peacekeeping operations and be afforded effective authority. He encouraged the Secretary-General, as a matter of priority, to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys.
He said the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court recognized the specific impact of armed conflict on women by criminalizing sexual and gender violence, and put an end to impunity through ensuring effective investigation and prosecution of those crimes by the Court. It also addressed another very important subject matter reflected in resolution 1325 (2000). By being the most gender balanced bench of all international judicial institutions, the ICC provided an excellent example of how to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels.
JOSE LUIS GUTERRES (Timor-Leste) said, in Timor-Leste, UNIFEM had played a key role in addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment through strengthening their economic security and rights, promoting human rights and supporting women in governance and peace-building. The close collaboration between Timorese women, UNIFEM, NGOs and other United Nations agencies had resulted in a high percentage of women elected to the Constituent Assembly in 2001. Twenty-seven per cent of the National Parliament was comprised of women. In May, UNIFEM had re-established its office in his country to train women candidates for local elections. With the technical and advisory support from the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), the number of women in the National Police Service now stood at more than 20 per cent.
He said his country was committed to a nation-building process that promoted a culture of peace with full respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the equality of all citizens. The National Parliament had ratified a package of international human rights conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. His country would do its utmost to meet international human rights standards in its laws, policies and practices. In that regard, he expressed appreciation to the donor community for its commitment and support.
V.K. NAMBIAR (India) said that the critical importance of today’s debate stemmed from the fact that civilians were increasingly the victims of armed conflict, and that the absence of women at peace negotiations was unconscionable. He supported many of the recommendations made in the report of the Secretary-General, including the appointment of a gender adviser in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
His country, he said, had been the victim of a vicious campaign of cross-border terrorism for two decades, resulting in the deaths of many thousands of women and girls. In the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the effects had been compounded by fundamentalists who had launched a terror campaign specifically targeting women for their so-called non-observance of moral codes. The success of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir last year could be partly attributed to the high turnout of Kashmiri women who wanted to promote a more secure and stable environment.
The representative of Pakistan, he said, made unwarranted and unsubstantiated comments on women in India. The stark contrast between Indian and Pakistani polities showed the differing politico-legal and social frameworks within which each country viewed its women as a resource in addressing the issue of peace and security. He said the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch had sent an open letter to the President of Pakistan that had described the legal discrimination against and mistreatment of women in that country, including abuse under Hudood laws.
Speaking in his national capacity, the Council’s President, JOHN D. NEGROPONTE (United States), said his country had vigorously supported adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) and continued to pursue its goals, particularly through the Group of Friends of the resolution. He had convened today’s meeting to take stock of progress made, and to provide an operational perspective on implementation of the resolution. Recommending efforts of the Secretary-General, Member States and civil society, he said there was a lot of work to do before one could say that the resolution had been fully implemented. The Council, where appropriate, included references to resolution 1325 and gender in its mandates and resolutions and reports.
He said the United States was investing heavily in bringing women into the equation in post-conflict areas. There were 125 projects dedicated to women development in Afghanistan, including building women’s resource centres and grants to support women’s political participation. In Iraq, the United States was ensuring women’s inclusion in civil society. On 9 July, more than 70 women, experts in law, education, economics and human rights, had participated in a workshop “The Voice of Women in Iraq”. His country was also working to strengthen community-based groups in Iraq to foster women’s participation in local government. To help women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United States had funded programmes to support local organizations attempting to end sexual violence against women. Those were but a few examples of his countries emphasis on implementing the resolution.
Another matter was that, each year, hundreds of thousands of women and children fell victim to the sex trade. President George W. Bush, addressing the General Assembly, had said that two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and one century after the abolition of slavery, the trade in human beings for any purpose must not be allowed to thrive.
Ms. SMYTHE, Senior Gender Advisor of MONUC, in closing remarks, said that those in the field wish, most of all, to see intentions converted into concrete actions. Many women’s groups were now concerned with the issue of elections, and so the work mentioned by the United States representative, concerning democratization programmes, was bearing fruit. She said she would work closely with Mr. Guéhenno’s office to provide answers to other questions raised during the meeting.
MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan), responding to remarks by the representative of India, said that details of the torture and rape of Kashmiri women had been catalogued by human rights organizations over the past 20 years. In India, there had been no accountability for the perpetrators. In addition, he said, there were international reports of the brutality of the Hindu mobs in the anti-Muslim riots. Despite those reports, impunity persisted for those perpetrators, as well, which he said was not true of some of the incidents brought up by the representative of India. The international community had a duty to stand up for the people of Kashmir, and India had an obligation to end their suffering through negotiations on the future of that region.
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