By Ruth Owino
In October 2000, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted a groundbreaking resolution on women, peace and security. UNSC Resolution 1325 was to address the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women, and recognized the under-valued and under-utilized contributions that women make to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace building.
The Security Council adopted resolution (S/RES/1325) on women and peace and security on 31 October 2000. The resolution is a landmark legal and political framework that acknowledges the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts. It also calls on all parties to conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, in situations of armed conflict. The resolution provides a number of important operational mandates, with implications for Member States and the entities of the United Nation.
In particular, resolution 1325 calls for:
1. The participation of women at all levels of decision-making, including:
• national, regional and international institutions
• mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict;
• peace negotiations;
• peace operations, as soldiers, police and civilians;
• Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General.
2. The protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence, including:
• Emergency and humanitarian situations, such as in refugee camps;
• Developing and delivering pre-deployment and in-theatre training to peace operations personnel on the rights of women and girls and effective protection measures.
3. The prevention of violence again women through the promotion of women’s rights, accountability and law enforcement, including by:
• prosecuting those responsible for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and other violations of international law;
• respecting the civilian and humanitarian nature of refugee camps;
• excluding sexual violence crimes from amnesty agreements, as they may amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide;
• strengthening women’s rights under national law;
• Supporting local women’s peace initiatives and conflict resolution processes.
4. The mainstreaming of gender perspectives in peace operations, including by:
• appointing Gender Advisors to all UN peace operations;
• considering the specific needs of women and girls in the development and design of policy in all areas;
• Incorporating the perspectives, contributions and experience of women’s organizations in policy and programme development.