Women, Peace and Security

Bucharest Workshop on UN Security Council Resolution 1325

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Highlights
Keynote Speaker

 

Highlights from the Bucharest Workshop: Reassessing Institutional Support for Security Council Resolution 1325

Anton Niculescu, Secretary of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Romania

Women don't make wars, but they suffer the consequences.

   

Dr. Peer Sieben, UNFPA Representative, Romania

We are hearing of acts that should make the human race ashamed. . . Many of the UN agencies have plans to implement Resolution 1325. Now is the time to do so.

   

Mamadou P. Diallo, UNFPA Representative, Mali

War has trivialized violence, even among police and peacekeepers we are working to build awareness that violence is not acceptable .

   

Heidi Lehman, Technical Adviser on Gender-based Violence, International Rescue Committee, Sudan

While the individual experiences differ, all rape survivors want to be heard.

We have to change attitudes in ways that translate into changing behaviour .

Coordinating in an emergency situation doesn't mean doing everything yourself it means knowing who is supposed to be doing what and holding the responsible parties accountable. When you're trying to deliver services, and it's not clear who's supposed to do what, it is the women and girls who suffer.

   

Sevdije Ahmeti, Founder and Executive Director, Centre for Protection of Women and Children in Kosovo

Groups that helped rape survivors in Kosovo formed a buffer zone. We built trust and hope and linked them with the civilized world.

We have all these agreements on paper, but we are still crying in the wilderness.

Why don't women speak out more? A woman does not want to speak about a crime that has happened to the most intimate parts of her body. Girls dream about their first love, but when they lose their virginity by force, this is a dream that is lost forever and they do not want to speak. Women who have been raped bear the bullet their whole lives. They try to forget but they live in anxiety.

The trauma of war increases domestic violence: bad energy turns into more bad energy.

People brought their own projects to Kosovo. All women became tailors and hairdressers. These models need to be changed.

   

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Consultant, Women and Security, Washington, D.C.

We give benefits to ex-combatants, but ignore the women who were abducted to serve with them.

We need to give local women the language of the UN so they can get international support.

No culture condones rape. But in war, cultural norms break down.

Issues surrounding women in conflict are not soft issues, they are some of the hardest issues we're dealing with. They're part of the human security agenda that everyone is talking about.

   

Pam Delargy, Chief, Humanitarian Response Unit, UNFPA, New York

Security Council Resolution 1325 provides a mandate for action, a foundation for programming and a powerful tool for advocacy and fundraising.

What happens to communities when peacekeepers arrive and when soldiers are demobilized? What happens to women who have been managing on their own when men come home from fighting. These shifts in roles and responsibilities can be a recipe for trouble within families and communities.

You cannot end sexual violence until you end impunity for perpetrators. We tend to focus on support and care, but need to think beyond that.

We need to both shame and praise countries and agencies into following this resolution.

We need better mechanisms to show the true costs of not taking action to address gender-based violence. Donors often think it's expensive but prevention and care are extremely cost-effective. And we need to show how much we can do for relatively small investments. In Sierra Leone, for $25,000 we transformed the lives of more than 1,000 girls. In contrast, the peacekeeping operation cost $2 million a day.

 

Sarah Maguire, International Consultant on Human Rights, London

Sexual and gender-based violence is about power, not sex or love. It is predominantly perpetrated by men or boys against women and girls. . . It happens everywhere, but is exacerbated by conflict. It represents a fundamental breach of human rights.

It's easy to get discouraged and cynical by what we see. But the women and children of the world cannot afford for us to be cynical and depressed and downhearted.

We need to have men talking about these issues. Men need to hold other men accountable for violence against women.

   

Sahir Abdul-Hadi, organizer of the Bucharest meeting, Technical Support Division, UNFPA

As we saw in Afghanistan, working with women and communities to establish normality is a powerful step for peacebuilding.

Yes, 1325 is not perfect. Yes it needs stronger teeth. But things have changed. When I was working in refugee camps, we had nothing like this to work with. No one had the concept that health was a right. It was considered a privilege. Unfortunately, the mere existence of 1325 does not mean all is well. Only with the strong collaboration of our partners can we take it forward.

   

Nesim Tumkaya, Deputy Director, Division of Arab and Europe, UNFPA

I think we should look at these issues from a personal perspective. What would I think if these crimes were perpetrated against my family? I would be terrified and I would revolt. Whether it's my neighbour, my family or any other human being, this kind of violence is unacceptable, and we have an obligation to stop it.

   

Maddalena Pezzotti, Chief, Office of Gender Affairs, United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)

Laws are not sufficient, but they contribute to change. Our struggle was to bring the resolution to the political level. We faced incredible resistance . . .When we weren't invited to meetings, we invited ourselves to put gender equality issues on table.

Resolution 1325 calls for mainstreaming a gender equality approach in emergency and conflict situation where appropriate . What does where appropriate mean? Gender issues are never appropriate when coalition crises take place, political antagonism escalates and the stability of governance is at stake.

   

Zoë Wilson, Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

If we trace the effectiveness of global tools like Resolution 1325 down to the local level, we find very uneven results. Implementation tends to get tangled up in bureaucratic politics. Too much power gets invested in the wrong hands. How can we avoid this trap?

There's more to security than police and military. There are relatively simple ways to transform the architecture of communities through streetlights, for example, safe houses and providing fuel in canisters that can keep women in safe spaces.

   

Mariama Diarra, Assistant Representative, UNFPA, Sierra Leone

The war affected everyone. My whole country needs to be de-traumatized. I just had to block out the things that happened to me so I could go on.

   

Jebbeh Forster, Programme Specialist, UNIFEM, Sierra Leone

Resolution 1325 is wider than gender-based violence. It recognizes that women are not just victims in conflict, but they have a role to play in peacebuilding. It re-echoes some of the commitments UNIFEM has set for itself.

We need to build the capacity of women's organizations, so they can be more effective partners. A lot of times we want to do programming, but we don't think enough about this issue. We think if the will is there, things will work. But training is critical.

Partnerships are also key. It is important to get commitment from government to carry on initiatives. There has to be local ownership on some of these issues

   

Ancil Adrian-Paul, Programme Manager, Women's Rights and Political Lobby, Medica Mondial, Afghanistan

1325 is the only Security Council resolution with a global constituency recognizing women's positive role in peace and security. The fact that the Security Council adopted it so soon after its introduction is all due to the persistence, passion and endurance of women on the ground. It is not only a piece of paper. If correctly used, it can contribute to protection of human rights on the ground.

   

Alain Mouchiroud, Director, UNFPA/CST, Bratislava, Slovakia

Development is the way to prevent conflict. Excessive population growth leads to poverty. Poverty leads to discrimination against women and children and instability. We need to be serious about these issues in times of peace.

We can do a better job before the crisis. We know in advance when conflict will break out. We should be prepared, notify our partners, strengthening NGOs. We usually come in when things are improving.

I am amazed at the knowledge in this room. But your knowledge is not systematically transferred at best we have some leakage. We are still teaching the same way as when I was a student. The world is changing but I don't see our training becoming more innovative.

   

Jeanne Ward, Gender-based Violence Consultant, UNFPA, Kenya

One of the important aims of this meeting was bringing people from the field who are working on these issues together to talk to and learn from one another. Another thing was to hone in on 1325's mandate to address gender-based violence, which is sometimes forgotten.