Global Policy Forum

UN Resolution Backs Women in Peace Roles


By Edith M. Lederer

Boston Globe
November 1, 2000

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution yesterday calling for special measures to protect women and girls from rape and sexual abuse in war and for a greater role for women in making peace.

While the council has passed resolutions on civilians and children in armed conflict, it has never focused exclusively on the impact of war on women and girls and the need to include women in solving conflicts and rebuilding shattered nations. ''The Security Council has taken an important step to reaffirm women's vital role in all levels of peacekeeping, to ensure that gender perspectives are taken fully into account in all peace efforts, and to protect women and girls in conflict,'' said Assistant Secretary General Angela King.

The resolution, sponsored by Namibia, was redrafted after last week's first-ever Security Council meeting on ''Women, Peace and Security'' at which representatives from 40 nations spoke. Many said women and children are the primary victims of war, that too often their human rights are not protected, and that their participation in peace efforts have been consistently undervalued.

The resolution reaffirms ''the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building'' and stresses ''the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.'' It urges UN member states to ensure that women are increasingly represented in conflict resolution and peace-building. It also encourages Secretary General Kofi Annan to put more women in decision-making positions in UN peace activities - both at headquarters and in the field.

The resolution recognizes the need to train member states and peacekeepers in protecting the rights of women and girls. But it did not include the establishment of a code of conduct for peacekeepers, with enforcement and monitoring mechanisms, which Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of the UN Development Fund for Women, had called for.

The resolution calls on all parties to armed conflict ''to respect fully international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls, especially as civilians.'' It also calls on all parties ''to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence in situations of armed conflict.''

The resolution asks Annan to carry out a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls and the role of women in conflict resolution and peace-building.

More Information on Issues in the Security Council
More Information on Gender Inequality


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