GRAVE VIOLATIONS PERSIST: STATES MUST TAKE ACTION!

http://www.fidh.org/GRAVE-VIOLATIONS-PERSIST-STATES-MUST-TAKE-ACTION

VERSION FRANCAISE

25 October 2010, Paris, New York - As we mark the 10th anniversary of UN resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the UN Security Council meets to discuss its implementation, FIDH calls upon states to intensify efforts to ensure that women are protected from grave abuses in times of conflict and can fully participate in preventing and resolving conflict and building lasting peace. FIDH calls for the creation of an international mechanism to monitor and evaluate implementation of this key instrument.

Resolution 1325 was unanimously adopted by United Nations Security Council on 31 October 2000. Its adoption represented an important milestone in the recognition by states of the impact of armed conflict on women and the importance of their roles in conflict prevention and resolution. Resolutions 1820 and 1888, adopted in 2008 and 2009 respectively, built upon these foundations, for the first time explicitly recognising sexual violence as a tactic of war, requiring specific political and security responses.

Yet progress in implementation has been slow, intolerably slow. While a handful of states has adopted National Action Plans (approximately 20 of 192 states), many states have failed to take any measures to promote implementation. Annual reports on Resolution 1325 have been submitted to the Security Council, but no focus has been determined and no specific targets have been fixed. No single mechanism exists to hold states and UN bodies accountable for results.

Meanwhile, women continue to suffer the most horrific abuses in times of conflict. The last year has seen the persistence of brutal rapes on a massive scale in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of which recent events in the Walikale region, where armed groups terrorized the population over four days, raping over three hundred people, were yet another appalling reminder. From Afghanistan to Sudan, Iraq, Chechnya and Colombia, sexual violence continues to be used as a weapon of war.

And women are still not at the negotiating tables for peace agreements. There are no women mediators and very few signatures for peace treaties are done by women.

Whilst FIDH has welcomed some recent steps, including the establishment of the post of Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, FIDH considers that states and the UN itself must do much more. FIDH considers that in order to accelerate the implementation of Resolution 1325, the Security Council must establish an effective monitoring, accountability, and evaluation system.

FIDH calls on the Security Council to adopt the set of indicators, prepared in accordance with Resolution 1889, which will serve to objectively analyse progress and to identify persisting obstacles. FIDH further calls upon the Security Council to establish time-bound goals for implementation of specific UNSCR 1325 provisions and a mechanism to monitor whether targets are being met. Finally, FIDH urges all states that have not yet done so to adopt National Action Plans to guide implementation.

“The establishment of a monitoring mechanism should transform the resolution from a paper declaration into a tool for action to make real change to protect women in conflict and achieve lasting peace for all”, declared Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. “States meeting at the UN Security Council have an opportunity to demonstrate whether they are really serious about ending sexual violence in war and empowering women to prevent conflict and contribute to peace”.

Other recent developments

Several recent developments in the fight against violence and discrimination against women have given some cause for encouragement. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is increasingly investigating and prosecuting crimes of sexual violence including rape. FIDH welcomed the recent arrest in October 2010, in France, of Callixte Mbarushimana, a leader of the Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR), in execution of an ICC warrant. Mbarushimana is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape, committed by members of the FDLR in the Kivu provinces in eastern DRC 1. FIDH hopes that the ICC's activities will contribute towards prevention of these crimes and calls on the ICC Prosecutor to integrate crimes of sexual violence systematically into his prosecution strategy.

FIDH also welcomed the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council in October 2010 of a new mechanism to monitor laws that discriminate against women, in the face of resistance from several states that maintain discriminatory laws. The first step in ending discrimination against women is to establish laws that guarantee gender equality and women's rights. The creation of this new mechanism represents an important step in the fight against discrimination and a further link in the accountability chain 2.

Notes
1 See further FIDH Press Statement Première arrestation d'un présumé responsable de crimes commis aux Kivus (in French), 12 October 2010, www.fidh.org/Premiere-arrestation-d-un-presume-responsable-de
2 See further FIDH Press Statement, FIDH welcomes establishment of new mechanism on laws that discriminate against women by United Nations Human Rights Council, 7 October 2010, www.fidh.org/FIDH-welcomes-establishment-of-new-mechanism-on ; and FIDH Position Paper on the creation of a new UN Mechanism on laws that discriminate against women, October 2010, www.fidh.org/Position-Paper-on-the-creation-of-a-new-UN