Security Council Adopts Resolution 2122 (2013), Aiming to Strengthen Women's Role in All Stages of Conflict Prevention, Resolution

Report
from UN Security Council
Published on 18 Oct 2013 View Original

SC/11149

Security Council 7044th Meeting (AM & PM)

Senior Officials Brief on Progress, Challenges in Implementing Landmark Text

The Security Council today adopted a resolution that puts stronger measures in place for women to participate in all phases of conflict prevention, resolution and recovery, placing the onus of providing them with seats at the peace table on Member States, regional organizations and the United Nations itself.

Punctuating its open debate on “Women, rule of law and transitional justice in conflict-affected situations” by unanimously adopting resolution 2122 (2013), the 15-member body recognized the need for consistent implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) ‑ on women, peace and security ‑ in its own work, and expressed its intention to focus more on women’s leadership in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It was the seventh text adopted by the Council with the aim of substantially addressing the participation aspects of the women, peace and security agenda.

By its terms, the Council welcomed more regular briefings by the Executive Director of UN-Women and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict on issues relating to women, peace and security. It also requested the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Political Affairs to provide it with updates during their regular briefings on issues relevant to that topic.

Along similar lines, the Council requested updates from the Secretary-General as well as his special envoys and representatives on inviting women to participate in discussions on preventing and resolving conflict, maintaining peace and security and building post-conflict peace. It invited all United Nations-established commissions of inquiry investigating situations on the Council’s agenda to include information on the impacts of armed conflict on women and girls.

Reiterating its intention to convene a high-level review of the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in 2015, the Council recognized with concern that, without a “significant implementation shift”, women would remain under-represented in conflict prevention and resolution, protection and peacebuilding for the foreseeable future. It requested the Secretary-General to make gender expertise available to all United Nations mediation teams and to support the appointment of women as senior mediators. It also invited him to commission a study on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).

“This is a matter of gender equality and human rights,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared as he opened the day-long debate. Those issues were crucial to sustainable peace, economic recovery, social cohesion and political legitimacy ‑ a fact made loud and clear by today’s resolution. Women must be involved at every stage of efforts to reassert the rule of law and rebuild society through transitional justice. He urged the Council to deal with the full range of violations of women’s rights during conflict, saying that peacekeeping mandates should support national prosecution for serious international crimes against women. He said he had sought to lead by example, noting that for the first time in history, five United Nations peacekeeping operations were led by women.

At the same time, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN-Women, pointed out that while gains had been made, they had not been as consistent or as sustained as they should be. Spending on gender equality and women’s empowerment in peacebuilding had increased, but it rarely reached the 15 per cent minimum set by the Secretary-General’s Seven-Point Action Plan on Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding. The numbers of senior women in United Nations field missions also remained relatively stagnant. In one positive sign, however, she said she was seeing a “new generation” of gender-responsive mediation practice from peace leaders, the elements of which included early and regular consultations with women’s rights groups, gender advisers for mediation teams, and efforts to ensure that crimes against women were addressed in ceasefire and peace negotiations.

“There is still a long and hard road ahead,” said Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, joining the meeting via video link from Geneva. The situations in Syria and the Central African Republic underlined how the protection of women’s rights during conflict remained a challenge. Rule-of-law and transitional justice processes were crucial, notably in order to deter recurrences. In that context, she stressed the need for women to participate fully in gender-specific transitional justice strategies.

Brigitte Balipou, of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, called attention to the Central African Republic, saying the security situation there had spiralled into a full-blown conflict since 24 March, impacting the entire civilian population, especially women and girls. They had been widely subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence, while children had been recruited as soldiers. “We live in fear,” she said, adding: “We are being killed indiscriminately in large numbers.” It was time to dismantle barriers to women’s full participation in decision-making, especially in peace negotiations. Full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) required increased gender parity in transitional justice systems and ensuring women’s political participation, both as voters and candidates.

When the floor was opened, more than 65 delegates said today’s resolution would strengthen the normative framework for empowering women and encouraging their full participation in all levels of decision-making in conflict and post-conflict settings. At the same time, they decried the fact that security and justice systems continued to fail women. While Governments bore primary responsibility for protecting women’s rights, urgent steps were needed to stop gender-based and sexual violence, and importantly, to bring perpetrators to justice, including by making all forms of sexual violence punishable by law.

Pointing out that women were more than simply victims of such abuse, other speakers cautioned against viewing them exclusively through that lens because it constituted another form of gender discrimination. Women were pivotal actors who could steer a country’s economic, political and social future, they said. As such, they must be involved in all decisions, from the ground up.

With that in mind, still other speakers reminded the Council to maintain a strict focus on women, but only as they related to peace and security. It should not veer towards aspects that overlapped with the agendas of the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council, they cautioned.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Morocco, Guatemala, Argentina, Pakistan, Rwanda, China, Togo, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, France, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Austria, New Zealand, Italy, Lithuania, Belgium, Spain, Estonia, Malaysia, Switzerland, Chile, Greece, Thailand, Belarus, Slovenia, Qatar, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, India, Turkey, Germany, Canada, Syria, Marshall Islands (on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum), Czech Republic, South Africa, Japan, Solomon Islands, Colombia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Croatia, Sweden, Uruguay, Portugal, Egypt, Indonesia, Botswana, Latvia, Georgia and Namibia.

Representatives of the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the African Union also delivered statements.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 5:33 p.m.