By Edwin Nwachukwu
(NAN) The [p2p type=”slug” value=”saudi-arabia-rejects-un-security-council-seat”]UN Security Council[/p2p] have called on the international community to strengthen its commitment to ensure that women play prominent role in conflict prevention, resolution and in post-war peace building.
The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the group unanimously adopted a new resolution on Friday.
The council reaffirmed that sustainable peace hinged on an approach that integrates “political, security, development, and human rights, including gender equality,” concerns.
It urged member states and UN entities to ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in peace and security issues.
“Actions to not only increase the number of women in peace-making, but crucially to improve the way gender issues are addressed by peace and security institutions, including the council itself.
“Women’s participation in peace efforts is a matter of gender equality and universal human rights and crucial to achieving sustainable peace, economic recovery, social cohesion and political legitimacy.
“Today’s resolution makes that point loud and clear,’’ UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said as he opened the council’s day-long debate on “Women, Rule of Law and Transitional Justice’’.
Held yearly, the open debate provides an opportunity for the wider UN membership to reflect on the progress made.
It also accelerates action on implementation of the Security Council resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, which requires parties in a conflict to respect women’s rights and support their participation in peace negotiations and in post-conflict reconstruction.
“The rule of law, women’s access to transitional justice, and women’s participation are deeply connected.
“Women must be involved at every stage of efforts to reassert the rule of law and rebuild societies through transitional justice.
“Their needs for security and justice must be addressed. Their voices must be heard. Their rights must be protected,” Ban said.
He, however, urged the council to also deal with the full range of conflict-related violations of women’s rights.
Ban added that political and peacekeeping UN missions should support national prosecution for serious international crimes against women.
While women have been increasingly taking leadership positions in business and politics, progress has been slow in peace processes, the UN chief said.
“Gains in the representation of women are often achieved through the use of temporary special measures, including quotas.
“Similar special measures could help increase the number of women at all levels of mediation, peacekeeping and peace building,” he added.
Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), presented Ban’s annual report on implementation women, peace and security agenda.
She said the new resolution made the council, the wider UN, regional organisations and member states responsible for providing seat at the peace table for women.
“I know for sure that there are women who are adequately trained for these roles, that women are available for high-level appointments and, further, that qualified women are everywhere.
“It is up to us, together, to take responsibility and open the doors to their full participation,” she said.
Mlambo Ngcuka said the inclusion must be accompanied by access to gender expertise and suggested that gender analysis must be used to identify the impact on women’s rights of all peace-related decisions.
“We are now seeing what could be described as a ‘new generation’ of gender-responsive mediation practice from these and other peace leaders,’’ she said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, underscored the importance of prosecuting not only individuals who violate women’s rights during conflict, but also address structural gender-based discrimination and inequality
“Efforts to halt violations must be framed in state obligations to address structural and systemic gender inequality and discrimination through comprehensive legislative policy and institutional reforms,” Pillay said.
She added that it is crucial to support women’s participation in political processes in countries emerging from conflict and ensure women had a space in the public sphere without fear of intimidation.
“A human rights based approached is to successfully address the root causes of conflict and threat to women’s security,” she stated. (NAN)
Women’s Participation, Leadership Crucial To Peace Processes, Says Un Security Council