IWTC Women's GlobalNet #360
ACTIVITIES & INITIATIVES OF WOMEN WORLDWIDE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1820 MARKS ONE YEAR
August 12 2009
Helena Gronberg and Tina Johnson
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (SG) ON UNSCR 1820 RELEASED
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>INITIAL REACTIONS BY NGOs TO THE SG’s REPORT
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL OPEN DEBATE ON THE SG’s REPORT
<![if !supportLists]>4. <![endif]>UNSCR 1882 ON CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT
1. REPORT OF SG ON UNSCR 1820 RELEASED
On June 19, 2008, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1820, which recognizes sexual violence as a tactic of war and links it with the maintenance of international peace and security. In noting that sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide, while stressing the need to increase women’s role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution, UNSCR 1820 was both a milestone in itself and a reinforcement of UNSCR 1325. The resolution demands the “immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians;” calls for women’s participation in peace talks; urges sanctions for perpetrators; and requires that sexual violence be excluded from amnesties. The resolution also requested the SG to submit a report to the Council, one year after the passing, on the implementation of the resolution in the context of situations which are on the agenda of the Council. The report would include analysis of prevalence and trends; benchmarks for measuring progress; and plans for a lasting solution to the lack of reliable sexual violence data. For background on SCR 1820 see IWTC Women’s Globalnet #335 https://www.iwtc.org/gnets/335.html. For an analysis of the resolution see the IWTC website iwtc.org where an assessment paper “United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820 – A Preliminary Assessment of the Challenges and Opportunities” will be available shortly.
The Secretary-General’s report on SCR 1820 was released on July 15. It contains some important recommendations including:
For the full SG report on SCR 1820, see
For the text of UNSCR 1820, see
2. INITIAL REACTIONS BY NGOS TO THE SG’s REPORT
NGO reactions to the SG’s report on 1820 are just now beginning to surface. The feature article by Sam Cook in the July issue #109 of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s (WILPF) PeaceWomen e-journal offers a sampling of NGO response. The article notes that despite several good recommendations in the report that touch on how sexual violence may be taken into account in the various parts of the Security Council’s work, there is still a need for an ongoing way of ensuring that this is consistently the case. NGOs question whether an annual report really serves any purpose beyond ensuring that the issue of sexual violence in conflict is considered at least once a year. Rather, they want a mechanism that ensures the integration of women, peace and security issues into the consideration of each and every country-specific situation and as a regular and systematic part of the Council’s work. Such a mechanism – a long-standing recommendation of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security – might consist of a new Special Representative. It has also been suggested that a Working Group on Women, Peace and Security be created comparable to the Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict established by resolution 1612 (2005).
NGOs also felt that some critical areas were inadequately addressed. For example, several thought that the highest priorities should have been “proposals for strategies to minimize the susceptibility of women and girls” to sexual violence and “plans for facilitating the collection of timely, objective, accurate, and reliable information on the use of sexual violence … including through improved coordination of UN activities on the ground and at Headquarters”. It was also noted that little attention was devoted to concrete protection or prevention strategies and that the request for benchmarks to measure progress in addressing and preventing sexual violence was all but ignored.
The article also notes the disappointment among NGOs that no mention was made in the report about the establishment of a new UN entity for women – a discussion currently ongoing in the General Assembly. Although the creation of such an entity is not within the purview of the Council, it is nonetheless an urgent need if gender equality issues – such as sexual violence in conflict – are to be more effectively and strategically addressed by the UN system.
For the complete article, see http://www.peacewomen.org/un/sc/Open_Debates/Sexual_Violence09/PW_Review1820Report09.pdf
3. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL OPEN DEBATE ON THE SG’s REPORT
On 7 August 2009 the Security Council hosted an open debate on the SG’s report on SCR 1820. Calling on the Council to focus on concrete actions to prevent and respond to sexual violence, the SG introduced his report by noting that, despite some progress over two decades, the deliberate targeting of civilians through acts of sexual violence continues on a widespread and systematic basis. He furthered assured the Council of his commitment to strengthening the UN system to ensure its ability to “deliver as one”, and also urged the General Assembly to conclude its deliberations on the creation of a UN institution to advance gender equality and women’s human rights. For the full statement see http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sgsm12404.doc.htm.
Forty-two countries made statements at the debate. Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden on behalf of the European Union, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and the United States supported the idea of appointing a senior person to coordinate UN system-wide work on prevention of and response to sexual violence. Other issues discussed included:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The establishment of an independent commission of inquiry, as recommended by the SG;
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]> Annual reporting on UNSCR 1820;
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The need for systematic, timely and reliable data collection on sexual violence in conflict;
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Medical, legal and psychosocial assistance to victims of sexual violence;
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Strengthening the rule of law, supporting legal reforms and tackling impunity;
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The importance of including women in conflict resolution, mediation and peace processes, and in post-conflict peacebuilding;
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Better coordination within the UN system;
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Incorporating a gender perspective in dealing with situations of armed conflict; and
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The need to promote gender equality and address the root causes of conflict, such as poverty and competition for resources.
Several countries including Croatia, Finland, Papua New Guinea speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland stressed the need to fully and jointly implement Resolutions 1325 and 1820. Additionally several member states referred to the recently passed SCR 1882 on Children and Armed Conflict as a valuable mechanism for monitoring implementation of 1820, especially for women and girls age 18 or younger.
4. UNSCR 1882 ON CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT
UNSCR 1882, adopted on 4 August 2009, provides a further tool in the struggle to end sexual violence in conflict. It expresses deep concern about and condemnation of the high incidence and appalling levels of brutality of rape and other forms of sexual violence committed against children in the context of and associated with armed conflict (including in some situations as a tactic of war). It calls on those parties listed in the annexes of the SG’s report on children and armed conflict that commit these violations and abuses to prepare concrete time-bound action plans to end them; and reaffirms its intention to take action against persistent perpetrators. In the resolution, the Security Council welcomes the sustained activity and recommendations of its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict; calls for enhanced communication between the Working Group and relevant Security Council sanctions committees; and requests the SG to more systematically include specific information regarding the implementation of Working Group recommendations in his reports on children and armed conflict.
The resolution also stresses the importance of timely, sustained and adequate resources and funding for effective welfare programmes for all children affected by armed conflict. It calls on concerned Member States to take decisive and immediate action against persistent perpetrators of violations and abuses committed against children in situations of armed conflict, and bring perpetrators to justice – including, where applicable, through international justice mechanisms and tribunals. The full text can be found at http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/442/14/PDF/N0944214.pdf?OpenElement
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