Women, Peace, Security: “In reality, little has changed for those affected by violence.”
Twenty years ago when the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was passed, it was seen as a milestone in the struggle against sexualised wartime violence. However, for a long time its measures remained nothing more than words on paper.
Armed conflicts: Protecting women and girls from sexualised violence
In Resolution 1325 the UN Security Council mandated member states to protect women and girls in contexts of armed conflict, in particular from sexualised and gender-specific violence. Survivors should receive appropriate assistance and perpetrators should be brought to justice. Furthermore, the resolution also stated that women should finally be involved in peace processes in an equal way.
In Germany, for many years the government has been dragging its heels with regards to implementation. Ten years ago, Monika Hauser had already been invited as an expert to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Civil Crisis Prevention, where she criticised the lack of political will shown by the government at the time. It would be another two years before the first National Action Plan appeared in 2012.
UN Resolution 1325: International discussion, but insufficient impact for the women affected
There has been some progress since then. The publishing of the Action Plan involved civil society in the process of implementation. medica mondiale continued its advocacy work regarding the resolution. In the Foreign Ministry some feminist influence on policy was visible. And Resolution 1325 was made the topic of important debates and conferences.
Nonetheless, Jeannette Böhme, Advocacy and Human Rights Officer at medica mondiale, offers a sobering assessment with regard to the affected women in crisis areas: "In reality, despite a series of international initiatives, little has changed for those affected by rape, sexual enslavement, forced marriage or other forms of sexualised and gender-based violence in armed conflict."
If life genuinely is to improve for the women affected, influential nations such as Germany need to fundamentally rethink their foreign and security policy, instead of continuing to make tiny adjustments.
Policy Briefing: Core demands on the German government for the implementation of Resolution 1325
Recently Jeannette Böhme appeared before the same Parliamentary Committee on Civil Crisis Prevention as Monika Hauser 10 years ago and also called on the government to finally implement the resolution in a comprehensive manner. She presented the three core demands from a Policy Briefing published by medica mondiale and other non-governmental organisations:
- Relevant staffing in ministries and diplomatic missions abroad urgently needs to be increased. A new position of Special Representative of the Federal Government for Women, Peace and Security should be created in order to raise the visibility of the issue at a political level.
- Sufficient financial resources have to be made available to implement the Third National Action Plan.
- A commitment of long-term regional funding for trauma-sensitive, integrated support in the form of medical care, psychosocial and legal counselling, and income-generating measures, as well as the establishment of sustainable protection infrastructure for survivors of violence. This includes full and comprehensive legal access to safe pregnancy termination, emergency contraception and other services for sexual and reproductive health of all survivors, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The first draft of the Third National Action Plan is expected to be published in July 2020. After this, Network 1325 will comment again.