A new initiative has been launched by UNIFEM, aiming to bring the world’s attention to the need to end sexual violence against women in general and in conflict zones in particular. Global Voices is a scheme whereby media outlets and individuals spread the word and raise public awareness, fighting for women’s rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Along with its UN partners, UNIFEM is calling upon the international community for urgent action to be taken so that women can become fully engaged in peace building.
“Modern conflicts have developed a disturbing trend – women and girls often suffer the most, including as targets of systematic sexual violence. Yet, they hardly have any say when peace is negotiated – less than 10% of those negotiating peace deals are women! Ten years ago, the United Nations Security Council called for women’s equal participation in peace building in the groundbreaking resolution 1325. But its implementation has been too slow” (UNIFEM)
To counter this alarming trend, UNIFEM is launching an online petition. This “urges governments to take steps to implement the resolution – such as recruiting more women in police forces and peacekeeping operations, ensuring more women participate in peace negotiations, prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence and excluding them from armies and police forces after conflict. Signatures gathered through the petition will be handed over to the UN Secretary-General in October and will make a powerful statement to the UN Security Council”.
Make your vote count
According to UNIFEM, “Women and girls hardly ever fight the world's wars, but they often suffer the most. Increasingly, they are the direct targets of fighting, when sexual violence is deliberately used as a tactic of warfare”.
However, fewer than ten per cent of those who negotiate peace agreements are women and despite the occurrence of widespread sexual violence, only around three dozen men have been brought to trial and convicted for their crimes against women.
“Ten years ago, in its landmark resolution 1325, the United Nations Security Council called for women's full and equal participation in all elements of peacemaking, and for prevention of this kind of violence. But implementation of this historic resolution has been too slow”.
Make Women Count for Peace
UNIFEM urges: Add your name to this petition and ask your government to support three steps to implement Security Council resolution 1325:
Prosecute those who command and/or commit sexual violence and exclude them from armies and police forces after conflict.
Ensure that women participate in peace negotiations and all post-conflict decision-making institutions.
Increase the number of women in troops, police forces and civilians within international peacekeeping efforts.
Sexual violence in conflict is NOT inevitable. It can be stopped.
In collaboration with UNIFEM