UN chief calls on countries to turn rhetoric on women, conflict into reality

09:22, September 26, 2010      

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Ten years after a landmark Security Council resolution about the role women can play in promoting peace and security, the world has not lived up to its own expectations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday, urging countries to translate their rhetoric into action.

The secretary-general told a ministerial meeting on Resolution 1325, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, that it was time for "concrete commitments" to protect women and girls from the ravages of war and to ensure they play a much greater role in preventing and solving conflicts. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the general debate of the UN General Assembly.

"Above all, we must end the brutal and blatant violations of the bodies of women and girls during armed conflict and its aftermath," he said.

"We must put women at the front and center of peace processes -- in negotiation and mediation, post-conflict governance and reconstruction," he said. "We must create and implement the right laws, so that those who carry out such crimes are brought to justice."

Ban said just 19 countries have so far developed national action plans detailing how they will implement resolution 1325 and he urged more countries to do so and to review progress against reliable indicators.

"But all these commitments will not make the difference we need without increased resources. Civil society groups cannot plan and implement their programs when funding is not enough or is unreliable because of donors' shifting priorities," he said. "I urge those with the power to mobilize resources for this work to do so."

Resolution 1325 was seen as a historic text for its recognition of the unique and grave issues that women and girls should be protected during and after conflict.

But Ban told the ministerial meeting that the resolution's 10th anniversary was "a somber occasion," with the shortfalls clearly outweighing the successes.

"Women are still excluded from peace processes. The security sector in most countries is still dominated by men," he said. " When conflicts end, and international aid begins to come in, it is still not geared to the needs of girls and women. And -- most tragically and strikingly -- women and girls still suffer gender- based violence, including systematic sexual attacks, in and around armed conflict."

Earlier this year, Ban appointed Margot Wallstrom as his first Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, saying he wanted to make sure that the issue receives consistent high-level attention.

Source: Xinhua


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