United Nations Actions on Women, Peace, and Security

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United Nations Actions on Women, Peace, and Security

United Nations Actions on Women, Peace, and Security in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): Several meetings and events at the United Nations in the fall of 2011 focused on the issue of women, peace, and security and the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325.

Secretary Clinton and other world leaders participated in an event on Women's Political Participation during the UNGA high-level session in September 2011. Secretary Clinton's remarks on “Women's Political Participation” on September 19, 2011 are available at (internet link) usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2011/172755.htm. A Joint Declaration on Advancing Women's Political Participation, signed by Secretary Clinton and other heads of state, foreign ministers, and government representatives at the September high-level session, is available at (internet link) usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2011/172776.htm.

On October 21, 2011, the United States introduced a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly on Women and Political Participation. Courtney Nemroff, U.S. Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the resolution in a statement, excerpted below, and available at (internet link) usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2011/176463.htm. A cross-regional group of 130 other countries joined the United States in cosponsoring the UNGA resolution on Women and Political Participation. The UNGA adopted the resolution by consensus in December 2011. U.N. Doc. A/RES/66/130.

Developments

The United States has the honor to introduce, on behalf of co-sponsors representing cross-regional support, draft resolution A/C.3/66/L.20 entitled Women and Political Participation. In addition to the 37 co-sponsors indicated on the L document, the following countries have joined the list of co-sponsors:

Columbia, Cyprus, Honduras, Monaco, Palau, Republic of the Maldives, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

…This resolution deals with an area in which women's empowerment has become increasingly critical: women's full political participation. The need for proactive measures to ensure that women enjoy their right to participate on an equal basis with men in political processes and decision-making has become increasingly evident, especially during times of transition. The resolution I am introducing today applies broadly to women everywhere, but also draws attention in a few key paragraphs to such situations of countries in transitions.

Women's political participation produces significant benefits for their communities and can bolster the development, economic prosperity, and stability of their nations. Even so, across the globe, women's voices in political decision-making are still muted. Discriminatory laws and practices persist. Recently, after taking—sometimes great—risks to call for an end to repression and to advocate for democracy in a number of countries undergoing political transitions, women activists often now face exclusion from key political negotiations.

In light of these worldwide challenges, we have introduced a resolution to underline the need to ensure women's involvement in all aspects of political processes and decision-making. The resolution reaffirms and builds upon the pioneering United Nations General Assembly resolution 58/142 from 2003. The new resolution begins by acknowledging key international human rights instruments to underscore their applicability to the issue of women's political participation. It also recognizes the important contributions women have made in many countries toward achieving representative, transparent and accountable governments.

The new resolution stresses the importance of women's political participation in all contexts, including during times of peace, conflict, and all stages of political transition. The resolution expresses concern at the obstacles to women's political participation on an equal basis with men and notes the opportunity that situations of political transition create for addressing those obstacles. The resolution also reaffirms the important role of women in resolving conflicts and in peacebuilding, as stated in Security Council resolution 1325.

The resolution notes that, throughout the world, discrimination and poverty can marginalize women, and that the active, equal participation of women is essential to achieve sustainable development and democracy. It highlights the importance of education, training and skills development, so that women can actively contribute fully to society and the political process.

Details

The operative section of the resolution calls on all states to eliminate discriminatory laws, regulations and practices; and to promote and protect the human rights of women with respect to engaging in political activities, taking part in public affairs, voting, holding office and formulating policy, associating freely, assembling peacefully, and expressing their views freely.

Turning from the general to the specific, the resolution calls upon states in situations of political transition to ensure women's participation on an equal basis with men with respect to a range of political decisions and activities.

An action-oriented paragraph is addressed to states and the United Nations system, urging specific actions that will help remove barriers and enhance women's political participation. States are encouraged to appoint women to all levels of government posts, to commit themselves to the goal of gender balance, to support public/private partnerships and to support the role of women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The resolution invites states to exchange best practices, including the experiences of states that have gone through political transition in the recent past, and encourages the dissemination of the resolution to national, regional and local authorities as well as to political parties. The resolution invites the Working Group of the Human Rights Council on Discrimination in Law and Practice to continue to include a focus on political participation during times of political transition in its work. Finally, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to submit a report in two years on the status of political participation of women and the implementation of the resolution.

…This resolution speaks to women, and on behalf of women, in all parts of the world. We are thankful to the countries, from all regions, that have already shown their support for this effort by signing on as co-sponsors, and we welcome more co-sponsors. We will be holding informal consultations with all member states to reach a consensus text that we hope will have broad and vigorous support.

More about the Issue

The statement of Laurie Shestack Phipps, U.S. Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs, in the Third Committee during its discussion on the advancement of women on October 10, 2011 also addressed women's full political participation, especially during times of transition. Ms. Phipps' statement is available at (internet link) usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2011/175202.htm.

On October 28, 2011, the United Nations Security Council also issued a presidential statement on women and peace and security. U.N. Doc. S/PRST/2011/20.

Resources

See Also

  • International Human Rights
  • Discrimination
  • Gender Law
  • Women
  • Peace
  • World Security

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