In light of today’s Open Debate in the UN Security Council on Women, Peace and Security, the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect would like to join others in celebrating the 20th anniversary of this important agenda.
Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing all have a gendered impact. This year’s annual report of the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect analyzed where issues related to gender and WPS overlap with R2P. Gender-based discrimination and inequality are structural risk factors that can intensify the negative effects of conflict and crises, and potentially contribute to mass atrocities.
Yet, analyses of situations where there is a risk of atrocity crimes often fail to include a gender-specific focus. By enhancing our understanding of the gendered dynamics of mass atrocities and their risks, we can improve the effective implementation of R2P.
Consistent with the Women Peace and Security agenda, the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, including young women, and respect for their human rights must be at the core of conflict, crisis and atrocity prevention, as well as resolution and recovery strategies. Similarly, amplifying women’s voices on their unique strengths in atrocity situations can enhance prevention strategies and contribute to lasting peace.
On the 20th anniversary of the WPS agenda and the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the World Summit Outcome Document, including R2P, we would like to call upon all member states to increase their support and implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and integrate its principles across the atrocity prevention agenda. By preventing and protecting women and girls from crimes, such as sexual and gender-based violence, and enhancing their role in atrocity prevention and response, the UN and its member states can take action to uphold our responsibility to protect.
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Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
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