I have the honor of delivering this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, consisting of 55 Member States and the European Union, and co-chaired this year by Botswana, Costa Rica and Croatia.
The WPS agenda continues to play a pivotal role in advancing women’s full, equal, effective and meaningful participation and leadership in all stages of political, peacebuilding, and conflict prevention processes, subsequently making the processes more effective and inclusive. The inclusion of women is also important for successful atrocity crimes prevention and for the effectiveness and sustainability of the peace processes.
Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing entail a gender perspective and have a gender impact. As a result, there is a complementarity and mutual support between R2P and mechanisms that address sexual and gender-based crimes. By improving prevention and protecting women and girls from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, abduction and other crimes, and by including women in atrocity prevention efforts, as well as facilitating their role as agents of change, the UN and its Member States can take practical action to uphold R2P.
Analyses of situations in which there is a risk of atrocity crimes often fail to include gender and intersecting inequalities. When a gender perspective is applied, it often groups women with children as a vulnerable group. This is insensitive to the many ways in which gender permeates atrocity crimes.
Gender-based discrimination and inequality, including the systematic oppression of women and girls, are important risk factors that can contribute to atrocity crimes. Addressing root causes of gender-based discrimination and violence as well as hearing and elevating women’s voices on their unique experiences and needs in atrocity situations, can enhance prevention strategies and contribute to lasting peace. We underscore that women’s organizations play a key role in providing timely and sensitive early warning information, resolving tensions among communities through inter-communal dialogue and countering hate speech and incitement to violence. Women’s full, equal, effective and meaningful participation and leadership must be integral to all efforts across the humanitarian, development and peace nexus, and gender equality and human rights must be a central part of all peace agreements.
In this context, the Group of Friends of R2P would like to call upon all member states to increase support for the Women, Peace and Security agenda, the 1325 resolution and all subsequent related resolutions, and to meaningfully contribute to their swift and full implementation. We urge all member states to respect and fulfill all their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law. We also call on Member States to work to prevent and respond to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination targeting all women and girls. This includes that member states must end impunity for serious crimes committed against women and girls, and ensure that all incidents of sexual violence are fully investigated, prosecuted and tried in a competent court and in accordance with international standards.
By enhancing our understanding of the gender dynamics of atrocity crimes and their risks, including through consultation and meaningful engagement with affected populations, strengthened analysis, monitoring, and reporting, we can improve the effective implementation of R2P. States must recognize the various roles that women play and take this into account in all conflict and atrocity prevention strategies. States must uphold gender equality and eliminate sexual and gender-based violence as part of atrocity prevention and ensure women’s full, equal and safe participation and leadership as a key element of fulfilling their responsibility to protect populations from atrocity crimes.
Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5203
New York, NY 10016-4309, USA