UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (left on screen) speaks via a video link during a Security Council open debate on women, peace and security at UN Headquarters in New York on Jan. 18, 2022. Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called for strategies and investment to ensure women's full and meaningful participation in peace processes. (Manuel Elias/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called for strategies and investment to ensure women's full and meaningful participation in peace processes.
Between 1992 and 2019, only 13 percent of negotiators, 6 percent of mediators and 6 percent of signatories in major peace processes worldwide were women, she said.
And that was before the pandemic struck and before a wave of intensifying conflicts, undemocratic political transitions and disastrous humanitarian crises took hold in many societies, further reducing women's rights. The situation that now faces women human rights defenders, and prospects for women's full participation in shaping and building peace are vastly worse, she told a Security Council open debate.
"This harms all of us. Women's safe and meaningful participation is necessary to ensure a fuller range of action to bind society together, and address not only the root causes of conflict but also its full impact, including gender-based violence and the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war."
The implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security requires consistent policies for public recognition, effective protection and vastly increased strategic, flexible, sustainable and targeted financing for women's civil society organizations, including women human rights defenders. And it requires action to end the violence that so frequently targets women and girls who seek to lead movements for change, said Bachelet.
In reality, barely 1 percent of funding in fragile or conflict-affected countries goes to women's rights organizations. The enabling environment that lies at the heart of the women, peace and security agenda is also largely absent, she noted.
"At the heart of Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions by this (Security) Council is the need for strategies that create inclusive and safe participation channels for women from all backgrounds, movements and communities. Protection of their work, lives and rights is central to this effort," she said. "The international community must stand united and push back against attempts to attack, silence and criminalize women's rights to defend rights, participate in decision-making and express dissenting opinions."
Decisions on peace that do not reflect women's voices, realities and rights are not sustainable. There must be clear advocacy for and significant investment in women human rights defenders and peacebuilders: removing obstacles such as the digital divide; expanding financial support; and significantly increasing accountability for attacks and intimidation. The work of addressing discrimination, inequality, denials of women's civic space and gender-based violence should also be viewed as a priority for building peace, she said. ■