Subject: [fem-women2000 173] CSW44 - Armed Conflict Statement (February 2000)
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2000 07:01:47 -0500
Seq: 173

Following is a statement to CSW44 Plenary prepared by 
Beijing Platform for Action Critical Areas of Concern Issue Caucus
on Women in Armed Conflict 

(Forty-fourth Session) and PrepCom.

New York, 28 February - 17 March 2000

General Debate - Agenda Items 3 and 4

Women and Armed Conflict Caucus

Thank you Madam Chair for allowing me to present the views of the 
Women and Armed Conflict Caucus

The institution of war constitutes the greatest possible obstacle to 
all the objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action. Yet in most 
National Plans of Action, the critical area of concern of Women and 
Armed Conflict has either been excluded or merged into other areas, 
such as violence against women.

We all know that the systematic and strategic targeting of civilian 
populations in contemporary wars has a disproportionate effect on 
women. In the review of the Beijing Platform For Action we urge 
governments to recognize women as equal partners, effective actors, 
experienced contributors to peace negotiations and especially peace 
building. It is now time for governments to set clear benchmarks, 
time lines, indicators and plans of actions to redress the exclusion 
and neglect of women's participation and perspectives.

In many regions, women have not only suffered the direct consequences 
of armed conflict; they have also endured decades of military 
occupation by long-term military presence. Tomorrow as we commemorate 
the 46th anniversary of the 'Bravo' nuclear bomb detonation close to 
the surface of Bikini Atoll, just one example of the racist 
experiments that colonizing governments have inflicted on the peoples 
of the Pacific, we deplore the high cancer rates, low birth weights 
and birth defects resultant from weapons testing and military 
maneuvers.  It is also important for governments to recognize that 
women living in areas of long-term military presence are in constant 
threat of sexual violence.

Madam Chair, armed conflict and preparation for armed conflict exists 
in every region of the world.

At this time there is an arms race in the Asia Pacific region, with 
the highest imports of military equipment in the world and the 
proliferation of nuclear weapons occurring there.  At the same time 
we are also witnessing intrastate and regional instability in the 
countries of this region.

In Africa the proliferation of war is leading to the largest amount 
of refugees and displaced people 80% of whom are women, an epidemic 
of HIV/AIDS, the proliferation of small arms and chronic poverty.

In the Middle East the peace process continues to falter.  In Europe, 
where there was plenty of warning, conflicts were not prevented and 
the issue of reconciliation continues to be neglected at the risk of 
a resurgence of violence.

Latin America continues to suffer from decades of armed conflict and 
external military intervention.

In the face of this women at civil society level have shown 
extraordinary commitment to and capacity for the making and building 
of peace through regional disarmament programs, their concerted 
effort to participate in peace negotiation and reconciliation at 
community and national levels.

Under the most oppressive regimes, women's groups have kept the 
ideals of democracy and justice alive. In the Asia-Pacific region 
women have established peace zones and peace coalitions. In West 
Africa women's coalitions have played an effective role in the 
implementation of regional disarmament programs and peace processes. 
In the Middle East and Europe as the official peace negotiations have 
faltered and failed, women's peace initiatives have continued to 
build bridges over the divides.

Yet, most of these efforts are unacknowledged and unsupported at the 
international level. The Women and Armed Conflict Caucus urges you to 
implement the recommendations set out in the Platform for Action and 
take the following steps:

* 'Convert military resources and related industries to development 
and peaceful purposes'.  Women of the world want governments to set a 
concrete target for reducing military expenditures.  The Women's 
Peace Petition, signed by millions of women from all over the world 
notes that cutting five percent of current military expenditure over 
the next five years would free up half a billion dollars per day. 
This money could be used for peace education and could be targetted 
at reforming the structures and institutions that are at the root 
cause of war.

* Ensure the equal participation of women at all levels of 
decision-making in conflict prevention, management and resolution, as 
well as  post-conflict reconstruction and peace building processes 
through the setting of gender quotas for all peace processes, for 
posts in foreign affairs departments, United Nations and national 
negotiating  teams and the systematic inclusion of women's concerns 
in all Security Council resolutions which should insist that women 
participate equally in all peace negotiations.

* Ensure an equitable provision of physical safety and security to 
all refugee and internally displaced women and girls; provide for and 
increase their access to the gender-sensitive legal, social, 
psychological and medical services in camps, and ensure their 
participation in the planning and implementation of programs while 
they are in the camps.

* Ensure an end to impunity for crimes committed against women in 
situations of armed conflict and ensure redress by ratifying the ICC 

* Give women and women's organizations the support, recognition and 
resources needed to strengthen and develop their peace building 

To reiterate, we need clear benchmarks, timelines, plans of action 
and systems for monitoring these urgently relevant changes.   It is 
not possible to implement the Platform For Action as long as the 
world is beset by wars. The truth is, without real human security we 
will always face real military insecurity.

Thank you.

Felicity Hill, Director
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
United Nations Office
777 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA

Ph:  1 212 682 1265
Fax: 1 212 286 8211


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