United Nations Security Council Resolution 2106: Do We Need a Sixth Resolution?
On Monday the United Nations Security Council adopted the 6th Resolution on Women, Peace and Security – UNSCR 2106. The sixth resolution on the same theme the question close at hand is whether this is the right way to go? How do we together make sure that women are not treated as the other half of the worlds population but as a part of the whole population? We need not be two groups living side-by-side, where one groups has the power to decide for the two. Instead we must strive to unite our forces to generate security and decision-making power for all individuals.
The new resolution builds on previous ones and emphasises investigation and prosecution of sexual violence crimes. This as it is an integral part of deterrence and ultimately prevention. However, as the emphasis is on prosecution it creates a risk that the other equally important aspect of the Women, Peace, and Security scheme – participation – falls out of focus for international and national actors. Lets just hope that the new resolution will spark energy into the work with issues related to Women, Peace and Security for what is essential is political will. As the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence Zainab Hawa Bangura, points out “today, it is sill largely ‘cosy-free’ to rape a woman, a child or a man in conflict.” The one way to change this is to make sure that this horrible crime is brought into legislation at all levels as a crime that is not acceptable. (UN News Service)
UNSR Bangua furthermore sated that the new resolution “reinforces a compliance-based regime based on reliable and timely information and analysis, and the actions that must be taken at political, strategic and tactical levels on the basis of such information”. (UN News Service)
But there are already five other resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and sure that they have increased both national and international efforts on sexual violence and women’s participation in conflict processes, but how do we make sure that this does not just end up as yet another resolution? The UNSCR 1325, calls on all signatory states to create National Action Plans for their work with issues on Women, Peace and Security. Today 41 one states have produced National Action Plans and more are on their way. (PeaceWomen) But the UNSCR has been there for more than 10 years, so evidently there is a lack of committment somehwere along the implementation process.
Issues have been raised in relation to UNSCR 2106 on the focus put on the strong connection to the Rome Statue and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Despite being one of few options with regards to prosecution for sexual and gender-based violence, the Rome Statue has not been signed or ratified by important countries such as china, the us and Russia, i.e. three of the five veto states in the Security Council. This together with the high representation of Africans among the individuals prosecuted for these crimes has caused some African states to raise the issue of a geographical bias when prosecutions are considered. Hence, the focus on the ICC and the Rome Statue in Resolution 2106 may cause issues in relation to the will to adhere to it and to take necessary measures. Further issues in relation to the UN is e lack of full implementation of the Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security within the UN system. This is something that further risk weakening the national implementation and efforts. (Operation 1325)
Last Monday the World Health Organisation together with the London School for tropical health and Medicine presented a report on the state of violence against women in the world and the figures are not positive. One I three women are statistically victims of some kind of violence due to the fact that they are women. In a majority of cases the violence, may it be physical or psychological, is carried out by someone close to the woman. Thus the private domestic sphere is not the safe haven it should be, a woman in today’s world is never safe. Is more deadly to be a woman than a soldier at war, then imagine how it is to be a woman in a conflict risen zone.
The new resolution also has the power to send an important message to perpetrators around the word – your actions are crimes of war and we are striving to put you to justice. The UN are sen ding senior women protection advisers to conflict regions in Africa, first out is South Sudan, followed by Côte d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Somalia. (UN) Lets hope that this and other initiatives will be able to generate movements in a positive direction. But also that women are not merely considered passive objects that needs to be added to an already existing structure but as the active subjects they are!
Maybe it would have been better to focus on the tools already in place particularity on UNSCR 1325 which has the potential of being an effective tool in the strive to eradicate sexual violence as a weapon of war and to increase the participation of women in all decision-making processes. This last point should be at the centre of efforts to implement the UN scheme on Women, Peace and Security. We need human security not military security and we need women not as victims of war and part of a military strategy but as equal representatives at tables of negotiation, politically important decisions and at the decision-making within families. For somewhere it is here that everything begins, if women are not taken as equals within the family they are not likely to become agents for change at the political level either, and without the skills, knowledge and reasoning of half the worlds population we are to likely to meet a future at peace.