HRW urges UN to empower women in armed conflicts

2 August 2015 (Last Updated August 2nd, 2015 18:30)

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the UN and member states to tackle problems endured by women in armed conflict across the globe.

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The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the UN and member states to tackle problems endured by women in armed conflict across the globe.

Entitled 'Our Rights are Fundamental to Peace: Slow Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) Denies the Rights of Women and Girls in Armed Conflict', the report examines failures in government and UN action on resolution 1325, including the continued omission of women from peace talks and the persistence of sexual violence with little access to assistance.

The 20-page report is based on HRW field research and interviews with women and girls in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda, since 2012.

HRW women, peace, and security advocate Sarah Taylor said: "The Security Council and governments are better informed than ever about the horrors inflicted on women and girls in armed conflict, but they still drag their feet on the most basic actions to help.

"The trauma that rape survivors face gets compounded during armed conflict when they don't have access to medical care, counselling, emergency contraception, and safe shelter.

"The UN and governments should move past wringing their hands at violence against women and girls, and make their protection and access to services a priority in their responses to conflict."

"It's time the UN and member countries bring women and their rights to the front of negotiations and aid."

The report documents the challenges facing women and girls in conflict, including exclusion of women from talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, abuse faced by Syrian women activists and other civilians, poor access to aid for displaced women in Colombia, and lack of accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the watchdog, women civil society leaders and human rights defenders often face heightened risks in times of armed conflict.

Taylor added: "Women and girls whose lives have been torn apart by conflict are tired of promises. It's time the UN and member countries bring women and their rights to the front of negotiations and aid."

The Resolution 1325 celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and will be debated by the Security Council in October.


Image: Yemeni activist Sarah Jamal Ahmed stands by posters of dead protesters posted in the streets during the 2011 uprising in Sana'a. Photo: © 2012 Panos / Abbie Trayler-Smith.