Women, Peace and Security: US State Dept takes a lead

Hillary ClintonYesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new plan introduced by the U.S. government to help protect women and girls in conflict zones and ensure that peace processes include women.

This plan, coming on the heels of a historic speech by Secretary Clinton on LGBT rights as human rights,  is the first ever national action plan that aims to implement United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. It was accompanied by an Executive Order from the office of the President, which lays out an action plan for the implementation of this resolution.

UNSC Resolution 1325, often called “the women’s resolution,” recognizes that women and girls are particularly vulnerable during times of armed conflict, and that international agencies and the UN have to work together to protect them. It also asks for countries to commit to including women in the work of peace-building.

According to Amnesty International, in modern warfare, an estimated 90% of the casualties are civilians, and 75% of these are women and children. And despite these facts, only 1 in 13 participants in peace negotiations since 1992 have been women. Women have served as only 6% of negotiators to formalized peace talks and have never been appointed as chief mediators in UN-brokered talks.  UNSC Resolution 1325 asks countries to create a national action plan to specifically address these issues relating to women, peace and security.

I highly recommend reading the Executive Order, it’s an interesting and pretty impressive document that lays out a comprehensive approach to making serious change in the way we think about women and war. Now, it’s our job to advocate for it’s full and active implementation.

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