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Involving women in the prevention and solution of unresolved conflicts in Europe

Resolution 1716 (2010)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 27 April 2010 (12th Sitting) (see Doc. 12169, report of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, rapporteur: Mrs Kiuru). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 April 2010 (12th Sitting). See also Recommendation 1909 (2010).
1 The Parliamentary Assembly regrets that in areas of Europe where there are unresolved conflicts, as in other conflict and post-conflict zones in the world, women are too frequently ignored in the crisis management, peace negotiation and reconstruction processes.
2 There are still numerous active or “frozen” conflicts in Europe. Whether these be in Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh), Cyprus, Georgia (South Abkhazia and Ossetia), Moldova (Transnistria) or Serbia/Kosovo, the Assembly intends to remain ready to contribute to dialogue, reconciliation and the search for peace. It has to be recognised that it is still exceptional for women to be included and for gender issues to be taken into consideration in these political processes.
3 The Assembly considers it essential for the issue of equality between women and men to be taken into account in the context of conflict prevention, management and resolution. Women face particular difficulties in conflict and post-conflict situations. They are the main victims of these conflicts and are exposed, both during and after them, to gender-based violence, such as sexual violence. They are too frequently treated as passive victims and confined to the stereotyped roles that they have been allocated by society. Women therefore remain on the margins of political discussions that nevertheless affect their daily lives and safety.
4 The Assembly believes that with regard to conflict prevention and resolution women are an underused resource which needs to be mobilised by member states and the international community. It is convinced that including a gender perspective, and in particular greater female participation, in decision making in public and political life in connection with conflict prevention, management and resolution, would give a fresh impetus to the process of dialogue and to the mediation efforts of member states and the international community, including the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly.
5 Bearing in mind its Resolutions 1385 (2004) on conflict prevention and resolution: the role of women and 1670 (2009) on sexual violence against women in armed conflict, the Assembly welcomes the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security, which invite the international community to promote women’s role in conflict prevention and resolution and, in particular, combat sexual violence against women in armed conflicts.
6 The Assembly therefore invites the member states of the Council of Europe to:
6.1 acknowledge that women must be fully involved in conflict prevention and resolution and in the crisis management process;
6.2 comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) as soon as possible by:
6.2.1 adopting national action plans to implement the United Nations resolutions;
6.2.2 establishing effective mechanisms, particularly at the parliamentary level, to monitor the undertakings entered into by each member state;
6.3 combat all forms of gender-based violence that impede the effective participation of women in public life by:
6.3.1 punishing all forms of violence against women committed by belligerents or public authorities;
6.3.2 establishing special programmes to protect and rehabilitate victims of gender-based violence;
6.3.3 enforcing zero tolerance of any form of gender-based violence, including that of making use of the sexual services of the victims of human trafficking, by military or civilian personnel involved in intervention, peace keeping or crisis management;
6.3.4 if they have not yet done so, signing and/or ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No. 197);
6.4 include a gender perspective in intervention, peace keeping and crisis management operations, particularly by:
6.4.1 taking account of the specific needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement operations, and in post-conflict situations, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction;
6.4.2 taking account of proven gender competence when recruiting staff to work in conflict and crisis zones;
6.4.3 making it obligatory for officials and diplomats involved in conflict resolution and prevention to receive training in issues relating to and the promotion of equality between women and men in the areas concerned;
6.4.4 monitoring, at the highest level, the incorporation of a gender perspective into all peace and security-related activities;
6.5 encourage active policies to empower women in areas of unresolved conflict in Europe, in particular by:
6.5.1 promoting arrangements to permit appropriate – at least 40% – female participation in decisions relating to any peace process;
6.5.2 supporting, at local level, women’s peace initiatives as well as conflict resolution processes involving women in all the mechanism for implementing peace agreements.
7 In the framework of the follow-up on the Forum on Early Warning in Conflict Prevention (Strasbourg, 24-25 September 2009), the Assembly decides to promote gender mainstreaming in its programme and working methods and in particular to:
7.1 ensure a balanced participation of women and men in Assembly activities carried out to promote dialogue and reconciliation in unresolved conflict areas in Europe;
7.2 take account of the specific situation and expertise of women in topics considered or case studies;
7.3 arrange systematic hearings of representatives of women’s organisations in connection with all activities related to the prevention and resolution of conflicts.