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Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation

Doc. 15525: compendium of written amendments | Doc. 15525 | 22/06/2022 | Final version

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ADraft Resolution

1The vital role of women in building and safeguarding peaceful, democratic societies has never been as evident as it is now, in the wake of a series of crises affecting global stability and amplifying the strengths and weaknesses of our societies.
2The Covid-19 pandemic showed that the majority of primary carers within the family unit and within the community are women, that women have the capacities to resist, adapt and innovate, heal and communicate – and that they must also be seen as leaders. Women heads of State, for instance, were among those who handled national public health measures during the pandemic the most successfully, through collaborative and consultative approaches.
3The #MeToo movement spearheaded the denunciation of the hegemony of patriarchal attitudes. These attitudes complicate the recognition of women’s capabilities for leadership wherever old inequalities have embedded prerogatives and sanctioned the misuse of power, and where acceptance though force of habit, and fear of retribution, have stopped all but a small number of women from daring to speak out.
4The return of the Taliban to Afghanistan has shown the fragility of progress in women’s rights and exposed the vulnerabilities of women and girls under fundamentalist regimes. The ongoing war in Ukraine is demonstrating once again that while women and girls are among the first casualties of war, notably as victims of conflict-related sexual violence, among the most systematic and cruel acts of warfare, women are also at the political, military and humanitarian forefront. It is therefore unrealistic, and even surreal to see that women are absent from the negotiating table during peace talks. This state of affairs is nothing new, as can be seen by looking at the peace negotiations in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. United Nations statistics show that between 1992 and 2019, women were on average 13 % of negotiators, 6 % of mediators, and 6 % of signatories in major peace processes worldwide. About 7 out of every 10 peace processes did not include any women mediators or women signatories. Change must come if the processes themselves are to have lasting positive effects.
5In the light of the above, the Parliamentary Assembly considers that it is time to put justice and security for women at the top of the list of priorities for global action, and for women to be empowered to act in all stages of conflict resolution and peace building. The Ukrainian women parliamentarians have shown during the ongoing war that they are capable of capturing the world’s attention to the unfolding drama and of acting tirelessly to put an end to the conflict, while reflecting on how legislation and policies can contribute to peace and reconciliation after the war.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 5, at the end of the first sentence, add the following words:

", in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security."

6The Assembly recalls its Resolution 2351 (2020) “The gender dimension of foreign policy” and Resolution 1385 (2004) “Conflict prevention and resolution: the role of women”, reiterating with the latter text that “as the main civilian victims of conflicts, they are often powerless to prevent them, excluded from the negotiations when it comes to their resolution and confined to a marginal role in the post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation efforts”. The Assembly draws attention to the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy (2018-2023), of which two main objectives are to ensure the equal access of women to justice and to achieve a balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision-making. It also recalls Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)10 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the role of women and men in conflict prevention and resolution and in peace building, and calls for work to begin on a new recommendation focusing on women’s role.
7With respect to women’s role in peace and security policy and action, the Assembly calls on all national parliaments to:

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, after the words “With respect to women’s role in peace and security policy and action,”, insert the following words:

"the Assembly calls on Council of Europe member States to fully implement Resolution 1325 and the other United Nations "Women, Peace and Security" resolutions, often termed as the "Women, Peace and Security agenda". In particular,"

7.1employ all means, including by introducing feminist foreign policies, to implement the four pillars of the United Nations Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda, namely participation, protection, prevention and relief and recovery. To this end, member States should promote and implement the provisions of the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
7.2make further efforts to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which provides a framework for WPS by acknowledging the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls, calling for the adoption of a gender perspective to consider the special needs of women and girls during conflict, repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration, transitional justice, policy making and post-conflict reconstruction, and by calling on States to engage women in all stages of peace building and State governance in general;
7.3design, implement, monitor and revise National Action Plans under Resolution 1325, modelled on those which have already shown positive results, and which ensure the participation of national authorities and civil society organisations in the development, implementation and monitoring (such as the Netherlands National Action Plan Supervisory Board). In particular, the integration of gender mainstreaming in implementation processes in all areas must be a priority objective.
8Women form part of every country’s military forces. For instance in Ukraine they make up 17% of the army, and as such participate fully in the defence of the country. With respect to women’s role in the armed forces, recalling Resolution 2120 (2016) “Women in the armed forces: promoting equality, putting an end to gender-based violence”, the Assembly urges member States to:
8.1recognise that women, far from being solely the victims of war, are in the front line both of national defence and of humanitarian action, and as such must be given equal rights coupled with gender-specific means to uphold these rights;
8.2ensure that women in the armed forces are given the same opportunities and incentives as their male counterparts to participate in strategic planning and decision making at the highest levels;

In the draft resolution, at the beginning of paragraph 8.2, insert the following words:

"take measures to promote the recruitment of women to the armed forces and"

8.3provide for military training that includes awareness of gender-sensitivity and gender specificity, including with respect to physical contact during combat, military accommodation conditions and the provision of medical and psychological support;
8.4ensure that women are protected against violence within the armed forces, by measures of prevention, awareness-raising and sanctions for perpetrators;
8.5address women’s needs in post-conflict situations of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8.5, insert the following paragraph:

"include teaching on the gender dimension in all stages of military training and make sure that both women and men teach in military academies."

9Transitional justice is a precondition for rebuilding peaceful societies and attaining justice and closure for victims. Therefore, the Assembly welcomes the decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate the crimes committed by the Russian Federation in its war of aggression waged against Ukraine, as well as the establishment of a special investigation commission by the United Nations Human Rights Council, following the unprecedented collective call for action by States Parties.
10With respect to the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed during armed conflict, the Assembly calls on member States to:
10.1ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court if they have not already done so, in order to allow for international prosecution of crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression;
10.2empower witnesses, survivors and affected communities to actively contribute to investigations, leaving no bystanders in the efforts to establish the truth and pursue those who may be responsible for international crimes;
10.3facilitate gender-specific collection of testimonies from persons having suffered sexual violence during conflict taking care to avoid re-traumatisation by providing expert support and guarantees of confidentiality. States must ensure that appropriate medical and psychological support is given before and during the collection of testimonies;
10.4support the independence and action of Ombudspersons in Europe, especially those who are women, and sustain their ability to investigate human rights abuses;
10.5provide training for women as mediators to be involved in peace missions, conflict resolution and peace support operations.
11Women’s civil society organisations are at the heart of national and international frameworks to accompany women who suffer the consequences of conflict – migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers as well as internally displaced persons, victims of gender-based violence, and to support women who are survivors of violence due to war in their own countries, for instance in the former Yugoslavia. The Assembly therefore calls on member States to:
11.1directly allocate funds to women’s civil society organisations advocating for peace and reconciliation, and those dealing with the serious and lasting physical and psychological consequences of conflict for women;
11.2promote inclusive dialogue and participation of minorities in decision-making and political processes, including in peace negotiations and transitional justice processes, and provide capacity building support.
12Finally, the Assembly calls on all member States to ratify, if they have not already done so, the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CETS No. 210, the Istanbul Convention), which provides for the protection against and prevention of violence against women, prohibits rape and applies to all women, including migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, in peacetime as well as during conflict.

In the draft resolution, before paragraph 12, insert the following paragraph:

"Stressing that quality education, notably with regard to citizenship, conflict transformation and human rights, is essential for developing peaceful societies, the Assembly calls on Council of Europe member States to include democratic citizenship and peace education into the formal school curriculum from an early age."