You Cannot Walk if You Cannot Stand - Women in Peace & Security (UNSCR 1325)

ARDD-Legal Aid

On October 31, 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women and Peace & Security. The resolution rejects the simplistic view that women are inevitable victims of conflict, and asserts for the first time the role women should play as active agents of peace building.

UNSCR 1325 is characterized by three key pillars: the participation of women at all levels of decision-making; the inclusion of gender perspectives to prevent and mitigate the impacts of conflict on women, and; the prioritization of the protection of women from violence during and after conflict. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

UNSCR 1325 builds on decades of previous milestones and political advances, which recognized the importance of a global strategy to advance women’s rights. One of these advances included: the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW in 1981; the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1985.

UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security is rightly considered a landmark in women’s struggles to mainstream gender in conflict resolution and prevention. However, the resolution faces serious challenges. It has been over 10 years since the resolution was adopted and yet huge gaps remain in its implementation, especially in the Arab world. Political instability and conservative leadership in the region have largely left progress on women’s rights stagnant .There seems to be a lack of political will for incorporating and implementing UNSCR 1325 in the agendas of the national governments in the region.

In Jordan there are no clear mechanisms at the national level to implement UNSCR 1325. It still refers to women as victims rather than as active agents in the peace building process, such as in governance, peace negotiations, and post-conflict peace building. The narrowing focus on the victimization of women is limiting and will prevent full implementation of UNSCR 1325 .This point is crucial, given its reactive versus proactive natures. There is a lack of acknowledgement on the importance of women’s agency and empowerment at every stage of a crisis – before, during and after. Women speak about a wholesome peace process, rather than the peace when you simply stop combatants from fighting. We cannot just import democracy, it must come from within. Therefore women must hold positions of political and military power in order to provide gender perspective in security issues and develop long-term stability and peace. This can only be done through large scale social and political reform; and success of this goal is dependent on unity of NGOs to strengthen civil society to engage with conflict prevention and decision making processes and promoting political will from the government in addition for the Security Council to be in concert with relevant member states and UN entities to be actively and visibly engaged at the country and the global policy levels to implement all elements of the UNSCR 1325.

ARDD-Legal Aid urges all relevant stakeholders to work on all levels, from housewives to the highest government officials, to include women as important peacebuilders. Through empowerment on all of these levels, the focus on victimization can be lifted and we can work to create real change and lasting peace. 

Women have the ability to play a critical role in pre , during  and post conflict scenarios, but how can we expect women to play such a prominent role when they face discrimination and resistance in all parts of their lives .  “You can’t walk if you can’t stand”

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