|Women and Armed Conflict Caucus|
General Debate - Agenda Items 3 and 4
WomenAction 2000 - Live at CSW
Latin America & Caribbean
Europe & North America
Beijing +5 Calendars
Women & Media
General Debate - Agenda Items 3 and 4 Women and Armed Conflict Caucus Thank you Madam Chair for allowing me to present the views of the Women and Armed Conflict Caucus
The institution of war constitutes the greatest possible obstacle to all the objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action. Yet in most National Plans of Action, the critical area of concern of Women and Armed Conflict has either been excluded or merged into other areas, such as violence against women.
We all know that the systematic and strategic targeting of civilian populations in contemporary wars has a disproportionate effect on women. In the review of the Beijing Platform For Action we urge governments to recognize women as equal partners, effective actors, experienced contributors to peace negotiations and especially peace building. It is now time for governments to set clear benchmarks, time lines, indicators and plans of actions to redress the exclusion and neglect of women's participation and perspectives.
In many regions, women have not only suffered the direct consequences of armed conflict; they have also endured decades of military occupation by long-term military presence. Tomorrow as we commemorate the 46th anniversary of the 'Bravo' nuclear bomb detonation close to the surface of Bikini Atoll, just one example of the racist experiments that colonizing governments have inflicted on the peoples of the Pacific, we deplore the high cancer rates, low birth weights and birth defects resultant from weapons testing and military maneuvers. It is also important for governments to recognize that women living in areas of long-term military presence are in constant threat of sexual violence.
Madam Chair, armed conflict and preparation for armed conflict exists in every region of the world.
At this time there is an arms race in the Asia Pacific region, with the highest imports of military equipment in the world and the proliferation of nuclear weapons occurring there. At the same time we are also witnessing intrastate and regional instability in the countries of this region.
In Africa the proliferation of war is leading to the largest amount of refugees and displaced people 80% of whom are women, an epidemic of HIV/AIDS, the proliferation of small arms and chronic poverty.
In the Middle East the peace process continues to falter. In Europe, where there was plenty of warning, conflicts were not prevented and the issue of reconciliation continues to be neglected at the risk of a resurgence of violence.
Latin America continues to suffer from decades of armed conflict and external military intervention.
In the face of this women at civil society level have shown extraordinary commitment to and capacity for the making and building of peace through regional disarmament programs, their concerted effort to participate in peace negotiation and reconciliation at community and national levels.
Under the most oppressive regimes, women's groups have kept the ideals of democracy and justice alive. In the Asia-Pacific region women have established peace zones and peace coalitions. In West Africa women's coalitions have played an effective role in the implementation of regional disarmament programs and peace processes. In the Middle East and Europe as the official peace negotiations have faltered and failed, women's peace initiatives have continued to build bridges over the divides.
Yet, most of these efforts are unacknowledged and unsupported at the international level. The Women and Armed Conflict Caucus urges you to implement the recommendations set out in the Platform for Action and take the following steps:
Felicity Hill, Director Women's International League for Peace and Freedom United Nations Office 777 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA Ph: 1 212 682 1265 Fax: 1 212 286 8211 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.wilpf.int.ch www.reachingcriticalwill.org
Home | Africa | Latin America & Caribbean | Europe & North America | Middle East | Beijing +5 Calendars | Get Involved | Resources | Search | Women & Media About Us