Asia-Pacific women directly address regional peace and security concerns to 1325 review

Asia-Pacific Women’s Alliance for Peace and Security (APWAPS) co-hosted the first regional CSO consultation for the Global Study on the Implementation of SCR 1325 in February 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal.  The event was a collaboration between APWAPS, Saathi Nepal, Cordaid, GNWP and UN Women.

This consultation was the first regional civil society forum convened by renowned rights advocate, Radhika Coomaraswamy, and undertaken in her capacity as the lead author of the Global Study. This study will shape the 15-year review of UN resolutions on women, peace and security later this year in the Security Council. The event was welcomed by Asia-Pacific women as an opportunity to push for greater attention, action and accountability to address the ongoing peace and security challenges.

Strengthen the voices

For APWAPS and its affiliates, this was an opportunity to strengthen the voices of local women in a global lobby process. It was also a chance to promote the accountability of the policy review to the real concerns of women in conflict-affect communities in Asia-Pacific.  The meeting brought together 60 participants from 17 countries.  Many of the participants are actively working on conflict at the community level.  They also included many victim/survivors of the region’s generation-long conflicts and marginalized groups, such as women ex-combatants.

In the consultation, we heard that 15-years after the signing of UNSCR 1325, the impact of the resolution is largely absent on the ground in conflict areas.   Only a handful of countries have developed National Action Plans for the implementation of UNSCR 1325. Even where such Plans exist, often they have not brought about the kind of shifts in political power needed to ensure meaningful action and accountability for the rights of women.  Women in conflict-affect communities continue to face serious protection issues. Barriers to women’s meaningful participation in peace processes remain high.

‘Impenetrable wall of impunity’

The entrenched impunity for sexual and gender-based violence has often meant that justice is elusive for victims/survivors and cycles of violence continue.  The “impenetrable wall of impunity” was one of the key peace and security concerns put forward in the consultation – and one well-noted by Radhika.

The consultation created a forum for a diverse group of women and men, and this diversity reflects the many facets of conflict in the expansive Asia-Pacific region. Yet amid this diversity, the participants worked to define their common issues and recommendations as a region. It is clear that the regional perspective has growing importance. Many of the problems (militarization, the impacts of neo-liberal trade and development policies, natural resource exploitation, rising fundamentalism and so forth) stem from regional issues. They require political responses in the region.

Click here to view the consultation report and presentations under each thematic category.

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