MEG-5 (2003) 4

RESOLUTION

The roles of women and men in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and
post-conflict democratic processes – a gender perspective

1. The Ministers of the States participating in the 5th European Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men (Skopje, 22-23 January 2003);

2. Recalling that the principles of pluralist democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights – which are the guiding principles of the Council of Europe – constitute the basis for their co-operation;

3. Recalling the commitments entered into by the member states of the Council of Europe under the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) and highlighting the crucial role to be played by its Protocol No. 12 which prohibits discrimination;

4. Recalling the Declaration on equality of women and men of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 16 November 1988, which establishes equality between women and men as a principle of human rights, a sine qua non of democracy and an imperative of social justice;

5. Also recalling the Final Declaration of the Second Summit of Heads and State and Government of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 10-11 October 1997) as well as Resolution II of the European Ministerial Conference on Human Rights (Rome, November 2000) both of which express the conviction that the promotion of human rights and the strengthening of pluralist democracy contribute to stability in Europe and call for the balanced representation of women and men in all fields of society;

6. Reaffirming their commitments to the goals set out in the Declaration on equality between women and men as a fundamental criterion of democracy, adopted at the 4th European Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men (Istanbul, 13-14 November 1997);

7. Reaffirming their commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and highlighting the crucial role played by its Optional Protocol of 10 December 1999, as well as reaffirming their commitments expressed in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the UN 4th World Conference on Women (September 1995) and in the Beijing +5 Political Declaration and Outcome Document adopted at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (June 2000);

8. Welcoming the adoption, by the United Nations Security Council, on 31 October 2000, of Resolution 1325 regarding the role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding;

9. Welcoming the adoption of the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Treaty, December 1997) and its entry into force on 1 March 1999, and recognising that women and children are particularly affected by the indiscriminate use of antipersonnel land mines;

10. Welcoming the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and highlighting the crucial role played by its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children;

11. Welcoming the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (17 July 1998) and its entry into force on 1 July 2002, which provides that rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity are crimes against humanity when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack;

12. Concerned by persisting situations of conflict or crisis in Europe, the increase of various forms of terrorism and other threats to democratic security which pose a serious threat for human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

13. Affirming that armed conflict has a different impact on women and on men and that a gender-sensitive approach to the application of international human rights law and international humanitarian law is necessary before, during and after conflicts;

14. Bearing in mind that the majority of the victims of conflicts, including refugees and internally displaced persons, are women and children;

15. Reaffirming the crucial role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, in peacebuilding and in post-conflict democratic processes, as well as in intercultural and inter-religious dialogue;

16. Noting, with grave concern, that in spite of the role and the recognised contribution of women to the promotion of peace and democratic security, women are still marginalised or excluded from the peacebuilding processes during conflict as well as the democratisation processes in societies in transition from conflict, thereby hindering the development of peaceful societies;

17. Considering that continuing to marginalise women in these areas is a waste of resources, skills and competence and minimizes the chances for successful conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict democratic processes;

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18. Agree that the goal must be to build democratic societies where conflicts are resolved in a non-violent manner, inter alia through political dialogue and in accordance with international law and the relevant human rights instruments;

19. Emphasise that, to reach this end, any policy regarding peace and security must consist of a twofold approach:

20. Encourage governments and all institutions and groups concerned to implement, strengthen and support initiatives based on the strategies set out in the appendix to this Resolution;

21. Encourage the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to take all necessary measures for the achievement of the objectives set out in this Resolution, and in particular:

22. Agree on the strategies set out in the appendix to this Resolution.

APPENDIX

Peacebuilding strategies for changing societies

1. Human rights of women and the non-violent resolution of conflicts

Governments are invited to:

a. organise meetings between ministers, decision-makers and NGOs involved in conflict prevention and resolution and peacebuilding;

b. encourage the inclusion of human rights, conflict prevention and resolution, mutual understanding, a culture of peace and gender equality in formal and non-formal education at all levels;

c. provide training in human rights and gender equality, as appropriate, for those involved in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict democratic processes;

d. take measures aiming at encouraging young people, and particularly young women, to participate in conflict prevention and resolution and in the peacebuilding process;

e. raise public awareness on the violation of the human rights of women during and after conflicts, and on the increase of domestic violence, gender-based violence, sexual violence and trafficking for the purpose of sexual and economic exploitation;

f. provide information on international law and human rights instruments, including those concerning women’s human rights, especially through new information technologies;

g. encourage and support networking among non-governmental organisations, in particular women’s organisations, involved in conflict prevention and resolution and peacebuilding;

Governments and international organisations are invited to:

a. encourage and support women’s regional projects on conflict prevention and resolution and peacebuilding, both within and across borders;

b. encourage the work of NGOs dealing with peace issues, in particular women’s and youth organisations, especially by providing appropriate technical, logistic and financial support;

NGOs are invited to:

a. develop more cross-border activities and projects involving partners from neighbouring countries;

b. seek ways to link up with well-established human rights organisations and networks in order to make their work better known;

c. make efforts to intensify their co-operation with decision-makers in order for their interests, experiences, initiatives and solutions to be taken on board as a substantial contribution to their work;

The media are invited to:

a. refrain from portraying stereotypes based on gender, ethnicity and religion;

b. promote peace by producing programmes which foster gender equality and non-discrimination, stimulate mutual understanding and oppose intolerance and racism.

2. Balanced participation of women and men in decision-making

Governments are invited to:

a. take the necessary measures to recognise and promote the equal and individual rights of women and men to participate in political life, in particular by combating the practice of family voting;

b. take measures aiming at increasing the number of women in decision-making bodies in political and public life at all levels, inter alia by enacting legislation and taking special measures for political parties, social partners, other professional organisations, public institutions, etc.;

c. take measures to achieve a gender balance in public appointments to committees or missions;

d. take the necessary measures to ensure that women have an equal opportunity to reach all levels in the diplomatic services;

e. increase the number of women candidates to high-level decision-making posts in international organisations;

f. ensure that women are involved in all stages of conflict prevention, resolution and reconstruction, including peace mediation and negotiations;

g. take the necessary measures to train mediators involved in conflict resolution, peace missions and peace support operations to apply a gender perspective;

h. encourage parliaments and local and regional authorities to examine their time tables and working methods in order to enable women and men legislators to reconcile their work and family life;

i. encourage the work of NGOs dealing with the empowerment of women for active citizenship, especially by providing appropriate logistic and financial support;
International organisations are invited to:

a. support training for women who wish to become actively involved in the field of conflict prevention and resolution;

b. ensure a balanced participation of women and men in their staff and in their field missions;

NGOs and political parties are invited to:

a. organise training for women in active citizenship and involvement in political and public decision-making;

b. organise broadly, at local, national, regional and international level, support for women already engaged in political or public life at all levels of society to ensure their continuing involvement in post-conflict reconstruction;

3. Gender equality and gender mainstreaming

Governments are invited to:

a. fully implement international instruments and programmes designed to advance and empower women, and take the necessary measures to translate them into national languages and to make them available and known to the general public;

b. adopt and implement procedures to promote gender equality and integrate a gender perspective in the framework of their international co-operation policy;

c. consider a gender screening of their legislation relevant to conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict democratic processes and introduce a systematic gender impact assessment into legislative processes, policies, programmes and budgeting;

Governments and international organisations are invited to:

a. encourage and support national and transnational research in women’s and gender equality issues relating to conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict democratic processes;

b. integrate a gender equality perspective in the planning, design and implementation of peace-keeping operations and humanitarian aid;

c. introduce gender-sensitive training for participants of international peace-keeping and conflict resolution operations;

d. set up, improve and implement codes of conduct for participants in peace-keeping and conflict resolution operations to prevent all forms of violence against women;

e. provide assistance to victims of conflicts, including refugees and internally displaced persons, giving special attention to the needs of women and girls, particularly war widows, female-headed households and orphans;

f. set up special gender-based programmes to heal women and men from trauma and give them the necessary training and skills to survive after conflict.