Women and Armed Conflict

Article excerpt

With women and children accounting for over three quarters of the 40 million people displaced worldwide by armed clashes or human rights violations, the Security Council adopted a wide-ranging resolution on the role of women in preventing conflict, promoting peace and assisting in post-conflict reconstruction. Elaborating a number of measures for upgrading the involvement of women in UN peace operations, the Council invited Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys, as well as military observers, civilian police, and human rights and humanitarian personnel. It also invited the Secretary-General to study the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, as well as the gender dimensions of peace processes.

On 24 and 25 October the Council held its first-ever open debate on "Women, Peace and Security". Opening the debate in which more than 40 speakers took part, Mr. Annan said that women were often better equipped than men to prevent or resolve conflict. "For generations, women have served as peace educators, both in their families and their societies", he said, stressing that they had proved instrumental in peace-building.

The absence of women in conflict-resolution processes was stressed by Assistant Secretary-General Angela King, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, who said that the socio-economic fabric of a country had to be the "major focus of attention" during peace negotiations. …