The United States is a strong advocate for UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for supporting the essential role played by women in all aspects of peace and security, recognizing their leadership in peacemaking, and ending sexual violence in conflict. Secretary Clinton has long worked to highlight the urgent need to end sexual violence against women and promote their in participation in peace and security. She led the unanimous adoption of UN Resolution 1888, the successor resolution to UNSCR 1325 and 1320. As the Obama administration’s National Security Strategy states, “…countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity. When those rights and opportunities are denied, countries often lag behind.”
The United States commends the efforts of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to develop a set of indicators for advancing and tracking implementation of 1325, and recognizes the leaders and advocates, member states and UN officials who worked to move 1325 forward. The United States endorses these indicators as a framework for action and is pleased that a decade of work will be recognized today by the Security Council.
OUTREACH AND STOCKTAKING
Over the past year, the United States has explored ways to accelerate implementation of 1325 through a full range of diplomatic, defense, and development tools. We have met with members of civil society and completed a mapping of U.S. programs and initiatives that support the 1325 principles as contained in the four pillars of participation, protection, prevention, and relief and recovery. In this process, the United States has reaffirmed its support for 1325 and decided to initiate development of a National Action Plan to better coordinate and advance our efforts. The plan will include regular consultation with civil society groups in countries affected by conflict in recognition of their knowledge and expertise in the promotion of peace. We also will continue to partner with other countries, bilaterally and multilaterally, in support of 1325 principles.
The United States is committed to promoting women’s leadership and participation, including in political and economic reconstruction efforts and in maintaining security. In Afghanistan, for example, we have supported reintegration and reconciliation that does not jeopardize the rights of women, as defined in the Afghan Constitution. This approach upholds women’s equality – the right of women and girls to go to school, participate in government and business, and be free from violence in their homes, workplaces, and communities. To advance these goals, the United States has supported women’s inclusion in the High Peace Council, which is the lead Afghan body guiding the ongoing reintegration and reconciliation process. We also have supported women’s inclusion in follow-on shuras and negotiations in the reintegration and reconciliation process at the local level. Going forward, $16.9 million will be awarded in direct grants to Afghan women-focused non-government organizations (NGOs).
In other conflict-affected countries (e.g., Nepal), the United States is advocating for equal participation by women at all levels of government. In Guatemala and elsewhere, the United States provides leadership and mediation training to empower women to take the lead in agrarian policy-making and land dispute resolution.
The United States recognizes that the protection of women and children from widespread violence plays an important role in helping to prevent conflict and instability. We will continue to exercise global leadership in advocating for strategies that protect women and girls from gender-based violence, including sexual violence, in conflict. The United States has offered hundreds of courses to foreign militaries and peacekeepers that include instruction in human rights and humanitarian law, including protection of civilians, prevention of gender-based violence, prevention of sexual exploitation, and the prevention of trafficking in persons.
As UN Security Council Resolution 1888 (2009) stated, ending impunity for sexual violence in conflict situations is essential to recover from conflict and to prevent future abuses. The United States is committed to promoting accountability for perpetrators of serious crimes against women by supporting international efforts to end impunity as well as strengthening domestic judicial systems to help ensure that those responsible for those crimes, including sexual violence, are brought to justice. Strengthening the UN’s capacity to combat sexual violence in conflict situations also is essential. The United States is assisting UN Special Representative to the Secretary General Margot Wallstrom in obtaining the support and resources she needs, including providing $1.7 million to help establish her office, its activities, and its team of experts. The United States also works closely with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to support more effective mission-wide strategies for protection of civilians.
RELIEF AND RECOVERY
In humanitarian operations, measures must be taken to ensure that all members of society, including women, have access to basic survival requirements – physical security, water, food, health care, and shelter. The United States further commits to making education an integral part of its emergency response given its impact on protection, early recovery and development.
Throughout Africa and the developing world, the struggle by women to maintain safe, healthy families is confounded by inadequate access to safe, clean water supplies and sanitation. The threats to their safety in conflict situations are more acute when women go in search of clean water and run the risk of gender-based violence. The United States will provide $14 million to improve water and sanitation, with a special focus on Africa and situations in which women’s safety and security are at risk due to the lack of water and sanitation facilities. The United States will provide an additional $11 million to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, support literacy and livelihood trainings for refugee women and girls, and promote women’s participation and capacity building worldwide. These activities are a fraction of our broader humanitarian and development assistance which strives to empower women and girls and promote gender equality.
The United States focuses its efforts on helping keep countries from turning back to conflict and giving them means to support a stable peace for the future. To this end, we have developed multiple programs that seek to address the causes of conflict, including a $26 million annual reconciliation program that supports small, innovative and state-of-the art programming in priority conflict-affected countries and contains a gender analysis. The United States is committed to integrating gender considerations into U.S.-funded programs in conflict-affected areas from the start of crises through early recovery and development.