Revolution and war often lead to women’s empower ment as they take on new roles, and Ukraine is no exception.1 Women played varied and active roles in protests against the Yanukovich government in Ukraine in 2013 and continued their civic engagement through Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2015 and the military operations in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, Ukraine adopted a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and to realize its provisions for ensuring women’s involvement in peace and security. If fully supported, the NAP can play a farreaching role in building peace and the capacity for conflict resolution in Ukraine.
The United States’ initial response to Russia’s aggressive policies and practices in Ukraine was to levy economic sanctions against Russian elites in order to encourage a withdrawal, or at least to deter a further territorial grab. At the same time, the United States sought to bolster Ukraine’s position with development and military defensive assistance. Ukraine’s NAP is a critical element of a democratization strategy: The plan seeks to further equal rights for all its citizens, enforce the rule of law to protect its most vulnerable, and incorporate conflict resolution methods into government institutions as a way to improve interactions with citizens. It can do even more: build capacity to lead conflict resolution from the bottom up, rather than leaving the peace process to elite leadership. A Ukraine that more actively pursues the NAP also will stand in stark contrast to Putin’s Russia and be able to eradicate vestiges of Soviet and Putinist patriarchy.
The World Health Organization and the World Bank estimate that 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. Worldwide, prevalence of disability is higher in women than men in both developed and developing countries—19.2 percent for women. These numbers are rising due to population aging, the spread of chronic diseases, and war and conflict. Disability is defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,” such as taking care of oneself, seeing, hearing, communicating, learning, or standing, among others. While women with disabilities are nominally recognized in U.N. resolutions on maintaining peace and security in conflict and post-conflict areas, a great deal more must be done to include them as meaningful participants in peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes and to provide them assistance in emergency situations.
Governments — including the United States — increasingly recognize that war and conflict are too often borne on the bodies of women and girls. This is an egregious violation of their human rights, as well as of international law and various normative frameworks on peace, security and development.
Roughly 120 countries felt the e ects of violent religious and ideological extremism in 2015. Much of the world’s concern has been directed at extremist groups in uenced by Wahhabi and Sala sects of Islam, which have spread extensively across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and parts of Europe. But other forms of religious and ethno-nationalist extremism are also on the rise.
Foremost among the U.S. president’s means for advancing international peace and security are UN peacekeeping operations. Yet as recent missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) reveal, serious problems continue to plague peacekeeping: sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeeping forces, failure to fulfill their mission mandate to protect civilians, and inadequate training on the tactical aspects of preventing violence against women.
This policy brief, by Joan Timoney of the Women's Refugee Commission and Alexandra Arriaga of Futures Without Violence, sheds light on the climate of violence against women that has plagued the Northern Triangle of Central America, and how ongoing violence represents a threat to regional stability and prosperity. Additionally, it highlights why it is imperative that strategies embedded in the U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security are fully integrated into the U.S. response to the crisis in Central America.
As a diverse network of 35 civil society organizations with wide expertise across the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda, U.S. CSWG advised the U.S. Government on the original NAP as well as the updated version. It stands ready to support the new U.S. Government in strengthening that action plan.
In that spirit, we urge the new U.S. Government to take three main actions in its first 100 days in office:
1) Recommit to the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
2) Commit to a review of the U.S. NAP in consultation with civil society, in particular, the U.S. CSWG.
3) Establish a Presidential Women, Peace, and Security Interagency Task Force responsible for implementation of the U.S. NAP.
The U.S. Civil Society Working group on Women, Peace and Security (CSWG) was created in July 2010 to encourage and support the U.S. government’s efforts in the adoption of a National Action Plan (NAP) focused on women’s participation in peace and security processes, and protection in times of war. NAP’s are a governmental tool to advance implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and assist in monitoring its impact.
We, the undersigned organizations dedicated to advancing the rights, security and participation of women in the prevention of and response to conflict, welcome the Obama Administration’s commitment to developing a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security...Read More.
The U.S. Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) is a network of experts, NGOs, and academics with years of experience working on issues involving women, war, and peace. Inspired by and building upon the international Women, Peace, and Security agenda, the CSWG informs, promotes, facilitates, and monitors the meaningful implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
The following statement and recommendations were compiled by the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. In publishing this statement the Working Group aims to assist the U.S. Government turn declaratory policy into action and engender effective outcomes that bring peace, security and dignity to the lives of women and men in conflict and crisis settings.
With the release of the U.S. National Action Plan (U.S. NAP) on Women, Peace and Security and President Obama's signed Executive Order on making the NAP official U.S. policy on December 19, 2012, the U.S. government has placed the force of law behind its efforts to promote these goals. As a diverse coalition of organizations working on women, peace and security issues, the U.S. Civil Society Working Group is uniquely positioned to assist U.S. government actors in implementing the U.S. NAP.