Women, Peace & Security

In the News: Monday, 29 June 2020

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UN Women Releases Annual Report

Source: UN Women

This report tells UN Women’s story over the last year. It shares how we and our many partners are striding forward to realize a better world for women and girls—one of equality and empowerment. Looking forward, we will draw on our full resources and experiences in protecting and advancing the rights of all women and girls. That is what we do and who we are, as a leader, mobilizer, convenor, provider of programmes, and partner for change. The challenges are large, but as we build bridges and bring people together to set an agenda for equality, not insurmountable.

Read the full report here.

Covid-19 is a test of the women, peace and security agenda in the Asia–Pacific

By: Carla Silbert

Source: Australian Strategic Policy Institute

With 2020 marking the 20-year anniversary of the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1325, it had long been anticipated that this would be a pivotal year for the women, peace and security agenda. But no one could have possibly foreseen just how pivotal Covid-19 would make it. In Asia and the Pacific, the widespread use of emergency powers and security-oriented responses to control the pandemic has had negative effects on peace and security, and the human rights of women and girls, including inflaming conflict and delaying the progress of peace.

To date, there are already significant peace and security impacts of Covid-19 on women in the region.

Women have reported facing sexual harassment from law enforcement policing movement controls in Malaysia. In the Philippines, police have been accused of demanding sexual favours in exchange for allowing women to pass through quarantine checkpoints. Increasing incidents of intimate partner violence during lockdowns are being documented.

Communal tensions and discrimination are being fuelled by Covid-19. In Cambodia, blame has been cast on the minority Muslim community for spreading the disease. In Indonesia, land disputes between private companies and communities have escalated while the attention of government authorities is focused on the pandemic. Conflict-prevention approaches that engage women are sorely needed.

Following UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s call for a global ceasefire on 23 March, ceasefires were declared in the south of Thailand for the first time in 17 years and in the long-running communist insurgency in the Philippines. Despite early optimism, however, fighting has since resumed. Only 11% of ceasefire agreements include gender provisions, which is half the rate found in other types of peace agreements.

In Afghanistan, the pandemic is escalating at a critical time in the advancement of intra-Afghan dialogue, further limiting women’s opportunity to participate. The government appointed a team of 21 negotiators, originally including five women. With this lack of gender parity, the engagement of women’s civil society to influence the terms and content of the potential peace dialogues is crucial. But the restrictions on movement and physical gatherings introduced to limit the transmission of Covid-19 pose a barrier to women’s collective advocacy.

Read the full article here.

 ASEAN discusses women’s empowerment in digital age

Source: Xinhua

A special session within the framework of the 36th ASEAN Summit on women’s empowerment opened on Friday afternoon via video conference, with discussions on measures to unleash women’s potentials in the digital age and in context of COVID-19 epidemic impacts.

The ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session on Women’s Empowerment in Digital Age, chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc with the participation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi.

Noting that the existence of inequality and discrimination still hold back women’s development motivation and their ability to contribute to the community, Nguyen Xuan Phuc said ASEAN countries need to take action to unleash women’s potentials, create conditions for them to develop their strengths and contribute to the development process of each country and the ASEAN community, especially in the digital age.

Read the full article here.

Maputo Protocol Scorecard and index introduced to monitor implementation of Women’s Rights

Source AfricaNews

The African Union Commission (AUC)’s Women, Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) has kicked off a series of engagement on the validation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) Scorecard and Index (MPSI). The Scorecard and Index is an innovative contribution to the body of tools that seek to enhance accountability and assess the progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) and the implementation of the Maputo Protocol.

The Maputo Protocol Scorecard and Index has been developed to support effective gender equitable COVID-19 response and recovery monitoring and implementation of the Maputo Protocol. It underscores the need to uphold women’s rights obligations encapsulated in the Protocol during the COVID-19 crisis, to mitigate the harsh impact of the pandemic on women. This is especially important as women are disproportionally affected by the pandemic and responses that exclude gender equality and women’s concerns might have long-term negative impact on women.

Read the full article here.

Cameroon: North West – Vulnerable Women Trained to Confront COVID-19

Source: AllAfrica

Some internally displaced young women and teenage mothers in the North West, West, South West, Littoral and Centre regions are counting the blessings of workshops that help matters in efforts to enhance livelihood, give them opportunities in income generation and above all; help them feature prominently in the war against the killer coronavirus pandemic. To thank for the initiative which also strengthens action against gender-based violence, (GBV), the localization of peace and the implementation of the U.N Security Council Resolution 1325, are the Hope for the Needy Association (HOFNA), and the German Mission in Cameroon which bankrolled the cost of the trainings in Nkambe, Bafoussam, Buea, Mbombo and Makenene from May 25 to June 20, 2020.

Beneficiary IDP women and girls retired from the training workshops; with lessons and skills to produce reusable sanitary pads, beaded sandals and slippers, and soap to feature them in the chain of fighters against the spread of the killer covid-19 pandemic. It is all about opportunities to increase incomes and enhance the livelihood of the disadvantaged IDP women and girls. It emerged from the Executive Director of HOFNA, Christelle Bay Nfor and Programs Manager; Florence Munteh that the workshops were also conceived and organized to engage communities to respond to and prevention of gender-based violence through a “know yours rights campaign with active community leaders”.

It is against this backdrop that the trainings set the pace for HOFNA to engage grassroots communities to develop a local approach to implement the U.N Resolution 1325 in Cameroon.

Read the full article here.

Gender and COVID-19: responding to violence against women and children in Somalia

Source: SaferWorld

With over 2,800 cases* of COVID-19 reported in Somalia, the country and its people have rapidly adjusted to changing circumstances amidst other ongoing insecurity. Saferworld spoke to Amin Abdi Mohamed of the Mogadishu-based Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC) about the impact of COVID-19 on women in Somalia and its implications on sexual and gender-based violence.

SWDC is continuously monitoring our [cases] database, analysing the impact that COVID-19 has had on GBV. For example, in Mogadishu, over 100 cases of sexual violence were documented between the end of January and mid-April 2020. We saw 13 cases documented in less than 72 hours. Nearly 65% of the all the cases we have worked on involve child survivors, most of which are girls. This could be as a result of the closure of schools due to COVID-19, meaning children are at home or on the streets playing. Rather than protecting them, the closures have put more children at risk.”

Domestic and intimate-partner violence has also increased. Amin tells us that over 600 cases have been documented by SWDC in the first quarter of 2020 alone, which has doubled compared to the last quarter of 2019. While it’s important to caveat these figures with the general under-reporting of GBV, especially the cases of domestic and intimate-partner violence, they do give an indication of how women and children are bearing the brunt of lockdown and quarantine measures.

Yet despite this increase, women and girls have limited places to go to if they want to access GBV services or seek justice. “Part of the protection work we conduct is to strengthen the systems that prevent and respond to abuse, increasing the capacity of those that respond to it, including law enforcement. But [with COVID-19] these activities have been suspended, while the need for protection of women and children increases. The closure of courts is creating a backlog of sexual violence cases and a worry that perpetrators of violence may never face justice.”

Read the full article here.