Women, Peace & Security

In the News: Wednesday, 1 July 2020

House Democrats express concern as administration stymies request for oversight on women’s security strategy

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN) – House Democrats charged with national security oversight say the Trump administration is effectively refusing to testify before Congress about an initiative to reduce global conflict and improve women’s security that was spearheaded by Ivanka Trump.

The standoff is deepening House Democrats’ concerns about the administration’s attitude toward oversight and about some of its policies concerning women and girls, which they say may be undermining the Women, Peace and Security Strategy unveiled in June 2019.

It also illustrates the challenges of conducting government business as the coronavirus pandemic maintains its grip on the country.

The WPS strategy, which won bipartisan praise, recognized the link between women’s empowerment and global peace and security, and noted that countries that marginalize women socially and politically are more likely to experience conflict. The departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security and the US Agency for International Development unveiled plans to implement the strategy on June 11.

But when Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, chairman of the subcommittee on national security, asked officials from the agencies to testify about those plans in a virtual hearing, in keeping with Covid precautions, the administration countered by saying they would only send officials to testify in person.

Read the full article here.

Palestinian and Israeli women are saying no to unilateral annexation. They refuse to be blinded by hate

Source: Independent

A letter written and signed by Micheline Calmy-Rey, former president, Switzerland; Tarja Halonen, former president, Finland; Roza Otunbayeva, former president, Kyrgyzstan; Mary Robinson, former UN commissioner for Human Rights and former president, Ireland; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Laureate, former president, Liberia; and 38 others

As the UN charter marks its 75th anniversary, the most protracted conflict in the world is taking a most dangerous turn with the announcement of Israel’s plan to annex large and vital parts of Palestinian territory on the basis of the Trump Middle East plan which contradicts the internationally agreed parameters for peace and international law. Such a move would unravel half a century of efforts for peace in the region and the vision of two sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, based on the pre-1967 borders, with far-reaching consequences.

It is in this context, and on this 20th anniversary of the adoption of security council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, that Israeli and Palestinian women reminded the world why it was so important to hear and heed the voices of women in situations of conflict. We have received urgent appeals against annexation sent by both Palestinian and Israeli women. Their strong appeals, while separate and distinct, have in common a sense of shared humanity, and a common rejection of subjugation and discrimination, oppression and violence. […]

We support the Palestinian and Israeli women’s call against unilateral annexation and back their efforts to prevent its disastrous consequences. It was conceived almost entirely by men without any reference to the diverse perspectives of women. We must be guided by the humanity and resolve of courageous women who have suffered greatly from the conflict and yet refuse to be blinded by hate. Their words envision the future the region needs and deserves. Our actions must help this vision prevail.

Read the full letter here.

Support Civil Society at the UN Security Council

Source: NGO Working Group on WPS / Kaavya Asoka

Six months into 2020, during what should be a celebratory year for women’s civil society marking the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 (2000), their voices are nowhere to be heard at the UN Security Council. Why?

Since 1 January 2020, the Council has held 53 formal meetings and 64 open VTCs during which 21 civil society briefers have delivered statements, 11 of whom were women. This represents a 38.9% decrease compared to 2019.

The current limitations facing the Security Council as it conducts its work virtually undoubtedly pose challenges to civil society participation. However, in the more than three months since the Council began working remotely, it has become clear that these are not merely technical challenges but a lack of political will — a deprioritization of the voices of independent civil society despite Council member’s claims of women’s critical role in ensuring peace and security.

The NGOWG has nominated 18 civil society representatives under all six presidencies to brief the Council on 12 different agenda items, pursuant to the Security Council’s commitment to invite women civil society representatives to brief during country-specific meetings under Resolution 2242 (2015).

Read full article here