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06. March 2019

International Women's Day: Gender justice enhances peace and development

Press release: Cologne, 5 March 2019. More commitment to support women and girls caught up in armed conflicts, as well as a feminist foreign and security policy: these are the demands made on the German government by the women’s rights organisation medica mondiale to mark International Women’s Day on March 8. Germany will take up a non-permanent seat in the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) for a period lasting until December 2020. The German government should use this time to work towards gender justice, women's rights, sustainable development and peace, setting these priorities for international security policy.

Some members of the UN Security Council are undermining human rights standards, declared Jeannette Böhme, Advocacy and Human Rights Officer at medica mondiale. This makes it even more important to have a strong voice on the Security Council speaking up for women’s rights.

Three demands on the German government

The first priority of the German government should be to ensure the implementation of the Agenda “Women, Peace and Security” agreed in UN Resolution 1325. Secondly, this Agenda needs to be given sufficient resources and funding, both from the Security Council and from the United Nations as a whole. Thirdly, it is essential to establish the practice of consulting women's rights defenders and activists as experts on the human rights situation in crisis- and conflict-affected countries.

Protection and support for survivors of sexualised violence

In April 2019, Germany will hold the Presidency of the Council. During this month there will also be an Open Debate in the Security Council on combatting sexualised violence. Here, the German government needs to advocate long-term protection and support structures for survivors of sexualised violence, says Ms Böhme. These include trauma-sensitive medical care, psychosocial offers and legal advice, as well as income-generating projects. Furthermore, it is time to accept that survivors cannot be left alone with the consequences of sexualised violence during armed conflicts, not even with the support of women’s rights organisations. Instead, families, communities, local institutions, government and society as a whole all need to acknowledge these injustices and process them together.

Without equality no lasting world peace

Background: The protection of women in armed conflicts and their equal participation in peace processes are significant contributory factors to the preservation and promotion of world peace and international security. This was the conclusion reached on October 31, 2000, by the United Nations Security Council when it passed Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”. Since then the council has passed a series of subsequent resolutions, creating a comprehensive agenda for "Women and Peace and Security". However, this agenda has still to be implemented.


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