Draft Platform for Action
E. Advance peace, promote conflict resolution and reduce the impact of armed or other conflict on women

132. [An environment which maintains world peace and promotes [universal] human rights, democracy and the peaceful settlement of disputes, [upholding the principles of non-threat or non-use of force and of mutual respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty is a precondition for the advancement of women.] [Without peace, there will be no equality or development.] Armed and other types of conflicts have not decreased since the end of the cold war; aggression, [foreign occupation] ethnic and religious and [other types of] conflicts are an ongoing reality affecting women in nearly every region. Gross and systematic violations and situations that constitute serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights continue to occur in different parts of the world. Such violations and obstacles include, as well as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or summary and arbitrary detention, all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, denial of economic, social and cultural rights and religious intolerance. Terrorism is a new and emerging global phenomenon. International humanitarian law, prohibiting attacks on civilian populations, is systematically ignored; [human rights are being violated by [all] parties in armed conflicts.] Armed conflict has resulted in serious violations of the human rights of women, including murder, torture, systematic rape and [forced pregnancy,] especially in ethnic cleansing as a strategy of war and its consequences. Some of these situations of armed conflict have their origin in the conquest or colonialization of a country by another country or State and the perpetuation of that colonial situation through State and military repression.]

133. The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949 [and the Additional Protocols], that women shall especially be protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution or any form of indecent assault. 22/ The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, states that "Violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law". 23/ Gross and systematic violations and situations that constitute serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights continue to occur in different parts of the world. Such violations and obstacles include, as well as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or summary and arbitrary detention, all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, denial of economic, social and cultural rights and religious intolerance.

134. Violations of human rights in situations of armed conflict and military occupation are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law as embodied in international human rights instruments and in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto. [Humanitarian law, prohibiting attacks on civilian populations, and international human rights law are systematically ignored and violated by armed and security forces and other parties to armed conflicts.] Gross human rights violations and policies of ethnic cleansing in war-torn and occupied areas continue to be carried out. These practices have created, inter alia, a mass flow of refugees and [internally] displaced persons, the majority of whom are women, adolescent girls and children. Civilian victims, mostly women and children, often outnumber casualties among combatants. In addition, women often become caregivers for injured combatants and find themselves, as a result of conflict, unexpectedly cast as sole manager of household, sole parent, and caretaker of elderly relatives.

135. In a world of continuing instability and violence, the implementation of cooperative approaches to peace and security is urgently needed. [[In implementing cooperative approaches to peace and security] [This requires that] emphasis [should] be given to preventive strategies and to peace- building as a particular prevention-oriented concept. The perspective of women would provide a more constructive approach to the use of power and the resolution of conflict.] Although women have begun to play an important role in conflict resolution, peace-keeping, and defence and foreign affairs mechanisms, they are still underrepresented in decision-making positions. If women are to play an equal part in securing and maintaining peace, they must be empowered politically and economically and represented adequately at all levels of decision-making.

136. [While entire communities suffer the consequences of armed conflict, terrorism and [foreign occupation and alien domination], women and girls are particularly affected because of their status in society and their [sex/gender]. Parties to conflict often rape women with impunity, sometimes using systematic rape as a tactic of war and terrorism. The impact of violence against women and violation of the human rights of women in such situations is experienced by women of all ages, who suffer displacement, loss of home and property, loss or involuntary disappearance of close relatives, poverty and family separation and disintegration and who are victims of acts of murder, terrorism, torture, involuntary disappearance, sexual slavery, rape [and its consequences], sexual abuse and [forced pregnancy], especially as a result of policies of ethnic cleansing and other new and emerging forms of violence. This is compounded by the life-long social, economic and psychologically traumatic consequences of armed conflict and [foreign occupation].]

137. Women and children constitute some 80 per cent of the 23 million refugees and of the 26 million [internally] displaced persons in the world. They are threatened by deprivation of property, goods and services and deprivation of their [basic] right to return to their homes of origin as well as by violence and insecurity. Particular attention should be paid to sexual violence against uprooted women and girls employed as a method of persecution in systematic campaigns of terror and intimidation and forcing members of a particular ethnic, cultural or religious group to flee their homes. [Women may also be forced to flee because of [gender-based/through sexual violence,] persecution and they continue to be vulnerable to violence and exploitation while in flight, in countries of asylum and resettlement, and during and after repatriation. Women often experience difficulty in some countries of asylum in being recognized as refugees on the grounds of [gender-based/through sexual violence] persecution.]

138. Refugee, displaced and migrant women in most cases display strength, endurance and resourcefulness and can contribute positively to countries of resettlement or to their countries of origin on their return. They need to be appropriately involved in decisions that affect them.

139. Many women's non-governmental organizations have called for reductions in military expenditures worldwide, as well as in international trade and trafficking in and the proliferation of weapons. Those affected most negatively by [conflict] [excessive military spending] are people living in poverty, who are deprived because of the lack of investment in basic services.

Women living in poverty, particularly rural women, also suffer because of the use of arms that are particularly injurious or have indiscriminate effects. There are more than 100 million anti-personnel land-mines scattered in 64 countries globally. [Excessive military spending is one of the main constraints to development.] [At the same time, maintenance of national security and peace [is an important factor] [is essential] for economic growth and development and the empowerment of women.]

140. [International stability and security are prerequisites for economic growth and development. In the new international setting, military strength is no guarantee of security. The effects of mass migration, crime, the drug problem, disease, human rights violations, environmental degradation, pressures of population growth and underdevelopment transcend national borders. These new challenges to peace and security have implications at the local, regional and global levels.]

141. During times of armed conflict and the collapse of communities, the role of women is crucial. They often work to preserve social order in the midst of armed and other conflicts. [Women make an important but often unrecognized contribution as peace educators both in the family/families and in society.]

142. Education to foster a culture of peace that upholds justice and tolerance for all nations and peoples is essential to attaining lasting peace and should be begun at an early age. It should include elements of conflict resolution, mediation, reduction of prejudice and respect for diversity.

143. In addressing armed or other conflicts, an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes should be promoted so that before decisions are taken an analysis is made of the effects on women and men, respectively.

[Increase the participation of women in conflict resolution and protect women in armed and other kinds of conflict and under foreign occupation]


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