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Women: Security and Peacebuilding

Guided by our principles, Unitarian Universalists are called to advocate for international human rights; to be a voice for the voiceless by promoting the inherent worth and dignity of all living things. The Women: Security and Peacebuilding program encourages the strong voices and actions of women as part of the peace-building process. Through this program, the UU-UNO supports and advocates for the global implementation of key international agreements such as Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Security and Peacebuilding

Women increasingly bear a major portion of the burden of armed conflict, facing forced displacement, gender-based violence and sexual violence. Armed conflict and post-conflict environments exacerbate pre-conflict gender inequalities. Supposed peacekeepers, law enforcement and military are often the perpetrators of such violence during the chaos of armed conflict. There is a widespread lack of recognition and willingness to address these problems and they continue in the aftermath unless women’s protection is made a priority.

Women play a unique role in peacebuilding as the core of the community and as role models for future generations. The UU-UNO advocates for the inclusion of women in peacekeeping missions on the community level. In addition, the UU-UNO calls for integration of women into military and police forces. Women often do not report instances of abuse and violence because they must report to men. However, as stated in UN Security Council Resolution 1888, “women and children affected by armed conflict may feel more secure working with and reporting abuse to women in peacekeeping missions, and that the presence of women peacekeepers may encourage local women to participate in the national armed and security forces, thereby helping to build a security sector that is accessible and responsive to all, especially women”.

Convention for the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is considered an international bill of rights for women, outlining standards for ratifying countries to meet in the treatment and rights of women. By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:

  • incorporating the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system by abolishing all discriminatory laws and adopting appropriate ones that prohibit discrimination against women
  • establishing tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination
  • ensuring elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises

The treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. As of April 2nd, 2014, 187 countries have ratified the Treaty for the Rights of Women. Among the countries that have not yet ratified it are Sudan, Somalia, Iran and the United States. The UU-UNO works to advocate for universal adoption of CEDAW and international implementation. Find more information on the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website.

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