• Press Release

Amnesty International Commends U.S. Action Plan to Protect Women and Children in Conflict

December 19, 2011

Human Rights Organization Urges President Obama to Take
Concrete Steps to Implement the Plan

Contact: Suzanne Trimel:   212-633-4150,  [email protected]

(Washington) — Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) commends President Obama for creating the first-ever U.S. national action plan to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The plan is an important step toward towards ensuring that women are protected from conflict and are equal partners in peace processes. AIUSA also applauds President Obama's executive order mandating a U.S. government national action plan and creating an interagency working group to ensure robust implementation of the plan.

"The U.S. national action plan represents a tremendous opportunity to advance the human rights of women and children," said Cristina Finch, Amnesty International's women's policy director in Washington. "Women disproportionally bear the impact of armed conflict yet rarely have a seat at the table during post-conflict peace processes.  As a result, impunity for crimes against women is often perpetuated, and agreements that are  realized ultimately do not reflect the community's true needs."
The U.N. resolution is a framework for more effective conflict prevention, resolution and sustainable peace-building. Women and girls are uniquely and disproportionately affected by armed conflict. In modern warfare, an estimated 90 percent of the casualties are civilians, and 75 percent of these are women and children. Women continue to be targeted for rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict. For instance, despite the presence of the largest peacekeeping force in the world, armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to engage in systematic rape as they fight for control of mineral-rich turf. The peacekeeping force has been criticized for a slow response to mass rapes, while perpetrators enjoy relative impunity for their crimes.

The resolution also seeks to address the exclusion of women from peace processes, despite the proven benefits of their involvement in helping to rebuild countries post-conflict. Only 1 in 13 participants in peace negotiations since 1992 have been women, and women have served as only 6 percent of negotiators in formalized peace talks. Women have never been appointed as chief mediators in U.N.-brokered talks.

In order to put in place protections for women in conflict and to ensure that women are included in peacemaking, AIUSA urges President Obama to ensure that the plan is implemented in a robust and sustainable manner.

 AIUSA welcomes the plan's focus on ensuring that women are full partners and participants in peace processes; ensuring training for U.S. personnel and contractors on women, peace and security issues, engaging and supporting women's civil society organizations; and creating strategies to end sexual and gender-based violence.

To make a real impact on the lives of women caught in conflict and subjected to gender-based violence around the world, AIUSA recommends that these provisions be implemented as quickly as possible. In these ways, the United States can recognize and support women's human rights and women's unique and valuable contributions to peacemaking.

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Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.