Women, peace, and security

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Women with the Afghan National Army Air Force & International Force during an International Women’s Day celebration in Kabul. Photo: Sgt. Dustin Payne.

The meeting began with acknowledging the fact the first woman president had won the election in Ethiopia. This gave way into the discussion of the political and economic empowerment of women. Women need to be apart of peace and security agendas. Many already are, but they need to be further supported in reducing any challenges. There has been progression, especially within women’s groups who focus on this large issue. Although there has been progress, there is still a long way to go.

Women peace workers help. Women can be quickly drawn into the conflict and be severely affected by it, so more women need to be able to speak on their behalf. Women are better aware of their community needs. Gender equality programming is needed to address the devastating effects by building sustainable peace. There has been a systematic failure to bring women in peacekeeping. Women are constantly excluded. It was brought up that there is a significant gap with what it is said in UN chamber and what is actually going on in the world. Superficial efforts need to come to an end and they need to become concrete.

Women are active and resilient. They have negotiated ceasefires, safe zones, drawn up protection plans. This includes women from various countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, among others. They need to be enabled to do even more. One main way to give women this chance is education. During the conflict, girls are more likely to be out of primary schools. Child marriage is high in these conflict areas. Not only is a girl likely to not be attending school, but she is likely to get pregnant. Maternal mortality is almost twice the global ratio in conflict and post-conflict areas. Education is a catalyst for equal participation.

The way the world views the role of women needs to be changed. Women are perceived to not have the skills or knowledge to handle these important roles. Greater participation of women in political life causes a stronger path for peace. Global peace and security are enhanced when helping women. It was said that no woman needs to be given a voice, there just needs to be more listening.

Meeting:  Women and peace and security

Location/time/date: Security Council Chamber, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 PM – 12:45 PM, October 25, 2018

Speakers:

  • Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • Ms. Randa Siniora Atallah, General Director of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling
  • Her Excellency Mara Marinaki, Principal Adviser for Gender and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women
  • Ms. Narjess Saidane, Permanent Observer of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
  • Ms. Amarsanaa Darisuren, Senior Advisor on Gender Issues of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Ms. Clare Hutchinson, Special Representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General for Women, Peace and Security
  • Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres
  • Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  • Yoka Brandt, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
  • Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office of Germany
  • Simona Leskovar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia
  • Iryna Herashchenko, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

The Fight against Impunity for Atrocities: Bringing Da’esh to Justice

 

 

 

The crucial nature of holding the members of Da’esh accountable for their crimes, for victims to attain justice, was explored at today’s high-level meeting. A call to action was evident to collect and preserve evidence of their atrocities.

Simon Adams expressed how in 2005 all the states within United Nations made a commitment toward their responsibility to protect vulnerable populations from mass atrocity crimes. Matthew Rycroft conveyed that thousands of corpses, each a victim of Da’esh, were found last week in a sinkhole near Mosul, Iraq.

Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim disclosed how Da’esh used to cover forty percent of Iraqi territory, but as a result of the progress of the military and coalition partners, it now covers very few kilometers. He conveyed how 5,000 lawsuits have been filed against members of Da’esh in Iraq.

sdgs_poster_new1Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve described how the primary victims of Da’esh include the Yazidi people, Christians, and other minorities.

Mr. Michael Douglas Grant brought into conversation how members of the LGBTI community are targeted by Da’esh. In addition, he described a new initiative that has allowed over 400 Yazidi victims into Canada. Likewise, Mr. Juergen Schutz introduced into the discussion a residence program that has allowed over 1,100 Yazidis into Germany.

Ms. Nadia Murad gave a testimony regarding her experience as a Yazidi Genocide survivor. She implored the Iraqi government and the United Nations to establish an investigation to prosecute ISIS under international law. She conveyed how she had spoken at the United Nations fifteen months before, yet not one ISIS militant had faced charges under an international investigation. Ms. Amal Clooney, the legal representative of Ms. Murad, asked that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadion of Iraq sends a letter to the Security Council to have an investigation a behalf of all victims.

Meeting: High-level event on “The Fight against Impunity for Atrocities: Bringing Da’esh to Justice” (co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Belgium, Canada, Germany, Iraq and the United Kingdom and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect)

Date/ Location: Thursday, March 9, 2017; 15:00-17:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Simon Adams, Executive Director of Global Center of Responsibility to Protect; Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom; H.E. Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium; H.E. Mr. Michael Douglas Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada; H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Permanent Representative of Iraq; H.E. Mr. Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom; H.E. Mr. Juergen Schutz, Permanent Representative of German; H.E. Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sexual Violence in Conflict; Ms. Nadia Murad, Yazidi Genocide Survivor, Human Rights Activist and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking; Ms. Amal Clooney, Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and Legal Representative for Nadia Murad and Other Yazidi survivors

Written By: WIT Representative Donna Sunny

Points of Ukraine: Putin’s Widening Grip

Vitaly Klitschko talks with pro-European integration protesters at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev.

Today, Ms. Holland began the panel discussion by introducing the agenda of the event, which concerned examining different perspectives on the continuing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.  Then, Mr. Karatnycky provided an overview of the history of the conflict and the potential obstacles that may impede a negotiated settlement to it.  He elaborated that though President Vladimir Putin is using hard tactics to maintain control over Crimea, he has triggered the latent sentiments of a large contingent of Russians and elites that never wanted Ukraine and Crimea to separate from Russia.  Additionally, he mentioned that the main problem regarding using diplomacy to end the conflict stems from Russia’s unwillingness to reach an agreement with Ukraine.

Next, Dr. Nikolayenko spoke of the effect of the conflict on the civil society and citizens of Ukraine.  She stated that with over 8,000 Russian soldiers present in Ukraine and 9,100 human casualties that have resulted in death, the conflict has led to a growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country and a slowdown of Ukraine’s economy.  Additionally, she mentioned that the Russian government’s influence over the Russian media has led to misrepresentations on the reporting of the conflict and swayed public support in President Putin’s favor.  Lastly, Ms. Arno talked about fleeing Russia after protesting President Putin’s inauguration in 2012 and the punishments other pro-democracy Russians face in the country due to their political views.  She also reinforced the idea that President Putin’s control over Russian media outlets have helped to build support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Additionally, she mentioned that the Free Russia Foundation that she founded seeks to give a voice to pro-democracy Russians and Ukrainians embroiled in the conflict.

Meeting: The Panel Discussion on “The Continuing Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine”

Date/Time/Location: Monday, April 18, 2016; 18:00 – 20:00; New York University (NYU) School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Room 210

Speakers: Ms. Mary Holland, Moderator and Director of the Graduate Lawyering Program at New York University (NYU) School of Law; Mr. Adrian Karatnycky, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Ukraine in Europe Program at the Atlantic Council; Dr. Olena Nikolayenko, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University; Ms. Natalia Arno, President and Founder of the Free Russia Foundation (FRF)  

Written By: WIT Representative Shubhangi Shukla

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo: Reuters

Security Council Meeting on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria

The Security Council Chamber held its 7659th meeting. The meeting was on the
adoption of the agenda regarding the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the
Congo Report of the Secretary-General. The council voted on the draft of the resolution,
and it received 15 votes in favor. Thus, the draft had been adopted unanimously.

The President of the Security Council then gave the floor to the representative of the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The representative first gave thanks to the delegation for
the knowledge and competence they had in this task. He discussed two issues: elections
and the fight against armed groups in the region. With regard to elections, he stated that
the country intends to run elections that are in line with the standard of the international
community. The representative noted that the government is pursuing the eradication of
armed groups to allow a peaceful life for its people. However, this can only be achieved
with the support of all countries in the region. In addition, the representative said we must recognize that noncooperation of countries in the region is a danger that could
compromise these efforts. After the representative gave his statement, the President adjourned the meeting.

Shortly after, the Security Council held its 7660th meeting on the adoption of the agenda regarding the situation in the Middle East. The President gave the floor to Mr. O’Brien, and he said that there has been much progress on humanitarian access in Syria. Since the beginning of the year, the UN has reached 150,000 people through convoys. However, he noted that this is only a first step to what is required. Humanitarian conditions remain dire, and there are still 4.6 million people who are in need of assistance. After the briefing from Mr. O’Brien, the President adjourned the meeting.

Meeting: Security Council: 7659th meeting; 7660th meeting

Date/Location: Wednesday March 30, 2016, 10:00 –10:30; Security Council

Chamber

Speakers: Representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Mr. Stephen

O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief

Coordinator

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alexander Margolick

Photo Credit: Stan Honda/AF

Peace And Women Are Building Blocks

Today’s event offered a forum in which panelists shared their views on how to best incorporate women’s leadership in contexts of fragility and conflict and ensure that they are not left behind.

Unlike the MDGs, which included no separate provision for peace and security, the 2030 Agenda (with the introduction of the SDGs) has dedicated an entire goal for peace and security (SDG 16). As Ms. Cabrera-Balleza remarked, “Goal 16 is very important and has been long fought for. How can we talk about sustainable development in a country that is at war?”  She highlighted the importance of including women and civil society in the implementation of the new agenda. We must take the SDGs out of New York and the UN and bring them to the countries affected and in need of sustainable development. We must ensure that they are also owned by local people and communities. To do this, we must translate the SDGs from UN language to one that is broken down and fathomed at local levels. Partnering with local community media is crucial to dissipating the information. We should also give space to women so that they can take the lead in decisions. The “Add Woman or Stir Approach” can no longer be viable.

Ms. Gbowee noted that the 2030 Agenda is one that incorporates almost every thematic area that affects our world. The SDGs are all interconnected and must be achieved together. Further, we must not let the SDGs become trending issues that will later lose relevance. It is time to push and speak the hard truth. She pointed out that women-centered movements have lost their strength and become overly diplomatic. As she stated, “You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.”

Meeting: “Women’s Leadership in SDG Implementation in Situations of Conflict and Fragility: Lessons from Somalia and Liberia.”

Date/Location: Wednesday, March 16, 2016; 3:00-4:15 p.m.; Conference Room A

Speakers: Ms. Rosemary Kalapurakal, Moderator; Ms. Sarah Poole, Deputy Director, BPPS, UNDP; Hon. Sahra Mohamaed Ali Samatar, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development; Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Liberian Women’s Rights and Peace Activist, 2011 Nobel  Peace Prize Winner; Ms. Zahra Said Nur, Women’s Rights Activist, Founder of Talowadaag-Somali Women’s Movement; Ms. Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, International Coordinator, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Security Council Voted Unanimously to Give Aid to Syrians

UN Security Council voted unanimously on Resolution 2165, which authorized direct provision of humanitarian assistance to Syria through four checkpoints from the neighbouring countries without the consent of the Assad regime.

Syrian Vote

The authors of the resolution took the floor immediately after the vote to explain the rationale of passing the resolution. Australia stated that the resolution “should not have been necessary”, for it was the consistent non-compliance of previous resolutions 2135 and 2139 that gave rise to the instant resolution. The Austrian Ambassador added it is the “cynical manipulation of humanitarian aid by the regime” and “calculated denial of life-saving medical supply” that caused the council to act in unison. Luxembourg spoke on the monitoring procedures of the resolution, stating that a Secretary-General initiated monitoring regime will ensure that only aid and aid workers pass through the specified checkpoint. The third author, Jordan, reminded the council that the new resolution should be read in concert with previous ones, and that the previous resolutions are still in force. Other members of the council explained their vote by reiterating the “untold suffering of Syrian people” and the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Syria. They also highlighted the need to find political solutions for the political problems facing Syria. Many, including American Ambassador Samantha Power, commended the council for the new unity in handling the Syrian crisis. Members also urged all sides in Syria to work with the Secretary-General’s new envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

In response to the resolution, the Syrian Ambassador reiterated his government’s provision of humanitarian aid, and stated that the opposition is part of the humanitarian crisis but not the solution of it. He denounced some countries for supporting the opposition, stating that such stubbornness of these governments encouraged terrorism from Iraq spilling over to Syria.

Meeting Title –7216th meeting of the UN Security Council
Speakers – Permanent Representative of Argentina, Australia, Chad, China, Chile, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea and Rwanda, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States to the United Nations
Location – Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date – July 14th, 2014
Summary Written By – Harrison Chung

Effective Humanitarian Assistance

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A panel about the future of humanitarian affairs was convened to discuss methods and strategies towards achieving greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability, and effectiveness in humanitarian aid. H.E. Mr. Dabbashi underlined the importance of the dialogue, commenting on how increased humanitarian threats are dangerously stretching the finite number of humanitarian resources available.

Ms. Pizon focused on the importance of local leaders in disaster intervention. If coordination mechanisms work on both an international and local level, a damaged community can be much more resilient. Ms. Georgieva emphasized the different aspects of operational effectiveness, such as the swift deployment of capacities, the coordination of a joint-assessment strategy, and the cohesive interoperability of all sectors. But Ms. Georgieva also stated that this operational effectiveness can only take us so far. Efficient and productive policies, such as those developed for food assistance, are the difference between helping and further damaging a disaster stricken community. While pumping free food and crops into a disaster area may meet short term needs, it kills the local markets, weakening the society’s capacity to be self-sufficient in the future.

Dr. Sani-Sidi continued the conversation by championing Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). NEMA’s departments are categorized into areas for both risk reduction and emergency response, which work in tandem to ensure long term capacity building and prompt response in times of crisis. To close the panel, Mr. Fisher brought attention to the importance of understanding the context of ‘at risk’ countries. As an international community, it is crucial to understand not only the capacities of the country of concern, but also the government situation, the strengths and weaknesses of their institutions, the rule of law, the fiscal management, and all of the other developmental issues that can exacerbate or mitigate the emergency. The effectiveness of response mechanisms is directly dependent on understanding the state of the country, as different situations are more conducive to different methods of humanitarian aid. 

Meeting Title: Panel discussion on “Effective humanitarian assistance”
Speakers: Chair H.E. Mr. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Moderator Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response; Dr. Muhammad Sani-Sidi, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria; Mr. H. Halil Afsarata, Head of the Strategy Development Department at the Prime Ministry, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Turkey; Mr. Nigel Fisher, United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria; Ms. Inday Pizon, Executive Director, Regional Development Incorporated, National Coalition of Rural Women/PKKK, Philippines; Ms. Barbette Badocdoc, Media and Networking Officer, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Lawyering Services (IDEALS), Philippines
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York 
Date: 24 June 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Zachary Halliday
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark