UN must make good on its resolution to protect women against wartime violence

Guardian: It has been 15 years since the UN security council passed resolution 1325, which aimed to end violence and abuse against women during war, and to bring women’s voices into peace talks.

But there is little to show for it. Government forces, rebel groups and even peacekeepers are still raping women as wars are fought. Girls are still being married off when wars leave their families unable to care for them. Aid groups in many places continue to distribute help only to male heads of households, when people can no longer tend their crops or work because of war.

The security council has just adopted its eighth resolution on the topic. Ministers and heads of state gathered at UN headquarters in New York to state their support and pledge funds. But racking up resolutions and pronouncements is not translating into changes on the ground.

No one doubts that women in war zones are especially vulnerable to sexual violence and other abuse and hardships. We have documented case after case in country after country, from Iraq to Nepal, to Sudan and South Sudan.

Yet the UN has repeatedly missed opportunities to improve monitoring of the treatment of women in conflict zones. Peacekeeping missions now invariably include slots for gender advisers, but these positions are low in the bureaucratic hierarchy and frequently go unfilled. The anniversary should have been a moment to establish senior positions on violence against women in the UN’s peacekeeping and political affairs departments, but the opportunity passed without action.

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