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Beijing + 5 Review Conference

12 June 2000

Women, Armed and Other Conflicts Caucus

Statement to the Committee of the Whole and all United Nations Member States

We the women of the world are profoundly disappointed by the lack of vision, courage and commitment shown by our governments in the Beijing + 5 Review process. This process is meant to uphold and push forward the principles, commitments and agenda for action adopted in Beijing. Instead we have seen a watering down of the commitments, a weakening of language and the removal of timelines and benchmarks. Despite the enormous input and efforts on the part of NGOs and civil society, there seems to be a lack of responsibility on your part, and fundamentally, to those women in all conflict situations.

The Beijing + 5 outcome document needs to ensure:
  1. The reduction of military spending and the acceleration of disarmament. The institution of war is maintained through massive investment and preparation for war. The drastic reduction of military spending, the conversion of military resources and institutions and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons are essential. As a starting point, cutting five percent of military spending per year for five years would free up half a billion dollars per day which should be dedicated to gender sensitive programmes that ensure social and economic justice, the roots of peace;
  2. A guarantee of the equal involvement of women, through a quota system, in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peace negotiations, reconciliation, peace building, reconstruction and all international and regional peace and security processes and institutions;
  3. The access of women from zones of conflict. To ensure full participation of women in armed conflict situations in the international peace and security arena, governments and the UN must ensure better access for everyone by creating appropriate visa and travel arrangements.
  4. The addressing of gender-based violence, including inter alia, systematic rape and forced pregnancy, as human rights violations and crimes against humanity as delineated in the ICC Statute;
  5. The provision of equitable gender humanitarian and economic assistance and reparations, physical safety and security by all governments and UN Agencies to all refugee and internally displaced women and girls, while safeguarding their human rights and dignity. In particular the right to voluntary repatriation or return to their country or home, while fully respecting the principle of non-refoulement, the right to reunification with their families. We call for the provision and increased access to the gender-sensitive legal, social, psychological and medical services, and ensure their participation in the planning and implementation of programs, including the distribution of aid;
  6. The prosecution, through enhanced national mechanisms and the ICC of those who violate the human rights of women, including peace keepers, in all situations of conflict and foreign military presence by ending impunity, and the establishment of witness and victim protection mechanism to avoid revictimisation;
  7. The Security Council, through an Open Session, leading to a resolution that clarifies its role and obligations to women in situations of armed and other forms of conflict, and with a view to ensuring women's participation in all aspects of international peace and security.
  8. The inclusion of gender-sensitive indicators in all conflict early warning systems and a commitment to t ake effective early preventative action;

Overall, the failure of governments to commit themselves to this process also encourages non-state actors such as paramilitaries, mercenaries etc, to continue violating women's human rights.

Critical to the implementation of the Platform for Action is an enhanced partnership between NGOs, the UN and governments, which requires the enhanced capacity of NGOs. We as NGOs are committed to the UN's first aim, that of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war. What is needed is political will and responsibility from governments to ensure this goal. You have an opportunity in this Review to show your commitment to this through progressive plans of action for the full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

A Fijian Woman Speaks at the Beijing +5 Conference,8 June 2000


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