At UN-backed workshop, participants urge efforts to protect women in wartime

At UN-backed workshop, participants urge efforts to protect women in wartime

Sevdije Ahmeti addresses workshop
Five years after the adoption of a groundbreaking Security Council resolution on women in armed conflict, emissaries from some of the most war-ravaged parts of the world meeting at a United Nations-backed conference in Bucharest said more must be done to implement its provisions.

Resolution 1325 requires all concerned to protect the human rights of women and girls, prevent sexual and gender-based violence, and foster the equal participation of women in peace building and reconstruction.

"We have all these agreements on paper, but we are still crying in the wilderness," Sevdije Ahmeti, Founder and Executive Director, Centre for Protection of Women and Children in Kosovo, said at the three-day workshop, which was organized by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

She was one of several participants who "gave powerful testimonies of frustration about the ongoing violations of women's rights on the ground, lack of responses from the highest levels and the difficulty of addressing gender-based violence," UNFPA said.

At the same time, there has been notable progress. "The resolution has spurred greater political participation of women in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia and Sudan," the agency said in a news release.

Sanam Anderlini, an expert on women and security, acknowledged that the resolution is only a tool. "But because it is international law, it's a very powerful tool," she stressed.

UNFPA representative and workshop organizer Sahir Abdul-Hadi said the UN and its agencies have all learned a great deal from efforts to mobilize protection and support for women during and after armed conflicts. "But lessons learned are squandered if not effectively translated into standard practice," she warned.