INTERNATIONAL DAY ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
On International Day on Violence against Women (25 November), the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) calls on the EU and the Member States to provide a Code of Conduct on the standards of conduct of military and civilian peacekeeping and humanitarian staff while on mission in areas of armed conflict and war.
“In situations of conflict and war, violence against women and girls is systematic, extreme and widespread and not simply a by-product of war but a strategic tool deployed as a tactic to terrorise civilian communities”, stated EWL President, Lydia la Rivière-Zijdel. “The presence and mobilisation of armed (soldiers) and civilian (peacekeeping) factions contribute to the demand for prostitution around military bases, army camps and refugee camps which increases the prostitution and trafficking of women and girls and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. The EU and its Member States must condemn these acts and sanction those acting of their behalf in areas of armed conflict and war if they engage in such activities.”
Gender-awareness training throughout military and civilian forces is currently underway in the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. The EWL wants this type of approach throughout the whole of the EU, including the new member States. Other measures include the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”, and the European Parliament’s Resolution on the “participation of women in peaceful conflict resolution”, both of which were adopted in October 2000. The European Parliament calls for at least 40% women in all reconciliation, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, peace building and conflict prevention posts, including fact-finding and observer missions.
“Three years have passed since these unprecedented resolutions. How have they been implemented?” asks Ms la Rivière-Zijdel.
This issue along with a Code of Conduct which condemns and sanctions conduct pertaining to violence against women, are part of the EWL’s recommendations to the upcoming Irish Presidency as it will lead the EU in discussions on “women's equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution and in post-conflict peace-building”, at the United Nations annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, which will take place in New York in March 2004.
For more information, please contact: EWL, Colette De Troy or Mary Collins,: 32(0)2. 2179020 firstname.lastname@example.org
With more than 3000 member organisations in all EU Member States, the European Women's Lobby is the largest coalition of women’s organisation in the EU