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Washington, D.C. - Refugees International welcomes resolution S/RES/1888 on Women, Peace and Security, which will be voted on this morning in a Security Council meeting chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Today's resolution is a response to growing concern by Refugees International and others over the anemic response to sexual violence in armed conflict and lays out concrete steps that the United Nations will take. In a welcome step forward, the Security Council has also requested that a Special Representative to the Secretary General (SRSG) be appointed to address sexual violence in conflicts.
"Responses to gender-based violence have been ad hoc and ineffective, despite growing concern and increasing amounts of money earmarked for sexual violence programs," said Melanie Teff, Advocate for Refugees International who focuses on women's issues. "The Special Representative for the Secretary General will strengthen the UN and national responses to sexual violence, and should be appointed quickly."
Sexual violence committed by armed actors and civilians is endemic in all of the areas in which Refugees International works. Despite increased attention paid in the media to sexual violence, women and girls continue to be brutalized in situations of armed conflict throughout the world. The resolution takes a number of steps to address this, including calling for the rapid deployment of teams of experts to armed conflicts where sexual violence runs rampant in order to support rule of law and the national justice systems.
Refugees International also hopes the resolution will strengthen the ability of UN peacekeeping missions to respond to sexual violence. Resolution S/2009/465 calls for the inclusion of women's protection advisors within some UN peacekeeping missions, the deployment of large numbers of women police and military personnel, more systematic monitoring and reporting on sexual violence, and for UN and Members States to develop joint Government-UN Comprehensive Strategies to Combat Sexual Violence.
"Refugees International is pleased that the Security Council has highlighted the need for more effective protection of women and girls in conflict situations, as well as the need to include more women in positions of responsibility within UN Peacekeeping operations," said Erin Weir, Refugees International's Peacekeeping Advocate. "We are hopeful that Security Council Member States will support Troop Contributors to deliver on this by offering more relevant, gender sensitive protection training to prospective peacekeepers, and by equipping peacekeeping missions appropriately to fulfill their mandated protection tasks."
This resolution is the third Security Council resolution on Women, Peace, and Security and is a follow up to resolution 1820, which opened the possibility of imposing sanctions on warring parties that commit acts of sexual violence. Refugees International is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises. Learn more at http://www.refugeesinternational.org.