Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace

CEDAW Discusses the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the United Kingdom

31 July 2013

During its 55th session, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reviewed, amongst others, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the UK and the DRC. WILPF was actively involved in the review of the DRC and also monitored the review of BiH and the UK.

UNSCR 1325 was discussed during the three sessions. All three countries have a National Action Plan but some elements still need improvement. In the case of the UK, the participation of women in the post-conflict process in Northern Ireland and the application of UNSCR 1325 is a major concern.

UN Headquarters in Geneva
The United Nations Headquarters in Geneva where CEDAW holds its sessions.
Application of UNSCR 1325 in Northern Ireland

The Committee raised the issue of effective implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 in Northern Ireland. The UK government’s official position is that the ethno-national conflict in Northern Ireland which took place from the late 1960’s until 1998, also known as ‘the Troubles’, did not constitute an armed conflict as defined under international law. As such, the UK government has deemed Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security not applicable to Northern Ireland.

The Committee cited Resolution 1325 to point out the contrast between the UK’s foreign policy, which focuses heavily on sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict contexts and strongly promotes the implementation of SCR 1325, and its national policy concerning Northern Ireland.

The Troubles was a period of extreme violence and insecurity, resulting in the deaths of over 3,500 people and affecting the entire region. Irrespective of the particular legal status of this conflict, the representation and participation of women in its peace processes and in the decision-making bodies concerned with security and policies aimed to address the legacy of the conflict is undoubtedly a requirement of international law and is currently not being met.

The Committee rightly pointed out these internal and external policies are ‘incoherent’ and that while the UK’s efforts on 1325 abroad should be applauded, addressing Women, Peace and Security issues is not just important for ‘others’, but should be an integral part of each of our lives, everywhere across the world.

In its concluding observations, the Committee recommended that the UK ensure “the participation of women in the post-conflict process in Northern Ireland, in line with Security Council Resolution 1325” thus confirming the applicability of this Resolution to the case of Northern Ireland.


You can read the concluding observations of the Committee on the UK here.

WILPF, and in particular WILPF UK, will continue to monitor the implementation of these and other CEDAW recommendations. The concluding observations are an essential advocacy tool to defend and protect human rights in these countries and in particular to implement UNSCR 1325. It will also be very important to refer back to these recommendations when the UK is reviewed by other human rights bodies.

We will keep you updated on further outcomes of this process; so stay in touch and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news.

As always, we’d love to know your thoughts on these issues.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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