On the 6th June, the international NGO and two-time Nobel Peace Prize winner, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), launched a report showing how effective implementation of arms control treaties can prevent gender-based violence.

preventing-gbv-coverThe detailed report, authored by Rebecca Gerome, was launched inside the UN Headquarters in New York, where hundreds of diplomats and States are gathered this week to discuss how to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons.

“All conventional weapons can – and have been – used to inflict violence on people based on discriminating norms and practices relating to their specific sex or gender role in society. This gendered impact of arms transfers is often neglected when States discuss arms trade,” said Ray Acheson, Programme Director of WILPF’s Disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will, after the well attended launch.

A case study of Sweden, one of the worlds 15 largest arms exporters, was also presented during the launch. In 2015, the Swedish Government declared it was developing a feminist foreign policy and in 2016, one focus is to combat gender-based and sexual violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations and impunity for such crimes. Yet, “there are many recent cases of arms exports that undermine Sweden’s feminist foreign policy objectives and its national and international legal obligations specifically related to gender-based violence,” said Mia Gandenberger, Programme Manager of Reaching Critical Will.

WILPF has, since its inception in 1915, been challenging militarism by encouraging states to invest in peace rather than arms, and the new report provides State officials with the relevant questions, resources and tools necessary to fulfil their obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and UN Programme of Action. This report is the first of its kind, linking risk assessment and implementation to the gendered impact of the legal and illicit trade in arms. 

The report calls for an integrated approach to prevent gender-based violence with implementation of both the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons (UNPoA) forming part of the solution. 

Useful resources:

>> Read the fact sheet and the executive summary

>> Download the entire report Preventing gender-based violence through arms control: tools and guidelines to implement the Arms Trade Treaty and UN Programme of Action 

>> Get the report cover in jpg

For media enquiries, contact Nina Hansen, WILPF Communications Manager, nhansen(a)wilpf.ch +41 22 919 70 80 or Mia Gandenberger, Programme Manager of Reaching Critical Will, mia(a)reachingcriticalwill.org