Since its inception in 1915, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has worked to prevent armed conflicts and to establish the conditions for sustainable peace on a global scale. In light of its historical work, WILPF continues to affirm the struggle for full recognition and fulfillment of women’s human rights, including economic, social and sexual rights.

WILPF understands that the perpetration of violence against women falls along a continuum. Economic, sexual and political violence against women is retaught from generation to generation in all countries in a paradigm of societal power held and created to benefit boys and men. We call upon States to recognize that unequal economic stakeholding, including unequal ownership and control of land, credit and resources, not only constitutes violence in and of itself, but also allows men and boys to perpetrate violence against women and girls who are economically dependent upon them. This dynamic is exacerbated by armed conflict and growing religious fundamentalism, and most impacts marginalized women, including widows, indigenous and minority women, who are often at risk of violence perpetrated by paternalistic or misogynist State or non-State actors. We commend the Special Rapporteur Prof. Yakin Ertürk, for expressing her concern over the “disturbing trends of growing political conservatism and backlash threatening the gains made in the global agenda for women’s human rights” in her statement to the Third Committee of the General Assembly on 29 October 2004, and support her call for the development of an index on violence against women and an index on State accountability for violence to monitor State compliance with international law.

WILPF calls on Member States to integrate a gender perspective into the work of all ministries at the national level. WILPF recognizes the achievements of national governments, such as Namibia, South Africa and Rwanda, that have adopted innovative institutional mechanisms, such as gender budgeting and quota systems for candidate lists, to further all women’s enjoyment of their human rights and quicken the realization of women’s full equality.

WILPF Sections have observed how the economic policies of privatization and free trade agreements continue to impoverish the large majority of the world’s peoples, to displace women, men, girls and boys from or within their countries and to compromise the sustainability of the Earth’s resources. We note that on his mission to the World Trade Organization the Special Rapporteur included a specific section on gender and trade in the context of the right to health (E/CN.4/2004/49/Add.1). We call on the United Nations, Member States, regional bodies and international financial institutions to seek institutional collaboration to formulate economic policies in a human rights framework, in order to reduce feminized poverty.

WILPF welcomes the appointment of Prof. Yakin Ertürk, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, and encourages her to continue her important efforts. There are some specific issues in her report (E/CN.4/2005/72) that we would like to specifically support. Recognizing that violence against women is a product of larger power imbalances between the genders, we support her recommendation (para 84, section A, point 4) to conduct gender sensitivity campaigns. WILPF has long called for “gender budgeting in all budgetary plans and allocations” (para 84, section D, point 5), and we fully support this request. In order to eliminate the systemic discrimination against women, adequate funding must be provided. We recommend that Member States reduce their national spending on military production and reallocate funds to ensure adequate resources for women’s education, empowerment and access to health care.

We congratulate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for maintaining a particular focus on women, peace and security. In her statement to the UN Security Council in October 2004, she emphasized the necessity of ending impunity for violence against women during armed conflicts. We call upon states to take action to eradicate gender-based violence in armed conflict as well as prevent conflict itself. One of the most important ways to realize this is to support and strengthen women’s active participation in peace building processes. We urge all States to enforce and implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (adopted in October 2000) within their domestic legislation. We believe that its full implementation would recognize women’s capabilities, create understanding of their role in the international arena and enable them to contribute their skills and competence in conflict resolution.

At the time that this statement is being written, we do not yet know the outcome of the Commission on the Status of Women and the Review and Appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. WILPF has also submitted a statement to that Commission, calling on States to, at the very least, reaffirm the Platform for Action. WILPF applauds the steps taken by the United Nations toward realizing the vision of the Declaration. In particular we take pleasure in noting the coming into force of Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers in 2003, the designation of the years 2001-2010 as the U.N. Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, the establishment of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (OSAGI); the convening of the twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly, entitled Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century, and the UN Security Council’s adoption of UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in October 2000. We celebrate the work of UN entities to integrate a gender perspective in their work, including that on peace and security and the Millennium Development Goals, and encourage the further gender mainstreaming through the development and implementation of comprehensive gender action plans. We expect the integration of a gender perspective during the assessment of the Millennium Development Goals during the Millennium Summit later this year.

WILPF calls on the members of the Commission and all States to act on the recommendations set forward in UN Security Council Resolution 1325, specifically to:

• Incorporate the provisions found in UNSC Resolution 1325 in the body of the CHR resolution on violence against women, as well as in the resolutions on internally displaced persons, trafficking of women, protection human rights defenders, and all country-specific resolutions.
• Request that all Special Rapporteurs, and in particular, the Spe
cial Rapporteur on violence against women, substantively treat the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 in all country-specific reports.
• Ensure that all Member States before coming before treaty-based committees, and especially the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Human Rights Committee, are aware of the provisions contained in UNSC Resolution 1325 and report on their implementation of 1325, as it applies to their commitments under the treaties.

Recognizing that women represent only 26.4 per cent of mandate-holders appointed by the Commission on Human Rights, and recalling resolution 2003/44, we implore States to promote gender balance by nominating more women candidates for appointment to UN bodies.

As WILPF nears the 90 anniversary of its birth at The Hague, we continue to work for the achievement of conditions necessary for ongoing collaborative efforts among actors from civil society, governments, international financial institutions and the United Nations to work towards collective human security, and away from militarism and economic violence. In this spirit, we look forward to continuing to work with our sisters and brothers around the world to eradicate all forms of discrimination and social structures resulting in women’s subordination, and to create the conditions for a healthy planet and sustainable peace.