On Resolution CHR 59 on Elimination of Violence Against Women

11 April 2003

Madame Chairwoman,

I am speaking on behalf of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).  We want to congratulate the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswarmy, on the excellent work that she has done over the past nine years.  She has helped change the discourse within international human rights law on violence against women and women’s human rights. For example, she has courageously catalyzed discussion on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls and has exposed the human rights violations inherent in the practices of berdel and honor killing everywhere.  We urge States to implement the UN General Assembly Third Committee Resolution A/RES/57/179, entitled Working Towards the Elimination of Crimes Committed  in the Name of Honor.  WILPF calls upon all States to publicly respond to the Rapporteur’s recommendations and to work towards the implementation of the recommendations.  Further, WILPF encourages the next appointed Rapporteur to continue to build on Ms. Coomaraswarmy’s work to challenge cultural, traditional and religious practices that are harmful to women everywhere.

Women’s International League 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 on 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 it also allows men and boys to perpetrate violence against women and girls who are economically dependent on them.  WILPF demands that all States, including the United States of America and Iran, ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination AgainstWomen and work to properly integrate the terms of the Convention into national legislation and practice.

Lastly, the systematic violation of women’s human rights during war and other armed conflicts is perhaps the gravest form of violence against women.  A decade ago at the Vienna Conference, member States, by consensus, recognized that “violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. All violations of this kind, including in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery, and forced pregnancy, require a particularly effective response.”   WILPF opposes the United States government’s armed invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Throughout the duration of these conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Israel-Palestine and Colombia, we demand that States and all parties to the conflicts protect women and girls, as called upon in operative paragraph nine of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. During peace negotiations and the implementation of peace agreements, as in Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of Congo, we call on all actors involved to adhere to the mandates, and, in particular, operative paragraphs one and eight of 1325 on the inclusion of women in the implementation of peace agreements and in all levels of decision-making.

Thank you, Madame Chair.