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15 Years after the Adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325: Enforcing International Law

“Moving the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda from Paper to Practice”


Fifteen years ago, the UN Security Council undertook addressing and understanding the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women in its maintenance of international peace and security. To this end, the Council adopted Resolution 1325 (2000), creating the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The Council subsequently adopted seven more resolutions as part of this agenda—Resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013), and 2242 (2015)—which together inform the protection and promotion of women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict settings.

In recognition of the fifteenth anniversary of Resolution 1325 and its creation of the WPS agenda, in 2013, the Council requested a review of 1325’s implementation, which resulted in the publication of the Global Study in October 2015. The Study identifies gaps, challenges, trends, and priorities to consider in moving forward with the WPS agenda. The Study undertakes an in-depth evaluation of the past fifteen years and highlights major successes in addressing gender issues arising in conflict, including the inclusion of a comprehensive list of gender crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC); the appointment of a Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict; and the adoption of General Recommendation No. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict, and post-conflict situations by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee). The Global Study also provides essential recommendations for the future of the WPS agenda’s implementation.

Furthermore, the Study acknowledges that significant challenges remain to implementing the WPS agenda. Indeed, obstacles persist due to, for example, a lack of prosecutions of sexual violence crimes; a dearth of National Action Plans (NAPs) on women, peace, and security; and the rise of violent extremism, terrorism, and militarism.

These challenges are rooted in one unaddressed weakness of the WPS agenda: its failure to explicitly incorporate the mandates of international law. This document will thus focus on how the panoply of women’s rights under international law can be used as a tool to achieve the objectives of the WPS agenda in two areas: (1) humanitarian responses to gender crimes and (2) prosecuting and deterring gender crimes. This document will also highlight the need for the Security Council to mainstream and integrate the WPS agenda into all of its work.

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