Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Impact of Resolution 1325 on peace accords

(Our thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post)

With last October's tenth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000), the resolution’s effectiveness is coming under intense scrutiny. (image credit) In our recent research on the impact of the resolution on the text of peace agreements, we make some significant findings about the impact of 1325 on peace agreement drafting.
(Our research dataset is available in full here. Our methodology, coding decisions, findings and our fuller analysis may be found in ‘Peace Agreements or ‘Pieces of Paper’? The Impact of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Peace Processes and their Agreements’, our article published in the October 2010 edition of International & Comparative Law Quarterly.)
Peace agreements can play a crucial role in setting post-conflict priorities and shaping the internal constitutional order. Women often attempt to influence agreement texts in pursuit of gender equality, in an effort to influence the key roadmap to the political and legal future that will shape their lives. For these reasons Resolution 1325 specifically targeted peace negotiations and agreements in paragraph 8, which calls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective, with particular reference to post-conflict needs. The aim of this perspective is to support local women’s peace initiatives as well as the human rights of women with relation to constitutional reform. (Prior IntLawGrrls posts on this resolution may be found here.)
In our research project, we were interested in whether the texts of peace agreements post-1325 showed evidence of the resolution’s impact. Did peace agreements signed after the resolution contain more references to women and gender equality than those signed before the resolution? If so, what was the nature of these provisions? What difference did involvement of the United Nations in the negotiation of the agreement make regarding, firstly, the number, and secondly, the nature, of peace agreement references to women and gender? Were peace agreements more likely to address the specific issues for women and girls identified in paragraph 8?
In summary we found:
► Only 16% of peace agreements contain references to women. But references to women have increased significantly since the passing of Resolution 1325, from 11% to 27% of agreements.
► This rise is more dramatic for agreements in which the UN had a third-party role (from 4% to 12%) than it is for agreements which did not involve the UN in such a role (from 7% to 14%).
► However, both before and after Resolution 1325 women are more likely to be referenced in agreements in which the UN is not named as a third party. The more marked increase in references to women in ‘UN’ agreements must therefore be understood in a context where such agreements were less likely to reference women prior to Resolution 1325.
► Peace agreement references to women are qualitatively often poor. They constitute scattered references to women, some of which contravene provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Only on rare occasions do these references illustrate good practice.

Our data
Our study involved 585 peace agreements signed since between 1 January 1990 and 1 May 2010. We began by identifying provisions making explicit reference to ‘women’, ‘gender’, ‘widows’ or ‘girls’ and to ‘sexual violence’, or named forms of sexual violence such as ‘rape’.
We separately coded whether the UN was involved as some type of third party to the peace agreement. This enabled us to question the extent to which the UN has played a role in implementing its own normative standards. UN third party involvement was defined using the agreement text and documenting whether the UN, a UN agency, or a UN representative was party or signatory, mediator or facilitator, observer, witness or negotiator to the agreement.
In addition we undertook a qualitiative analysis of the reference to women.

Our Analysis
The overall finding that only 16% of peace agreements make any sort of reference to women is disappointing.
Even the higher figure for post-Resolution 1325 references to women of 27% (up from 11%) indicates a long way to go before peace agreements systematically include references to women. However, it does seem that the 2000 Security Council measure is having some effect, and particularly where the UN is involved.
Our qualitative review of the nature of the peace agreement references indicates that many of these references are unsubstantial.
There is little evidence of systematic inclusion of women in peace agreement texts, or systematic treatment of issues across peace agreements within conflicts. Moreover, some of the references in our database are, at best, ambiguous in terms of feminist gains, for example: the use of quotas which not only encourage but limit the participation of women (Bangladesh/Chittagong); references to ensuring women’s ‘moral integrity’ (Philippines); references to women as mothers to be targeted for early prisoner release (Nicaragua). Some strong textual provisions do however exist, often in countries that also have actions plans (see for example, Uganda).

Our conclusions
We suggest that further thought must be given to the strategies and barriers to effective implementation of Resolution 1325. Our findings regarding the resolution’s effectiveness with respect to peace negotiations and peace agreement texts suggest the need for further thinking on:
► What constitutes a ‘gender perspective’ in a peace agreement.
► How Resolution 1325 is being taken forward by organizations other than the UN is required, particularly as their role is increasing.
► Whether a ‘gender justice v peace’ dilemma exists where gender-specific concerns of women are left off the table, not due to oversight, lack of expertise, or lack of commitment, but because of concerns that inclusion would make it more difficult for the parties to reach agreement on other matters or destabilize any agreement reached.
► What constitutes good practice in terms of inserting ‘a gender perspective’ in peace agreement texts.
► How to retain space for women to re-envision peace processes in a transformative way, while influencing texts as they arise within the processes in which women are engaged.

We would encourage people to look at and use the research, and to contact us (c.bell@ulster.ac.uk, cf.orourke@ulster.ac.uk) with any response they may have.

No comments: