New UN Women documentary launched on women, conflict and peacekeeping

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Of the 565 of the peace agreements made between 1990 and 2010, 16 per cent mentioned the word women ; 7 per cent mentioned gender equality or women's rights; and just 3 per cent mention gender-based violence. These are just one set of startling statistics reported by a new documentary from the Government of Australia, in partnership with UN Women.

While the documentary highlights the vast gaps between the commitments made and the actions taken since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, on women, peace and security, and the related resolutions that followed, it also explores a range of positive steps being taken to bridge the divide, on the path to sustainable peace.

Through interviews with activists, peacekeepers, humanitarian workers and survivors of conflict, the documentary provides a snapshot of the work being done with women and by women in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

“Many of us are particularly concerned about the impact of conflict on women's lives and women's rights, and the squandering of the peace-building potential of half of the population," said UN Women's Executive Director Michelle Bachelet speaking at the film's launch. “Yet we have now a number of opportunities to improve our record," she added.

“We hope this educational tool will support those involved in peacekeeping as they seek to engage, empower and protect women," said Gary Quinlan, Australian Ambassador to the United Nations, of the film. “It is intended to examine how the international community is implementing its commitments on women, peace and security, and determine what actions we can take to give full effect to UN Security Council resolution 1325."

The documentary covers the specialized training arranged for peacekeepers on addressing conflict-related sexual violence and the efforts toward system-wide protection for the vulnerable, including better data gathering to inform stronger responses, and laws and policies to ensure that women take on decision-making roles. It also highlights the strengthening of mechanisms that hold perpetrators to account for gender-based violations, whether on the Security Council agenda or in international humanitarian law.

“Women are a powerful and yet untapped force for peace," says UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, in his introduction to the film. “Our challenge is to act on this understanding. The peacekeeping missions we deploy and the peace negotiations we support must have gender equality at their heart."