From the UU@UN A note from Director Bruce Kotts

From the UU@UN A note from Director Bruce Kotts

Dear Friend,One of the most cherished UN Security Council Resolutions is its 2000 resolution 1325 that “reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.”  

My favorite example of this imperative is when Navi Pillay served as the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. As the allegations of criminal activity crossed her desk of the terrible atrocities that occurred during the Rwanda genocide in 1994, Navi—the only woman on the tribunal—was stunned to find that none of the thousands of allegations addressed gender-based violence. She started to investigate what none of the men found unusual. With just a little digging, she found mountains of allegations of gender-based violence. This is why we need diversity and inclusion in every aspect of justice, management, and advocacy. 

It is for this reason and many others that the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 in 2000. Many prominent women and men have mentioned UNSC resolution 1325 with hope and respect. It is devastating that UN diplomats quoted in a recent Pass Blue article reported that there has been no meaningful progress in achieving the goals of UNSC Resolution 1325.  

 Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise. Many share the hopeful assumption that we are making progress in achieving gender equality. Unfortunately, this is not the case. UU@UN intern Katie Kurnick wrote a recent blog post documenting the international outrage as the U.S., which believes itself the leader of western democracy and champion of human rights, has abolish the constitutional right to have access to reproductive health care. This right is available to most of the world’s women. (It is also important to note that women who enjoy reproductive rights live mostly in the democratic nations of the world.)   

The lofty goals of 1325 have also apparently been betrayed. It is appalling that with 22 years to get this right since 1325’s passage, we seem to have made no progress in gender equity. We will work with our partners at the UN, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and Religions for Peace headed by Azza Karam. We will use our many connections at the United Nations and beyond to address the issue and work for gender equity in all aspects of life. Our ability to change policy begins with raising awareness of the issue. In our meetings with members of the UN Security Council, we’ll raise this issue with them; I have a meeting with a member of the UN Security Council on Friday.  We will also meet with members of the UN Secretariat and the Office of Disarmament Affairs to remind them of their obligations under UNSC 1325 to ensure gender equity in all matters related to peace and security. We can count on a lot of support, as well as stiff opposition. We’ll do our best and report our progress as details develop.

 In Solidarity for Peace, Justice, and Compassion,
Bruce Knotts
Bruce Knotts
Director, UUA Office at the United Nations

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