How Far Have We Come? UN Resolution 1325 Ten Years Later

Last month, the UN released the results from its evaluation of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. Resolution 1325 was adopted in 2000 for the purpose of protecting women and children in conflict zones. Unlike Resolutions that went before it, 1325 explicitly recognized the unique role women play in conflict zones and sought to create greater protections for women, while at the same time welcomed women into the peacemaking process.

The report evaluated UNSC Resolution 1325 on the basis of achievement as defined by six major themes:

1. Women's participation in peace negotiations and peace agreements
2. Women's participation in political processes and governance structures in conflict-affected countries.
3. Gender sensitivity and women's participation in disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration.
4. Gender sensitivity and women's participation in security sector reform.
5. Legal and judicial reforms
6. Protection of women IDPs and refugees'

Not surprisingly, the findings were rather mixed; while the report found that generally women gained serious traction in their political standing and well-being, there are still serious issues concerning women’s physical safety.

Many of these points are even reflected by the early reports coming out of Libya. The New York Times recently reported on the brave work of female volunteers in the refugee camps in Tunisia. Women students and professionals alike are flocking to the camps to assist the refugees pouring in from Libya. “You can see in their faces that they have been through a lot, and we want to show them our solidarity,” said Dorsaf Hmidi, a 23 year old student volunteer from Tunisia. Whether it is female refugees taking on leadership roles within the camps, or an increase in the number female volunteers going to the camps, there has been a serious increase in women’s involvement in such roles since the passage of Resolution 1325.

However, just as the report outlines, violence against women, particularly sexual violence against women, persists, often with few repercussions for the attackers. One must look not further than the case of Eman al-Obeidy, the now internationally famous women who ran into a Tripoli hotel two weeks ago screaming that she had been attacked and gang raped. Rather than treating her with the concern owed to a victim of such a brutal crime, her story was suppressed and riddled by Libyan security forces. The protections afforded to women in war have come a long way but there is still much work to be done.