Improving the Human Security of Women in Conflict Zones

Celebrating International Women's Day 2012 at the 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW56)

A Call to Improve the Human Security of Women in Conflict Zones:

Enhancing Access to Policy Processes and Decision Making


The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women has chosen to focus on rural women. This is a politically active and engaged, yet still vulnerable group who face enduring challenges to their human security as emphasized in Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). While CSW56 emphasizes the important role of economic empowerment in improving the lives and livelihoods of rural women, we believe that  efforts in economic empowerment should  link to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security which highlights the underused potential of women in resolving and preventing conflict at the local level.


Considering the consequences of conflict on the human security of rural women, we call for their active inclusion in all peacebuilding and conflict prevention initiatives through:


  • Full participation of rural women in all decision-making processes on peace and security, from local communities to global policy processes.

UNSCR 1325 calls for increased participation of women at all levels of decision-making in conflict resolution and peace processes. Building on the potential of rural women to improve their human security through active involvement within policy processes and political decision-making is a precondition for achieving lasting peace and security.

  • Prioritisation of portraying women's active agency in peacebuilding and conflict resolution by all relevant stakeholders .

An open acknowledgement by all stakeholders of the proactive roles played by rural women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding paves the way for increased opportunities for women to access policy processes and articulate their human security needs.

  • Implementation of gender-sensitive security measures developed together with rural women.

A precondition for societal participation and economic empowerment is the implementation of gender-sensitive security measures, which address the basic human need of feeling safe. The guarantee of basic elements of human security – freedom from fear, and freedom from want – , is crucial for the advancement of  rural women.


Enhancing decision-making on peace and security with the perspectives of rural women means enhancing Human Security For All.



The following organisations and networks align themselves with this statement:

1325 Network, Finland

African Women's Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (AWANICh)

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General
and High Representative of the UN, Bangladesh

Amnesty International USA

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, México.

Centro de Colaboración Cívica, México

Centre for Peacebuilding at Swisspeace, Switzerland

CORECO, México

Eastern African sub Regional Support Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI), Uganda

femLINKPacific, Fiji

Generation Next Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Global Justice Center, USA

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)

IANSA Women's Network

IKV Pax Christi, the Netherlands

Institute of Modern Media, al-Quds University, Ramallah

Journalists for human rights, Macedonia

Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency, Papua New Guinea

Middle East and North Africa Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (MENAPPAC)

Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND)

Nansen Dialogue Network, Norway

Nonviolence International, Russia

Peace Boat, Japan

PNG SALW Women's Working Committee, Papua New Guinea

'Public Resources and Initiatives' Chrity Foundation, Ukraine

Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Sri Lanka

Saathi, Nepal

SERAPAZ (Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz), México

SIPAZ,  México

Sonke Gender Justice, South Africa

United Network of Young Peacebuilders, the Netherlands

Upper Hand Development Organization, Sudan

"Veterans for Survival" (Sergei Kulik), Tiraspol

Women4NonViolence, Norway

Women Empowerment Organization KPK, Pakistan 

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)


For further information on the background of this statement and on GPPAC's work on gender please contact Ms. Gesa Bent, Coordinator Gender at GPPAC's Global Secretariat, at

Find GPPAC at, at, and on Facebook & Twitter. 

Perspectives on Rural Women & Human Security

In relation to the statement on International Women's Day 2012, this section highlights specific perspectives from organisations, regions and countries that link rural women and human security.


Women Problems Research Union-Woman's Institute: Perspectives from Azerbaijan

The South Caucasus, including Azerbaijan, was affected during the last years by violent conflicts, ethnic clashes and social and economical crises. Especially affected appeared women, as a group which suffered mostly from the consequences of the violent conflicts, new realities of post conflict settings in their countries/regions, necessity to combine various responsibilities, including those, before the conflicts belonging to men,  with simultaneous diminishing of their rights and opportunities. Traditional women's niche were destroyed by armed conflicts, clashes and situations of economic crises, at the same time new frameworks for women's active involvement in social life were not created and publicly accepted. Being practically the main breadwinners and community activists, women in postconflict settings still have not enough access to exercise their rights and participate equally both, at community and higher level. Women, who represent the biggest part of postwar society, are excluded from the mechanism of decision making about peace and security at the level of the country. Moreover, they have very limited opportunities to influence such decisions even at community level, which is related with certain pseudotraditions, lack of awareness about rights of women and their role in peace processes, clearly defined by the UNSCR 1325 and CEDAW, as well as lack of capacity of women and young girls, especially living in rural areas, to enforce their rights and to voice their concerns and proposals, related with the human security and women's rights.



femLINKPacific: "Connecting Rural and Young Women: Empowering for Change" in Fiji

A women-led community media campaign from March 5 to 9 coordinated by FemLINKPacific will communicate the inter-linkages between UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and Article 14 of the UN Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as radio programmes and interviews from rural centres across Fiji share the experiences and expertise of women in defining their peace and human security:

"Women will make changes for women. Every women and every girl-child can make decisions. If we are given the opportunity to show and share our talents or skills, we can make a good nation," says Mereani Lomavere of FRIEND Fiji Labasa branch.

It is all part of a community radio campaign which will provide 75 hours of content to listeners to FemTALK 89FM in Suva, Nausori and Labasa from 10am to 3pm daily. read more


Related content on the Peace Portal
Somali women call on PM not to let them be shut out of peace talks: read the press release here