As I’ve pointed out before (most recently here) and as this Alerta 2010! report makes clear, women’s bodies continue to be an integral part of the battleground of war and sexual violence is a systemic part of militarism.
According to the Alerta 2010! Report on Conflicts, Human Rights and Peacebuilding, sexual violence was used as a weapon in most armed conflicts taking place in 2009. In addition to the report, the School for a Culture of Peace of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona also published the Yearbook 2010 on Peace Processes. This year the report includes a Human Rights Index which measures the level of non-compliance of states regarding their obligation to protect human rights. The index is headed by Myanmar, Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Thailand, Russia, Somalia and India. The report additionally analyses the 31 armed conflicts registered in 2009, most of them found in Asia (14) and Africa (10). In its ninth annual edition, Alerta 2010! analyses the state of the world in 2009 in connection with conflicts and peacebuilding, and documents global tendencies in armed conflicts and tensions, peace processes, human rights, humanitarian crises and the gender dimension, while also identifying five opportunities for peace in 2010.
A decade after the passing of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, obliging states to protect the rights of women and girls and guarantee their participation in peace processes, the School for a Culture of Peace alerts of the breach of formal commitments and measures and the resulting practical consequences. The report points out that violence against women, including sexual violence as a weapon of war, was a constant in all armed conflicts. In cases such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, sexual violence reached chronic stages. Moreover, personnel from the armed forces of countries such as Colombia, Myanmar and United States used sexual violence and other abusive practices against women. The report also condemns the fact that most peace processes continue to ignore these issues, even though it is one of the main threats to the peace and security of these populations.
Despite many obstacles, women did play a key role in numerous civil peace initiatives in the DR of the Congo, Colombia, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to Vicenç Fisas, director of the School for a Culture of Peace, “there is a need to expand how we deal with the impact of wars and resolution mechanisms, since the experiences and contributions to peace by women are key to achieving inclusive, long-lasting solutions to conflicts”.
You can read more about the Alerta report here.