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WILPF Statement delivered to the Conference on Disarmament on International Women’s Day

For the first time, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, a representative of the Women’s League for International Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was able to read the NGO statement to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), meeting for its first session of 2010 in Geneva.

Beatrice Fihn, of WILPF, highlighted that, among other disarmament-related events, 2010 was also important because it was the anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. By placing gender within the United Nations mandate of maintaining international peace and security, resolution 1325 provided an important framework and context for raising gender awareness in all aspects of security and defence. It also brought into light a focus on the contribution of women as stakeholders in peace and disarmament, and the role of women in decision-making as a necessary element for promoting the prevention of conflicts. The Conference had taken a small step to implement resolution 1325 by allowing the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom to read out its statement for the first time on 9 March.

According to the statement, the linkages between nuclear weapons and women ran deep. Women’s organizations had protested nuclear weapons since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and had campaigned for cessation of nuclear testing. Women anti-nuclear activists had successfully closed nuclear weapons bases, and had engaged in concerted efforts that had forced governments to change policies or create nuclear-weapon-free zones at the municipal level throughout the world. Furthermore, notions of gender affected efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and to halt their proliferation. For that reason, it was important that governments and non-governmental organizations consider gender issues in their deliberations and used the tools of gender analysis to reform traditional behaviours and values expressed in negotiations and discussions on nuclear weapons.

The statement noted that the Conference was an excellent place to continue questioning and reforming assumptions about weapons and security. It also provided a forum for the nuclear-armed States to engage with others that did not possess nuclear weapons in order to reach agreements that enhanced global collective security. It had a central role to play in establishing international law that would help prevent conflict, war, and increases in military expenditure. Security had to reflect the true needs of all people – economic and welfare needs alongside social, environmental and political justice.

Click here for the press release.

Click here for the WILPF statement.

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