The National Action Plan On Women, Peace and Security (NAP) issued by President Obama shortly before the end of last year has the potential of being a significant step forward in addressing the impact of military conflict on women and the necessity of women’s participation in conflict resolution. In response to a UN resolution, it provides a plan for the U.S. government to implement, “a gender responsive approach to its diplomatic, development, and defense-related work in conflict-affected environments” by mandating:
Women’s participation in peace negotiations.
Increased efforts to protect “women and children from harm, exploitation, discrimination, and abuse, including sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking in persons, and to hold perpetrators accountable in conflict-affected environments.”
Increased efforts to promote women’s roles in conflict prevention.
Post-conflict aid and recovery efforts that address the specific needs of women and children.
The order provides a blueprint for strengthened support and implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) and other resolutions concerning the effect of conflict on women and their role in peacemaking and recovery.
As ethnic tension boils over into violence in Kyrgyzstan this week, rumors have begun to surface on the ground that amid the rioting, shooting and chaos, Kyrgyz women are being raped. Whether or not the rumor is true, the situation is all too familiar. When violence breaks out, women and girls, already vulnerable, are often among the first casualties, and the violence is often systematic, designed to demoralize their communities.