One small step for Woman, a giant leap for mankind.

A new progressive recommendation, in connection to the UN Women’s Rights Convention has been handed down by the United Nations. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) adopted General Recommendation No. 30 on Women in Conflict Prevention, Conflict, and Post-conflict Situations, on October 18, 2013. Notably, this adoption occurred on the same day as the UN Security Council Resolution 2122, which stresses the importance of women’s involvement in conflict prevention, resolution and peace-building.

The preamble of the UN Women’s Rights Convention recognizes equality for men and women. This includes freedoms without distinction based on sex, equal rights to enjoy economic, social, political, civil rights, awareness that the role of women in procreation should not be a basis for discrimination but that the upbringing of children requires a sharing of responsibility between men and women and society as a whole, etc.

The primary aim and purpose of General Recommendation No. 30 to the Convention is to provide authoritative guidance to States parties on legislative, policy and other appropriate measures to ensure full compliance with their obligations under the Convention to protect, respect, and fulfill women’s human rights. It also builds upon principles articulated in previously adopted General Recommendations.

General Recommendation No. 30 specifically guides States parties on the implementation of their obligation of due diligence in respect of acts of private individuals or entities that impair the rights enshrined in the Convention, and makes suggestions as to how non-State actors can address women’s rights in conflict- affected areas. The Committee has repeatedly stressed that the Convention requires States parties to regulate non-State actors under the duty to protect, such that States must exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and ensure redress for the acts of private individuals or entities that impair the rights enshrined in the Convention.

This addition to the Convention is another proverbial feather in the women’s rights movement’s cap.  It acknowledges that there is need for women’s rights in prevention of conflicts and even in post-conflict situations. Many times, violence against women, particularly sexual violence, is used as a precursor, or warning, to a conflict. But often, the violence does not stop once the conflict is over. In fact, sexual violence frequently escalates in post-conflict settings.  Recommendation No. 30 recognizes a need to protect women before, during, and after conflict situations. There is a need to prevent the violence before it even begins.

How effective do you think this new Recommendation will be in conflict zones? Do you think the Recommendation will spark more Conventions or Recommendations to further protect women and women’s rights? Do you think, on the other hand, that there will be a backlash from this Recommendation by non-State parties?



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  1. Addressing issues of women’s rights globally is very important for women, by further legitimatizing their goals and their desires. Sadly, conflict zones do not seem like a place where rights of either actor are really cared for; instead the actor that can commit the most violence to force the other side to stop is more of a common theme. Future conflicts may be impacted as of now, but ongoing conflicts may still be in the throes of said conflict and not really adhere to any resolution or any recommendation passed down.

    Sexual violence is used as a tool to diminish moral and destroy people’s will to fight, and as bad as it sounds it is pretty effective. I believe that stronger positions must be taken against sexual predators, especially in conflicts, by the ICC and countries that are part of the United Nations in order to affirm their stance against sexual violence. No one should assume that someone else is lying when they call rape, and instead the perpetrators should be held to higher standards of accountability, especially if they’re part of a military.

  2. I believe that this new Recommendation is a positive step taken in recognizing the need for protection of women’s rights and further developing and rising to the level of equality regardless of sex. Proving equal rights for all is a very important task to accomplish as well as struggling because even today and even in many developed countries, women’s rights are not protected as expected. Further, I think the Recommendation, even though not fully at this point, will provide a considerable process in dealing with ongoing, future, and past conflicts.

    In addition, the Recommendation will cause the process of developing or creating more Conventions or Recommendation to protect women and their rights because it seems to me that the UN has shown its attention and recognition in providing these rights for women and further protecting and developing their rights. There might be a backlash from by non-State parties but I do not think this will stop the UN from doing what it needs to do or changing its direction towards protection of women.

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