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Gender and the Arms Trade Treaty

Via WILPF Reports
13 July 2012

Gender and the Arms Trade Treaty

As the GPPAC Pacific and Pacific "1325" network meeting concluded on Friday on Nadi, GPPAC Pacific's James Laki of the Papua New Guinea based Peace Foundation Melanesia is one of the peace activists from range of global peace networks participating at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations underway at UN Headquarters.

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in New York is one of the civil society networks working on various aspects of the ATT, including daily monitoring of developments.

In the lead up to the conference FemLINKPacific and GPPAC's Global Network of peace activists and organisations including in the Middle East and North African region, have supported the campaign for inclusion of a specific gender criterion in the negotiated text based on the Joint Policy Paper on Gender and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) initiated by WILPF, Amnesty International, IANSA, and Religions for Peace.

The campaign is calling for a specific criterion in the treaty to "require states not to authorize an international transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration are likely to be used to perpetuate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence."

According to a WILPF report from New York, during the first half of the conference, over 28 Member States have made comments so far supporting reference to gender-based armed violence in the ATT. Iceland has been strongest calling upon other delegates to support adding in text on GBV in all three place: preamble, the goals and objectives and the criteria.

During the first two weeks of the conference, 28 Member States have supported and/or referenced gender-based armed violence.

Comments so far on gender-based armed violence at this ATT conference:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Denmark, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Kenya, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malawi, New Zealand, Norway, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and Zambia.

Here is sample of some of the references:

Iceland: "It is vital that the treaty takes this into account and contains a specific gender-based violence criterion to prevent any such violence against women and girls. Accordingly the treaty should require States to not allow an international transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration are likely to be used to perpetuate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. To apply this criterion, States must conduct a meaningful assessment of that risk. It is equally important that the criterion acknowledges that both exporting and importing States have joint responsibility in preventing gender-based violence against women."

Finland: "There is indeed a gender dimension to the trade whereby women are disproportionately affected by armed gender-based violence. Therefore, there should be strong references to gender in the treaty text and the criteria in the treaty should address risks of gender-based armed violence."

Gabon says that the ATT should prevent the transfer of weapons that could give rise to sexual violence.

Ghana calls for criteria that takes into account gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence.

On Friday July 20, WILPF is hosting a second panel on July 20 (Friday) to discuss the important ways in which two treaties -- the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) along with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 et al. can work to prevent discrimination and violence against women, particularly in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Follow the Gender and Arms Trade Treaty Campaign: http://www.peacewomen.org/publications_enews_issue.php?id=171
....Ends

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, Executive Director: FemLINKPacific (www.femlinkpacific.org.fj)

ENDS

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