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To “silence The Guns”, End Violence Against Women Before, During And After Conflict

GENEVA (12 February 2020)For effective peace building efforts, States and stakeholders must address the root causes of gender-based violence against women before, during, and after conflict, said UN and regional experts* as the African Union closes its Assembly session on the implementation of its project on “silencing the guns”.

“During numerous conflicts there is an exacerbation of gender-based violence, in particular the use of sexual violence against women and girls,” said the EDVAW (Elimination of Discrimination and Violence Against Women) Platform in its joint statement. “Despite rape often being used as a tool of war, the causes and consequences of such gender-based violence are not yet fully addressed.”

The discrimination that women experience in times of conflict or peace derives from the more general patterns of gender inequality and violence against them, they said. Therefore, efforts to end gender-based violence in conflicts will only be effective through a holistic approach aiming at eliminating violence against women and gender inequality in general.

“A gendered approach to conflict prevention must include measures to silence the guns by regulating the arms trade and circulation, including of small arms, which could prevent femicides in the post-conflict context,” the experts added.

As 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for greater participation of women in preventing conflict and building peace, the experts reminded States that persistent patterns of discrimination and violence against women prevent their full, equal and meaningful participation.

“The Women, Peace and Security Agenda initiatives should include the elimination of violence and sexual harassment of women in political and public life, including during elections,” they said.

The EDVAW Platform also reiterated its call for States “to increase their support to the expert mechanisms in the face of pushbacks that have been blocking and slowing down progress in the elimination of discrimination and gender-based violence against women”.

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