The role of women in preventing mass atrocities

Dear friends, 

2020 has been an important year for the participation of women in peace processes and conflict prevention. The mobilization of the international community to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark UN Security Council (SC) Resolution 1325 has resonated around the globe with new resolutions and renewed commitments at local, regional and global levels.  

However, we are far from achieving the goals set forth twenty-years ago. Women are largely unrepresented in peace processes and impunity for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence remains an appalling reality. Women are also the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and limited progress made on gender equality is at risk of reversal due to the crisis.

In his 2020 report on the Responsibility to Protect, the UN Secretary-General underlines the key role that women play in preventing mass atrocities and how ending impunity for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence prevents the recurrence of the commission of future atrocities.

GAAMAC aims to “prioritize the meaningful participation of women and girls in designing and implementing prevention efforts”, as stipulated in the outcome document of its third global meeting. Its Americas Regional Initiative is precisely working on “Lessons learned from armed conflicts in Latin America for the prevention of sexual and gendered-based violence”, a policy brief that will be presented in 2021 during GAAMAC IV.

On this special anniversary, this newsletter is dedicated to showcase the GAAMAC community’s work in action: preventing mass atrocities by putting gender equality up-front. We wish you an excellent read and hope you will find these recommendations, articles and good practices useful for your important prevention work.




Women and atrocity prevention: an article by Karen Smith

“Holistic atrocity prevention will only be possible if women’s equal and meaningful participation is prioritized at all stages and in all relevant institutions and processes”, says Karen Smith, Special Adviser on the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect in this article written especially for this newsletter.

Message of the Group of Friends of R2P on Women, Peace and Security 2020

In an official statement, the group of friends of R2P called upon all UN member states to “increase their support and implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and integrate its principles across the atrocity prevention agenda”.

Adoption of a resolution on promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls at HRC

On 7 October 2020, the Human Rights Council adopted in Geneva a resolution on promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situation, recognizing the “crucial role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts”.

Promoting human rights mechanisms to prevent mass atrocities

“Prevention starts at home, that is, in each of our countries. Each of us is responsible to prevent these human rights violations”, said GAAMAC chair Mô Bleeker during a virtual panel co-hosted by Costa Rica, Denmark and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect as GAAMAC Steering Group members on 20 October 2020. The panel featured human rights experts from around the globe.  


Implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the OSCE region

The OSCE marked the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1825 through a series of special events and with the publication of a report on implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the OSCE Region.

ASEAN Ministerial dialogue on strengthening women’s role for sustainable peace and security

At the ASEAN ministerial dialogue which took place on 10 September 2020, ministers reiterated their commitment to “promoting gender equality and empowerment of all women, as well as enhancing the crucial role of women in peace, stability and sustainable development”.


Recovering from the COVID-19 crisis: 10 lessons learned from a gender perspective

Juliet Nakyanzi of GAAMAC partner Platform for Social Justice reflects on the lessons learned from COVID-19 in terms of preventing pass atrocities from a gender perspective.

Preventing conflict-related sexual violence: the CADHA’s good practices

In this exclusive interview, Mr Bakari Sidiki Diaby of the African Coordination of Human Rights for Armies (CADHA) shares how the organization has contributed to significantly preventing conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence within the Armed Forces of Côte d’Ivoire.

La prévention des violences sexuelles liées aux conflits: les bonnes pratiques de la CADHA

Dans cette interview exclusive, M. Bakari Sidiki Diaby, de la Coordination africaine des droits de l'homme pour les armées (CADHA), explique comment l'organisation a contribué à prévenir de manière significative les violences sexuelles et sexistes liées aux conflits au sein des forces armées de Côte d'Ivoire.

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the UN Resolution 1325 in Mexico

On 12 October, GAAMAC Chair Mô Bleeker took part in a webinar entitled “Peacebuilding and the reduction of conflicts”. The webinar was part of a series related to the implementation of Resolution 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Mexico organized by the Mexican government, UN Women, and different embassies in Mexico. Read more information about the event (in Spanish).

The implications of the Myanmar ICJ and ICC Cases for non-Rohingya minorities

In this article, Grant Shubin of GAAMAC partner the Global Justice Center takes a closer look at the implications of the recent international attention paid to Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya for other ethnic groups, especially with regards to sexual violence.


Call for participants: Decolonising Aid and Peacebuilding

Adeso, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Peace Direct and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security invite local activists, changemakers, organizers, healers, and peacebuilders to a three-day conversation on ‘Decolonising Aid and Peacebuilding’.

If you are interested, please RSVP through this link

4 November: Addressing hate speech and hate crimes in Europe: challenges, gaps and synergies

In this interactive online session of Geneva Peace Week co-organized by FriEnt, GPPAC, OSCE/ODIHR and the Swiss FDFA supported by GAAMAC, participants will learn from successes and failures through concrete examples of multistakeholder collaboration, projects and initiatives. More information and registration here

11 November: Preventing Atrocities with a WPS Perspective: A Myanmar Case Study

Co-hosted by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Global Justice Center, this event will discuss how gender permeates every stage of mass atrocity crimes and the role gender can play in fulfilling the duty to prevent them. Register here.

11 November: The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar - A genocide incited on Facebook

The third session of the “Decoding Hate Speech” series co-organized by the Montreal Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies and GAAMAC will focus on the weaponization of social media in Myanmar. Register here

SAVE THE DATE: 16 November

A high-level event on atrocity prevention on the occasion of the handover of the Chair of GAAMAC will take place on 16 November, 2020 at 15:00 CET. Stay tuned for more information!

Prevention-oriented interventions work, especially when being led by women, targeting social norms and involving the whole community.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – 2020 UN Security Council Women and peace and security Report of the Secretary-General

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