Holding West African States to Task on Gender and Violence: Domesticating Unscr 1325 through National Action Plans and NGO Advocacy

Friday, July 18, 2014: 9:12 AM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Josephine BEOKU-BETTS , Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Akosua ADOMAKO AMPOFO , Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
E. Njoki WAMAI , PhD Program in Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on women, peace, and security in 2000. This resolution recognized women’s involvement in efforts to maintain and promote peace and security and the right of women and girls to protection from human rights abuses such as gender based violence, and prosecution of perpetrators for such crimes. It stressed the importance of integrating a gender perspective and a greater gender balance at all levels of decision making and power structures in peace keeping, peace building, and post-conflict reconstruction. This presentation will examine what progress has been made to implement and institutionalize this resolution in selected West African states. National Action Plans are one of the key ways that governments take steps to implement UNSCR 1325 into policies and programs, irrespective of whether they are recovering from conflict or engaged in peace keeping activities. Women activists also make use  of this document to pressure governments to include women and a gender perspective in peace negotiations, to promote gender friendly legislation, increase women’s representation in decision making bodies, including elected office and the judiciary, and to advocate for equal rights for women (Cockburn, 2007; M’Cormack-Hale, 2012). Drawing on primary and secondary documents drawn from United Nations, NGO reports, and scholarly publications, we will examine initiatives governments have taken to formulate and implement National Action Plans, reduce sexual and gender based violence against women, repeal discriminatory and statutory customary laws, conflict prevention, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators, provision of adequate budgets to effectively implement policies, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Our analysis will be informed by sociological and feminist conceptual and theoretical approaches applicable to West African contexts.