WILPF Report on the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) delegates from all over the world converged on New York for the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) to advocate for a transformative and sustainable Post-2015 development agenda that addresses the root causes of violence and war, and integrates issues of disarmament, women’s human rights, and women, peace and security (WPS). This report documents their time at CSW59, and provides an analysis of the session from a peace and security perspective.
The report opens by providing background and context on CSW59 and the WPS agenda. One of the original twelve areas deemed of critical concern in the Beijing Platform for Action - women and armed conflict - is particularly important for WILPF’s work for peace and freedom through demilitarisation, disarmament, and women’s human rights. Yet 20 years on this report shows that progress has been uneven and slow.
WILPF therefore urges governments to take urgent action addressing key gaps, including by: only recognising peace agreements that include women’s full and equal participation and rights; holding parliamentary debates on WPS to cultivate discussion and political will; reduce and reallocate military expenditure and redirect funding to gender equitable social services; ban nuclear weapons; and strengthen national mechanisms to reduce small arms and light weapons proliferation.
The report provides a summary of the discussions at five main events organised by WILPF and their partners, including:
- Women confronting ISIS: Local strategies and State’s responsibilities. Panelists from Iraq, Syria, and NGOs discussed the foreshadowing of ISIS abuses in areas where violations of women’s human rights were endemic, the work of local activists, and strategies of prosecution and re-integration
- Peace Women Leaders Meet and Greet: here WILPF presented some highlights of their work in the last year
- Civil Society Consultation on the 2015 High-Level Review. Syrian human rights lawyer Laila Alodaat moderated a civil society consultation to provide updates on the High-Level Review, discuss civil society engagement, and provide space for recommendations
- Celebrating 100 years of women peacemakers. This event featured a performance piece called ‘Talking with our grandmothers’, an opening song by The Raging Grannies, and a keynote speech by Madeleine Rees entitled “The world in crisis: how women are challenging traditional peacemaking”
- Beijing eace train and beyond: here, WILPF members shared memories and testimonials of the Beijing peace train which traveled from Helsinki, Finland to Beijing, China for the Fourth World Conference of Women.
The report also presents a number of summaries from WPS related or co-sponsored events throughout CSW59, and a number of infographics providing information about WILPF participation and the CSW59 as a whole.