Committee including the government and women’s groups must be established
Few women in peace, reunification and national defense…
“Reunification is a jackpot” has become the latest buzz word. If a reunification through which both parties can co-exist and co-prosper is achieved through inter-Korean talks and negotiations, it is clearly a jackpot. However, what truly makes reunification a jackpot is a society where men and women are equal and where woman rights are improved.
According to the ‘2013 Global Gender Gap Report’ released by World Economy Forum(WEF), Korea earned a score of 0.635 and ranked 11th place among 136 countries. In the 4 areas of economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, educational achievement, and political authority, women's scores are only at 64% of men's. In terms of economic participation the figure is lower at 50%, and even lower at 11% for political authority.
Amidst national division, abhorrence and animosity between North and South Korea are continuing, excessive war expenditures are used and social costs are paid by north and south confrontation and conflict among South Koreans. In particular, women are hard to find in areas of peace, reunification and national defense. Women’s ratio among high-ranking policy decision-makers is low, gender budget is small and gender-sensitive perspective is not integrated into the policies. There is gender gap in the domain of peace and security because dispute and militarization are influencing differently to men and women and especially because poor surroundings are provided to women.
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 … global support towards female participation·gender issues
Against this backdrop, the 'UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women·peace·security’ that was adopted in 2000 is a very crucial resolution to us. Ever since, female participation and gender issues have been receiving massive support globally and embraced widely in the process of peace establishment.
The reason the UN agency and international NGOs took interest in issues of women·peace·security is that globally there are numerous armed disputes happening and these disputes are affecting men and women differently. Many women and girls became victims of rape, sex slavery, forced pregnancy and sexual violence during wars of Sierra Leone, Congo and Bosnia. Women’s organizations and female activists who witnessed these women’s experience and anguish are pushing forward the UN Security Council resolution about armed disputes and women.
This resolution is connecting women and gender-sensitive perspective to every side of the process of peace. It acknowledges the significance of women’s participation in the process of establishing peace and preventing, managing and solving conflict and demands to choose a gender-sensitive perspective in the peace process of prevention of sexual violence and dispute and protecting women’s rights.
In particular, the resolution stipulates women’s participation in the peace process and policy decisions relating to peace and security by understanding women as not only victims of conflicts but also as peace makers. The adoption of SCR 1325 is fruit of women’s organizations’ struggle. For more than 20 years women’s organizations recognized women’s role in the process of peace and demanded fields of peace and security to integrate a gender-sensitive perspective. The UN has approved this.
Moreover, the leverage that the resolution can exercise in an international standard is great in the sense that according to the Charter of the UN chapter 25, the UN members must accept and implement this. For the implementation of SCR 1325, the UN is executing a plan for action, in Europe, West Africa and the Pacific area, a community action agenda was developed and currently 43 countries in the world chose the National Action Plan for SCR 1325.
A strong government will to carry out the National Action Plan is needed
February 2012, the Korean National Assembly passed a ‘National Action Plan establishment demand resolution consequential to the UN Security Council Resolution 1325’. The 4th Korean Women Policy Master Plan included the National Action Plan for SCR 1325 development as a small task. Accordingly, the Korean government is making a ‘National Action Plan on implementing the SCR 1325’.
As a divided nation, Korea must push ahead with reunification and settling peace on the Korean peninsula and promoting women’s rights. In addition, Korea must play an active role in consolidating gender equality and rights for women of countries that are non-permanent members of the Security Council, UN peacekeeping troop contributing countries and official development assistance recipient countries.
Korea’s National Action Plan for SCR 1325 is a factor to be primarily considered to effectively boost women’s right improvement and gender equality.
Above all, a strong government will to fulfill the National Action Plan is paramount. Along with the national security strategy, the government must integrate a gender-sensitive perspective in peace·reunification·diplomacy·national defense policies and the Ministry of Unification, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and other related departments must establish a concrete strategy and plan to carry out the resolution. Related departments must nominate experts for SCR 1325 and organize an implementation committee to adjust performance among government ministries.
Second, issues of women, peace and security must be generally considered and women’s participation expanded. Women’s roles in Korea’s state division, establishment of peace, maintenance of peace, development cooperation and other reunification processes must be acknowledged. Women are performers that must be protected from sexual violence, and they should be able to participate in policy decisions as peace makers.
For this, the government and women’s organizations must cooperate in the process of establishing and executing the National Action Plan. Cooperation between the government and women’s organizations must be institutionalized for women’s roles to be reinforced in areas of peace, security and international cooperation, and for women’s demands to be accommodated. The partnership and consultation mechanism established in this process will serve as oil to the wheels of the resolution's performance. As a permanent private public consultative group, government related institutes and women’s organizations must compose a National Action Plan coordinating committee, review, resolve and evaluate the National Action Plan through regular meetings and develop related policies.
As for foreign countries, the government and women’s organizations are cooperating in diverse ways. The Dutch government and civic groups are creating and implementing the National Action Plan as equal partners. Nepal’s government and civil society organization representatives that participate in the country steering committee organized a private public consultative group and are monitoring policy development and the National Action Plan. The US plans to create a consulting mechanism between civil society organizations and ‘policy planning committee among women·peace·security institutes’.
Third, as a damaged country of wartime sexual violence that experienced the Japanese army ‘comfort women’, Korea must take active measures to protect women’s rights due to conflict. Korea must solve the Japanese army comfort women issue, prevent sexual violence, sex trafficking and domestic violence, support victims of women’s rights and adopt intolerance policies towards the assailants. For this, the establishment of soldier’s sex trafficking prevention measures and prevention education, prevention and support for victims of US forces’ human rights abuse and support for North Korean female refugees must be included.
Fourth, women’s organizations and civil society organizations must be supported for the education of the SCR 1325, reinforcement of female peace and leadership and prevention of sexual violence. The government’s support to prevent conflict, form peace and reinforce women’s leadership is importance.
Fifth, index, schedule and budget must be covered. An index that is feasible, measurable and specific must be involved to evaluate the National Action Plan execution. 26 countries among 37 that chose the National Action Plan until 2012 are including an index. A schedule must be compiled for each task, performance must be inspected and budget for the task must be erected. If there are no human services and financial aid for the task, the task cannot be accomplished.
Women’s leadership must be strengthened through female participation
“The exclusion of women is not an issue of what is gained when women are included in the peace process, but an issue of what is lost when their rich experience, creativity and knowledge are excluded from the peace process.” Just like what expert of SCR 1325 Sanam Anderlini said, female participation is crucial.
In the process of establishing and executing the National Action Plan for SCR 1325, women’s active involvement contributes to strengthening female peace leadership. Women’s meaningful participation is not simply an issue of number but an issue of how effectively women can participate, how much access women have in power structure and distribution of wealth, whether they can decide the priority of social development and what kind of difference this participation causes.
In the process of implementing the National Action Plan, women must suggest women’s demands and pursue a new cooperative relation with the government and the National Assembly; they must also have responsibility in monitoring and evaluating the National Action Plan during the process of performing the National Action Plan. Through these processes, women will have an ownership mind regarding the National Action Plan and enthusiastically work for the performance of the National Action Plan.
Furthermore, Korea’s National Action Plan contributes not only to Korean women but also to women of areas where Korea military troops are dispatched and of official development assistance recipient countries to reinforce their abilities and to gender equality. Korea’s support can contribute in making women from failing states to be peace makers.
Until now there are no northeast Asian countries who have established the National Action Plan for SCR 1325. Korea can play a major role by establishing the exemplary National Action Plan and gaining leadership of women·peace·security issues in this region.
In 2015, as the selection of the SCR 1325 reaches its 15th year, the UN is planning a senior-level examination meeting. With this event ahead, the debate on SCR 1325 will become more active globally. The Korean government must push ahead Korea peace process including reconciliation of north and south, cooperation between north and south and formation of trust between north and south. Additionally, the Korean government must conduct‘good governance’ with women’s organizations during the process of establishing and executing the National Action Plan for SCR 1325 and take active measures in converting the Korean society into a more practically gender equal society. Moreover, to fit the global positioning, Korea must consistently maintain international peace and security, prevent and exterminate sexual violence and better the quality of life for women of underdeveloped countries.
As peace makers, women must faithfully carry out their roles as leaders of peace who promote the formation of peace structure in the Korean peninsula and in areas of peace and security, make new structures. In order to achieve sustainable, comprehensive and permanent pace, women must actively participate as subjects of change in the peace process including the implementation of SCR 1325 and check themselves.