Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) today introduced bicameral and bipartisan legislation to strengthen the U.S. and international efforts resolve to include women in decision-making and protect them from the most heinous war-zone crimes. By supporting the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, this bill will help reverse a trend in which a growing number of conflicts settled by peace accord are restarted within five years.
During the second half of the 20th century, approximately a quarter of conflicts that ended in a peace agreement resumed within five years; while in the 1990s, this was true of nearly half of the conflicts resolved by an accord. Among the most significant factors contributing to this poor success rate is the lack of meaningful civil society participants, especially women.
"Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by violence, humanitarian emergencies, and natural disasters," said Rep. Carnahan. "Also becoming increasing clear is that women can play a critical role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. In recent armed conflicts in Liberia and Northern Ireland, as well as many others, women have driven the peace movements that eventually resulted in both sides laying down their arms and seeking non-violent solution. The bottom line is that countries are far more likely to be prosperous and stable when the full range of the population -- meaning women especially -- are involved in governance, transitions, and negotiation processes in meaningful ways."
The Women, Peace and Security Act will not only help protect women and girls from exploitation and violence, but also will promote the active and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of conflict prevention, management, and resolution by integrating the perspectives and interests of affected women into conflict-prevention activities and strategies. It will also promote the physical safety, economic security, and dignity of women and girls while supporting access to aid distribution mechanisms and services. Finally, the Act provides for the ability to monitor, analyze, and evaluate implementation efforts.
Representatives Howard Berman, Jan Schakowsky, and 11 additional House Members joined Representative Carnahan in introducing the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2012, while Senators Barbara Boxer and Kay Bailey Hutchison offered companion legislation in the Senate.