Germany in the United Nations Security Council - Part 1

Women, peace and security

Greater political participation for women and better protection against sexual violence in conflict-affected regions, in addition to better protection for girls and women in general – these are the central issues that Germany aims to address during its membership of the United Nations Security Council. Germany will assume the presidency of the Security Council in April 2019.

The German government is thus underlining the importance of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and making the implementation of this resolution a core concern of Germany within the United Nations.

Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and the relevant follow-on resolutions aim to achieve the equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts as well as in peace building and peace keeping. The UN member states also reaffirm their will to protect women and girls, as well as boys and men, from sexual violence in situations of armed conflict.

For women’s political participation

The German government is working to have women more involved in international peace processes.

Germany will, for instance, co-chair the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security. This group analyses the situation of women in individual countries and makes recommendations on how Resolution 1325 can be better implemented in each case. January 2019 saw the first informal meeting on the situation of women in North Africa and the Middle East.

As host of an event to mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325, Germany also wants to encourage other UN member states to make concrete undertakings to involve women in peace processes.

Against gender-based violence

A core concern of Germany is to prevent, combat and investigate gender-based violence more specifically and more comprehensively worldwide. To this end, the German government has planned a series of different measures. The traditional open Security Council debate on sexual violence will, for instance, be held in April during the German presidency. In this context, the German government is working for a resolution on better prevention, combating and investigation of sexual violence in the context of conflicts. Germany wants to see a more robust mandate accorded to the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. In addition, the investigation of cases of sexual violence by the UN Security Council are to be more strictly reviewed and made more victim-oriented.

Resolution 1325 at national level

For the national implementation of Resolution 1325, in 2017 the German Cabinet adopted the National Action Plan II, or NAP II, which covers the period 2017 to 2020. In the Action Plan the German government undertakes to introduce a large number of measures, including enhancing the protection offered under German criminal law, also with respect to gender-based violence.

One particularly positive example is the state of Baden-Württemberg’s programme to take in particularly vulnerable women and children from northern Iraq. On the basis of this programme, Baden-Württemberg has taken in more than 1,100 women and children, most of them Yazidi, persecuted by the troops of the terrorists of the "Islamic State".

The Yazidis are a religious minority, some of whom live in Iraq.  They suffered massive persecution as the so-called Islamic State advanced. Many of the victims were women and girls. The United Nations has, for instance, reported that Yazidi women have been abducted, raped and mutilated. A total of over 5,000 women and girls have been taken hostage, raped, forced into marriage, sold as slaves or murdered. 

Within the scope of its extensive engagement in Iraq, Germany supports the Yazidis in the country who are affected by IS terrorists. Since 2014, the Federal Republic of Germany has provided over 1.5 billion euros for aid measures, making it one of the largest international donors.

Networks for peace

To forge ahead with women’s political participation and ensure better protection against sexual violence, Germany is actively engaged in a number of networks at EU and international level.

Germany is, for instance, a member of the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network (FPN). This network, founded in 2016, brings together more than 80 states and regional organisations. Its goal is to share ideas on how to implement Resolution 1325.

The German government also provides financial and political support to the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), which it helped found in 2017 along with UN Women and the African Union. The network aims to strengthen the leadership role of women in Africa’s transformation.

The United Nations Security Council is the highest body of the United Nations. Its goal is to preserve world peace and ensure international security. The Security Council has five permanent members (USA, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France) and ten non-permanent members, which are elected for a period of two years.  Germany has been a non-permanent member of the Security Council since 1 January 2019 – a good opportunity to run a short series of articles reporting on the goals Germany has set itself within the United Nations.

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