The Persistence of Memory

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the United Nations’ General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Sophia Ivarsson at the Swedish National Defence College has done research on gender aspects of peace-keeping and rescue missions. Through her studies, she makes it clear why it is important to continue to develop knowledge of the UN Resolution 1325 and how to implement it. Because it matters where you decide to put your rescue camp, since it can provide protection for women fetching water. Because the decision to clear mines in the woods, in the fields or in the pathways may have a profound impact since men often use the trails whereas women collect sticks in the woods in order to cook food. Because employing local women in the rescue work can have a major influence of the development of the area and of female entrepreneurship. Because women taking part in peace-keeping missions can get access to parts of the society that are hard for men to get into.

The Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Anders Nordström, comments today in a debate article on the lack of Swedish participation in the campaign “16 days of activism against gender crime”. In case you wonder what this is all about, the United Nations Population Fund lists 16 forms of gender-based violence, and it is present in all regions not only the so called developing countries. For those of you who would like to understand more about how violence against women are used as a clear strategy in armed conflicts I recommend the film Intended Consequences, which is in addition to its important message a very good example of multi-media storytelling.

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