IACHR: States must promote women's participation in peace and security strategies

March 8, 2024

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Washington, D.C. - On International Women's Day, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) recognizes that the full participation of women in security and crisis management policies is essential to curb the violence they face on a daily basis, which is heightened in crisis contexts. In this regard, it urges States to promote the participation and leadership of women in the construction, implementation and evaluation of crime prevention and reduction policies, as well as strategies to address and overcome crisis situations.

Women's participation in public affairs is not only a right protected by the Belém Do Pará Convention, but is crucial to the success of any state initiative, such as security strategies and addressing crisis situations. Their participation is necessary so that their specific priorities and protection needs are reflected in these policies, which in turn favors the achievement of crime, violence, and conflict prevention and reduction objectives.

In the report Impact of organized crime on women, girls and adolescents, the Commission has indicated that no security objective can be achieved if the differentiated causes and consequences of gender-based violence against women are not taken into account. This is based on the understanding that this is a structural problem that is based on discriminatory gender patterns, rooted in a patriarchal and macho culture. Thus, violence is always present in women's lives and is aggravated in crisis contexts, such as armed conflicts, insecurity, health crises, among others.

Therefore, the participation of women in the construction of citizen security strategies, and those related to crisis management and resolution, is crucial to adequately address the differentiated causes and consequences of gender-based violence against women, both in ordinary and crisis contexts. However, in the region, security policies, especially in the fight against organized crime, have not adequately integrated the risk factors and protection needs that specifically concern women. Likewise, despite their active participation in crisis management and resolution - such as armed conflicts and health crises - their participation in formal decision-making spaces remains limited.

Therefore, the Commission urges the States of the region to create and institutionalize spaces that guarantee the participation of women in the construction of citizen security policies and in addressing crisis situations, at all levels of decision-making and at all stages. Promoting women's participation and leadership in the construction, execution and evaluation of these policies is not only part of the obligation to guarantee the formal and real equality of women in public life, but also has a multiplier effect to achieve equal rights in all areas relevant to gender equality.

The IACHR is a principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission is mandated to promote the observance of human rights in the region and to act as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 049/24

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