To whom it may concern,
In many places around the world today, the human rights of millions of women and girls are under great threat. The UN Secretary-General reports that “sexual violence continues to be used as a tactic of war, torture, and terrorism amid deepening political and security crises.” Its incidence in peacetime continues at unacceptable levels.
Whilst rhetorical concern gets expressed about sexual violence in conflict, some governments and international organisations appear indifferent towards what is happening to women and girls in wartime, and when their rights are threatened in peacetime. Some are prepared to negotiate with misogynist regimes, while women's human rights defenders face abuse, threats and death.
There is, it seems, a great reluctance and inability to make gender-based violations, abuse and discrimination a central issue in domestic or foreign policy. As a result, it is rarely embedded into development packages or other forms of cooperation and financial support. This regression is happening even when the evidence of violence against women girls, and gender-diverse persons is greater than ever.
Significantly, the last UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) were in 2019. These Resolutions did little more than reaffirm the 1995 Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action. They only had the power to remind states of their primary role in the implementation of WPS Resolutions and their obligations under international law to protect women and girls from gender-based discrimination and violence, prevent its occurrence, and prosecute abusers.
We, the undersigned women Professors at LSE, are deeply concerned that despite over twenty years of WPS agreements, national action plans, advocacy and evidence gathering, we see the international community failing to protect the rights of women and girls, especially those who face additional discrimination such as through racism, indigeneity, sexuality, gender identity, disability, age and class background. It is also deeply concerning to us that there is a continued failure to prevent all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, at all times, whether in conflict or peacetime.
We therefore call on all governments, organisations, and research funding bodies to prioritise finding strategies to reverse this trend, to investigate the deep barriers to achieving meaningful WPS gains, to change attitudes, and to find mechanisms to make international law and global norms stronger, universally adopted, respected and immediately implemented.
Professor Christine Chinkin
Professor Joanna Lewis