Role of NGOs in the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and National Action Planning

 

Hyun Back Chung

 

 

February 24th, 2011

 

 

 

Let us women take the initiative in making peace!

 

I would like to thank everyone for participating in this special event, with your interests in the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and realization of peace for sustainable development. I also would like to extend the sincere gratitude to Congresswomen Choi Young Hee for all her support, financial as well as administrative support, to make this meeting possible. And my special thanks to Cora Weiss, Ms. Linda J. Yarr and Narae Lee for working out all the details to have this meeting in New York.

 

I am here today to present on the role of Korean women’s movement on the realization of peace and lay upon you our demands for the establishment of a peace system in Northeast Asia. We women believed that we needed to take the first step in realizing peace when tensions escalated in Korea and peace was at stake not only on the Korean peninsula but also in Northeast Asia. When North Korea’s nuclear weapons program came into the spotlight in 2003, a multilateral approach was used to resolve this issue with South Korea, North Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia coming together for the Six Party Talks. And we women watched these Six Party Talks with high hopes and big expectations. However, we did not see women in these talks anywhere, despite the recommendations in UNSCR 1325. Moreover, with each nation being focus on its own interest, these talks did not progress but went into a long hiatus.

 

This was why women’s NGOs got together for “Women’s Six Party Talks” to find ways to understand the situation in Northeast Asia better and realize peace, while implement UNSCR 1325 at the same time. South Korean representatives visited Russia, Japan, the US, China, and North Korea to let them know that we are pursuing to hold the Women’s Six Party Talks and ask them for their participation. The first Northeast Asian Women’s Peace Conference was held in September 2008 in Seoul with women leaders from the five countries participating.

 

The second conference was held in October 2009 in the US at the George Washington University in collaboration with the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. Soon followed a strategy meeting to prepare a statement elucidating our position and this statement was delivered to the US Congress and the US Department of State.

 

This series of activities laid the framework of the Northeast Asian Women’s Peace Conference, now an international women’s conference, promoting peace in Northeast Asia and highlighted the importance of women’s participation in realizing peace in the region. And we women should laud ourselves for these important activities because this annual women’s conference opened up in window for sustainable cooperation and network among peace and women’s movement organizations in Russia, the US, Japan and China.

 

International understanding and cooperation are very important in achieving peace in Northeast Asia. And I believe that solidarity among solidarity among international women can be the starting point in the process of realizing a peaceful future. This is why we must continue on with our conference and carry out our agenda.

 

During the second conference, Ms. Melanne Verveer who had been appointed by President Obama as Ambassador at large for Global Women’s issues gave a lecture and participated in discussions. When Ambassador Verveer visited Korea in the same year, she met leaders of Korean’s women’s movement and asked us to propose a specific action plan toward the implementation of UNSCR 1325. And I believe that Korean women’s activities would affect positively toward the recent movement in the US, trying to set up a national action plan for the implementation for this resolution.

 

The third Northeast Asian Women’s Peace Conference in Seoul in 2010 was significant in that the delegation from Northern Ireland participated to share their history and experience in archiving peace through 15-party meetings by overcoming long struggle and hatred. We were able to listen to the vivid stories of women playing decisive roles during the process of peace negotiations and learn knowhow on how women conducted themselves during the process.

 

I know some of you may wonder why “Women’s Six Party Talks” assumed the new name “Northeast Asian Women’s Peace Conference”. It was partly because North Korean delegates could no longer participate in the conference after 2008. Despite the fact the Korean Women’s Associations United and Women Making Peace continued exchanges and cooperation for more than a decade and visited the North in several occasions, the Inter-Korean relationship deteriorated dramatically in the recent four years and South-North are now almost non-existent. North Korean women could not participate in the conference because of the external and political factors. And this was why we had no choice but to change the name. Another factor is that “Women’s Six Party Talks” is not only symbolic but peace in Northeast Asia is directly linked with global peace. And limiting the participating countries into six would also limit the scope of the extensive network of international solidarity among women.

 

The question that we need to ask now is what can we women do to make peace? The South Korean government has laid out “the grand bargaining” or “package deal” in resolving North Korea’s nuclear program, in which the government advocated that it would grant North Korea economic aid and guarantee security if the North were to abandon the nuclear program. However, we know it is not attainable. This approach already used by the Bush administration has been proven to be ineffective and cannot be realized because of the distrust that has accumulated in inter-Korean as well as US-DPRK relations in recent years. Although there are some forecasting the collapse of the North Korean regime, in reality, nobody can be sure on this issue. Rather, North Korea might develop its nuclear program further while the world waits for the regime’s collapse. On the other hand, we know that many changes have taken place within North Korea after the implementation of the Sunshine Policy especially through various cooperative programs. Furthermore, the North’s collapse might bring about more tensions in Northeast Asia, rather than reducing them, by stirring up the surrounding big countries such China and Russia.

 

We women believe that maintaining the status quo through escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula is not the practical is not the practical way of resolving conflicts in Northeast Asia and can even turn the North into an official nuclear weapons state.

 

We hope that the international society would not abandon the proven and possible way of discipline North Korea. The US with President Obama supporting a nuclear weapons free world and the chairing country of Six Party Talks, China, will all want the Six Party Talks to continue, and North Korea has also requested to resume the talks. The six parties already agreed to establish working groups for peace and negotiate a permanent peace system would not be that difficult. If we were to utilize what we have achieved in the past, we can actually implement this peace system without much problem. The Six Party talks countries probably need to go back to the past six party frameworks. And we women ask the international society including the UN to actively support the efforts toward finding solutions to establish a peace system. If the Six Party talks were to resume, we could seek various mediating ways and come up with alternatives that everyone can agree on.

 

South Korea is one of the leading countries on the world for having various means of on-line communications. Through the internet many people of Korea agree to embrace North Korea and communicate and cooperate with the North Korean women have experienced the bitter pain of the war and the division. There should not be any more war. And we women despise militarism that continues confrontations and escalates arms race in the divided nation.

 

We women in South Korea demand that actual humanitarian aid to the North to resume. Humanitarian aid must be treated separately from political negotiations. We demand this aid to resume immediately because we know how much suffering children and pregnant women in the North have to endure.

 

We demand South Korea and each nation to set up a national action plan toward the implementation of UNSCR 1325. We demand women’s participation in delegations as well as working and observer groups in the process of multilateral negotiations. Lastly, we demand that the international society to recognize the importance of Track II as well as women’s NGO activities supporting the Six Party talks, and establish a “women’s conference for six party talks”.

 

International solidarity is essential in this era of globalization in finding ways to avoid war, attain peace and achieve sustainable development. We request women in the world to join in our efforts to realize peace in Northeast Asia. And tell us women expand the international peace network for these goals!

 

(사)평화를만드는여성회

서울특별시 영등포구 국회대로 55길 6, 401호 (02) 929-4846~47 FAX: (02) 929-4843 하나은행 388-810005-03104 국민은행 347-01-0018-351 (예금주 : 평화여성회)
© peacewomen.or.kr. all rights reserved.
XE Login