Doc. 10478

22 March 2005

Conflict prevention and resolution: the role of women

Recommendation 1665 (2004)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 919th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (16 March 2005)

1.       The Committee of Ministers thanks the Parliamentary Assembly for its Recommendation 1665 (2004) on conflict prevention and resolution: the role of women and Resolution 1385 (2004) on the role played by women in preventing and resolving conflicts, and in the post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation process, to which the Recommendation refers. It endorses the Assembly's view that, given that women are the main civilian victims of conflicts, they should be empowered to act and should be involved in conflict prevention and resolution initiatives.

2.       The Committee of Ministers welcomes the Assembly's support for the implementation of the Resolution on the roles of women and men in conflict prevention, peace building and post-conflict democratic processes – a gender perspective, adopted at the 5th European Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men, in Skopje in January 2003. It acknowledges that it is important to foster the involvement of women in discussions and decision-making, particularly in the area of conflict prevention and resolution. The implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy, particularly in areas related to conflict prevention, reconstruction and peace building must therefore be supported.

3.        The Committee of Ministers would remind the Assembly in this connection that, pursuant to its Recommendation Rec(2003)3 on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making and the Resolution from the 5th European Ministerial Conference mentioned above, it has taken the following steps, through the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG), to improve the participation of women in public life and politics, particularly in the area of conflict prevention and resolution:

3.1       the creation of a Group of Specialists on the role of women and men in the intercultural and interreligious dialogue for conflict prevention, peace building and democratisation, responsible, inter alia, for collecting examples of good practice regarding women's conflict prevention and resolution initiatives;

3.2       the organisation of a seminar in October 2004 on women in diplomacy, which discussed, among other things, the role of women diplomats in conflict prevention and resolution;

3.3       the inclusion in the 2005 Programme of Activities of the preparation of a recommendation on the role of women and men in conflict prevention, resolution and peace building. The points and proposals made by the Assembly in its Recommendation 1665 and Resolution 1385 (2004) will make an important contribution to this work.

4.       The Committee of Ministers encourages the Congress to continue with its initiatives in the area of equality at local and regional level and would draw attention, in particular, to the work of the Local Democracy Agencies supported by the Council of Europe, which have incorporated gender mainstreaming into their activities in South-East Europe. These Agencies contribute, locally, to peace building, democratic stability and intercultural dialogue. To this end, the Committee of Ministers encourages member states to continue to provide financial support for this programme.

5.       With regard to the necessary measures to be taken to ensure the personal security of applicants to the European Court of Human Rights, especially women applicants and their families, the Committee of Ministers recalls, in line with the Court’s established case-law, that it is of the utmost importance for the effective operation of the system of individual petition instituted by Article 34 of the Convention that applicants should be able to communicate freely with the Court without being subjected to any form of pressure from the authorities to withdraw or modify their complaints. It is for all member states to comply with their obligation in this respect and to take all necessary measures to investigate complaints of hindrance of the exercise of the right of individual petition against both state and non-state actors.

6.       Lastly, the Committee of Ministers assures the Assembly that it will bear its recommendations in mind in the context of preparations for the Third Summit.