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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Government Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

The Australian Government is seeking input from all Australians on the development of a national plan to give women and girls greater protection in conflict and a more prominent role in preventing and resolving conflict.

The Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, today launched the Draft Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security at Parliament House in Canberra.

The Draft National Action Plan responds to a call from the United Nations Secretary-General for all UN Member States to develop National Action Plans to better implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).

UNSCR 1325 is the first Security Council Resolution to address the disproportionate impact of war and armed conflict on women and girls, and highlights the critical role women play in achieving conflict resolution and peace.

“The UN estimates that seventy-five percent of the estimated 60 million people currently displaced by conflict and disasters around the world are women and children, and this leaves them vulnerable to high rates of sexual violence and abuse”, Ms Ellis said.

However, the involvement of women decision-making and peace-building can help lay a solid foundation for sustainable peace and security.

“For Australian peace and security operations to be fully effective, women must participate in decision-making processes, and the rights of women and girls in conflict must be protected,” Ms Ellis said.

“This is why the Australian Government is seeking input from the public about the National Action Plan, and how we can strengthen this country’s commitment to implement UNSCR 1325.”

The National Action Plan will improve the ability of Government agencies to integrate gender equality in all peace and security efforts, as well as support work to eliminate violence against women in situations of armed conflict.

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon said Defence is supporting the National Action Plan and is committed to promoting the role of Australian women in peacekeeping and peace building.

“Almost 350 women are serving in Australian Defence Force operations overseas, proudly wearing the uniform of Navy, Army and Air Force and putting their lives on the line for their country.

“Across our forces women are performing roles from medical support in Afghanistan, providing maritime security and tackling piracy or peacekeeping efforts supporting our Pacific neighbours.

“In April this year the Australian Government announced it would bring forward its implementation plan to allow employment of ADF women in all categories including combat roles.

“Defence has also commenced a series of reviews into aspects of ADF and Departmental culture to help drive cultural change in the treatment of women in the ADF and to make changes where necessary,” Mr Snowdon said.

The Final National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security will ensure that the protection and participation of women will be an integral part of Australia’s peace and security work.

“Australia is committed to developing a comprehensive approach to peace and security issues which recognises that armed conflict affects men and women in different ways,” Ms Ellis said.

For more information, please visit http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/women/pubs/govtint/action_plan_women_peace/Pages/default.aspx.