The Security Council has the primary responsibility of the maintenance of international peace and security. Its 15 Member States go beyond high-level debates, political boundaries and standard operating procedures to take extraordinary measures in addressing threats to peace and security. It is the UN organ that takes action in international disputes through recommendation of settlements, investigation, and implementation of the legal obligation of all UN Member States.
War and armed conflicts are devastating communities across the world and these have been causing widespread targeting of women and abusing of women’s rights. The international community recognizes that armed conflicts affect men and women differently and this was a stepping-stone in developing gender-based responses to conflict. It paved the way to empowering the role of women in the prevention and ending of conflict, and the rebuilding of communities after conflict or war.
According to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women), it is estimated that almost 90 percent of casualties during wars or conflicts are civilians, and majority of them are children and women. Various forms of violence such as rape, murder, sexual slavery, and forced sterilization are still being committed against women. Given all these circumstances, the international community continues to advance its efforts in order to protect women from abuse and human rights violations and still upholds that women should no longer be the victims of wars, because they have the capacity and potential to bring peace and stability in areas of armed conflict.
There are several international agreements that form a basis for peace building with allowance for gender equality. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and has been a keystone document that serves as a guiding foundation for all international equality policies. It also urges affirmative measures for the promotion of women and active political and legal steps for gender equality. Furthermore, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted in 1995 by 189 UN Member States, made women and armed conflict one of its critical areas of concern. It unequivocally stated that women must participate in decision-making around conflict resolution, and recognized that women have been powerful drivers of peace movements.
For almost two decades, the United Nations has been upholding the protection and rights of women in security issues. The adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (S/RES/1325) stresses the role of women’s equal and full participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace building and peacekeeping. Furthermore, the Security Council also adopted Resolution 1889 (S/RES/1889) that calls for greater representation of women in mediation processes and peace negotiations. It demands that all country reports to the Security Council contain special gender information. UNSC Resolution 1820 (S/RES/1820) emphasizes that sexual violence must be excluded from all amnesty provisions, stresses that government has obligation to criminal prosecution of acts of sexual violence against women and girls. UNSC Resolution 1888 (S/RES/1888) is also adopted in order to strengthen measures in protecting women and girls from sexual violence in armed conflict.
UN Women significantly identified women as key actors of ensuring family and community livelihood, as key figures in peace movements, and as instruments in cultivating peace within conflicts. Women have performed and played variety of roles during and after conflicts and wars; they serve as medical and administrative personnel and also volunteer to become election monitors in their communities. However, the international community seems to neglect the role of women in peace negotiations and policy-making processes on war and peace issues. Women have also not been active in armed forces and are often denied the right to enlist and to be part of their respective national armed forces. The role of women in armed conflict can be observed in their participation in medical and administrative work; however, their skills and possible contribution in conflict resolution are still not given sufficient recognition. This gap calls for the advancement of women’s participation in achieving peace and stability in armed conflicts. The role of women in decision-making processes, peace talks, and other military roles must be given due acknowledgement in order to expedite efforts on war prevention, peace building, peacekeeping, and community rebuilding.
Increasing attention to the role of women in conflict prevention and peace building and women are now being considered by some Member States. Major progress has been made in women’s participation and recognition, however the discussion on advancing the role of women in conflict continues. The delegates of the Security Council need to further discuss the existing challenges of advancing women’s role in peace and stability in fractured communities caused by conflicts and are expected to resolve the following questions:
UN Women (Last updated, 2017) Facts and figures: Ending violence against women. Retrieved from http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures
UN Women (Last updated, 2017) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Overview of the Convention. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/
United Nations (1995) Fourth World Conference on Women Beijing Declaration. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/declar.htm
Office of the Special Adviser on Gender (31 October 2000) Resolution 1325. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/wps/
United Nations Security Council (19 June 2008) Resolution 1820. Retrieved from http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/CAC%20S%20RES%201820.pdf
United Nations Security Council (30 September 2009) Resolution 1888. Retrieved from http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/CAC%20S%20RES%201820.pdf8
The international community has been profoundly seeking measures to stop terrorist and criminal organizations’ mobilization of its illegal operations. The size and scope of these operations include assassinations, sabotage, smuggling, private armies, and other illicit services and in return, customers provide funding and protection for these entities. Terrorist and criminal networks are able to do what States cannot do legally, and the demand for such activities to carry out personal or national interests are still present today. Availing the services of terrorist networks are not limited States but also to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other non-state actors.
The Finnish Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) paid $72,000 to unify the Hamas and Fatah parties under the cover of holding negotiations. Furthermore, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO monitor confirmed that taxpayers’ money and funds from State treasuries invested into these NGOs are unsupervised and are compromised by these terrorist organizations. This results in terrorist groups to have advanced weaponry, increased frequency of attacks, and resources than militaries themselves, further destabilizing regions using methods varying on the amount of money they will use to initiate the attack.
DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS
The tragedy that gripped the United States and the international community in fear is what made the world take notice of grave challenges posed by terrorist networks and prompted an immediate call for action. The terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda was responsible for launching the attack and initiating these operations involves money, purchasing information, equipment, and people. The U.S. department of treasury launched investigations and task forces such as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) that submitted terrorist-related only information to be reviewed by U.S. intelligence operatives. Through this, intelligence operatives were able to track down investors such as Muslim Aid in London, Global Relief Foundation in the United States, and the Afghan Support Committee in Afghanistan.
Moreover, law enforcement and financial institutions froze their assets to halt support for terrorist organizations. These efforts were under the mandate of the United Nations Participation Act and are a securitizing action through the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
The terrorist attacks in Paris last November 2015 was the first terrorist operations wherein such groups have managed to circumvent the current anti-terrorist financing mechanisms of the international community. The Islamic State was able to bypass security measures through wiring small amounts of money, avoiding the minimum amount of transaction that will be investigated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). As a result, both cases emphasize the need for information sharing among states and the banking and financial sector on terror finance, corruption and, trade-based laundering, affirming the need for renewed policies that will encompass even micro-level transactions.
As a core policy of the Measures To Eliminate International Terrorism (A/RES/49/60), suppression of terrorist financing continues to be a primary concern within the international community. In addition, Member States have ratified the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. A majority of the Member States adhere to the regulations of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009. Based on the guidelines set forth by the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999), the international community stands firm on its efforts to eliminate financial sources for terrorism and criminalize all forms of terrorist funding.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the UNSC recognizes terrorism financing as a transboundary threat that undermines national security and financial market stability due to the impact of the ‘Black Market’ and other economic illegal activities, especially oil field control. The delegates should be aware of the guiding provisions of the UNSC Resolution 1373 (S/RES/1373) and UNSC Resolution 1264 (S/RES/1264) to strengthen UN Member State’s defense against terrorist activities to gain a glimpse of the action being done by the UNSC.
To combat financing of terrorism, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) cooperates with Member States in assessing and targeting resources of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF’s) as well as other dangerous Violent Non-State Actors. Terrorists resort to criminal activities in order to finance their operations, which involve drug trafficking, extortion and seizing oil production in the Middle East. The complexity of tracking down these operations evolve with technology. Furthermore, each State has different methods in addressing terrorist financing, delegates should be ready to innovate to effectively adapt in responding to the issue. Lastly, delegates should go beyond the existing international authorities of financing terrorism and develop their own recommendations that encompass and adapt with the shifting trends. With this, delegates of the Security Council are in need to discuss the following:
U.S. Department of Treasury (2016, 15 March) Terrorist Financing Tracking Program. Retrieved from https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/terrorist-illicit-finance/Terrorist-Finance-Tracking/Pages/tftp.aspx
Financial Action Task Force/OECD (2015) Financing of Terrorist Organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Retrieved from http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financing-of-the-terrorist-organisation-ISIL.pdf
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2015, November) Drug Trafficking and Financing of Terrorism. Retrieved from
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2012) Countering Terrorist Financing. Retrieved from
United Nations Security Council Counter Terrorism Committtee (2016, 15 April): Paris attacks showed role of small transactions in terror finance; UN meeting hears. Retrieved from
United Nations Security Council (2001, 28 September) Resolution 1373. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/sc/ctc/specialmeetings/2012/docs/United%20Nations%20Security%20Council%20Resolution%201373%20(2001).pdf
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2016, February) Terrorism, Corruption and the Criminal Exploitation of Natural Resources. Retrieved from
United Nations Security Council (1999, 15 September) Resolution 1264. Retrieved from http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/Chap%20VII%20SRES%201264.pdf