The Australian Government, in partnership with UN Women Australia, has launched a groundbreaking documentary and educational toolkit in Canberra today on the topic of women, peace and security.
Launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, the Honourable Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, the documentary, Side by Side: Women, Peace and Security, explains the importance of the women, peace and security agenda and what the international community is doing to support it. Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams, and Executive Director of UN Women Australia, Julie McKay, also spoke at the event.
The documentary, and its accompanying educational toolkit, contributes to the delivery of several strategies and actions in the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-18 and features contributions from the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, peacekeepers, humanitarians, activists, and women who have experienced and survived conflict.
Dr Kelly said the documentary and educational toolkit will play an important part in educating military, police and civilians on the issues they will face when deployed on peace missions in the Asia Pacific region and around the world.
“While the documentary will be of great use in pre-deployment training for military, police and civilians, I also recommend Side by Side to a much wider audience – anyone with an interest in peace operations will be able to use the film and accompanying educational material as a starting point to deepen their understanding of the complexities faced by peacekeepers around the world,” said Dr Kelly.
Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, said the launch was an important step in supporting the National Action Plan that was launched in March this year.
“This documentary and toolkit are great, practical examples of what the Australian Government is doing to protect women’s human rights in conflict zones and promote their participation in peace processes,” Ms Collins said.
“We know that around 90 per cent of casualties in recent conflicts have been civilians, with the majority of victims being women and children.
“The equal status of women must be promoted and respected in all settings if we are to build a society worth living in.”
In 2000, the United Nations Security Council formally recognised the effect of conflict on women and girls with Security Council Resolution 1325.
UNSCR 1325 recognises that the experiences and needs of women and girls differ from those of men and boys in conflict and post-conflict situations, and underlines the essential role of women in conflict prevention, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
“Globally, there is recognition that while women remain a minority of combatants and perpetrators of war, they increasingly suffer the greatest harm. As such, women are crucial agents of change to the effects of conflict at the international, national and local level”, said Ms McKay.
Side by Side was developed in partnership by the Australian Civil-Military Centre and UN Women, alongside the Australian Government Office for Women, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Mission to the United Nations in New York. The development of the educational toolkit was managed by the Australian Government’s Office for Women.
For more information about the documentary, please visit the Australian Civil-Military Centre website at www.acmc.gov.au.
To read the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-18, visit http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/women/publications-articles/government-international/australian-national-action-plan-on-women-peace-and-security-2012-2018
Robbie Rynehart (02) 6277 4840 (Kelly)
Kahlia Beichert 0427 629 691 (Collins)