Launch of the Women, Peace and Security Impact Group

On Tuesday 13 February, Geneva-based Champions launched a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Impact Group with the objective of strengthening cooperation and implementation of the WPS Agenda in Geneva. On this occasion, members of the group as well as the wider IGC community gathered at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy for an event on 'Prioritising Women, Peace and Security: Gender Persecution as a Crime against Humanity - A Geneva Security Debate'.

The event opened with remarks from the co-chairs of the Impact Group – Ambassador Thomas Greminger, Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). This was followed by inputs from several members of the Impact Group, including Phil Lynch of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Esther Dingemans of the Global Survivors Fund (GSF), Ambassador Claudia Fuentes Julio, Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations in Geneva, Catherine Marchi-Uhel of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism on Syria (IIIM) and Ambassador Nathalie Chuard of the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF). Each highlighted the relevance of the WPS Agenda to their work in Geneva and the importance of establishing an Impact Group to advance it.

Subsequently, Adriana Quiñones, Head of Human Rights and Development and Deputy Head of the UN Women Geneva Office, elaborated on the Global Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA Compact) – which the Impact Group will seek to support by encouraging more actors to become signatories. Samuel Emonet, Executive Director of Justice Rapid Response, emphasised that accountability for the crime of gender persecution can only be achieved if a gender-sensitive and gender-responsive approach is adopted during the investigation and throughout the justice process.

Finally, Professor Valerie Oosterveld, Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), discussed what the crime of gender persecution entails, how it is being used in different cases, and the implications of the upcoming ICC ruling in the case of Prosecutor v Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mahomed Ag Mahmoud. The Al Hassan case represents the ICC’s first-ever prosecution of the crime against humanity of persecution on grounds of gender, found in Article 7(1)(g) of the ICC’s Rome Statute. 

For more information on the Impact Group’s objectives, click here.