Former Flag Officer Seminar on Gender Perspectives, now Key Leader Seminar on Gender Perspectives in Military Operations was conducted at the National Defence College in Stockholm. The participants were high rank officers from Germany, Italy, Denmark, Finland,Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden, all keen on learning more on implementing UN security council resolution 1325 and gender perspectives in military operations on operational and strategic level.
The lectures were a blend of theory and practical examples, in order to highlight the importance of working with women and men in the area of responsibility. All of the participants could share examples from different missions where applying a gender perspective made a big difference, both for own force protection as well as creating a safe and secure environment for the local population. During the second and last day of the seminar this years focus theme was presented, Conflict Related Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
- “Working from a gender perspective was essential for my work in Afghanistan and Iraq, and will be in future missions also” said Major General Luciano Portolano, Deputy Chief of Staff at Joint Operations Headquarters in Rome.“Working together with local organisations in the mission area was vital for success, especially women’s organisations. This provided us not only with greater situation awareness but also increased our force protection. Fundamental for this to take place is having female officers within our own forces, as we could not reach the female population”.
Experts from the International Criminal Court in The Hague, NATO SHAPE in Mons, the Folke Bernadotte Academy as well as the Swedish Armed Forces could share their knowledge of the topic. Regarding on how the military can assist the fight against impunity MsBrigidInder, Executive Director Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court recommended the commanders to speak up about sexual violence in conflict:
“Raise the issue of sexual violence with the responsible armed groups in the area of mission, it puts them on notice. This will also help domestic and international prosecution in the future, and establish they had knowledge these crimes were occurring”.
The seminar is an annual event with the next scheduled for 15th-16th June 2015.