Brussels Declaration on Actions towards Empowering Women in Conflicts

Following the ‘Women in Conflicts’ event on 9 June 2022, its co-hosts, European Council President Charles Michel, UN Women, Nadia’s Initiative and the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation issued a joint declaration:

  1. Given the growing number of violent conflicts across the world, with recurring breaches of international law, including the UN Charter and international humanitarian law, as well as widespread human rights violations and abuses, we reaffirm our commitment to protect and empower women and girls in conflict-related situations.
  2. We recall that women not only contribute substantially to conflict prevention and resolution, as well as long-term peacebuilding, but also continue to be particularly affected by conflict situations, whether as civilians in directly affected areas, as refugees and internally displaced persons, or as persons directly targeted in the context of conflict.
  3. We strongly condemn all violations of international law committed against women and girls in conflict-related situations and demand that all parties to conflicts ensure that such acts cease immediately.
  4. In this respect, we are horrified by the testimonies and reports of gender-based violence, including conflict-related sexual violence and rape, perpetrated against women and girls in Ukraine as well as in different conflict and post-conflict situations including Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DRC, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, Sudan, Syria and elsewhere.
  5. We emphasise that all States have the responsibility to ensure the availability of holistic care for the survivors, to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for violence against women and girls in conflicts-related situations, including rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence. All States must prevent and address conflict-related sexual violence, protect and support survivors, and bring perpetrators to justice.
  6. We support the full implementation of the international legal frameworks and initiatives to strengthen legal procedures to address conflict-related sexual violence, notably through the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court.
  7. We are committed to the full, effective, and accelerated implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, which consists of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and all its follow-up resolutions. We will ensure that the WPS Agenda is fully integrated into all our efforts in support of sustainable peace, security, human rights, justice, and development, in the context of our cooperation with other regional and international organisations, including active signatories to the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action.
  8. We will support the empowerment of women and girls as critical agents for conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution, relief and recovery, and long-term peacebuilding.
  9. We will continue to integrate a gender perspective into all policies, including foreign and security policy. Equally, we will promote initiatives to address structural obstacles to women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation and contribution to conflict resolution and long-term peacebuilding.
  10. We will support strengthening the role of women at all decision-making levels in all relevant national, regional, and international institutions working on matters related to peace and security, including peace-keeping and crisis-management, preventive diplomacy and related activities and in all stages of peace-mediation and negotiation.
  11. We will stimulate the participation and leadership of civil society, especially local, grassroots, women-led, feminist organisations, girls- and youth-led organisations, women peacebuilders and mediators, and women human rights defenders in all prevention and response efforts, including through the provision of sustained and reliable funding to these actors.
  12. We are committed to investing in security and protection with a survivor-centred approach in order to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence and post-conflict situations, and ensure accessible and quality assistance for the survivors of sexual violence, as well as their children, family members and other witnesses, including access to psychosocial and legal services, socioeconomic services as well as to sexual and reproductive health and rights, with sufficient and expeditious provision of relief and reintegration support.
  13. We commit to putting in place risk mitigation measures to combat the crime of trafficking in persons, in particular of women and girls, including for purposes of sexual exploitation or involving other forms of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.
  14. We will support States in conflict and post-conflict situations in designing and implementing transitional justice strategies to ensure access to justice for survivors and victims and their access to adequate, effective, prompt and appropriate remedies, including reparation.
  15. We welcome survivors-led initiatives like the Kinshasa Declaration or the Murad Code for the ethical gathering and using of information about conflict-related sexual violence.
  16. We are committed to keep working with survivors and victims, local communities, the international community and international organizations to strengthen joint efforts to protect and promote the rights of women and girls in conflict-related situations and ensure their empowerment.