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unscr 1325 and Maritime Security

Advancing Women’s Empowerment at Sea

In: Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law Online
Author: Marianthi Pappa
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United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325/ 2000 on Women, Peace and Security (‘unscr 1325’) has been hailed by States, scholars, and organisations concerned with gender equality. It was a major step towards the recognition of the nexus between gender, violence, and security and a beacon of women’s empowerment. Notwithstanding, it is not without contextual limitations. The security sector is faced with challenges that are not covered by the Resolution. These include non- war situations, such as security crises at sea. The rise of threats at sea (such as piracy, maritime terrorism, and irregular migration) has caused a rapid evolution of maritime security strategies. Still, important aspects are missing therefrom. Such is the treatment of gender – and more specifically, women. Despite their increasing presence in the maritime domain, women are not explicitly mentioned in the maritime affairs agenda. An analysis of some of the world’s most progressive maritime security frameworks (national, regional, and organisational) demonstrates that these are primarily concerned with state (rather than human) security and pay little or no attention to gender aspects. What is more, the international laws (the law of the sea, safety and security laws, human rights instruments, and humanitarian law conventions) that might fill this gap take a fragmented and ineffective approach towards women’s interests in the maritime domain. The gender blindness of the maritime sector may ultimately lead to bias against women, threatening gender equality. This article argues that unscr 1325 should be extended to maritime security contexts in order to advance women’s empowerment at sea.

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