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Paragraph 144 – Beijing Platform for Action. Chapter IV


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): The Good Men Project

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/11/02

Strategic objective E.2.

Reduce excessive military expenditures and control the availability of armaments

Actions to be taken

144. By Governments:

  1. Consider the ratification of or accession to international instruments containing provisions relative to the protection of women and children in armed conflicts, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949, the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) and to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II);/24
  2. Respect fully the norms of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts and take all measures required for the protection of women and children, in particular against rape, forced prostitution and any other form of indecent assault;
  3. Strengthen the role of women and ensure equal representation of women at all decision-making levels in national and international institutions which may make or influence policy with regard to matters related to peace-keeping, preventive diplomacy and related activities and in all stages of peace mediation and negotiations, taking note of the specific recommendations of the Secretary-General in his strategic plan of action for the improvement of the status of women in the Secretariat (1995-2000) (A/49/587, sect. IV).

Beijing Declaration (1995)

Looking at Paragraph 144 of the Beijing Declaration, one picture remains perfectly consistent with the prior sections, which is the focus on the armaments and the war-time mentality as a problem – and women’s inclusion in the decision-making structures, as some of the prime civilian casualties, as integral to the protection of innocent life.

The first section of the paragraph, (a), focuses on various documents – conventions – of the United Nations with a focus on the protection of civilians during times of war and the Geneva Conventions with the focus on the protection of victims during the international armed conflicts. Same with non-international conflicts. That is to say, in short, the protection of civilian lives during local or global times of warfare, as they’re non-combatants and, therefore, not directly implicated in the war.

For example, if we look at the norms of humanitarian law represented here in regards to the armed conflicts, the protection of women and children is emphasized. In fact, this is important, as increasingly civilians have been killed in armed conflicts. Not only this, the major sufferers on the civilian side are women and children. Thus, the murders or killings happen from mostly combatant men to combatant men to non-combatant women and children in armed conflicts, whether locally or globally.

In addition, there are weapons of war against civilians, including the use of forced prostitution and rape and other forms of “indecent assault.” With the murders of the civilians, obviously, it ends lives. Also, it leads to the traumatization of the leftover civilians who survived, or barely lived through, war times. One may speculate, also, on the manner of change to the mentality of the men who commit atrocities and crimes and violations of international norms.

What becomes of these individuals who may have murdered and maimed and gotten away with it? Only to have the aggressor government permit this for imperial or annexationistic ends, these are some of the issues to keep in mind when considering the issues of combatants and civilians in regards to the Beijing Declaration. It deals with the brutal, the gritty, and the murderous instincts of human beings, trying to figure out what is right and just in the midst of these issues.

Another means by which to ensure the reduction in the problems coming from excess military expenditures and the crimes individual combatants is the improved role as has been oft-repeated – of women in the forces of influence and decision-making, including the better or more equal representation of women in decision-making processes.

Perhaps, this is too idealized. Then another step forward would be the consideration of women as no fewer than 40% of the decision-making processes and men no more than 60%, and vice versa, for thinking several steps ahead in terms of the ideals of gender equality and the realities of any given situation. This setup may provide a context in which the reality and ideality come together in more concrete terms.

A stipulation of equality for men and women in the forces at work here while, in addition, bearing in mind the limitations before, during, and after wartime and then the ways in which this can provide a rule of thumb, a heuristic if you will, for the preservation of the ideality within the context of murder rampages of combatants as aggressors (and defenders).

These contexts of improved relations between genders and the increased equality on grounds of realism can provide a context for a wider range of perspectives for more democratic decision-making trees and, in turn, more perspectives important for peacemaking, as understanding and wide-ranging perspective-taking begets more peace and, thus, more stability for a reduction in war.

–(Updated 2019-08-21, only use the updated listing, please) Not all nations, organizations, societies, or individuals accept the proposals of the United Nations; one can find similar statements in other documents, conventions, declarations and so on, with the subsequent statements of equality or women’s rights, and the important days and campaigns devoted to the rights of women and girls too:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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