UN Resolution 1325, adopted by the Security Council in October 2000, highlights the particular vulnerability of women in situations of armed conflict. The contents of Resolution 1325 have been taken on board by my Department, especially in its humanitarian policy on emergency response. The ongoing and widespread exploitation and gender based violence perpetrated against women and girls in situations of conflict is a matter of grave concern. Development Co-operation Ireland is currently working with Amnesty International and other NGOs in Ireland to support strategic initiatives aimed at ensuring that violence against women in conflict is given priority both in policy and programming.
Ireland has a strong commitment to gender equality in its overseas development programme generally. Gender is a cross-cutting priority in the policies and strategies guiding the development programme. Last month, a gender equality policy was launched by Development Co-operation Ireland, the Government's official programme of development assistance. This policy emphasises three areas for the advancement of gender equality: full achievement of human rights; equal access to resources and services; and equal participation in political and economic decision-making. Each of these areas is applicable to situations of conflict.
I am also committed to ensuring that our development partners are signatories to best practice policies and codes so as to mainstream gender in the provision of water, sanitation, food aid, shelter and health. Ireland endorses the code of conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and NGOs in disaster relief, which outlines the principles that govern humanitarian action and asserts the rights of populations to protection and assistance. Ireland works closely with a broad range of civil society organisations, including NGOs, in developing a full understanding of the gender specific needs of both men and women in crisis and conflict situations.