Re-thinking the ‘Normative’ in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: Perspectives from Sri Lanka


Singh, Shweta. 2017. "Re-thinking the ‘Normative’ in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: Perspectives from Sri Lanka." Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 4 (2): 219-38.

Author: Shweta Singh


This article asserts the need to re-think the ‘normative’ in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) from the standpoint of the ‘local’, in this case Sri Lanka. It argues that UNSCR 1325 needs to be situated within the larger discourse on international norms, and challenges to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in varied ‘local’ contexts can be evaluated through the theoretical frameworks provided by existing literature on norms diffusion. I put forward three main arguments: First, the need to go beyond the neat classification of contexts as ‘conflict’ and ‘post-conflict’; second, the need to problematize gender as homogenous and women as coherent stable category of analysis; and third, to look beyond women as victims or agents. I argue that women in post-war Sri Lanka can more aptly be classified as controlled actors as women’s agency is structurally and culturally controlled, which inhibits their capacity to act or perform. In conclusion, I posit that Sri Lanka not only presents a strong case for the localization of the ‘normative’ in UNSCR 1325 but also provides justification for a three-level bottom-up analysis (local, regional and international) to comprehensively understand why UNSCR 1325 fails or succeeds to influence state behaviour.

Keywords: United Nations Security Council 1325, gender norms, norm diffusion, post-war Sri Lanka, controlled actors

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, International Organizations, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2017

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