The Lawyer

Lorena Fries Monleón is a human rights activist and President of the “Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos y Justicia de Género” in Chile. The zivik Funding Programme supports the project “Women Constituents” that puts gender aspects in the focus of the constitutional process. From 2016 to 2018, Lorena Fries Monleón was Chile’s first Under-Secretary for Human Rights and before that she was the director of the “Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos”.


ifa: The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, on women, peace, and security, acknowledges the unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls and calls for the adoption of a gender perspective in peace processes. What do you think are the opportunities of the resolution and what challenges are connected to it?

Lorena Fries: I believe the opportunities are related not only to resolving conflicts but also fundamentally to preventing them. The implementation of the resolution calls for placing women in the centre of political, social and economic coexistence:  they are indispensable for building and maintaining communities, they have the experience needed to detect situations that may be indicative of contexts that are starting to become more sensitive. An example of this could be an increase in violence in general, more specifically in gender-based violence. Women’s participation in peacebuilding processes and conflict prevention is part of many states’ gender policy.

ifa: All member states of the United Nations are urged to develop their own “National Action Plans” for the implementation of the agenda “women, peace, and security”. Together with UN Women you are working on a more holistic approach to the Resolution 1325. Please briefly summarise your criticism of the National Action Plan in Chile and your vision for a more holistic approach.

Lorena Fries 2020 © Fries

Fries: Chile has limited itself to formulating a plan that focuses on external peace missions and an agenda to improve the role of women in the armed forces and in international peace and security authorities. To a certain degree, this clearly indicates progress. However, we require a plan that makes the gender agenda an integral part inside of the country, in which Chile’s Women’s Ministry plays a central role.

Fries: The plan must emphasise the domestic dynamics, for example the mass protests in autumn 2019 that stimulated a constitutional process. Since this crisis and intensified by the pandemic, the armed forces are playing a main – and not always positive – role in public security issues. Lastly, the sense of a national action plan on this matter implies involving civil society in its formulation and monitoring, an element that was extremely limited in the development of the Third National Plan (“Tercer Plan Nacional”). The experiences of the people who ultimately experience conflicts are essential so that civil society organisations, particularly women’s organisations, adopt and implement the plan.

ifa: Would you say that Resolution 1325 has an impact on your work?

Fries: It could if it had an domestic impact. For example, during the protests on 18 October 2019, “Humanas” requested that the Women’s Ministry act in accordance with the resolution. Together with subsequent resolutions, it provides an important guide for state action. However, this did not occur.


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About the zivik Funding Programme

The zivik Funding Programme supports civil society actors worldwide in preventing crises, transforming conflicts, and creating as well as stabilising peaceful social and political systems. With their commitment, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) complement state actors by providing significant perspectives and activities. The zivik Funding  Programme is providing funding for international, national or local NGO projects, which are dealing with civil conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts.

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Lorena Fries 2020 ©Fries