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News | Sept. 22, 2021

USNORTHCOM and U.S. institutes deliver training to Mexican Army and Mexican Navy with focus on women, peace and security

By U.S. Northern Command U.S. Northern Command

Gender advisors from U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Army North and the U.S. Office of Defense Coordination in Mexico City joined a team from the U.S. Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) to deliver Women, Peace, and Security focused training to lawyers and emerging leaders in the Mexican Army and Air Force (SEDENA) and Mexican Navy and Marines (SEMAR) Aug. 1 – 13 in Mexico City.

The course was the institute’s first adaptation of its International Humanitarian Law training into an event focused specifically on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

DIILS is the lead DoD security cooperation resource for global legal engagement and capacity-building with international defense sector officials. The bilateral event contributes to the advancement of the Department of Defense's WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan, and advances U.S. Northern Command's Women, Peace and Security Strategy. USNORTHCOM’s WPS strategy focuses on two end states: Exemplifying Diversity; and, Ensuring the Protection, Security, and Human Rights of Women and Girls, especially in conflict and crisis contexts.

Students in both courses engaged on concepts of the legal responsibilities of nation states to investigate, prosecute, punish, and prevent violence against women and other human rights standards in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law.  

Students also learned about inter-American systems, customary, and treaty laws related to human rights, and corresponding regional and state level laws such as those prescribed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women. These laws are the only existing international treaty directed specifically at eliminating violence against women. 

Students also discussed sexual harassment and gender-based violence legal standards and jurisdiction within armed forces when deployed in stability and peace operations.

The course for SEDENA and SEMAR students included a capstone panel discussion including Mexico’s military leadership and gender advocacy representatives as well as U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation representatives to discuss requirements, opportunities, and challenges to implementing Women, Peace, and Security within defense institutions.  

The Mexican Army’s Gender Observatory and Navy’s Human Rights Department Sexual Harassment Office, which investigate cases of sexual and gender-based harassment and assault, presented the work of their roles and offices, programs, services, and accountability processes in their respective services. Students engaged on concepts of jurisdiction and accountability for gender-based violence in conduct of peace operations.

The Government of Mexico is addressing and promoting accountability for human rights violations and sexual misconduct within its institutions, including the military, and in 2021 published its first National Action Plan to address Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on "Women, Peace and Security.”

In addition, Mexico is one of six countries worldwide that has adopted and sought to implement a Feminist Foreign Policy. Most recently, Mexico co-chaired with France the United Nations-led Generation Equality Forum to address issues of gender equality, equal pay, equal share in unpaid work, ending gender-based harassment, and combating all forms of violence against women.