The UNAOC High Representative’s Remarks
International Women’s Day 2015
March 8, 2015
Good afternoon everyone,
Your Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General
Mrs. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women,
Ms. Chirlane McCray, First Lady of the City of New York
Ms. Kanda Vajrabhya, President of the 59th session of the CSW
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lymah Roberta Gbowee of Liberia
Ms. Anna-Lynn McCord
Mr. Paul Bettany
I am very pleased to be joining this crowd of UN officials, diplomats, New York City Council, women advocates and most importantly all of you who have gathered here today to celebrate International Women’s Day and march in support of women’s rights.
Indeed, as most of the distinguished speakers who had spoken before me said, this year is a significant and crucial year in the promotion of the rights of girls and women across the globe in terms of taking stock of the gains and the gaps since the Beijing Women’s Conference, 20 years ago.
It is rather heartening to look at all of you gathering to march in support of women’s rights including gender equality, the empowerment of women and living free of violence.
Advancing women’s rights and especially ending violence against women is in line with the mission of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations which aims at building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities. We place great emphasis on mutual respect between men and women.
Sadly this is not the case.
Women and girls are the most affected by the different forms of violence and the economic instability associated with armed conflict.
This hinders women’s ability to contribute effectively to the development of their own communities, let alone the repercussions on peace and security.
Mobilizing the collective political will of the international community and encouraging governments to step up their efforts in implementing laws that protect women and penalize their abusers is imperative.
Equally important is changing mindsets in our societies . That’s why educating young boys and girls at school at an early age should become one of the priorities of the national governments.
Education is one of the 4 pillars of the Alliance together with youth, media, and migration. We believe that you, all of you, the young people I see here are the agents of social change.
The change that we want, and the change that we need and that will be conducive to fulfilling women’s rights including ending violence against women.
That’s why I am here today, as a husband, as a father and as a brother.
Let’s march together.