Generalitat Valenciana, Diálogos de Mujeres por la Paz
La experiencia Africana, mediterránea y latinoamericana
6th February 2019, Alicante, Spain
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
His Excellency Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos
(Delivered in Spanish)
Distinguished Guests and Speakers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor to be here today to speak about one of my favourite topics: the Dialogue of Women for Peace within the African, Mediterranean and Latin American communities.
I feel very privileged indeed to be in the presence of all these remarkable women whose achievements would speak volumes. I would like to thank Generalitat Valenciana for providing the opportunity.
Let me start by recognizing Her Excellency Ms. María Fernández de la Vega, one of our distinguished speakers today and close friend to the Alliance. I do not take for granted the MOU that our respective organizations signed more than a year ago, aiming to promote gender equality, peace and security in line with the 2030 Development Agenda. Maria, we are all very proud of the work you have done in your career to embrace women empowerment. I look forward to working together with you to advance women’s role as a mediator and peace-maker, particularly in identity-based conflict settings. I say so as I plan to add women as he 5th pillar in the work of the Alliance.
I would also like to thank Her Excellency Margarita Robles Fernandez and Mr. Ximo Puig i Ferrer for their kind words. President Ximo Puig, I would like to thank you and your organization for gathering all of us here today to discuss such an important matter.
Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.
Despite increased activism and advocacy that bore some fruit, there is still a lot of work ahead of us. At the United Nations, the Secretary General Antonio Guterres made women parity in senior position as one of his main priorities. From day one in office, he began delivering on his promise appointing women in his senior management. Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation have been outlawed in many countries.
We have been accustomed to a world and I mean in the East, West, North and South where women were portrayed as helpless victims. Where women were undervalued in many industries. Where women have been victims of sexual violence. Fortunately, we are on the cusp of a major transition. Whether it is in the workspace and leadership roles from major organizations to governments, women are taking charge in reshaping our societies in the 21st century.
This comes as a natural development – that women take their rightful place, the place they deserve .after all they are the first victims in line at times of war and conflict. There is an ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous.
In 2020, the United Nations will mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, which set a milestone for the role of women in peace-building, conflict-prevention and conflict-resolution. The Resolution recognizes the tremendous importance of women’s role in fully participating as active agents in peace and security. The main three pillars to keep in mind when it comes to the Resolution are Integration, Inclusiveness and Integrity, all of which will pave the way for a more targeted approach to gender equality within national government policies. In addition to Resolution 1325, UN Security Council resolution 2242 recognized that conflict prevention, peace-building and peace-keeping will not be achieved without women’s participation. Women have demonstrated the ability to bridge the gap and heal the nation in post-conflict settings rendering their participation in negotiating tables quite essential.
We are 4 years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Whereas SDG 5 on empowerment of women is at the heart of the agenda, SDG 16 promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development including women.
While witnessing notable achievements over the past 19 years, there has been a weak delivery on key commitments of these goals and resolutions. Significant obstacles linger with regard to the meaningful participation of women in conflict resolution. We continue to witness devastating breaches to respect international human rights and humanitarian law across conflicts, particularly with regard to violations of women’s human rights. Women and girls are unable to access essential services and livelihood opportunities, placing them at increased risk and threatening their communities. These events, and the increasing breaches of women’s human rights, fundamentally undermine global efforts to prevention of conflict and peacekeeping.
Increased sexual violence against women poses another challenge. With the migration crisis and the conditions surrounding ‘people smuggling’, power dynamics are created which may allow women to be taken advantage of sexually. The New York Declaration on Migration notes that ‘sexual and gender-based violence’ is often a feature of migrants’ experience; sexual abuse is often endemic within immigration detention in Europe. It is also likely that instances of sexual violence against migrants is more frequent given the harsh criminalisation of migrants since an entire community is forced underground. This needs to stop and all of us can contribute to change.
In my current capacity High Representative of UNAOC, I would like to shed light on my renewed vision for the Alliance. UNAOC programming is fashioned around its four pillars, namely Education, Youth, Media and Migration. During my tenure, I aim to add a fifth pillar: Women. The perception of Muslim women and the nuances around their rights, violence against women everywhere including the West and advancing countries, empowering women everywhere, are all issues that I would like to bring to the table.
Partnering up with women’s organizations in the public and the private sector is critical to forge our coalition and partnership system. I truly believe it is essential for women to be recognized and valued as active agents, team leaders and main actors in prevention of conflicts. Time and resources are to be invested in them as reconstruction and resilience building individuals. During my tenure, I will make it my goal to bring the gender equality perspectives into all of these areas in setting and developing norms and procedures, and making sure of their implementation.
To close my statement, I would like the strong commitment and support to the Gender Equality and Women’s Rights agenda that has been demonstrated to be translated into implementation. We must elaborate, consolidate and deepen our actions towards this cause in order for it to thrive. No words without action.
I call on all of you to help strengthen the leadership, inclusion and vision of Women in Sustaining Peace Processes. No more classifying women as victims. Women are and will be a part of all active actors in the peacebuilding process.
It is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them.