Women’s rights are human rights – and human rights are women’s rights.
This is what we are fighting for, and this is why we are here today.
This is also at the center of my government’s foreign policy.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General and Madame Mlambo-Ngcuka for their comprehensive briefings. We appreciate the focus of Madame Diop on her work in Africa. I want to thank Lina Ekomo for her important work with FemWise and the African Women Leaders Network.
I would also like to express my special appreciation to Ms. Alaa Salah, who came from Khartoum to give her testimony to the Security Council today.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Knowing the situation on the ground is the “soul of the service”. Briefings by representatives from civil society also ground our discussions here in the Security Council. They bring the much needed insight and expertise from the grass-roots Level.
Representatives from civil society, including human rights defenders, peacebuilders and local activists – especially women – need to be an integral part of the discussion of the Security Council.
Representatives of civil Society,
Let me assure you that Germany will remain by your side in your endeavors. And we remain by the side of women human rights defenders, women peacebuilders, civil society and activists who work every day, and often even risk their lives, to make the full, effective and meaningful participation of women, their full empowerment, and the respect for women and their rights a reality.
That’s why we invited a record number of civil society representatives, 11 women and 2 men, to brief the Council in April. In our view, the outcome was inspiring and helpful. We hope to walk down that road together with all of you.
Resolution 1325 was adopted 19 years ago. And the adoption itself changed not only the way this Council works but also how the UN and the international community approach peace and security issues.
We all know it was a long overdue recognition of the important role that women play in creating peaceful societies. And there is no lasting peace without women! There is no lasting peace without bringing representatives of half of the population to the table and safeguarding their involvement.
And maybe most importantly: the involvement of women changes the process itself, changes its dynamics.
This is one reason why peace treaties tend to last much longer when women participate.
Today, more than one generation after the adoption of Res. 1325, we take stock of what has been achieved. We have to acknowledge that while there has been progress, essential parts of the agenda remain neglected and underfunded.
- There are very few women negotiators and mediators. Very few peace processes are benefitting from the meaningful participation of women.
- Women and children are still the most affected by sexualized and gender-based violence.
- Survivors of sexual violence receive little or no psycho-social care, counselling and health care, including services regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights.
What could save the lives of survivors in many instances is often not available due to limited funding or ideological boundaries.
We want a world without these barriers. A world where women and men equally participate in political, social and economic life.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I call on all fellow members of the Security Council, on all UN Member States and on the United Nations to finally fully implement what this Council has agreed on 10 times since the year 2000!
We made a promise to our generation and all generations to follow: No less than the full, effective and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security!
We demand accountability for the full implementation. In April, Germany and the United Kingdom together with UN Women invited UN Member States to pledge their renewed commitments to implement the full WPS agenda before its 20th anniversary next October. We will follow up on it. We all need to work harder to translate words into action.
Germany is already implementing 10 of our 12 commitments, and has fully completed implementation of three.
In Afghanistan, like in any other country, lasting peace and stability can only be achieved if women’s voices are not only heard but also listened to.
In the framework of the Intra-Afghan Dialogue that we co-hosted together with Qatar in Doha in July, we brought Afghan women together with other stakeholders of Afghan society, including the Taliban.
Even a tense security situation and threats to their lives could not prevent the Afghan women from exercising their rights. They have our full Support.
Under the German Presidency in April, the Security Council managed to adopt the ninth resolution on the women, peace and security agenda. Resolution 2467 is a major step forward for the prevention of and fight against the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence. For the first time, the Security Council places a clear focus on the rights and needs of survivors of sexual violence. Delivering justice and accountability is key for survivors of sexual violence.
In the context of Iraq and Syria, criminal prosecution of crimes committed by Daesh is a priority for Germany. Germany has also welcomed more than 1100 Yazidi refugees. Our government is making significant advances in proceedings against members of IS and the Syrian regime.
Last but not least, allow me to make a remark on behalf of the 61 Member States of the Group of Friends of the African Women Leaders Network, which Germany proudly co-chairs with Ghana.
Since its establishment in 2017, the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) has brought to the fore women’s leadership and participation in peace, security and sustainable development in Africa.
The meaningful participation of women in peace, security and peacebuilding processes requires moving beyond the numbers to real qualitative representation.
Let me underline three points that I deem critical in their approach.
- First, capacity-building to enhance women’s qualitative participation.
- Second, a “bottom-up” approach from the grassroots level to the local and national levels. I particularly welcome the establishment of eight national chapters of the African Women Leaders Network to date. The target is to reach 25 national chapters before the end of 2020!
- Third, we must integrate youth into this work by promoting dialogue between younger and more experienced women leaders.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The countdown to the 20th anniversary of our common agenda starts today. Time is running out. It can be on our side – if we make the best use of it!
The video of this speech can be watched here: