Statement by H.E Dr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York in the open debate of Security Council on Women and Peace and Security, New York, 30 November 2012.
I thank the Permanent Representative of India His Excellency Hardip Singh Puri, council’s and Presidency of India for organizing this important debate. I also thank the Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-General for UN-Women and the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations for their insightful deliberations this morning.
I welcome the Secretary-General’s most recent report on women, peace and security (S/2012/732). The SG in his report called for enhanced women’s participation and a stronger commitment to address the challenges to women’s engagement in prevention and resolution of armed conflicts and in peacebuilding at all levels.
Twelve years ago, we adopted the landmark resolution 1325 on women and peace and security in this Council. Bangladesh, then as a member of the Council and one of the core co-sponsors of the resolution was closely associated with the adoption of this historic document. This was our humble endeavor to ensure women’s rights and roles in peace and security. Thereafter, several resolutions such as resolutions 1820, 1888, 1889, and 1960 have been adopted to strengthen the process initiated through resolution 1325.
There have been some developments in women, peace and security, such as steps taken to implement the seven-point action plan on gender-responsive peacebuilding, the adoption of the United Nations strategic results framework on women and peace and security, and the civilian capacity review. Prevention also gained increased focus as protection of civilians got included in the mandates of 8 out of 16 peacekeeping missions.
However, women and girls still suffer violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, including forced displacement, constraints on humanitarian access, and sexual and gender-based violence. Therefore, much needs to be done.
The core message of the resolution 1325 was to ensure women’s equal participation at all decision-making levels. In the UN context, women’s participation should be ensured through achieving 50/50 gender balance with special emphasis on their recruitment at higher levels. In general, more female military and police personnel need to be deployed to United Nations peacekeeping operations. For a striking global balance, women from the South should be considered with special preference in such leadership positions. For all gender-based violence, there should be zero tolerance and all incidents of such violence must be unequivocally condemned.
The participation of women in mediation and peacebuilding efforts needs to be enhanced. In 2011, out of 14 United Nations peace negotiations, only 4 delegations included woman delegates. As agreements without gender-sensitive provisions can limit women’s opportunities to achieve basic security, as well as political, economic and social empowerment, the gender dimensions of mediation should be clearly and consistently articulated. It is also important to ensure measures to improve security for women in elections.
Poverty, rivalries for resources, socio-economic injustices and forced occupation lie at the heart of conflicts. They create a breeding ground for such social blight as conflict including violence against women and girls. The resulting impact not only weakens the safety and security but also impairs the political, economic and social fabric. Therefore, we need to prevent conflict and establish sustainable peace.
When we talk of implementation of 1325, we see the presence of women’s civil society organizations (WCO) at the grassroots level. They could help implement peace agreements, ensuring the protection of women’s human rights defenders in conflict and post-conflict settings and integrating women’s and girl’s security in transitions such as during the drawdown of an UN Mission. We strongly believe that our debate and discussion should transcend over the boundary and reach the grass-root women who lack even the language of expressing their agony. This has to be done through people’s empowerment, empowerment of distressed people particularly women at the grass-root level.
In Bangladesh, from our experience of nation building and women empowerment, we have embraced this view and developed a model what our Prime Minister, Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina calls a ‘peace model’. The central message conveyed in the model emphasizes on empowering people including women and vulnerable groups through ensuring 7-inter linked issues such as empowering people through eliminating hunger and poverty, empowering them by providing them skills, education and training, by including the excluded people, by eliminating all sorts of discriminations, by providing decent jobs, empowering them to have their participation in governance and by ending terrorism. I am pleased to note here that the General Assembly adopted a resolution in its last session entitled, “People’s Empowerment and Development” and we have proposed a follow-up resolution in the current session of GA also. We seek your support for it.
Women occupy the top political leadership in our country from Prime Minster to implement Ministries. The Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees equality of men and women within the broad framework of non-discrimination on grounds of religion, race or gender. The Government has adopted National Policy for Women’s Advancement and National Plan of Action. A Women’s Development Implementation Committee, headed by the Minister for Women and Children Affairs, basically … Minister monitors the implementation of policies for women’s empowerment. The result is highly positive. Just to cite an example, enrolment of girls at both primary and secondary level schools exceeds that of boys, helped by waiver of tuition and provision of stipends for girls in secondary level.
The Government has enacted laws for protecting women against domestic violence and is currently implementing a number of innovative projects for developing capabilities of women. In order to involve women in decision-making process, government has adopted quota system for women in national parliament as well as in the recruitment of our civil service jobs alongside the direct election and open competition. It also expanded its effective gender-based budgeting in 20 Ministries of the country. It has been providing micro financing mostly to women and has started providing small business enterprise loans to women SME, at preferential rate.
In maintenance of international peace and security, we take pride for our modest contribution of troops and police to the UN Peacekeeping missions. We have made necessary provision for recruitment of women in police and military. We are pleased that we could deploy two Full Contingent of All- Female Formed Police Units or FPUs to the UN Peacekeeping Operations in Congo & the other in Haiti. We are committed to continue with our contribution of women for maintenance of global peace and security.
I am pleased to inform that our all men troop contingent are fully briefed on the gender issue and we have ‘zero tolerance’ to sexual misconduct.
In conclusion, I would reiterate that we in Bangladesh have been making our best efforts to ensure women’s empowerment and participation in all spheres of our lives. We know much more need to be done. We are willing to replicate in our national policy, any good practices that we will come across globally, similarly we are ready to share our experience with others suitably.
I thank you, Mr. President.