I thank the Presidency of Gabon for organizing this important annual open debate. I also thank Her Excellency Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Sima Bahous, Executive Director of the UN Women and other briefers for their comprehensive remarks.
Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement made by Canada on behalf of the Group of Friends on Women, Peace and Security and with the statement delivered by Croatia on behalf of Group of Friends on Responsibility to Protect.
Implementation of Women, peace and Security agenda is imperative for peacebuilding and sustaining peace, especially in the conflict affected situations. The Security Council adopted the historic and landmark resolution 1325 on WPS in 2000 when Bangladesh was a member of the Council. The implementation scenario, however, is not very bright. We have many pending tasks to achieve its full implementation. Nonetheless, we may take inspiration from the latest report of the Secretary-General where he said, and I quote “The women, peace and security agenda is not just an answer to historic wrongs and marginalization, but an opportunity to do things differently”.
Bangladesh had its own horrific experience of sexual violence against women during its war of liberation in 1971 when over 2,00,000 women were violated. Despite being occupied with numerous challenges in rebuilding a war-ravaged country, we had taken measures for their immediate rehabilitation. The perpetrators have been brought to justice through a trial process and the contribution of victims has been recognized officially.
Inspired by our own experience, we have given shelter to over a million forcibly displaced Myanmar Nationals, the Rohingyas, a large majority of who are women and girls. We are providing all critical support necessary for them. Unfortunately, no progress has been made for repatriation due to lack of genuine goodwill on part of Myanmar.
Let me now offer few thoughts to reinforce women’s resilience in advancing the cause of peace:
First, through political support, an effective National Action Plan is critical to take forward WPS commitments in a country. Bangladesh is among the 103 countries who have formulated National Action Plan on WPS. We encourage all member states to formulate national action plan with performance indicators.
Second, financing has remained a major concern for the implementation of the WPS agenda in conflict affected areas. It is alarming, instead of diverting necessary resources to support causes, such as WPS agenda, we continue to see increase in world military spending which reached an all-time high of $2.1 trillion in 2021. We emphasize on the partnerships among the UN agencies, IFIs, public sector and non-traditional donors to find out new and innovative sources of funding.
Third, material support to women peace builders and their families, including psychosocial support to women victims is essential for meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding in conflict situations. Effective early warning, community engagement and information campaign by the peacekeeping missions can ensure conducive environment for the women peacebuilders. We also emphasize the role and involvement of Peacebuilding Commission in advocating the WPS agenda in the conflict areas. As Chair of the PBC, we have put WPS in the priority list of its Programme of Work 2022.
Fourth, we are deeply concerned over a wide range of security, humanitarian and socio-economic consequences arising from the illicit flows of small arms and light weapons (SALWs). We further express our concern that such proliferation of SALW disproportionately affect women and girls. We call upon all States to ensure that supply of SALW is limited only to governments or to entities duly authorized by them.
Finally, we underscore the importance of institutionalizing the gender equality and women’s participation in capacity building of the national institutions. Capacity building in the security and judicial sectors in a fragile setting is also crucial for holding accountable the perpetrators of violence against women.
I thank you all.