Remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Megi Fino at the Security Council Open Debate on Strengthening women’s resilience and leadership as a path to peace in regions plagued by armed groups

New York, 20 October 2022

Merci, Monsieur le President, 

I would like to commend the Presidency of Gabon for organizing this timely meeting on Women, Peace and Security agenda and thank the briefers for their insights.

While there is an increased commitment and engagement to strengthen the normative framework of Women Peace and Security, the situation on the ground remains highly unsatisfactory. Despite the well-known fact that women play a crucial role in the achievement of sustainable peace and conflict prevention, the fact is that we are witnessing important gains in the field of women’s rights being erased and undone because of violent conflicts, military coups, violent takeovers, displacements, and hunger.

Women peacebuilders, human rights defenders, advocates for gender equality, journalists and other civil society representatives are under attack because of their activism and efforts to build better societies and protect their rights. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Iran and, Syria, from Myanmar to Mali and Ethiopia, – to name only a few, women activists face increased threats and risks, including intimidation, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and even targeted killings.

In Ukraine, the unprovoked, unjustified and illegal aggression by Russia has had devastating effects on women’s rights and wellbeing. Ukrainian women activists, civil society actors, journalists and human rights defenders are facing increased risks to their safety and security, including increased risks of abductions and persecution.

In Afghanistan, Taliban has enacted more than 30 policies with the only objective to exclude women and girls from public life, including by denying  education and access to justice. Women civil society representatives, women protesters and human rights defenders have become a clear target for the Taliban who are terrified of women’s peaceful protests and them speaking out against the Taliban’s abuses.

Last month, a 22-years-old girl lost her life in the hands of the Iranian morality police. This triggered a wave of women-led protests across the country, chanting for “Women, Life, and Freedom” and   is going on for four weeks now. Due to the brutal crackdown of the protests, many have lost their lives, and many more are unaccounted for, including women, girls, and children.

Mr. President

Albania welcomes and supports the Secretary-General’s report on Women Peace and Security and the NGO Working Group’s open letter signed by 481 civil society organizations. We must act and take concrete action to create a safer and more friendly environment for women human rights defenders, women civil society representatives, women peacebuilders and women journalists, free from reprisals.

We can’t aim to achieve full and effective participation of women in peace and security processes without ensuring their protection and physical safety. It is high time to move beyond rhetoric and take bold action to address violence targeting women in peace and security processes and protect their meaningful participation. For Albania, women should not only be in the room, they must be at the table, where discussions happen and decisions are taken.

I would like to focus on four points, which we believe are necessary to strengthen women’s resilience and improve the protection of women human rights defenders and peacebuilders in conflict and post-conflict situations:

First, providing appropriate support and resources to relevant UN entities, especially to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, would enable them to properly assist women human rights defenders, peacebuilders and civil society representatives at risk of harm, including those that have briefed the Security Council or otherwise engaged with the UN system.

Second, improve funding of women-led and women’s rights organizations and movements in fragile or conflict-affected countries. The stronger the women’s movement, the stronger the voice of the women human rights defenders and peacebuilders.

Third, enhancing accountability with regard to women and peace and security. We need to commit to a zero-tolerance approach to reprisals against women activists and human rights defenders.

Fourth, strengthening the partnerships with civil society organizations in identifying the best ways to improve the protection and resilience of women civils society activists and human rights defenders.

Mr. President,

The Security Council has a key role to play as well. It must stand with all women human rights defenders, peacebuilders and civil society activists and show its solidarity by supporting women’s meaningful participation in peace processes and in holding the entire UN System and the host states of the peacekeeping operations accountable for ensuring the direct participation of women in peace processes. The Council must follow-up on recommendations and priority issues raised by civil society briefers.

Mr. President,

Gender equality is a high priority for the Albanian Government. Albania currently ranks among the top 5 gender-balanced Government in the world, with 70% women Ministers. Some of the key highest public positions in Albania – including independent institutions, agencies, departments in key areas of the state – are successfully held by women.

The Albanian Government recognizes gender equality as one of the principles of its planning and budgeting process, which is reflected in an increase of budget allocations for gender equality results over the years. In 2021, Gender Responsive Budgeting elements constituted 9% of the total planned annual budget, compared to just 1% in 2015.

In May this year, the Albanian Government launched the preparation of the second National Action Plan for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

As a result of these policies, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022 ranked Albania 18th out of 146 countries.

Albania will continue to keep Women, Peace and Security high in the Security Council’s agenda and will prioritize the participation of women civil society briefers in the Council.

Let me conclude by highlighting that increasing resilience and protection for women civil society activists and human rights defenders must be a priority for all of us. Attacks against them, wherever and whenever they occur, are unacceptable. As agents of positive change, women must be active participants in all peace and security efforts.

We can no longer exclude one half of humankind from international peace and security.

I thank you!


Previous Remarks by the Political Coordinator Arian Spasse at the Security Council meeting on the Central African Republic

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