The Women, Peace and Security agenda is “one of our best hopes” for a more peaceful future and a stable planet, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the Security Council during a high-level debate dedicated to the role of regional organizations in the implementation of that initiative.
“At this time of proliferating crises, the international community must pursue proven strategies for peace and stability. Protecting and promoting women’s rights is such a strategy,” he said during the debate, highlighting the positive role regional organizations have played in protecting and advancing the key agenda.
Although gender equality is a way to achieve sustainable peace and prevent conflicts, the UN chief noted that “we are moving in the opposite direction.”
“Current conflicts are amplifying gender inequality, poverty, climate imbalances and other forms of inequality,” she said, adding that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the violence and impacts of these successive crises. ”, he highlighted.
Guterres specified that millions of girls are unable to go to school and have no prospect of economic independence, while a growing number of women and girls are victims of domestic violence.
A situation in which extremists and military leaders who seize power by force when they decide to annul previous agreements on gender equality and dedicate themselves to persecuting women are also taking part.
“Around the world, the recent abandonment of inclusive policies demonstrates once again that misogyny and authoritarianism are mutually reinforcing, and are contrary to stable and prosperous societies” and, in turn, recalled that “the equality of women is a question of power.
The current political blockades and stalled conflicts are clear examples of how power imbalances and patriarchy endure and continue to fail us, Guterres stressed, citing examples of this situation in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Mali and Sudan.
And more recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of women and children to flee for their lives, “putting them at risk of any kind of trafficking and exploitation,” he said.
Last week, the Council heard the intervention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who reported on 124 complaints of sexual violence related to the conflict in Ukraine, most of them related to women and girls.
“In all these conflicts we find men in power and women excluded, their rights and freedoms deliberately attacked,” he said.
Mr. Guterres noted that women and girls were disproportionately affected by violence and the socio-economic impacts of armed conflict, and that in the face of political unrest and power grabs around the world, progress in gender equality were on the decline.
Another bad trend in the world noted by Mr. Guterres: the case of millions of girls who are out of school and without the prospect of training, employment or financial independence, and a growing number of women and girls who are victims of domestic violence.