I am pleased to address the Council on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation to the Azerbaijani presidency for organizing this Open Debate, and to thank the Secretary-General, the UN Women Executive Director, the Head of DPKO, and in particular Ms. Brigitte Balipou from the Central African Republic, for their valuable statements.
The Nordic countries strongly welcome the Secretary General’s report and the adoption of a new resolution on Women, Peace and Security. We commend the Council for the progress made, and trust that the new resolution will enhance a more rapid, complete and systematic implementation of all the resolutions on Women, Peace and Security.
We welcome the focus of this debate on the rights, perspectives and participation of women in Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in conflict-affected situations. Rule of Law is an integral part of engagement for peace and security. The Nordic countries have a strong commitment to Rule of Law and to its main principles of legality, equality, accountability and participation.
We firmly believe that the Rule of Law must encompass the whole population – women and men, boys and girls – to be worthy of its name. Nevertheless, women’s perspectives, capacities and needs continue to be overlooked in efforts to establish the Rule of Law in a conflict or post-conflict context. To carry out the Rule of Law while excluding women is not only a paradox – it undermines the achievement of sustainable peace and security.
Safeguarding women’s access to justice, applying a gender-sensitive approach to transitional justice mechanisms and including women in post-conflict reparations programs are paramount steps for the establishment of the Rule of Law, and thus paramount for peace and security.
The campaign to improve women’s access to justice must therefore include scrutiny of systemic barriers of gender inequality, including economic empowerment, women’s citizenship rights, legal capacity, proprietary rights, as well as safety in terms of safe transportation and access to witness and victim protection programs. In order to play a role, women must also have access to basic rights in all phases of conflicts. We therefore welcome the Secretary General’s call for expanded access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Conflict-related gender-based crimes must be investigated. Security Council Resolution 2106 and the recent Declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in conflict are two vital steps towards fulfilling our obligations. We fully support the work of the Justice Rapid Response (JRR) and its partnership with UN Women in addressing sexual and gender-based violence. However, let us underline that gender justice is not merely about women's needs as victims, but also about women’s valuable contributions to bringing about peace and their participation at the forefront in transitional justice and Rule of Law measures such as justice system reform.
On the strategic level, gender awareness in Rule of Law and transitional justice is crucial for women's access to justice and enjoyment of rights. This will have a direct impact on their political and economic empowerment. A systematic follow-up to ensure the inclusion of the women, peace and security agenda in the day-to-day work of this Council is necessary. The number, influence and leadership of women in conflict-resolution and in post-conflict governance and peace-keeping must increase.
The Nordic countries support and encourage that the findings in the Progress Report of UN Women be moved forward, alongside the Secretary-General's recommendations in his report. We applaud the efforts of the regional and sub-regional organizations to implement resolution 1325 and we commend the ongoing work of the OSCE membership to adopt an OSCE Wide Action Plan.
We welcome that the recently concluded Arms Trade Treaty includes a legally-binding provision on gender-based violence and call for full implementation of the ATT's provision on preventing gender-based violence and violence against women and girls when assessing arms transfers.
We pay tribute to the work of the civil society to promote gender equality and women’s role in conflict resolution and in conflict prevention. Let us not forget that the very origin of resolution 1325 derives from the tireless and courageous efforts by women NGO’s. For this reason, we must continue to support and encourage the women-led civil society in peace-building and conflict prevention.
Finally, we welcome the Secretary-General’s call for a 2015 high-level review of the implementation of resolution 1325 and his call for new and ambitious targets.