Panafrican News Agency

Promoting women’s rights, a ‘proven’ strategy for peace and stability - Guterres

New York, US (PANA) - The Women, Peace and Security agenda is “one of our best hopes” for a more peaceful future and a liveable planet, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday.

“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 organisations have played in protecting and advancing the key agenda.

Although gender equality offers a path to sustainable peace and conflict prevention, the UN chief observed that “we are moving in the opposite direction”. 

“Today’s conflicts are amplifying gender inequality, poverty, climate disruptions and other forms of inequality,” he said, adding that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the violence, and impacts of these cascading crises.

A UN statement said millions of girls are out of school, with no prospect of financial independence, while rising numbers of women and girls suffer violence at home.

Extremists and military leaders who take power by force, are disregarding gender equality and persecuting women.

“Misogyny and authoritarianism are mutually reinforcing, and are antithetical to stable, prosperous societies,” Mr. Guterres said, reminding that “women’s equality is a question of power”.

Political deadlocks and entrenched conflicts continue to highlight examples of enduring power imbalances, such as in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Mali and Sudan.

And most recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of women and children to flee for their lives, “putting them at risk of trafficking and exploitation of all kinds”, he said.

“In all these conflicts we have men in power and women excluded, their rights and freedoms deliberately targeted,” the Secretary-General pointed out.

When conflict erupts, neighbouring countries and regional organisations can make a significant difference.

As such, Mr. Guterres expressed his appreciation for UN collaboration with the European Union, the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – all of which participated in Wednesday’s debate.

He gave the example of the UN-AU and regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) partnership, in Sudan, to steer the political process back to an agreed and legitimate constitutional order, aiming to ensure that at least 40 per cent of participants are women.

The Secretary-General urged regional organisations to strengthen their engagement with this group for the sake of Sudan’s future.

-0- PANA MA 16June2022