Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu,
Permanent Representative of Japan
Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security
5 October 2009
At the outset, I would like to extend my congratulations to the delegation of Viet Nam on its assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of October. I also wish to express our appreciation to the United States for its excellent leadership during the month of September. We are also very grateful to you, Mr. President, for personally presiding over this important discussion. I would also like to thank Deputy Secretary-General Migiro for her presence here today and for delivering the message from the Secretary-General. Obviously, our gratitude goes also to the representatives of the United Nations entities and the NGO Working Group, because their dedication to promoting the role of women in peace and security is greatly appreciated.
Even nine years after the adoption of the very important landmark resolution 1325, we cannot fail to see that many innocent women and children live under fear and want in conflict and post-conflict situations. Clearly, much remains to be done. Japan therefore welcomes today's debate and the decision of the Council to adopt resolution 1889.
Today I would like to address three issues: the role of women, the protection of women and empowering women.
(Women in the peace process)
First, it is vitally important to ensure that women's perspectives and the particular needs of women and girls are reflected at every stage of the peace process. We need to promote the full and equal engagement of women from the earliest stages of the process of peace negotiations and peacebuilding, because that is the most effective way to prevent recurrence of conflict.
We welcome the fact that three women are now serving as Heads of UN Missions. Women are playing indispensable roles in some peacekeeping operations. One example is the Indian women's Force Police Unit (FPU) in Liberia. The Peacebuilding Commission, for its part, has incorporated a gender perspective in its country-specific peacebuilding strategies.
We are also encouraged by the commitment of the Secretary-General to increase the number of women in decision-making positions, as confirmed by the Deputy Secretary-General this morning. We urge other heads of international organizations and regional organizations to do the same and appoint more women as high-level mediators and members of negotiating teams.
(Protection of women and end of impunity)
Secondly, we must extend support to women suffering from the consequences of conflict by working to provide them with greater physical security.
The Security Council has mandated many United Nations peacekeeping operations to respond to violence against civilians, but the Council has not fully succeeded in meeting their high expectations.
The Council should continue to explore how United Nations missions can better protect women and children in conflict, with adequate resources, training and logistical support. We would like the importance of protection of women to be fully incorporated into training programs for peacekeepers and peacebuilding experts on the ground before they are deployed. It is important to attach higher priority to the protection of women in mission planning and to strengthen the Gender Units through the placement of gender advisors.
It is totally unacceptable that perpetrators of sexual and other serious violence against women and girls are shielded by a culture of impunity. The culture of impunity is a direct threat to women's security, and it also hinders women in playing the vital role they might otherwise play in post-conflict peacebuilding efforts.
We need to redouble our efforts to end impunity by assisting countries in strengthening political leadership and the rule of law. Targeted sanction measures should be effectively utilized.
We hope that the Special Representative of the Secretary General to be appointed soon in accordance with resolution 1888 will take a strong lead in addressing this serious issue.
(Empowerment of women through human security approach)
Thirdly, we need to focus not only on protection of women but also on the empowerment of women, who could be strong promoters of the peacebuilding process. We must find a way to ensure the empowerment of women in post-conflict situations, by improving their socio-economic conditions. This can be achieved by promoting access to health services, education, vocational training, income generation activities and land and property rights.
Unless we succeed in creating such conditions, I am afraid that it will be difficult to consolidate peace and prevent the recurrence of another conflict.
This is a major challenge the Council must address. We are therefore pleased that resolution 1889, just adopted, stressed this aspect: the importance of empowering women and girls in responding to their particular needs in post-conflict situations.
In that regard, I would like to emphasize that the human security approach that Japan has been advocating for more than 10 years provides valuable guidelines both to protect people's lives and dignity from serious threats and to empower them to realize their full potential.
One good example is cited in the Secretary-General's latest report: the project is funded through United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security to deliver health care, education and counseling to women and girls in Nepal who have been left vulnerable by conflict in that country.
In closing, I would like to recall the suggestion I made on a prior occasion when we discussed this issue: to compile a handbook with a list of good practices on women's participation in the process of reconciliation and peacebuilding. I very much hope that appropriate follow-up can be made by the Secretariat.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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