UNGA: Statement on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls

Statement of the Prime Minister at the High-Level Side Event of the Group of Friends for the elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.

Dear friends, 


More than twenty years since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325, it is sobering that there is still this urgent need to come together and discuss the situation of women and girls in conflicts. 


Gender violence is one of the worst pandemics in history. Murders, rapes, beatings, threats. The damage is immensethousands of lives lost every year, devastation, disability, depression, unwanted pregnancies, long-term illness and stigma. 


It is important that we continue to speak out and act. Conflict-related sexual violence is a war crime and perpetrators must be held accountable. 


But it is as important to carefully listen to survivors, who are not a homogenous group. They all have their own unique story that is important to learn from, to better prevent violations and recognize early warning signs. 


Today I would like to draw, once again, particular attention to women’s participation in decision-making, and more specifically, their equal participation in peace processes.  


We all committed to the ‘Women Peace and Security agenda’, and yet, progress is slow, uneven and insufficient.  


To make peace last, for an entire population, peace processes are to be inclusive. When women make up half of our society, we know what their part in peace processes must be. 


Concrete action can be taken at all levels. In international negotiations, but also bottom up, starting from the local level.  


So let’s step up these efforts, for women's empowerment at the heart of prevention measures, for increased support for women's organizations and for women human rights defenders. All key elements on which Belgium will continue to work on with the Belgian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. 


I thank you.