GA64 / Item 62 - Advancement of Women. 3rd Committee
As this is the first time Iceland takes the floor in the third committee during the 64rd Session of the General Assembly, allow me at the outset to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. I assure you of the full cooperation and support of my delegation.
Women play a central role in economic and social development and experience has shown that strong links exist between women’s empowerment and poverty reduction. Hence, the advancement of women and women’s rights is not only a question of basic human rights, but should be central to most other aspects of the work of the United Nations.
The current economic and financial crisis is likely to affect women and children particularly hard. It is the responsibility of Governments to ensure that women and children are not discriminated against in times of structural change and economic recession. Therefore, children’s welfare and gender considerations should be duly taken into account as we gradually steer our way to recovery.
The recession may further exacerbate existing human rights violations, including trafficking in women, one of the most lucrative criminial activities in the world, coming second to drugs. To combat this evil, Iceland has recently adopted a national action plan against trafficking in human beings. The plan will reinforce cooperation by relevant agencies against trafficking and includes measures to protect victims. Iceland has also passed legislation criminialising the purchase of prostitution services. Given the international nature of trafficking, comprehensive and concerted cooperation is called for.
Women and girls remain subject to persistent and grave gender-based violence in all parts of the world – be it domestic violence behind closed doors, trafficking in women and children, or a systematic aggression involving millions of girls and women. Women and girls continue to be targets and victims of injustice, assaults and sexual violence in armed conflicts and post conflict situations – a clear violation of their dignity, security and human rights. Impunity for atrocities committed towards women and children remains to be adequately addressed.
Violence against women is never acceptable, it should never be tolerated and it should never be justified. Iceland reaffirms its strong commitment to urgent eradication of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and children.
Instead of seeing women as a vulnerable group, we should regard them as rights-holders. We need to ensure equal opportunities. Equal participation of women is fundamental to achieving, maintaining and promoting sustainable peace and security as well as the human rights of women. Therefore, we need to ensure women’s participation in policy and decision making, not least those relating to peace and conflict resolution
Iceland hopes that member states will seize upon the 10th Anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security to build momentum and enhance compliance with the resolution. Important steps were taken recently, with the adoption of resolution 1888, which reinforces resolution 1820, calling for the appointment of a Special Representative and better monitoring of the use of sexual and gender-based violence as tactics of war, as well as the adoption of resolution 1889, reinforcing resolution 1325 and requesting a set of indicators to track its implementation. Iceland stands ready to cooperate with others to realize the objectives of these important resolutions.
This year, 30 years have passed since the adoption of the landmark Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW Convention]. Iceland is firmly committed to the full and effective implementation of the CEDAW convention and its optional protocol. We urge all Member States that have not done so to ratify the Convention and the Protocol as soon as possible. Iceland furthermore highly values the work of the CEDAW Committee, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and regards UNIFEM as an important partner in its work on gender equality and women’s empowerment, a continuing priority for Iceland.
Although some progress has been made towards the advancement of women and gender equality in many parts of the world, a large gap remains between existing commitments and their implementation. To bridge this gap, the UN plays a central role, both through global advocacy and leadership, as well as through operational work at national and regional levels. Therefore, Iceland supports the establishment of a strong UN Gender Entity, headed by an Under-Secretary General, and urges the Secretary General to proceed swiftly in this regard.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.