Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

220118 - UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security


18 January 2022

Statement by H.E. The Hon. Mitch Fifield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations


Australia thanks Norway for convening today’s timely Open Debate and for its continued leadership on the WPS agenda.

It is critical that women participate fully, equally, and meaningfully in all peace and security processes without the threat of reprisals, intimidation, or violence. Women have the right to lead and participate in restoring, building and maintaining peace and security, and in governing their communities and countries. Evidence shows that women’s meaningful participation strengthens protection efforts and advances the human rights of women and girls, accelerates economic recovery, supports peacebuilding efforts, and leads to sustainable peace. The role of civil society, women’s human rights defenders, peacebuilders, and mediators, is invaluable.

WPS National Action Plans are essential for enabling and eliminating violence against women and girls. Through our second National Action Plan, Australia continues to place women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in peace and security processes and ending sexual and gender-based violence at the centre of our efforts.

Australia is gravely concerned, President, by the ongoing escalation of reprisals, intimidation and violence against women peacebuilders, civil society representatives and human rights defenders. The reports of targeted killings of women’s rights defenders in Afghanistan, and of the situation of women and girls in Myanmar, are tragic reminders of the urgent need for collective action. The diverse voices and legitimacy of women must be defended and promoted at all levels. And we must continue to stand by those who need our support.

President, Australia will continue to do just this – stand with our partners to strengthen women’s participation and protect those at risk of and subjected to violence.

We commend the work of organisations dedicated to protecting persons under threat, and ensuring that women’s voices continue to be heard, prioritised, and valued. Australia especially acknowledges the work of women’s rights organisations and human rights defenders.

Australia supports increased financing as key to effective participation, and recognises the importance of diverse partnerships, locally led initiatives and resources to prevent conflict and violence and promote participation in peace and security processes, including through the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

President, mechanisms which enable women and girls to participate meaningfully can also support the identification and prevention of human rights violations and abuses. The collection and use of data and research in evidence-based decision-making and leadership is also important.

We must embed gender equality and women’s empowerment in all UN peace operations. The Council has a critical role to play in leading action to address the root causes of the intimidation, violence and attacks that violate the human rights of women and girls.

We thank the women peacebuilders, civil society representatives and human rights defenders for their work and for continuing to speak out.