UN SECURITY COUNCIL OPEN DEBATE ON WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY
20 October 2022
Statement by H.E. Dr Fiona Webster, Deputy Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Thank you President,
Australia thanks Gabon for convening this Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, twenty-two years on from the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Full and effective implementation of the WPS agenda is of pressing importance as the global community is confronted with conflicts, crises, climate change and pandemic recovery, intertwined with resurgent misogyny and authoritarianism.
We are again reminded by the Secretary-General, in his 2022 annual report on WPS, that progress is slow – and in too many instances has reversed – on women’s participation in peace processes, leadership across contexts, and access to justice, undermining human rights and preventing the achievement of gender equality.
Today’s topic is not one for debate. The evidence is clear that pathways to peace are paved with women’s resilience and with their leadership.
Across the world, women demand to be heard, advocate for the fulfilment of human rights, mediate conflicts and negotiate peace. Where women are absent – by force or discriminatory norms and structures – peace does not prevail. Where women human rights defenders are persecuted, peace does not prevail. Where the knowledge and networks of diverse women are disregarded, including in relation to climate, disasters and terrorism, insecurity and instability reign.
Australia is gravely concerned by the growing levels of hostility towards women, particularly women facing intersectional inequalities. The reprisals, intimidation and violence against women peacebuilders, human rights defenders, community activists, protestors, students and educators are abhorrent. We must stand with everyone and every organisation fighting for peace and security, grounded in gender justice.
Australia condemned last month’s deadly and disproportionate use of force against protesters in Iran, and called for truth, justice and the cessation of oppression against women. This is yet another example of why the Women, Peace and Security agenda matters and that we must do more to translate the four pillars from policy to practice.
As we step-up, we do so in partnership with women and girls; recognising their resilience and leadership. All women and girls have the right to be fully and equally part of peacekeeping operations, peace negotiations and political processes. And we need the capabilities, insights, strength and transformative leadership of diverse women and girls to attain and sustain peace.
Australia invests in such partnerships by, for example, supporting the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, regional networks of women negotiators and mediators, and gender justice initiatives in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes.
Australia is a committed WPS advocate and actor, who appreciates the efforts of so many stakeholders. We welcome collaboration in implementation of our National Action Plan and encourage all Member States to adopt, resource and implement the frameworks that will guide us to peace and security, with inclusion, equity and accountability.