UN chief criticizes global abuse of women’s rights

UNITED NATIONS (HPD) — The abuse of women’s rights and “deep-seated misogyny” are linked in many ways to today’s global challenges, from the proliferation of conflicts to growing attacks on human rights, the deputy secretary-general said of the United Nations on Thursday.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting on women, peace and security, Amina Mohammed noted that “despite decades of evidence that gender equality offers a path to sustainable peace and conflict prevention, we are moving in the opposite direction.” .

“We cannot separate the precarious state of peace in our world from the destructive effects of patriarchy and the silencing of women’s voices,” she added.

Mohammed urged all nations to denounce “misogyny as it manifests itself in the abuse and discrimination women face on the street, at home and at work, as well as on the internet.” They must challenge “the social, political and economic structures and norms that sustain it,” he said.

The Security Council was assessing the status of the resolution it adopted on October 31, 2000 to demand equal participation of women in peace negotiations, an objective that remains as far away as gender equality.

According to Mohammed, between 1995 and 2019, the percentage of peace agreements with gender equality provisions increased from 14% to 22%, but he said that women “made up, on average, just 13% of the negotiators, the 6% of the mediators and 6% of the signatories in the great peace processes”. 70% of these processes did not include any, he added.

“Women’s participation in peace processes and their influence on decisions that affect their lives remain far behind, posing a real obstacle to inclusive, lasting and sustainable peace,” she said.

The UN is helping to boost women’s participation in peacemaking, said Mohammed, who pointed to the goal that 40% of delegations to peace talks in Sudan were women and the increase in their presence in the monitoring committee of the 2015 Mali peace agreement from 3% to 38%.

“We must build on these examples,” he said. “We need full gender parity — including through special quotas to speed up the inclusion of women — in electoral monitoring, security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and justice.”

For her part, Sima Bahous, director of UN Women, the agency that promotes gender equality, told the Council that “there is a setback in generational advances in women’s rights in the face of growing security threats.”

“Violent conflict, displacement, the repercussions of the global pandemic and the growing climate emergency take their greatest toll on women and girls,” explained Bahous.

She stressed that women human rights defenders around the world, from Iran and the Ethiopian region of Tigray to Ukraine and Afghanistan, risk their lives on a daily basis “in the name of peace and human rights and for the good of their communities and our planet”.

As examples, Bahous cited Colombian indigenous human rights activist Daniela Soto, who survived two gunshots in May, and Siti Alnfor Ahmed Bakr, a Sudanese nurse and activist who was killed by security forces in November.

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