SRSG Ján Kubiš Remarks Annual Conference on Violence Against Women

Saturday, 29 October 2016, ISCI, Baghdad

Your Eminence, Ammar Hakim, President of the National Alliance,
Honorable Members of Parliament and Heads of Blocs,
Excellencies, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Civil Society Representatives,
Distinguished Guests,

Salaam Aleykum!

Your Eminence,

I commend your leadership and efforts to address, reduce and eliminate violence against women and girls.

Let me first congratulate the heroic sons and daughters of Iraq, the Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga, PMF and allied tribal and local volunteers on their victories against Daesh, now in Ninewah, Mosul. We honour the martyrs who paid the highest sacrifice for free Iraq and acknowledge the sacrifices that accompany this historic fight. Liberation of Iraq is a fight of all Iraqis in their unity for the future of their country as a common house of all Iraqi people men, women and children, citizens from all components ethnic and religious, groups, minorities living together in justice, equality, peace and tolerance.

Let us not forget that the people of Iraq also fight in defense of human values shared by the whole world, against the takfiri ideology and its terrorist manifestations. Today, we also stand here in solidarity with the abducted, abused and violated women and girls, their families and communities. Women and children are first victims of Daesh crimes and as the United Nations we insist on full accountability for the human rights abuses and atrocities perpetrated by Da’esh against civilians notably against women and children and call for justice for all the victims of these heinous crimes that might amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes

Esteemed participants,

The United Nations Secretary-General only recently stated that as long as violence against women continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace. Violence against women has caused untold misery, cut short lives and left countless women living in pain and fear. Furthermore, families have been harmed and communities impoverished. Violence against women stops them from fulfilling their full potential, impacts negatively on economic growth and undermines development. The scope and extent of violence against women are a reflection of the degree and persistence of discrimination that women continue to face.

Esteemed participants,

Iraq endorsed the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women (2013-2017). The Government of Iraq and the UN also recently signed the Joint Memorandum to Prevent and Respond to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. Implementation of this agreement will contribute to prosecutions of Da’esh crimes; will help victims to be treated with dignity and to obtain assistance and compensation.

Protection and empowerment of women shall be central to all peace, justice and development efforts in the post-Da’esh period. This encompasses supporting women’s representation and participation of women in politics, security and legal institutions the media and providing more economic opportunities for women to reduce poverty and achieve economic independence. Women’s voices need to heard on issues relating to fighting terrorism and supporting peace-building. There shall be equal participants of women in national reconciliation and historic social settlement that will keep Iraq and its people united. Women shall also be a part of stabilization and reconstruction efforts in the liberated areas. Recruiting more women in the health sector, the police, the judiciary and other institutions will ensure gender-responsiveness in addressing violence against women. Local communities including religious and tribal leaders and civil society representatives also have a critical responsibility for addressing violence against women and work for social cohesion and they should be assisted in doing so.

Prevention of domestic violence against women shall be in the focus. Failure to hold perpetrators accountable not only encourages further abuses, but also gives the message that violence against women is acceptable or normal. The result of such impunity is not only denial of justice to the individual, but also reinforcement of prevailing inequalities that affect other women and girls as well.

At this point, we specifically call for the finalization, passing and enactment of the Family Protection Bill by the Council of Representatives and reiterate the importance that its text adheres to international standards.

Through the United Nations, we will increase support including for IDPs and for their return, provision of support to health workers in recently-liberated areas, provision of economic, social and psycho-social support and supporting access to income-generating opportunities by female-headed households.

Thank you.

Last modified on Tuesday, 22 August 2017 13:10

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