|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Open debate on Women, Peace and Security|
I welcome Your Excellency for presiding over today's important meeting. I listened attentively to the statements made by High Commissioner Bachelet and the civil society representatives Ms. Yaftali and Ms. Asoka.
China attaches high importance to the issue of women, peace and security, and like other countries, China pays high attention to the protection of women's rights. We have been working actively and relentlessly toward this goal.
Protecting women in armed conflicts and promoting their participation in political and peace processes is an important part of the Security Council's women, peace and security agenda. To achieve these goals, they Council should stick to the right direction and stay on the right course. China wishes to emphasize the following:
First, strengthen the protection of women in conflict areas in every way possible and make no exception. Women affected by armed conflict are all entitled to security and protection, regardless of whether they are part of the peace process or not. They should be treated equally without exception. The vast majority of these women are ordinary people. They are the Palestinian women living in constant fear of house demolition, violence and attacks. They are the Afghan mothers looking for food and warm clothes for their children in the humanitarian disaster aggravated by unilateral sanctions. They are the girls of the Sahel refusing to give up learning despite the specter of terrorism and kidnapping by extremist forces. They are the most vulnerable group that deserves the attention and help from the international community. Like everyone else, they have the right to live a life free from violence.
To protect them requires comprehensive approach and collective efforts. Parties to conflict should fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law and renounce all violence against women, including sexual violence. China supports relevant UN organizations in actively carrying out their work in accordance with their respective mandate in this regard. The international community should intensify relief efforts in line with the UN guiding principles for humanitarian assistance and meet the basic living needs of women affected by conflict. Countries with historical responsibilities for hotspot issues are duty-bound to provide more financial and in-kind support.
Second, address both the symptoms and root causes of violence and conflict. The protection of women cannot be carried out amid wars and conflict. In conflict situations, the risks of violence, displacement, poverty and famine often rise exponentially among women. We should be tough on violence against women. Yet nothing can provide more basic protection for women than a holistic approach to conflict prevention and resolution.
Peace and stability can only be restored through dialogue and consultation between parties concerned. Civil society can play a constructive role by advocating a culture of peace, being the voice of the people, promoting exchanges and mutual trust, and providing useful advice. As an important force for peace, women should be given equal opportunities to participate in peace negotiations. All parties should remove undue hindrances and practice gender equality in political processes. The Security Council bears the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. It must work harder to eliminate root causes of conflicts, pursue political solutions to hotspot issues, and unremittingly seek peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue, mediation and consultation, so that all women and girls can enjoy peace and live in tranquility.
Third, unswervingly support women’s empowerment and development. Security Council Resolution 1325, as a milestone, redefines the nexus between women and peace. As Secretary-General Guterres said, “this was the first-time women were recognized not only as victims of war but as people with their own agency and expertise, who are valuable assets to findings peaceful solutions to conflict.” Supporting women’s empowerment and development and amplifying women’s initiative, participation and power to change in the field of peace and security can help ensure the steady and the far reaching impact of the women, peace and security agenda.
We should strive to fill the development gap faced by women in conflict areas, prioritize development in UN’s work, and seek early harvest in women-related goals of the 2030 Agenda. We should effectively protect women’s economic and social rights, and guarantee their right to education, because knowledge can change life. We should help more women get employed, emerge from poverty, achieve economic autonomy, thereby creating conditions conducive to their effective participation in peace processes. We should help women overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, improve the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in conflict areas, and safeguard woman’s right to life and health.
As the host country of the Fourth World Conference on Women, China always advocates gender equality and women’s empowerment, promotes women’s development globally, and follows the women, peace and security agenda with concrete actions. Over the past three decades, more than 1,000 Chinese women have served in UN peacekeeping operations, making important contributions toward peace. In recent years, we have actively worked with other countries, especially developing countries. We helped developing countries implement 100 maternal and child health projects and train 130,000 female professionals, lending strong support to women’s empowerment in these countries. China also partnered with UNESCO in setting up the prize for girls’ and women’s education to galvanize more people into action for this worthy cause.
The Global Development Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping aims to advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and global development, which will lend strong impetus to equal rights for women and global cause of women's development.
As is often said in China, women hold up half the sky. We are ready to work with the international community to promote women’s empowerment and development, support women’s role of holding up half the sky in international peace and security, and build a peaceful and beautiful future together.
I thank you, Madam President.