His Excellency Raymond O. Wolfe
Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
in the General Debate of the Security Council
on Women, Peace and Security
during the 65th Session of the
United Nations General Assembly
New York, 26th October 2010
I wish, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica to thank you Mr. President for convening this open debate on women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security,
Resolution 1325 unanimously adopted in the Security Council ten years ago, brought to light one of history's best kept secrets, the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls. Recognized as a historic and unprecedented document, the impetus for its adoption was strong. This led to, for the first time, the Security Council devoting an entire session to a debate on women’s experiences in conflict, post conflict situations and their contributions to peace.
Ten years on, in celebrating the anniversary of this watershed event, significant achievements are difficult to identify. It remains a matter of serious concern that women have become caught in the centre of violent conflicts and often become the direct and deliberate victims of the most egregious abuses committed by parties to armed conflicts. We must therefore strengthen our resolve to eliminate the disproportionate effects of war on civilians, particularly women and children.
Over the years the Presidential statements have called on Member States, the United Nations System and civil society to commit to the full implementation of resolution 1325, including through the development of strategies and action plans, the establishment of monitoring and accountability mechanisms at the international and national levels and ensuring full and equal participation of women in all peace processes. But some of us have not yet heeded to the call.
My delegation recognizes the important work that the United Nations has undertaken in increasing the representation and participation of women at high levels within the UN System. The most recent of which were the appointment of the Under-Secretary to the new Gender Entity, UN Women, and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Let me once again reiterate Jamaica’s heartiest congratulations to both women and assure them of our continued support in fulfilling their mandate. Nevertheless, Mr President, we believe that much more needs to be done, and in this we call upon Member States, as we all have an integral role to play in ensuring the appointment of qualified women at high levels.
My delegation is aware that Security Council Resolution 1325 does not exist in a vacuum. Many resolutions, including 1820 and 1888 which focus on sexual violence in situations of armed conflict were created on the momentum generated by resolution 1325. Treaties, conventions, statements and reports also preceded it, and thus, formed its foundation and an integral part of the women, peace and security policy framework.
Although late in coming, my delegation is pleased to note that on this the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325, there are now signs of increased commitment and action by the Security Council to ensure that the goals of the resolution are fully implemented. The Security Council’s expressed intention to take action on a comprehensive set of indicators on the implementation of resolution 1325 is an encouraging development. These indicators would represent a clear step forward for improving accountability and implementation of the groundbreaking Security Council resolution.
Resolution 1325 reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building.
We acknowledge that in some parts of the world women have become increasingly effective participants at the peace table and have continued to assist in creating an enabling environment for conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peace building and post-conflict construction. However, progress in these areas has not been consistent.
Jamaica has played its part in ensuring the participation of women in peace and security over the years through its increased presence in UN Peacekeeping Operations. We have also been encouraging the recruitment of women police officers to peacekeeping missions being keenly aware of the impact their service and experience have had on the UN and host country’s recognition of the role of women in peace and security. Our women peacekeepers, despite serving in some of the most difficult, high threat environments and inhospitable places, faced with diseases and violence have been making a positive impact on the lives of women and girls in conflict situations.
Our women peacekeepers have increasingly acted as role models in the various local environments, inspiring, by their very example, women and girls in the often male dominated societies where they serve; demonstrating to communities that peace is inextricably linked to equality between men and women; and encouraging disadvantaged women and girls that they can indeed achieve. Our women peacekeepers continue to be dedicated to the tasks to which they have been assigned, they have made tangible difference to the lives of many, while showing the world the caring and committed face of the United Nations.
It is clear that peacekeeping has long since evolved from its traditional role of silencing the guns and has been redefined increasingly as an avenue for fostering a culture of sustainable peace in countries devastated by conflicts. Today, Jamaica recommits to ensuring that this vital work will continue, through active participation, as long as it is needed and we reaffirm our collective commitment to building a world free from the scourge of war.
The persistence of violence against women in situations of armed conflict detracts from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose targets in many ways are intertwined with the goals of resolution 1325.
Today’s celebration is therefore a reminder that the high cost of peacekeeping and of reconstruction in post-conflict situations weighs heavily in favour of prevention and peace-building measures to address the root causes of deadly conflicts. Women have proven instrumental in “building bridges rather than walls”. Women are entitled to an active role in rebuilding their society. Their ability to influence the direction of change to create a more just social, economic and political order should not be overlooked. Gender equality therefore is an essential precursor to democratic governance and inclusive and sustainable human development.
Finally, Mr. President
The UN Population Fund State of World Population 2010 report – From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal: Generations of Change speaks of the three Rs, Resilience, Renewal and Redefining roles between boys and girls and men and women. It further shows how communities and civil society are healing old wounds and moving forward. We concur that more still needs to be done to ensure that women have access to services and have a voice in peace deals or reconstruction plans but we believe that recovery from conflict and disaster presents a unique opportunity, an opportunity to rectify inequalities, ensure equal protection under the law and create space for positive change.
Therefore, by ensuring that all aspects of SCR 1325 are implemented we will give women the chance to use their voice and their advocacy in ensuring sustainable peace for all.
I thank you, Mr. President.