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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

A Historic Initiative of Transcendental Significance

(Closing remarks delivered on 5 March 2007 by H.E. Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations at the end of the afternoon session of the conference on “Trafficking in women and girls: Meeting the Challenge Together”, sponsored by the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Belarus and the Philippines to the United Nations, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Vital Voices Global Partnership)

I thank our distinguished speakers for this afternoon’s session, the moderator and the participants in the open discussions for sharing with us their views, expertise and experience which, I am sure, will prove invaluable to each and everyone of us and even to all the stakeholders concerning the trafficking in women and children and in dealing with our alarming problem of trafficking. Even as we speak now, many women and girls are falling prey to the perpetrators. While we see trafficking in women and girls as a transnational crime that can only be effectively eliminated by coordinating and synchronizing our efforts, we need to be reminded that at the core of the issue are human beings whose rights are violated. We, therefore, need to ensure that the measures adopted for the purpose of preventing and combating this trafficking do not have an adverse impact on the human rights and dignity of persons, especially women and girls who are most vulnerable. In short, we must strike a delicate balance to attain what the 12 th ASEAN Summit held in the Philippines last January calls a “caring and sharing community”.

It has been a long day for all of us. Yet, it is a day of transcendental significance which made us active instruments for a greater cause. We have made a historic initiative. We have to move forward. From here on, our fight against trafficking in women and girls must be ceaseless until victory is won. We should never tire nor weaken not only in our resolve, but, more importantly , in our collective, positive and affirmative action.

With that, I finally express my boundless gratitude to our co-organizers and partners, the Office of the General Assembly President, the ECOSOC President and the Deputy Secretary-General who contributed in a very large measure to the success of this initiative.

On behalf of my co-chair, H.E. Andrei Dapkiunas, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations and of myself, I declare this Conference closed for the time being - only for the time being because we have only begun.

Thank you very much.

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