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UAE Convenes High-Level Virtual Panel Discussion on Advancing Women’s Access to Justice in Post-Conflict Settings

Thursday, 23 July 2020

NEW YORK – 23 July 2020 - This week, the Permanent Missions of the United Arab Emirates and Canada to the United Nations and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) hosted a high-level virtual panel discussion on advancing women’s access to justice in post-conflict settings. The virtual panel discussion explored concrete examples of how experts and key stakeholders have both succeeded and struggled to change circumstances for women as countries emerge from conflict and rebuild their justice systems.

“Justice – and the rule of law – are critical components of the post-conflict equation for women, simply because the transition period represents an entry point to secure the full and fair inclusion of women and girls in the transformation of norms and systems. This is achieved through new constitutions, legislative reforms, and institution-building,” said H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN.

Co-host and moderator of the virtual panel discussion Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of GIWPS, stated, “Transitions following conflict present important opportunities to address injustices faced by women during times of war. They also offer a chance to transform underlying inequalities and gender-based discrimination, as well as ensure that the country moves toward sustainable peace and stability with a strong commitment to inclusive justice.”

H.E. Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security said: “Canada was delighted to co-host today’s event with our colleagues from the UAE and our friends at the GIWPS. People living in post-conflict contexts know better than anyone that massive disruption – including that caused by a pandemic - can be both devastating, and present opportunities to accelerate change. Through Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy, we are dedicated to making justice more inclusive for all, including survivors of gender-based violence around the world.”

Discussions represented decades of experience in some of the most extreme and promising conflict settings. The panel featured Dr. Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group and Convenor of the High-Level Group on Justice for Women; Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz, Director of the Mexico and Central America Program at the Center for Justice and International Law and Former Attorney General of Guatemala; and Fazel Rahim, Gender Integration and Training Specialist at EnCompass LLC and former USAID Afghanistan Gender Advisor. Together, the panelists evaluated strategies for increasing women’s meaningful participation in decision-making and improving the design and implementation of gender-sensitive legal systems. They also explored the benefits of alliances with civil society to establish channels of communication and to build trust between victims, survivors and justice systems, as well as monitoring and evaluating mechanisms.

The virtual panel discussion marks the third in a series that the UAE and GIWPS are hosting as part of a joint initiative on advancing the role of women in post-conflict reconstruction and evaluating how far the international community has come since the of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security twenty years ago. Previous discussions focused on post-conflict governance, political participation, economic recovery and climate resilience. The UAE-GIWPS joint initiative also consists of a major research report, which will launch in the second half of 2020, and a UN plan of action that will serve as an important guide for the UN Secretary-General’s 2020 Review of Resolution 1325 (2000). The launch of both the report and plan will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the women, peace and security agenda by the international community.