Women suffer most from protracted conflicts and foreign occupation

New York, 26 October, 2018

Pakistan urged the UN Security Council to focus on protracted conflicts especially Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine to protect women who continue to suffer disproportionately from the violence perpetuated by foreign occupation.

Speaking in the Security Council Debate on Women Peace and Security, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said that women were soft targets in conflict situations, often exploited by aggressors as a tactic of war.

Turmoil, instability and chaos, she said, produced disproportionate and lasting consequences for women, particularly young girls.

Ambassador Lodhi said that the Women, Peace and Security Agenda of Security Council provided a powerful tool to ensure feminization of peace in a post conflict environment but stressed that this needed to be elevated from the normative to a practical level.

The international community, she underscored, must ensure that equal attention is given to all pillars of this agenda and the framework is implemented at all levels.

National human rights institutions can provide a critical link in the chain of accountability for women’s right violations, she added.

She pointed to the fact that women remained excluded from peace processes and negotiations because of structural inequalities and discriminatory power structures, which inhibit efforts for inclusive peace.

Women, she asserted, have nonetheless emerged as leaders and consensus builders amidst conflict and violence. By ensuring more meaningful participation for women we can bring them to table as true stakeholders who are able to define and protect their interests, she added.

Making an impassioned case for placing more women in leadership roles, the Pakistani envoy said that women’s special skills in mediation made them particularly suited for high profile jobs.

She said that despite clear evidence that active female participation in peace processes significantly enhanced the prospects for peace, women continue to remain on the sidelines. She said this needed to change.

Speaking about the commitment of Pakistan’s new government to women’s empowerment, Ambassador Lodhi said that this was among its top priorities.

“My own country’s experience, “she said, “showed that giving women key roles, brings fresh perspectives and builds solid foundations for a vibrant society”.