Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations on Agenda Item 26: Advancement of Women at the Third Committee 74th Session of the UNGA (07 October 2019)

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the delegation of Palestine on behalf of the G-77 and China.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite the progress achieved over the decades, women still remain among the most marginalized groups in many societies. A series of comprehensive reports by the Secretary General speak of the progress, achieved but also of further actions that are required to empower women, in accordance with internationally agreed standards.

We commend the Secretary General for achieving gender parity at the UN’s senior management level, but this now needs to be matched across the board at all levels. This is especially the case for women’s representation in equal numbers among the Secretary General’s Special Representatives and UN Heads of Missions.

Mr. Chairman,

The Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action adopted in 1995 remains the most comprehensive global policy framework for the full realization of women’s rights. However, as we approach its 25th anniversary next year, it is apparent that serious gaps remain across all twelve critical areas of concern.

Therefore this is a key moment for us to reflect on what has been achieved and what remains to be done to fully realize the promise of the Beijing Declaration and achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 related to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

Mr. Chairman,

The persistence of conflicts in various parts of the world remains a major impediment to the elimination of violence against women and sexual abuse of women. The international community must pay special attention to the plight of women and their families living under foreign occupation and ensure that their basic and inalienable rights are guaranteed.

This holds especially true for women living in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where a cruel curfew and complete lockdown, for the past two months, has exacerbated their pain and suffering, and where children are taken away by occupation forces in the dead of the night and detained incommunicado. Some never return.

The anguish of a Kashmiri mother is captured by a heart wrenching picture on the front page of the New York Times today – a mother who could not save the life of her son because of the brutal restrictions imposed in the occupied territory and her inability call an ambulance on time.

While the plight of those suffering under the yoke of foreign occupation has been considered in international forums over the years, the perpetrators of these crimes continue to enjoy immunity including under domestic security laws. All relevant actors of the UN system must live up to their responsibility and address this dire and unacceptable situation.

Mr. Chairman,

Turning now to my country, Pakistan’s Constitution guarantees equal rights for all citizens without any discrimination. It further guarantees full participation of women in all spheres of national life. Our adherence to the ideals of empowering women and protecting their rights stems from our faith, our constitution and the vision of our founding fathers. As Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah famously said:"No nation can rise to the height of glory unless women are side by side with men".

In accordance with our national and international obligations, we have taken steps to promote the rights of women in economic, social, political and cultural fields.

Concrete steps have been taken to eliminate discrimination from the public and private sectors to promote the empowerment of women. Let me list some of the key initiatives:

Mr. Chairman,

Let me conclude by reiterating my country’s firm commitment to the goal of empowering women in all situations to create a more just, equitable and peaceful world. Pakistan will continue to strive towards the achievement of these ideals at both the domestic and international level.

I thank you.