On 28 March 2016, Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev made a statement at the UN Security Open Debate on “The Role of Women in Prevention and Resolution Conflict in Africa”, UN HQ, New York. Full text of the statement.
I thank the Presidency of Angola for focusing attention on the role of women in peace and security initiatives in Africa and as the driving force in the region to achieve both the UN 2030 Development Agenda, and Africa’s Vision of Agenda 2063. My delegation would also like to support and commend the African Union’s laudable initiatives as priority goals in the Agenda 2063, namely, Silencing the Guns in Africa and the African Peace and Security Architecture aimed at strengthening capacities for peace-building, conflict prevention and response, post-conflict rehabilitation and development with a focus on women and girls.
In addition, the recently concluded 26th Summit of the African Union (AU) designating 2016 as the African Year of Human Rights, with its particular focus on the rights of women, calls for special attention to the atrocities inflicted on women in times of peace and conflict. The much welcomed verdict of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 22 March, 2016, sends a clear signal that the widespread and systematic use of sexual and gender based violence must be eradicated as a weapon of war. Thus the need for enhancing gender equality and empowerment, by implementing Resolution 1325 and the subsequent ones, as well as capacity-building is imperative in order to achieve peace and security and a broad range of the sustainable development goals in the African states.
The conflicts in Africa engulf other neighbouring countries and regions too with grave consequences and hence there is need to have closer collaboration between the UN, EU and AU, together with African sub regional organizations, and EU, as well as Special Representatives of SG on Violence against Women and Children in Armed Conflict, so that the new forms of hybrid peacekeeping operations (PKO) are comprehensive with clear mandates for the protection of civilians, and especially women and girls. All operations must be have in senior positions well qualified gender specialists and adequately staffed gender teams (as rapid response teams) to be integrated with the military, police and civilian components of PKOs. Gender focus must be intrinsic to also the human rights, rule of law, transitional justice and security sector reform units in multidimensional operations.
Troop and police contributing countries should impart special gender sensitive training and deploy more women as part of their national deployment to field agencies, especially also in the conflict zones. We call for the full implementation Secretary-General’s Zero Tolerance by UN personnel. We are confident that these important mechanisms will create conditions for prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts in Africa. Kazakhstan has a long history in peace keeping and is presently contributing by fielding its highly qualified military observers with gender competence to MINORSU and UNOCI. We hope to expand this deployment in the future.
Further the international community needs to provide greater support to the African countries to involve women in grassroots organizations working for a culture of peace, organizing political awareness and peace education, promoting community based reconciliation, and ending all forms of impunity. Training has to be offered to women engaging in social reconstruction and integration activities, such as education, health care and social services. Women have a critical contribution to make in management and security of camps for refugee and internally displaced persons, especially vulnerable women and girls, and in the demilitarization, demobilization and reintegration processes.
While progress is witnessed in many countries at the grassroots, there is a stark deficit in the proportionate inclusion of women in formal regional and international peace negotiations and agreements, as well as in decision and policy making, and planning service delivery for their countries. These gaps in implementation need to be bridged together with host governments, DPA missions, PKOs, international organizations and development agencies.
In this regard, in 2015 Kazakhstan and the UNDP launched a project called “Updating Professional Skills to Improve Productivity, Employment and Development” to support the delivery of development assistance to countries in Africa through capacity-building training. The project, in which more than 70 specialists from African states participated, and most of them women, took place last year and focused on oil and gas exploration, public health and agriculture. Women of Africa are ready to be involved and actively implement national, regional and global programmes as part of post-conflict recovery but need the opportunity.
Kazakhstan supports implementing of comprehensive measures by the international community against violent extremism. At the 2015t UN General Assembly session, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed establishing a global anti-terrorism network under UN auspices, as well as creating mechanisms to bring perpetrators to justice. He also underlined that “humanity needs to move from a focus on routine conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation to a new development strategy which would make such conflicts senseless”. He has thus proposed to the UN to formulate a Global Development Strategy 2045 as a vision for the UN’s centenary. Another initiative is to reserve annually 1% of defense budget of each UN Member state for the Fund for SDGs.
Kazakhstan believes that it is of vital importance that the Security Council remains particularly committed, as a high priority, to protect women and girls and my country pledges to be a strong voice on their behalf.
Thank you Madam President.