I would like to thank the United Arab Emirates for hosting this debate marking international women’s day. I also thank Madame Executive Director of UN Women, Madame Managing Director of the IMF, as well as civil society briefer Ms Coulibaly for their important contributions.
International Women’s Day should not be about flowers. It should neither be about politicians giving lectures to women on TV. It should be about fighting for women’s rights, this year more than ever. We are united in solidarity with the women living through war and conflict. And we remember the struggles women and girls still face around the world.
Today, we stand with Ukraine and with its people who are exposed to an unprovoked, heinous and brutal attack. Suddenly they find themselves in a war of aggression. Civilians suffer from indiscriminate shelling, they are running out of food, water and medicine. Millions are fleeing Russia’s onslaught. And women suffer disproportionally.
Last week, 141 member states of the United Nations condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine. It gives me hope to see so many member states standing up for the UN Charter, for peace, justice and respect of the international rules-based order. Germany will continue its support for Ukraine and its people. Russia must stop this war and withdraw its troops from Ukraine immediately!
Let us remember all other fights for women’s and girls’ rights around the world. We pay tribute to those who bravely protest for peace in Russia – we commend you for your tireless and courageous efforts.
Further, we continue to be particularly concerned about the exclusion of women and girls from public life in Afghanistan; they are suffering restrictions in their access to education, employment and health services as well as in their freedom of movement. In many other countries and conflict situations, women and girls are still struggling and need our strong support.
For over 20 years now, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda has required the international community to comprehensively implement and ensure women’s rights and participation in all sectors and at all levels, their protection and involvement and their leadership in conflict prevention as well as their essential contribution to relief and recovery after conflicts.
Germany is fully committed to the implementation of all pillars of the WPS agenda. As part of our Feminist Foreign Policy, we will step up our efforts, also in partnership with civil society, to mainstream the agenda and women’s rights across all of our activities.
Let us hope – and join ranks – that next year will give us more reasons to rejoice and less to worry.