Women, Peace and Security: a true priority in the Sahel [fr]
Women, Peace and Security in the Sahel region
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United NationsRetour ligne automatique
Security Council - 10 July 2018
First of all, I would like to thank you, Madam President, for organizing this public meeting of the Security Council on the issue of women and peace and security in the Sahel, which is a true priority for us. Your presence, Madam Minister, attests to that. It is both a privilege and a pleasure to see you here among us once again to preside over this important meeting. I would also like to warmly thank the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, and the African Union Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, Ms. Bineta Diop, for their enlightening briefings. The presence of the Deputy Secretary-General, following an important mission, shows the special importance of today’s meeting.
In view of the commitment of the French and German authorities to promoting peace, security and development in the Sahel and to strengthening the women and peace and security agenda, I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of France and Germany. I would like to welcome my colleague and friend Christoph Heusgen, who is with us here today.
We welcome the recent joint visit by the Deputy Secretary-General and the Special Envoy of the African Union with which you, Madam President, are associated. That visit is a concrete example of the implementation of the women and peace and security agenda, which enables us today to address the situation of women in the Sahel region in a timely manner. We also welcome the presence in the delegation of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, and several United Nations representatives for gender equality. In that context, we wish to convey three main messages.
Our first message is based on our belief that only action that combines politics, security, development and women’s rights can promote lasting stabilization in the Sahel. That is the shared compass that guides the efforts of France and Germany, which are firmly committed to peace and security in the Sahel.
France is first of all politically active through the role it plays in international mediation in support of the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. France also plays a role in security through the deployment of Operation Barkhane and the support given to the Joint Force of the Group of Five (G-5) for the Sahel, which includes the recent appointment of a gender expert in the G-5 Sahel secretariat in Nouakchott. That appointment will be decisive in strengthening the protection of women by the G-5 Sahel Joint Force. Germany is also firmly committed to Mali and the Sahel, namely, through its important contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali and its development and humanitarian assistance.
That commitment to peace and security in the Sahel is essential to effectively combating the violence to which women are too often exposed in the region. As noted by United Nations actors on the ground in Mali, women are increasingly targeted by groups committing terrorist acts and promoting violent extremism. In the Lake Chad basin region, particularly in Chad and the Niger, we also see that Boko Haram still poses a serious threat to people, especially women and girls. Finally, we strongly condemn the systematic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in South Sudan, which is absolutely unacceptable. In that regard, we thank Special Representative Pramila Patten for all her efforts to improve the situation. The commitments made in the communiqués must be implemented and those efforts should make it possible to effectively combat impunity, including within the armed forces and police; to set up units trained to protect women; and to enable those who survive such abuses to bear witness in order to better counter the stigmatization of the victims of sexual violence.
Our second message concerns the fact that our shared mission is to act together to achieve sustainable development in the Sahel and among its most vulnerable populations, especially women, which of course includes the fight against climate change. The Alliance for the Sahel, which France and Germany launched nearly one year ago, on 13 July 2017, in partnership with the main donors and countries in the region, aims to promote faster, more coordinated and better targeted assistance for all disadvantaged groups, especially women. The Alliance is part of the broader framework established by the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel to coordinate efforts for the development of the Sahel. I would like to take advantage of the presence of the Deputy Secretary-General to stress how much we support and appreciate her work to promote the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. That common framework must guide all our efforts aimed at generating coordinated and effective action that will produce tangible results for the Sahelian people, in particular women.
Our third message deals more specifically with women’s participation in regional peace processes. While progress has been made in that regard, women’s participation in peace processes remains insufficient. We must be clear-headed enough to acknowledge that and courageous enough to rectify the situation. In Mali, for example, we believe that a lasting settlement of the crisis depends on the involvement of all parts of Malian society, in particular women, who must be involved not only in Government, but also in Parliament and at the local level. That is why France and Germany stress the importance of the participation of Malian women’s organizations in the implementation of the peace agreement. That request was also made by the Security Council in its resolution 2423 (2018), which was adopted at the end of June.
In conclusion, I recall that France and Germany call for the systematic and long-term promotion of the capacity of women, especially in Africa, to be involved in peace processes and, more broadly, political processes. Let me be clear — that objective is not just one element among others or talking points, but rather a fundamental priority that is hard-wired in our hard drive in order to achieve parity and effectiveness. For that reason, our two countries support the initiative undertaken by the African Union to establish an African Women Leaders Network, and we encourage all Member States to join that initiative by, for example, joining the Group of Friends of the African Women Leaders Network, of which Ghana and Germany are co-Chairs. In the same vein, we commend the commitment of the International Organization of the Francophonie and its efforts to support francophone women’s initiatives