Pakistan urges UN to protect agonized women from foreign occupation

NEW YORK: Pakistan on Friday 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.

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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 produces disproportionate and lasting consequences for women, particularly young girls,” she said.

Ambassador Lodhi said, “The Women, Peace and Security Agenda of Security Council provided a powerful tool to ensure feminisation 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.

Lodhi further pointed out that women remain excluded from peace processes and negotiations because of structural inequalities and discriminatory power structures, which inhibit efforts for inclusive peace.

She asserted that women have nonetheless emerged as leaders and consensus builders amid 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.

“Despite clear evidence that active female participation in peace processes significantly enhanced the prospects for peace, women continue to remain on the sidelines. This needs to change,” she added.

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 showed that giving women key roles, brings fresh perspectives and builds solid foundations for a vibrant society,” she said.

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