Estonian Foreign Minister Calls On UN to Support Women in Conflict Zones
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet spoke at the UN General Assembly conference dedicated to conflict zones and alleviating the situations of the women in them. Speaking at the conference along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Finnish Minister Elisabet Rehn, and many other ministers, Paet emphasised that in order to improve the situation of women in conflict zones, increased attention and support will be required first.
Paet emphasised that women in armed conflict zones need help with getting by in everyday life as well as with improving their opportunities and security. “During the past few years Estonia has consistently carried out projects geared towards women, and our development co-operation projects have focused on women’s opportunities to protect their rights and on increasing women’s confidence and social activeness,” said Paet, explaining how Estonia has done its part. “For example, after the 2008 war in Georgia, Estonia sent psychologists to Georgia to counsel women and children suffering from war trauma. Our recent aid projects in Afghanistan have been geared towards improving the health-related knowledge of women there, as well as education. We also emphasise politics, in which women should play a greater role,” Paet stated.
At the conference marking the 10th anniversary of UN resolution 1325, which focuses on women and their security, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the broad spectrum of violence against women that takes place in conflict zones, from physical and sexual violence to psychological abuse. Ban also called upon the nations to be focused in their endeavours and to increase their resources for aiding women in conflict zones.
This year’s UN General Assembly is focused on the Millennium Development Goals, particularly topics related to women, peace and security. Estonia is organising an international conference dedicated to the rights of women to take place in Tallinn in November, where the focus will be on women in specific conflict areas, especially Afghanistan.