Estonia Prepared to Facilitate UN Activities Promoting the Rights of Women
At a meeting in New York with Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Michelle Bachelet, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed Estonia’s contribution to the protection of women’s right and the fight against violence against women. “We are very pleased that the UN organisation UN Women, which was created in 2010 with the help of the Estonian ambassador to the UN, is off to a successful start,” said Paet.
Paet said that Estonia has actively participated in the work of the executive board of UN Women. “Last year we were a vice president of the board. We are prepared to continue working to help achieve the goals of UN Women,” he said.
While meeting in New York with UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura, Foreign Minister Paet emphasised that using sexual violence as a tactic in war is completely unacceptable. “A broad-based approach is essential in the fight against violence against women in conflict situations – we must take into account the security, development, and human rights aspects,” stated the foreign minister. “It is very alarming that extreme violators of human rights frequently remain unpunished. But the government has the primary responsibility of ensuring its citizens’ safety,” Paet noted. He added that reducing impunity is one of the most essential elements in the fight against violence against women.
According to Foreign Minister Paet, the president of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, Tiina Intelmann, has repeatedly brought up the issue of sexual violence against women and girls in the context of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. “The Criminal Court plays a very important role in combating these kinds of crimes. The court’s investigations and the knowledge that no crime will go unpunished could prevent such crimes or hinder their continuation,” stated Paet.
During their meeting, UN Special Representative Bangura spoke about UN activities in fighting violence against women in Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Darfur, and Sudan. Bangura confirmed that there is no justification – cultural, religious or otherwise – for violence against women or gender-based violence.
For additional information on the UN’s activities to fight against sexual violence in conflict situations and opportunities to help achieve its goals, visit http://www.stoprapenow.org/.