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Statement by H. E. Mr. Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia at the side event "Freedom from Violence for Every Woman and Girl: A Priority for the Post-2015 Agenda"


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


First, I would like to thank Finland, Liberia and UN Women for organizing this event to exchange views on the relationship of violence against women and girls to the post-2015 agenda.


Yesterday the Ministerial Declaration of Commitment to end sexual violence in conflict was endorsed by many of us. This declaration has a special role – it is a pledge for commitment and a pledge for not being indifferent to violence. With that pledge we committed ourselves to bringing an end to sexual violence. Deviating from the decided path is no longer an option.


Tomorrow I will co-host with my UK colleague a side event focussing on the role of the International Criminal Court in preventing sexual violence in conflict. However, today we have taken into focus the more general hindering of any violence against women and girls. It does not have to be sexual or physical violence. The gravest violence is not to be seen. This constitutes intimidation and prevents the empowerment of women and girls. In many societies in crisis we witness that women and girls are being deterred from their pursuit for education, and thereby from a better and happier life, through intimidation.  Despite the increasing international focus on this phenomenon, those perpetrators of intimidation are never held accountable. And, although it is a crime against individuals, the entire society is prevented from achieving sustainable peace and development because of this intimidation. Estonia supports the effort to bring this to an end.


Of course, we ask – how to achieve it? I think that addressing this issue should be included in the post-2015 agenda as recommended in the High Level Panel report and substantially incorporated into the post-2015 sustainable development framework. I call upon states to make respective pledges to bring end to that kind of violence, because the hopes we put on the sustainable development process cannot be achieved without unconditional targeting of this topic. A universally acknowledged SDG with a relevant set of pledges would be a catalyst for achieving that goal. Together, we can do it. 


Thank you for your attention.


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