Statement by H.E. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Permanent Representative at the UNSC Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, 28th October 2011
Thank you Madam President.
On behalf of the Republic of Maldives, let me thank the Nigerian Presidency for convening this open debate on Women, Peace, and Security on this, the 11th anniversary of Resolution 1325.
Since Security Council Resolution 1325, we have seen a host of other resolutions focused on ending sexual violence in conflict zones calling for, greater accountability, and greater women participation. During periods of conflict, women and children are the first to be affected and are often targeted specifically with sexual violence. With that in mind, Maldives emphasizes the need to monitor the situation in and actions of international security forces in zones of conflict such as Afghanistan, Darfur, and Haiti. Maldives is especially concerned by allegations of sexual violence by UN Peacekeepers in Haiti and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Maldives has expressed support for Libya’s National Transitional Council. And with their current transition from conflict, to creating a stable government, we urge the NTC to stay mindful of the specific needs and obligations they have towards women. This includes everything from disarmament to reconciliation to women’s participation and representation. The path towards democracy is never easy, and women are often the first to be forgotten.
Today we know that empowerment of women leads to more stable nations with greater social harmony, economic prosperity, and political tolerance. In order to promote international security, the Maldives suggests that we move beyond the frameworks which limit this discussion to conflict zones. Women empowerment and democratic development, which leads to moderation and peace, enjoy a symbiotic relationship whereby any sincere effort towards one leads to the other.
In the Maldives, it was through the democratic movement that we began the process of empowering our population, and reaffirming the rights of women. As this movement took hold, the former administration was compelled to make concrete efforts to address national concerns, and allowed for a national survey on women abuse to be conducted.
The results showed that one in three women in the Maldives, irrespective of class or geography, is abused over the course of their lifetimes. In addition to this, women are becoming increasingly more isolated through the adoption of conservative Islamic interpretations and their participation in the social, economic, and political life of the country is diminishing.
It was democracy that turned the tide of abuse in the Maldives. The government led efforts to address issues related to women resulted in the establishment of call centers and protective services. Civil Society participation and their advocacy in these efforts have also been instrumental.
In addition, the current government has taken steps towards training police men and women to respond effectively to domestic violence and abuse, while encouraging greater women participation in political life.
The President of the Maldives went so far as to endorse all the female candidates for the recent local elections we had, regardless of party affiliation. We are also proud to note that three of the twelve cabinet ministers are women. A Maldivian woman was also elected to the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture. And for the first time the Secretary General of the South Asia Association for Regional is a woman, who happens to hail from the Maldives.
Through having women involved in social, economic, and political life – we are able to create stable nations that foster moderation countering Islamic conservatism. A universal truth about radicalism is the exclusion and isolation of women. If we are to change the dynamics of security in the world, and ensure greater global stability, the only way forward is through ensuring participation and active women engagement without restrictive social norms.
The Maldives sincerely hopes that the Members of this Security Council consider this new paradigm and its implications for global security.