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22-10-2021 19:35

Statement by the Republic of Cyprus to the UN Security Council Annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security: Investing in Women in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding

The Republic of Cyprus was represented yesterday, 21st October 2021, by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, Ms Polly Ioannou, at the Security Council Annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security: Investing in Women in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding. Following is the full text of the intervention of Ms Ioannou:

“Thank you, Madam President, for organizing this debate. As requested, my statement will be as concrete as possible, complementing that of the European Union, to which we fully subscribe.

We have stressed before the importance of having meaningful participation by women in peace processes, to satisfy the criterion of egalitarian necessity but also in recognition of the fact that peace is more sustainable when it emanates from inclusive processes.

More important than participation quotas, is the task of ensuring the qualitative contribution of women to the substantive issues under consideration in a peace process. This can be achieved through the consideration of concrete proposals, submitted by women, regarding the constitutional set-up and legislation in a post-conflict environment, including but not limited to the gender dimension.

Such input should be possible on two levels: the direct participation of women in all tracks of a peace process, as well as through a mechanism that enables local experts to share ideas on specific questions. The United Nations can be instrumental in this respect through its involvement in such processes and its interaction with local actors, whose voice it can help harness, but also its ability to draw on successful paradigms in state practice across its membership. Additionally, peacekeeping operations can help create the safe environment that is necessary for women to participate in peacemaking and peacebuilding, an element that could be included in their mandates explicitly.

Even if gender equality is enshrined in peace instruments, this is only the first step towards equal status in a post-conflict society. With sexual violence still prevalent as a weapon of war and with such crimes continuing to be largely overlooked, nothing less than accountability and reparations for such crimes are needed to put a society on an egalitarian track. Gender-based violence should come with a very high price tag for its perpetrators and no amnesties should be contemplated for these or any other kind of crimes against humanity. The role of UN operations is key in this respect. Not only do their mandates encompass the protection of civilians but in the event of atrocities, UN missions can and should be a source of evidence that enables national or international prosecution, also an element that should be included in their mandates explicitly.

Addressing the culture of patriarchy that continues to afflict the security sector is a priority but will not single handedly solve the deeply rooted problems in the field of WPS, which are a manifestation of broader inequalities and cannot be tackled without a more general and comprehensive assault on the attitudes perpetuating them”.