|Statement by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security|
China would like to thank the Bolivian delegation for convening today's meeting. I would also like to thank Secretary-General Guterres, and Executive Director Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women for their briefings. China has also listened carefully to the statement made by Ms. (Randa Siniora) Atallah, the representative of the civil society.
The theme of today's meeting, "Promoting the Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and Sustaining Peace through Women's Political and Economic Empowerment", reminds me of the Chinese female peacekeepers, far away from their homeland and their loved ones, diligently fulfilling their responsibilities for the cause of peacekeeping.
More than 60 years ago, Chairman Mao once said, "Women hold up half the sky." Today, among the nearly 1.4 billion people in China, 767.71 million are women. Women "hold up half the sky" in China's economic and social development and make important contributions to safeguarding national peace and security. The theme of the conference is very meaningful. It reminds me of women officers who have been committed to the cause of peacekeeping. By the Mediterranean, in Sector East of the UNIFIL area of operation, Ms. Mao Ping, first female commander ever sent to a UN peacekeeping mission, was given the "Outstanding Women Award" by the Lebanese government last November. The Chinese peacekeeping medical team led by her is well-known in the local communities and beyond for their "healing hands and loving hearts". They have been providing medical services to local people and poor families, planting the seeds of friendship and peace in the land of cedar.
In South Sudan, more than 10,000 kilometers away from China, there is a combat squad of 10 female fighters in the peacekeeping infantry battalion that China dispatched to South Sudan. They give stationery to children in the refugee camps, disseminate knowledge about the protection of women's rights and interests, and bring joy and smile to the children.
Among the more than 2,000 Chinese peacekeepers currently serving in UN peacekeeping mission areas, over 50 are women. In the nearly 30 years since China started participating in UN peacekeeping operations, Chinese female peacekeepers count for nearly 1,000 person/times. These respectable Chinese women peacekeepers have dedicated themselves to safeguarding world peace. I hereby pay high tribute to all women who have served in UN peacekeeping operations.
Women are important force for maintaining international peace and security. In nearly 20 years, the Security Council has adopted a series of resolutions on women, peace and security. This constitutes a sound framework for protecting women's rights and interests in conflict and promoting women's role in peace and security. Prone to be harmed in war and conflict, women are a vulnerable group, but they are increasingly becoming important participants, builders and contributors in the peace process. Women are playing an indispensable role in preventing conflicts, keeping peace, narrowing differences and integrating social groups. It is important for the international community to strengthen coordination and cooperation in this regard. I would like to emphasize the following points:
First, promote political settlement to hot-spot issues, and create favorable international environment for the survival and development of women. The international community should commit to the vision of peace and development and win-win cooperation, help countries in conflict to achieve peace and stability at an early date. The Security Council should, in light of the responsibilities entrusted by the UN Charter, actively encourage peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and negotiation, provide solid guarantees for the protection of women. Women should be ensured of their full participation and decision making in the peace process.
Second, resolutely fight against any act that violates women's rights in conflict, and support countries in question to bear primary responsibilities for the protection of women in conflicts. Efforts should be made to stop sexual violence in armed conflicts, respond to the threat of terrorism, adopt comprehensive measures to protect women from harm by terrorist and extremist forces, provide security guarantee and humanitarian assistance to women affected by conflict. The international community should fully respect the leadership role played by the countries in question, and provide constructive assistance as requested.
Third, solve the problem by treating its symptoms as well as its root causes and promote the advancement of women together with economic and social development. The international community should actively help the countries in question with post-conflict reconstruction while giving priority to the strengthening of their capacity building, work to eradicate the root causes of conflict and ensure that all people, including women can enjoy the benefit of development. The international community should provide support to conflict-affected countries in gender equality and women empowerment, work to guide women organizations and civil societies to play a positive and constructive role in the peace process.
Fourth, ensure the synergy of all relevant UN agencies. The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Peace Building Commission, the Economic and Social Council and UN Women should follow their respective mandates, bring into full play their own advantage and strengthen coordination in jointly responding to the women, peace and security agenda. The United Nations should enhance cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in training and fund-raising in the Women Peace Security area, to unlock potential and improve efficiency.
In recent years, the Chinese Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with UN Women, has organized international training course in Beijing for women peacekeeping officers to encourage the troop-contributing countries to actively dispatch women peacekeepers and make them better qualified for peacekeeping tasks.
In September 2015 when presiding over the Global Women Summit at the United Nations, President Xi Jinping of China stated that "without women's liberation and progress, the liberation and progress of mankind would not be attainable". China would like to work together with other countries to continue pushing for the realization of the WPS goals and the advancement of women worldwide to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind and create a better world for women, and for all.
Thank you, Mr. President.