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The UK calls for urgent action as the rights of women and girls come under attack: UK statement at the UN Security Council

Thank you, Mr.  President. I thank the Secretary-General and all of our briefers today. 23 years on from Security Council Resolution 1325, the United Kingdom remains resolute in our commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Yet our collective gains are being reversed. Women and girls’ rights are under attack and we need to take urgent and coordinated action. President, in the spirit of today’s theme of bringing theory to practice, I’d like to highlight three areas. 

First, participation. We know that women’s participation significantly boosts the chances of long-lasting peace. The UK’s new National Action Plan focuses on putting women’s meaningful participation into action. Most recently, my Foreign Secretary met with Sudanese women peacebuilders to hear their insights into enhancing women’s participation. The UK was also proud to support Colombia in developing its WPS National Action Plan, and we applaud its extensive consultation with women and civil society.

We will continue to advocate for women to take on leading roles in resolving conflict, including in UN-led peace processes. As a member of the WPS Shared Commitments, we are committed to amplifying women’s voices and following up on the recommendations of civil society. We hear clear calls-to-action from the women who brief this Council – women from Afghanistan, from Ukraine, the DRC, Syria, and beyond – and we should turn those calls into action.

Second, empowerment. Women’s rights organisations are vital to sustaining conflict prevention and resolution efforts. As part of our International Women and Girls Strategy, we launched a $46 million programme to support grassroots women’s rights organisations around the world. Through our Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, we are putting survivors at the centre of decision-making and promoting their leadership, supported by a dedicated Survivor Advisory Group. 

And in Ukraine, we are providing expertise on conflict-related sexual violence and providing over $4 million of funding on gender-based violence in Ukraine and across the region.

And third, protection. Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by conflict. From South Sudan to Israel and Gaza, we see the impact of conflict on women’s lives. And this is particularly true for women’s rights defenders. The Secretary-General’s report highlights that 172 women human rights defenders were subjected to reprisals because they engaged with the United Nations. President, we’ve heard today clear and specific recommendations from the Secretary-General, and from the Executive Director of UN Women and from many others. Let’s commit to moving from words to action. 

I Thank you.

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