Sri Lanka has emphasized at a recent UN event held in Geneva that it is incumbent on all stakeholders to strive to create a culture of respect for equality and non-discrimination and to work towards dispelling the myth of inferiority attributed to women over centuries.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez expressed these views while addressing the Intersessional Expert Meeting on the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls and the systematic mainstreaming of gender perspective into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda which was held in Geneva on May 2.
Ambassador Azeez said promotion of gender equality, sustained through collective efforts to empower women and girls to play a lead role in decision making, is an integral part of the global vision for Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
“The UN Commission on the Status of Women has addressed this important aspect comprehensively during its deliberations and outcomes in the recent past. Further, the Security Council has also emphasized the pivotal link between gender equality and international peace and security through its resolution 1325,” he said in a statement.
He said the rise of hatred and extremism that is often manifested in its ruthless forms in several areas of the world, feeds violent tendencies making women bear the brunt of discrimination and exclusion.
“Women confront varying challenges, silently and alone. They suffer from multiple forms of discrimination and marginalization. During conflicts, more often than not, they lose not just their voices but their dignity too comes under severe stress. It devolves on Governments as well as all stakeholders, to take targeted special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and other forms of abuse. We believe that leaving out women and girls in development and in peace and security, is a ‘loss for the world as it puts a damaging brake on progress towards sustainable development,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Azeez said Sri Lanka has launched the National Action Plan to prevent gender based violence (GBV) which is currently under implementation.
He said the empowerment of women is among the foremost priorities that receives focused attention in the 2030 Sustainability Sri Lanka Strategy which is being finalised.
“Women’s representation in local government authorities in Sri Lanka has been minimal until early this year. The mandatory 25% quota for women introduced by law last year has increased their participation in policy and decision making in local government bodies. This, no doubt, assures them of an opportunity to transform themselves into leadership positions at provincial and national levels in the future,” he said.
He said these achievements need to be consolidated while endeavouring to further enhance the participation of women in key sectors of development and economy.
“Achieving gender equality is not just an issue of women and girls; it goes way beyond, calling for the active involvement of all stakeholders,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)