Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, will today represent Australia at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in New York. 

Ambassador Stott Despoja’s participation builds on Australia’s strong advocacy of the United Nations’ women, peace and security agenda. With the number of global crises on the rise, this annual event is an opportunity for the international community to renew and strengthen its commitment to the protection of women and girls in situations of conflict, and women’s participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding.

The past year has been marked by increased violence, and women and children, particularly girls, have been gravely affected by emerging conflicts associated with the proliferation of armed groups, in some cases linked to violent extremism.

I welcome the Security Council’s emphasis at this year’s Open Debate on the unique challenges faced by women and girls who are displaced by conflict. The vulnerability of displaced women and girls to sexual and gender-based violence is at the heart of the additional humanitarian support recently announced to help Iraq protect its people from the terror and brutality of ISIL.

During Australia’s term on the Security Council, we have called for increased accountability of perpetrators of sexual violence. We will use our Council Presidency in November to highlight the continuing need for action to protect women and strengthen their role in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  

Significant progress has been made since the Security Council laid the foundation for the women, peace and security agenda in the landmark Resolution 1325. Australia has supported all seven resolutions advancing this work, affirming our determination to place women centrally in the resolution of conflicts and peacebuilding.

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