Statement by Turkey at the Security Council Open Debate on Women in Peacekeeping

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 11.04.2019
Mr. President,

I would like to thank you for convening this open debate. We welcome the continuing attention of the Security Council to the Women, Peace and Security agenda and thank our briefers for their insightful remarks.

Security Council Resolution 1325 constitutes an important milestone for addressing the disproportionate impact of armed conflict on women and girls. It also represents a landmark achievement in terms of ensuring full, effective and meaningful participation of women in all stages of the conflict cycle and the peace continuum. As we approach its 20th anniversary, there is ample room for discussion on concrete strategies throughout the UN system to enhance its implementation. This is particularly the case for UN peacekeeping.

Female personnel have already proven that they can perform the same roles, to the same standards and under the same difficult conditions, as their male counterparts. They also broaden the skill set available on the ground as they make unique and substantive contributions to peacekeeping operations. Their presence in the field empowers women in the host communities and contributes to making the peacekeeping force more approachable to women and young people in the community. As such, women are key to the success of UN peacekeeping missions.

Women peacekeepers also act as role models in the local environment, inspiring women and girls in often male-dominated societies to push for their own rights and for participation in peace processes.

Thanks to the UN’s efforts and commitments, the rate of female participation in peacekeeping forces has increased over the past years, but it still remains below the UN targets. Despite the evidence that inclusiveness improves peacekeeping efficiency and effectiveness, women remain underrepresented in actual operations, especially among the uniformed personnel. We welcome the initiatives such as Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy and Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, which aim to help overcome barriers to increasing women’s participation in peace operations.

In our joint efforts, we can improve the situation on the ground, if we make good use of the disaggregated data on women to draw conclusions. Reporting should have an integrated gender perspective, which feeds into the Secretary General's recommendations and conclusions. In this sense, gender experts and advisors in the missions contribute significantly to the overall success of UN peacekeeping. We should make sure to continue to make use of this asset in terms of training, advising, assisting, mentoring and supporting the leadership as well as relevant units of peacekeeping missions.

Mr. President,

The involvement of UN peacekeepers in sexual exploitation and abuse fundamentally undermines the very foundation of the UN, its credibility and the trust the UN flag enjoys.

The “zero tolerance” policy should be strictly implemented against those personnel who are involved in such cases until the perpetrators are punished and these utterly disgraceful acts cease completely. Turkey fully supports the UN Secretary General’s efforts to this end.

Mr. President,

We should not overlook the fact that ultimate responsibility for advancement of the Women, Peace and Security agenda lies with the individual countries. In line with this spirit, we make sure that there is no discrimination or barriers for women’s participation in peace operations. Turkey also supports the empowerment and wellbeing of women and girls in various emergency, conflict or post-conflict situations through its comprehensive development assistance programs. The projects we carry out in Afghanistan and Somalia, especially in the fields of education and health services, are concrete examples of our efforts to this end.

At the same time, we attach great importance to ensuring collaboration and coordination of our efforts throughout the UN system and continue to encourage more women to participate in UN peacekeeping missions. We also actively promote the implementation of relevant resolutions in other international and regional platforms such as the OSCE and NATO.

Mr. President,

Successive Security Council resolutions since the adoption of 1325 have contributed to the establishment of a sound normative framework. Despite this achievement, today’s debate indicates that there is still need for further serious improvement in involving women in all decision-making processes aiming at preventing conflict as well as building and sustaining peace.

To create lasting peace and stability, we need women’s voices in every process from conflict prevention and conflict resolution to reconciliation and post-conflict recovery. Indeed, recent conflict settlement history of our globe is full of success stories of women who played crucial roles in the establishment of peace and security. We should build on these achievements and ensure women’s rightful and meaningful participation in peace operations.

Thank you.