Statement by H.E. Amb. Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations 66th General Assembly Third Committee Agenda Item: “Advancement of Women”

Ertuğrul Apakan 13.10.2011
Madame Chairperson,

At the outset I wish to express our congratulation to Ambassador Hussein Hannif, for assuming the chairmanship at the Third Committee.

I would also like to express our satisfaction about the progress that the UN WOMEN has achieved under the effective leadership of Under-Secretary-General Mme. Michelle Bachelet. We highly appreciate her vision and dedicated efforts. In this regard, Turkey shares the objectives of the “UN WOMEN’s Strategic Plan 2012-2013”, which provides a tangible terms of reference for coordinating and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women within the UN system. UN WOMEN can be assured on Turkey’s continued support and contribution.

By the same token, the reports prepared and submitted by Ms. Lakshmi Puri -Assistant Secretary-General, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Raporteur on Violence against Women and Ms. Silvia Pimentel -Chair of CEDAW constitute important basis for further deliberations. We would like to express our appreciation for their efforts.

Madame Chairperson,

Two recent developments as regards women and women empowerment deserve due attention and should not be passed unnoticed:

First of all, the passing of Professor Wangari Maathai of Kenya caused deep sorrow worldwide. Not only did her pioneering efforts usher a new era in environmental protection and sustainable development in particular in Africa, but her hard work to empower women and to advance women’s rights agenda earned her a unique place among women leaders. Secondly, by honoring three women for their advocacy of women's rights, Nobel Peace Committee demonstrated that democracy and lasting peace cannot be achieved if women do not obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels.

Madame Chairperson,

Today we notice greater awareness towards the rights and needs of women. Since the adoption of the landmark Resolution 1325 in 2000, there has been progress across a broad range of issues for the protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ rights in conflict-affected situations. Thanks to these efforts more women have today access to governance, education, health, capital and the market. More equitable laws that protect women from discrimination were introduced. More commitments were voiced to repeal discriminatory laws and social practices. More women took their rightful place in the social, economic and political fabric of their societies.

Yet, much needs to be done to ensure universal adherence to the rights of women. We believe that it is high time for the international community to move from words to deeds to deliver women’s needs.

Madame Chairperson,

Turkey has made significant strides with a view to leaving no single legal barrier against gender equality. International conventions on fundamental rights and freedoms, such as CEDAW enjoy supremacy over all national laws. Furthermore, over the years since the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Platform for Action, Turkey has realized most of its Beijin commitments. By implementing policies in line with the Platform we have achieved important progress in the area of gender equality and women’s rights.

Madame Chairperson,

Allow me to conclude by underlining my country’s unwavering commitment for promoting the status of the women all around the world. The active participation of women, on equal terms with men, at all spheres of decision-making is essential to the achievement of equality, sustainable development, peace and democracy.

Thank you.