Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations 67th General Assembly Third Committee Agenda Item: “Advancement of Women”

Ertuğrul Apakan 16.10.2012
Madame Chair,

At the outset, I would like to express our satisfaction with 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. UN WOMEN can be assured of Turkey’s continued support and contribution.

By the same token, the reports submitted by Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN WOMEN, Ms. Nicole Ameline, Vice-Chair of CEDAW, and Ms. Anne-Brigitte Albrectsen, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA, constitute important basis for further deliberations. We would like to express our appreciation for their efforts.

Madame Chair,

This year the Third Committee will deal with draft resolutions that are critical to the advancement of women. Of particular importance to us is the resolution on the intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women.

Turkey has been the first country to ratify the “Convention of the Council of Europe for Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence” last year. We are also pleased that a specific law that explicitly defines and criminalizes “violence”, “domestic violence” and “violence against women”, including physical, verbal, sexual, economic, and psychological violence has entered into force in March this year.

The draft resolution will precede the work of the Commission on the Status of Women, which will have the same theme during its next session in March 2013. We hope that the Commission will come up with a united and strong voice against violence against women and girls. We must be aware that the work of the Third Committee will set the tone of the deliberations in the CSW.

Madame Chair,

I would also like to take this opportunity to recall the First International Day of the Girl Child that was celebrated last week worldwide. Turkey was pleased to co-sponsor the resolution last year together with Canada and Peru.

At the international level, there is a general consensus on the need protect and promote women’s rights. However, the emphasis on girls is relatively new and requires more effort from all stakeholders to be firmly established. Nevertheless, there is a natural and logical connection between the two concepts. There is a process of continuity and transition between these two phases of life, which presents many opportunities to tackle the problems of our global society, if we can manage to address these issues at an early stage. With this perspective, we believe it would be useful to start thinking about how we can start using the concepts of women and girls together, rather than separately, including in the terminology of the UN.

Another important area for us is the need to address the specific challenges faced by the elderly people, who constitute a vulnerable segment of our society that does not yet receive the due attention that it deserves. My Mission has been organizing, in cooperation with the Mission of San Marino, some activities with our partners in order to create a platform of discussion on this topic. In his context, we believe that UN WOMEN can take the lead in raising awareness and furthering advocacy for solving the problems of elderly women in particular.

For women to achieve their rightful place in their societies, gender perspective must go beyond the confines of the Third Committee and be incorporated and mainstreamed in all dimensions of the work of our Organization. In particular, as the world is moving towards a post-2015 sustainable development agenda, we should make sure that gender equality and women’s empowerment remain among the top priorities of this discussion.

Madame Chair,

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.