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Holy See: Women must be involved in peace-building

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza - RV

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza - RV

26/10/2016 11:59

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Tuesday advocated for an increased involvement of women in making, maintaining and building peace.

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, was speaking at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security.

“Setting up women to succeed in using their talents for making, maintaining and building peace also requires combatting poverty and ensure access to other fundamental resources,” the Vatican diplomat said.

“Helping women to bring healing to the world by addressing the causes and consequences of war  and violence also means protecting them in this vital mission,” – continued Archbishop Auza – “Without the inputs and specific skills of women, the most comprehensive understanding possible of the causes of conflicts and the most effective solutions to end them and build peace may never be fully attained.”

 

The full statement is below

 

Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza

Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations

Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security

New York, 25 October 2015

 

Mr. President,

The Holy See is pleased that the Russian Federation Presidency has submitted this topic

for  Open  Debate  in  this  Council  and  brought  it  to  the  attention  of  the  International

Community.

The  Holy  See  has  long  advocated  for  an  increased  involvement  of  women  in  making,

maintaining  and  building  peace.  Thus  it  appreciates  the  initiatives  promoted  by  the

Security Council and Governments to raise awareness and arrive at a fuller recognition of

the vital role of women in preventing the outbreak of war through mediation and preventive

diplomacy,  in  reconciling,  rehabilitating  and  rebuilding  societies  in  post-war  situations,

and in avoiding relapses into armed conflicts. Women can and should play much greater

roles  in  all  of  these  processes.  Their  special  capacities  to  bring  order  out  of  chaos,

community out of division, and peace out of conflict and their special gifts in educating

people to be more receptive and sensitive to the needs of others is essential in order to spare

our world from further scourges of war and help heal the wounds of previous and present

violent conflicts.

To harness the special capacities of women in peace and security, however, an international

effort should be made to enable them to succeed, something that will be difficult to achieve

if women still represent a disproportionate number of the world’s disadvantaged. The lack

of  access  for  women  and  girls  to  education,  in  particular,  quality  education,  must  be

addressed.  Sad to say, as Pope Francis pointed out in his 25 September 2015 Address to the

General Assembly, not everywhere are girls and women given full access to education; most

of the time, this results in condemning them to a second-class role within society  and in

giving them no possibility of being heard.  Education is the great enabler for women to be

able to contribute fully to the promotion and consolidation of peace and harmony not only

in the family, but also in local communities, and the entire world.

The Catholic Church has long placed great emphasis on the absolute necessity of giving

young women and girls access to education. Today, young women and girls constitute the

majority in many of the more than 100,000 schools of the Catholic Church worldwide, from

kindergarten through university, in particular, in regions where women and girls still suffer

discrimination. They learn the skills to become well-trained educators and professionals,

that may greatly contribute to a secure and safe society. The priority of ensuring a quality

education for girls and women is also essential if we hope that they will transmit to boys

and men the necessary values to desist from violence and conflict, for the role and influence

of the mother are vital in the education of  children and youth in the values of peace and

mutual respect, of reconciliation and healing. The peacemaking role of the mother in the

family is of the essence not merely fora peaceful and secure home but also for a peaceful,

inclusive and safe society.

Setting up women to succeed in using their talents for making, maintaining and building

peace also requires combatting poverty and ensure access to other fundamental resources.

In  both urban and rural areas, it is far more common for women to lack access to basic

services, including health-care and social protections. In vast areas of the world, the lack of

consistent and nutritious food, clean water and sanitation services, as well as the lack of

employment  opportunities  and  decent  pay,  continue  to  undermine  women’s  abilities  to

play their role in the life of their own families and society as a whole.

Helping women to bring healing to the world by addressing the causes and consequences

of  war  and  violence  also  means  protecting  them  in  this  vital  mission.  The  close  to  fifty

conflicts raging in different parts of the world today call on us to concentrate our efforts on

the  plight  of  women  and  girls  in  violent  situations.  Women  who  have  fallen  victims  to

violence must be helped to overcome the stigma and the shame to which they are subjected

to in certain societies, and to seek justice. It is so much more difficult for women to sustain

the family and care for family members maimed by violence if their own wounds are not

being  treated  and  the  injustices  they  have  suffered  not  being  remedied.  With  so  much

money available for weapons, can’t the world spare resources to compensate for the loss of

life and limb, of the families and homes of these innocent victims, to help them overcome

the ravages of conflict and enable them to become peacemakers?

Mr. President,

That  women  suffer  disproportionately  from  conflicts  and  wars  that  they  did  not  cause

creates the false impression that women are only victims and not also peacemakers. It is

high time – indeed, high time is long past – that this flawed image be laid to rest. And one

sure way of achieving that is to harness to the full the active role of women in all phases of

conflict prevention, mediation, conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding. Without

the inputs and specific skills of women, the most comprehensive understanding possible of

the causes of conflicts and the most effective solutions to end them and build peace may

never be fully attained.

Thank you, Mr. President.

26/10/2016 11:59