(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
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
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
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?
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.