Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 7, 2022
Thank you very much, and hello everyone. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is for me to be here with Foreign Minister Xhaçka hosting this panel. To be here in Albania with all of you, it really is an honor. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation all day, because while there are a lot of issues we care about, the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda is one that is closest to my heart.
Women, Peace, and Security offers – the Agenda offers a vision of a world where women and girls are protected, included, and play an essential role for forging peace. Our charge is to make this vision a reality, especially at a moment when armed conflicts are having a disproportionate impact on women and girls all around the world.
In Ethiopia, human rights experts have determined that warring parties have committed acts of rape and sexual violence against women and girls. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has instituted archaic restrictions on women’s education, employment, and movement. And, of course, right next door in Ukraine, we have watched the horrors of Russian forces committing atrocities against women and girls. The UN has verified more than 100 cases of rape and sexual assault since Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.
Make no mistake: This is a military strategy. It’s a military tool. Russian forces are using rape as a weapon of war. There must be accountability for all perpetrators of crimes against women and girls. Any sustainable peace requires justice for the victims.
But despite these real and grave challenges, I always try to remind my colleagues at the UN that women are not passive victims. They are survivors. They are courageous. They are consistently in the front lines of advancing peace and justice. And all we need to look at is what’s happening in Iran, where women are boldly standing up to a repressive regime that has long denied them their basic human rights, that killed a woman like Mahsa Amini for the crime of being a woman.
Iranian women have inspired the world with their bravery and their strength. And all around the globe, women are dismantling the status quo. They are helping build a more peaceful world. Women protect their communities from conflict, and they bring about a unique and important perspective that helps move peace processes forward.
In short, peace is synonymous with women’s full participation in conflict prevention and resolution. And that is why we must do everything – and I say everything – in our power to advance the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. And that is why the United States was proud to be the first country to codify our commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the landmark WPS resolution whose 22nd anniversary we celebrated just last week.
We must all do our part to promote women’s leadership, in our communities, in our countries, and on the world stage. And certainly Albania is a leader in that area. We are urging all countries to follow suit. And we stand ready to work with Albania, our strong partner on the Security Council, to advance women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in peace and security decision-making.
I’m going to stop here because I want to hear your perspectives of Women, Peace, and Security. I especially want to hear from the young people in the room, because ultimately, we’re going to be passing the torch to you. And I want to hear your ideas for moving this necessary work forward, here in Albania and around the world.
So let’s open the conversation. Thank you very much.