Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 25, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. And I thank Brazil for convening us today as we mark the 23rd anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. And I thank the Secretary-General, ICRC President Egger, and all of today’s briefers, for all you do to promote and protect the rights of women and girls.

As the first country to adopt a comprehensive law on Women, Peace, and Security, the United States remains fully committed to advancing Resolution 1325. We must all do our part to live up to this resolution, and the ideals we subscribe to.

And in that vein, later this month, the Biden Administration will launch the updated U.S. Strategy and National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security which will encourage partners around the world to mainstream WPS principles across policies and strategies.

Colleagues, it is well established that women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in peace processes – as leaders, negotiators, and peacebuilders – increase the likelihood of a just and lasting peace. However, more financing for women and youth peacebuilders is needed and the United States hopes to work through the Peacebuilding Commission to move forward on this.

We are also proud to join broad coalitions of previous and current Council members in signing up to the Statement of Shared Commitments on WPS, and we encourage incoming Council members to do the same. As a member of the WPS Shared Commitments Group, we are committed to amplifying women’s voices and following up on the recommendations of civil society.

Colleagues, this year’s report from the office of the Secretary-General has painted a gruesome picture of the risk women and girls face, including kidnapping, torture, killing, and gender-based violence – in Sudan, in Ukraine, in Syria, in conflicts around the world.

On October 7th, when Hamas launched its barbaric terrorist attacks against Israel, more than a thousand people were slaughtered, and innocent civilians were taken hostage and caught in the crossfire, including women and girls, babies and elderly women. It’s sickening, and there’s never any justification for terrorism. We also know women and girls in Gaza – who have endured years and years of Hamas’ cruelty – are in dire need of humanitarian aid and are also victims of Hamas’ horrific actions on October 7th.

For our part, the United States is providing 100 million dollars in new humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank, and we continue to work around the clock to ensure aid can reach people in need. We know that this is urgent.

Colleagues, the bottom line is this: Right now, around the world, women and girls are under threat from conflict, repressive regimes, and the growing, coordinated, and highly resourced pushback on the exercise of their human rights. These women are counting on us, on this Council, and on all Member States. And as we work to advance women’s full, equal, meaningful, and safe participation in peace and security, we must – we must – place justice and accountability at the forefront of the WPS Agenda.

The United States applauds the efforts made by Member States to improve the full and meaningful participation of women in peace operations, especially in leadership positions. And we support the Secretary-General’s call to increase women’s participation in local conflict response, mitigation, and resolution efforts.

The United States is also heartened to see that more Troop and Police Contributing Countries are meeting the UN Gender Parity goals, including countries we partner with on peacekeeping capacity-building, and we hope to see those trends continue.

The United States stands ready to support all Member States in adopting, implementing, adapting, and revising National Action Plans and strategies on WPS. By doing so, we help women and girls, especially in conflict areas, achieve stability, economic prosperity, and future growth.

Colleagues, everywhere I go, I make it my mission to meet with women leaders, human rights defenders, and activists. Last month, I was in Chad, where I met with a group of Sudanese women who fled a brutal conflict where women and girls have been victims of rape and other forms of conflict-related sexual violence. In their eyes, I saw pain and fear. It was the same pain and fear I saw in the eyes of women I met in Ukraine who have endured unthinkable cruelty at the hands of Russian forces.

But these women – and all women living under conflict – are also examples of strength. As just one example, in Ukraine, women have demonstrated extraordinary resilience and leadership. Ukrainian women have been first responders, frontline defenders serving in the military, heads of households and advocates for justice and accountability. We must lift up these women, and all women who are leading efforts to provide assistance to people in need, including survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

Colleagues, women and girls across the world are looking to us. And we must send a clear message: That we stand with you, and we support you. We support you today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.

Thank you, Mr. President.