CAUTION: ADVANCE RELEASE
DESPITE CONTRIBUTION TO PEACE, "WOMEN ARE ALL TOO OFTEN ABSENT OR POORLY REPRESENTED IN FORMAL PEACE TALKS", DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS
NEW YORK, 8 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette at the Millennium Peace Prize Dinner in New York on 8 March:
I am delighted to be here with you tonight -- to honour four admirable women and three great organizations, and through them, to celebrate the tireless efforts of thousands of women, all over the world, to promote reconciliation and build peace in their communities.
Flora Brovina from Kosovo, Asma Jahangir and Hina Jilani from Pakistan, and the late Veneranda Nzambazamariya from Rwanda have long been courageous and brilliant advocates of women's rights, human rights and peace -- sometimes at the risk of their own lives. And the three women's organizations being honoured -- Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres from Colombia, Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency from Papua New Guinea, and Women in Black -- all do a fantastic job in making sure that women's voices are heard and taken into account in peacemaking and peace-building.
All too often, women and girls are the first victims of armed conflict and suffer disproportionately from its impact. Yet, most of the time, they are also the first ones to reach across the battle lines in search of peace. And time and again, when the crisis has passed and the world's attention has been drawn elsewhere, it is civil society, women's organizations and community groups which do the real work of peace-building. And yet, despite all that, women are all too often absent or poorly represented in formal peace talks.
Last October, the Security Council adopted its first ever resolution on "Women, peace and development". The resolution focuses both on the impact of armed conflict on women and on the necessity to create opportunities for them to play their part in peacekeeping and peace-building. I sincerely hope that this first Millennium Peace Prize for Women will contribute to that aim, by highlighting the vital role that women can play in peace-building and the contributions they can bring to peace processes worldwide.
I would like to thank all of you for your generous support for the cause of women. And I would also like to say a big thank you to the talented chefs who have created this very special dinner for us. Let their Recipes for Peace nourish our souls and inspire us with the strength and the courage to make lasting peace a reality for all the world's peoples.
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