Pillay: Capitalizing on women’s potential in times of crisis

8 Mar 2012

Pillay: Capitalizing on women’s potential in times of crisis

Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on International Women's Day

Geneva, 7 March 2012 - Mary Kini, Angela Apa and Agnes Sil belong to three warring tribes in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. Tribal laws prohibited them from any interaction with one another. But after years of intertribal violence in their district, they flaunted social taboos and schemed, in secret, to bring peace to their communities. Risking their lives, they surreptitiously discussed peace plans while shopping at the local market, successfully mobilised others to their cause, and walked out onto the battlefield to send out messages of peace.

The women, who have since set up an organisation to promote peace and end violence against women which has received wide recognition in the region, exemplify the kind of crucial work women are courageously doing in communities small and big, sometimes quietly, sometimes in higher profile ways, often in the face of grave risks, in all parts of the world.

It is an established fact that women are most frequently the first to suffer when basic human rights are threatened. Food crises, wars and conflict, climate change, economic downturns and other societal upheavals tend to disproportionately affect women. But what is acknowledged far less is that women can be, and are, powerful agents for change. Women can be counted on to face seemingly insurmountable challenges with great strength of spirit, creativity and intelligence.

This year, as we celebrate International Women's Day, I call on governments, community leaders and heads of families around the world to recognise, acknowledge and tap into the enormous potential of women to positively impact the world around them. This is a call directed not at any particular region of the world – it is a global call because the failure to capitalise on women's potential is a global problem.

UN statistics show that as of last year, women held only 19.3 per cent of seats in single or lower houses of parliament worldwide. It was also noted in the latest Millennium Development Goals Report that many women contenders for political office suffer from a shortage of both media coverage and public appearances. In the economic sphere, only 12 of the Fortune 500 companies have women at the helm. Women in rural areas produce 60 to 80 per cent of the food in developing countries, but they rarely have rights to the land they cultivate. Figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation show that for every 100 land owners globally, only 20 are women.

With too few women leaders in politics, and woefully insufficient numbers of women leaders in industry, women are not taking part in decisive discussions on how to respond to global crises. Such exclusion is at our own peril – the refusal to embrace gender equality has led to many scourges, one tragic example being the ferocious spread of HIV/AIDS.

This is why, in echoing the voices from the streets of many cities, towns and villages around the world, we must insist upon structural and institutional changes that will ensure that women are recognized as equal citizens and equal partners in decision-making. This applies particularly in times of transition for states.

Meaningful participation requires that women are able to access relevant information and are empowered, through education and political access, to make contributions. And by women, I am also referring to women from minority groups, poor, elderly, women with disabilities and otherwise vulnerable women. We must think about these women as legitimate rights-holders and future leaders.

This year's theme for International Women's Day, Empower rural women: end hunger and poverty, emphasizes that efforts at a local community level can have a reverberating impact well beyond. Only by capitalizing on the potential of women to effect change can we ever expect to realize the global aspiration for more just societies, where the human rights and dignity of every woman, child and man are respected.


Pillay: Aproveita potensia feto sira-nian iha tempu krize
Deklarasaun hosi Alta Komisária ONU nian ba Direitus Umanus iha Loron Internasionál Feto nian

Jenebra, 7 Marsu 2012 -
Mary Kini, Angela Apa no Agnes Sil pertense ba tribu tolu ne'ebé iha konflitu iha foho sira Papua Nova Giné nian. Lei tribál nian bandu sira atu hala'o kualkér inter-asaun ho ida seluk. Maibé, depoizde tinan barak mosu violénsia inter-tribál iha sira-nia distritu, sira hatudu tabu sosiál, no planeia, ho segredu, hodi lori pás ba sira-nia komunidade. Embora tau risku ba sira-nia moris, ho segredu sira diskute kona-ba planu ba pás nian bainhira sira hala'o hela kompras iha merkadu lokál, ho susesu mobiliza ema sira seluk ba sira-nia kauza, no la'o ba iha kampu batalla hodi fó sai kona-ba mensajen sira pás nian.

Feto sira, ne'ebé dezde ne'e estabelese organizasaun ida hodi promove pás no hapara violénsia hasoru feto, ne'ebé hetan ona rekoñesimentu kle'an iha rejiaun ne'e, ezemplifika tipu servisu importante ne'ebé feto sira brani atu hala'o iha komunidade ki'ik no boot, dala ruma ho nonok, dala ruma ho maneira fó sai iha públiku, dala ruma ho kondisaun risku sira ne'ebé grave, iha parte sira hotu mundu nian.
Nu'udar faktu ida-ne'ebé estabelese ona katak feto sira mak dala barak sofre uluk bainhira direitus umanus báziku hetan ameasa. Krize hahán, funu no konflitu, mudansa klimátika, krize ekonómika no runguranga sosiál sira seluk iha tendénsia atu afeta maka'as liu ba feto sira. Maibé, saída mak ladun hetan rekoñesimentu mak katak feto sira bele, no sai ajente sira ne'ebé forte atu halo mudansa. Bele konta ho feto sira atu hasoru dezafiu sira ne'ebé haree ba labele ultrapasa, ho forsa boot hosi espiritu, kreatividade no matenek.
Tinan ne'e, bainhira ita selebra Loron Internasionál Feto nian, ha'u apela ba governu, lider komunitáriu no xefe família sira iha mundu tomak atu hatene, rekoñese, no aproveita potensia boot feto sira-nian hodi fó impaktu ho pozitivu ba ambiente ne'ebé hale'u sira. Buat ida-ne'e sai nu'udar apelu ida mak la'ós diriji ba kualker rejiaun partikular ida mundu nian—ne'e nu'udar apelu globál ida tanba fallansu atu aproveita feto sira-nia poténsia sai nu'udar problema globál ida.
Estatístika sira ONU nian hatudu katak to'o iha tinan kotuk, feto sira hetan de'it kadeira pursentu 19.3 iha parlamentu ho sistema kámara ida ka kámara baixa iha mundu tomak. Nota mós iha Relatóriu Objetivu Dezenvolvimentu Miléniu foin lalais ne'e nian katak feto barak ne'ebé kandidata an ba pozisaun polítika sofre falta kobertura mídia no aparénsia públiku. Iha área ekonómika, kompañia 12 de'it hosi kompañia Fortune 500 ne'ebé feto sira mak xefia. Feto sira iha área rurál prodús hahan pursentu 60 to'o 80 iha rai sira ne'ebé foin dezenvolve an, maibé sira raramente hetan direitu ba rai ne'ebé sira halo to'os. Estatístika hosi Organizasaun ba Aihan no Agrikultura ONU nian hatutu katak ba kada rai-na'in 100 globalmente, na'in 20 de'it mak feto.
Ho líder feto sira mak oituan loos iha polítika, no númeru líder feto sira ne'ebé lamentavelmente insufisiente iha industria, feto sira la halo parte daudaun iha diskusaun sira ne'ebé desizivu kona-ba oinsá atu responde ba krize globál sira. Eskluzaun hanesan ne'e mosu iha ita-nia responsabilidade rasik—rekuza atu adota igualdade jéneru hamosu tiha ona terus barak, no ezemplu trájiku ida mak da'et HIV/SIDA nian ne'ebé maka'as loos.
Tanba ne'e, atu hatutan liután lian sira hosi estrada sira hosi sidade, vila no aldeia barak iha mundu tomak, ita tenke insisti atu iha mudansa institusionál no estruturál ne'ebé sei garante katak feto sira hetan rekoñesimentu nu'udar sidadaun sira-ne'ebé hanesan no parseiru sira-ne'ebé hanesan atu foti desizaun. Buat ne'e aplika partikularmente iha tempu tranzisaun ba estadu sira.
Partisipasaun signifikativa ezije katak feto sira bele iha asesu ba informasaun relevante no hetan kbiit, liuhosi asesu ba edukasaun no polítika, hodi halo kontribuisaun. No liuhosi feto sira, ha'u mós refere daudaun ba feto sira hosi grupu minoria sira, kiak, katuas-ferik, feto sira ho defisiénsia no feto sira ne'ebé ho forma seluk sai vulneravel. Ita tenke hanoin kona-ba feto sira-ne'e hanesan ema sira ne'ebé iha direitu lejítimu no líder sira futuru nian.
Tinan ida-ne'e nia tema ba Loron Internasionál Feto nian, Habiit feto rurál sira: hapara hamlaha no kiak, fó énfaze katak esforsu sira ne'ebé hala'o iha nivel komunidade lokál bele iha impaktu maka'as la halimar. Só de'it liuhosi aproveita poténsia feto sira-nian atu hamosu mudansa, mak ita bele iha espetativa atu realiza aspirasaun globál ba sosiedade justu sira-ne'ebé barak liután, bainhira direitus umanus no dignidade kada feto, labarik no mane nian hetan respeitu.