I would like to thank Brazil for organizing this debate, as well as the speakers for their input.
To move from theory to practice in terms of women's participation in international peace and security, it is essential to talk to the women directly concerned. Many of the contexts on this Council's agenda testify to the important contribution made by women to conflict prevention and to the pursuit of lasting peace.
Civil society representatives bring a key perspective to the work of this Council. By subscribing to shared commitments on “Women Peace and Security”, Switzerland has pledged to amplify their voice and to follow up on their recommendations. These elements must play a major role in our deliberations and in the implementation of our decisions. I would like to echo two women who have shared their priorities in this setting during Switzerland's presidency:
First, Mrs. Yasmeen Al-Eryani emphasized the need for a civic space accessible to all. In her words: "With the general erosion of civic space, Yemen has witnessed an unprecedented rollback of women's hard-won freedoms. This includes women's right to participate in the labor market and to play a vital role in revitalizing the economy. It also includes the freedom to act as political decision-makers without limiting their role to representative participation, the right to organize and shape civic spaces without threat, the right to quality education and self-fulfillment, to enjoy freedom of movement and to be visibly present in all aspects of public life. These fundamental rights must not be used as a tool of influence and must never be negotiated. "
Second, the participation of women is essential to the creation of lasting peace. Switzerland is convinced of this and supports women's commitment to conflict prevention and social cohesion in various contexts. Progress is also needed at multilateral level. Ms. Aïchatou Mounkaïla, President of the Network of Women-led Organizations of the Lake Chad Basin, challenged the Council as follows: "I urge the Council to emphasize the full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership of women and girls in humanitarian responses, as well as in community dialogues, peacebuilding and peace negotiation processes at all levels".
In addition, institutional mechanisms for women's participation need to address the specific obstacles faced by historically marginalized groups. As Nigeria Renteria and Genith Quitiaquez pointed out last week at an event organized by Colombia and Switzerland on Colombia's first 1325 action plan.
The facts are clear: without protection and prevention of violence and violations of their human rights and international humanitarian law, women cannot fully and equally participate in political, social or economic life in times of conflict and peace alike.
The most flagrant violations occur every day in Afghanistan, a State party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, where the Taliban have institutionalized systematic gender-based discrimination and persecution.
Every state has a responsibility to prevent violations of women's and girls' rights, including in digital space. Human rights are inalienable rights to which everyone is entitled, without discrimination and regardless of whether they belong to a national, ethical, religious or linguistic minority.
Nearly a quarter of a century after the adoption of Resolution 1325, the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace-building should no longer be a matter of debate. However, reality shows that we are still a long way from this goal.
"We are not here to ask, but to demand", said Emilie Liebherr, a Swiss activist for the women's right to vote, in 1969. This also applies to their right to participate in processes concerning international peace and security. In this sense, our deliberations and decisions must be guided by the recommendations of the women who engage with this Council and with the United Nations.
I thank you.