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Speech by Mrs. Tawakkol Karman at NATO Conference on Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1235 on Women, Security and Peace on March 28, 2012 in Brussels 

Dear ladies and gentlemen, I fear that talking about women and their rights by international organizations has become a repetitive job from which women gain nothing but conferences, recommendations and resolutions, which usually go unheeded and are never implemented. All what women reach are mere promises.Ladies and gentlemen, The key problem is that these resolutions, including Security Council resolution 1325 on women, security and peace, and before that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action and the commitments contained in the outcome document of United Nations General Assembly Special Session, entitled: “Women 2000, Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century,” suffer a common defect because they entrust the process of implementation, supervision and follow-up to authoritarian regimes and despots. International resolutions, international covenants and treaties regarding women will remain worthless and women will gain only mere promises, deprivation, exclusion and marginalization until UN mechanism is adopted to ensure the implementation, follow-up and supervision of the United Nations, and to ensure punishment and deterrence against regimes and rulers who have violated them or dishonored their commitments.  Dear friends, I wonder what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report on the implementation of Resolution 1325 will say this year. Will his annual report on the Arab Spring include that his UN organization has done nothing to punish the killers of thousands of demonstrators in all the Arab Spring revolutions? To your knowledge, Resolution 1325 contains an explicit clause stressing the responsibility of all states to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including those relating to the sexual and other violence of women and girls.  Will his report include that, under his direct supervision, an initiative has been accomplished that grants the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides immunity from prosecution and accountability for any of their crimes that had been committed during Saleh’s thirty-three years of rule, and amount to crimes against humanity?  Will include in his report that his envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, may seek to grant the same guarantees to corrupt, cruel and despotic Bashar al-Assad?!!Ladies and gentlemen,Once again, there couldn’t be peace without justice, and human justice goes on to say that regimes overthrown in 2011’s popular uprisings must be subject to criminal accountability and international prosecution for the crimes they have committed against their peoples. Measures must also be taken to freeze their assets and funds these regimes gained by the abuse of power.   We call upon NATO member states and their peoples along with all the world’s peoples who are peace-loving and respectful of democratic rights and freedoms to play an active role in supporting the Syrian people who are fighting with patience and steadfastness against the tyranny of the criminal regime of Bishara al-Assad, longing for freedom and dignity for which tens of thousands have been killed and wounded. I call upon them to work with the Republic of Turkey to establish a buffer zone extending for tens or hundreds of kilometers inside the Syrian border to ensure safe havens for families and individuals escaping from the hell and oppression of Bashar al-Assad and his security and military services. I call upon them to provide all kinds of material and logistical support to the Syrian National Council. I call on them to impose a complete economic siege on the regime of Bashar al-Assad to prevent the flow of money and weapons to him after it has become clear the regime use them to kill his own people and nurture the machine of killing and destruction. Today you are called upon to carry out your humanitarian duty to provide all kinds of support and protection to Syria's youth, Syrian children, Syrian women who are killed on a daily basis throughout Syria. Dears, As we are discussing here Resolution 1325, which, in its first paragraph, urges that women be represented at all levels of decision-making in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution, let me tell you that, months ago, I visited UN headquarters, and noticed while looking through pictures of United Nations Secretaries-General, who have been the head of this UN organization since 1945,  that there was not even one single woman  among them. Of course, it is unacceptable to say that no woman in this world has the competence and ability to run the UN. I call for women to have the same opportunities regarding the presidency of the United Nations and all international organizations in order to provide practical evidence that there are still those who care about women within international organizations and their agenda.Yes, it can be said that the States Members of the United Nations system have done nothing important to increase the participation of women at all levels of decision-making in conflict resolution and peacemaking. More than ten years have passed since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 while all the resolutions related to peace and war are limited only to men in most Member States.  It may seem strange to be involved in an event held by NATO. My presence here today, however, means not an endorsement of NATO's military policies. I am her to support women's participation in peacemaking. I take this opportunity to recall upon NATO, its member states and peoples to fulfill its responsibilities in adopting a policy that defends the rights of peoples and advocate for human rights in accordance with the standards and principles of human rights and not only in accordance with international interests and the interests of the big countries in NATO. Thank you! 

Ladies and gentlemen, 
The key problem is that these resolutions, including Security Council resolution 1325 on women, security and peace, and before that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action and the commitments contained in the outcome document of United Nations General Assembly Special Session, entitled: “Women 2000, Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century,” suffer a common defect because they entrust the process of implementation, supervision and follow-up to authoritarian regimes and despots.
 
International resolutions, international covenants and treaties regarding women will remain worthless and women will gain only mere promises, deprivation, exclusion and marginalization until UN mechanism is adopted to ensure the implementation, follow-up and supervision of the United Nations, and to ensure punishment and deterrence against regimes and rulers who have violated them or dishonored their commitments. 

 

Dear friends, 
I wonder what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report on the implementation of Resolution 1325 will say this year. Will his annual report on the Arab Spring include that his UN organization has done nothing to punish the killers of thousands of demonstrators in all the Arab Spring revolutions? To your knowledge, Resolution 1325 contains an explicit clause stressing the responsibility of all states to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including those relating to the sexual and other violence of women and girls. 
 
Will his report include that, under his direct supervision, an initiative has been accomplished that grants the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides immunity from prosecution and accountability for any of their crimes that had been committed during Saleh’s thirty-three years of rule, and amount to crimes against humanity? 

 Will include in his report that his envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, may seek to grant the same guarantees to corrupt, cruel and despotic Bashar al-Assad?!!


Ladies and gentlemen,
Once again, there couldn’t be peace without justice, and human justice goes on to say that regimes overthrown in 2011’s popular uprisings must be subject to criminal accountability and international prosecution for the crimes they have committed against their peoples. Measures must also be taken to freeze their assets and funds these regimes gained by the abuse of power. 
 
 We call upon NATO member states and their peoples along with all the world’s peoples who are peace-loving and respectful of democratic rights and freedoms to play an active role in supporting the Syrian people who are fighting with patience and steadfastness against the tyranny of the criminal regime of Bishara al-Assad, longing for freedom and dignity for which tens of thousands have been killed and wounded. 

I call upon them to work with the Republic of Turkey to establish a buffer zone extending for tens or hundreds of kilometers inside the Syrian border to ensure safe havens for families and individuals escaping from the hell and oppression of Bashar al-Assad and his security and military services. I call upon them to provide all kinds of material and logistical support to the Syrian National Council. 

I call on them to impose a complete economic siege on the regime of Bashar al-Assad to prevent the flow of money and weapons to him after it has become clear the regime use them to kill his own people and nurture the machine of killing and destruction. Today you are called upon to carry out your humanitarian duty to provide all kinds of support and protection to Syria's youth, Syrian children, Syrian women who are killed on a daily basis throughout Syria. 


Dears, 
As we are discussing here Resolution 1325, which, in its first paragraph, urges that women be represented at all levels of decision-making in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution, let me tell you that, months ago, I visited UN headquarters, and noticed while looking through pictures of United Nations Secretaries-General, who have been the head of this UN organization since 1945,  that there was not even one single woman  among them. 

Of course, it is unacceptable to say that no woman in this world has the competence and ability to run the UN. I call for women to have the same opportunities regarding the presidency of the United Nations and all international organizations in order to provide practical evidence that there are still those who care about women within international organizations and their agenda.

Yes, it can be said that the States Members of the United Nations system have done nothing important to increase the participation of women at all levels of decision-making in conflict resolution and peacemaking. More than ten years have passed since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 while all the resolutions related to peace and war are limited only to men in most Member States. 
 
It may seem strange to be involved in an event held by NATO. My presence here today, however, means not an endorsement of NATO's military policies. I am her to support women's participation in peacemaking. I take this opportunity to recall upon NATO, its member states and peoples to fulfill its responsibilities in adopting a policy that defends the rights of peoples and advocate for human rights in accordance with the standards and principles of human rights and not only in accordance with international interests and the interests of the big countries in NATO. 

Thank you!