Human Rights Commissioner on International Women’s Day

08.03.2016 - Press release

The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office issued a statement today (7 March 2016) on the occasion of International Women’s Day:

It is right and proper that we are marking International Women’s Day even in the year 2016. After all, a glance at the world shows that equality is not a reality anywhere in the world, even today on 8 March. In some countries, we can see this simply by taking a look at people’s payslips.

I am pinning my hopes on the new United Nations development agenda, which has the declared and ambitious objective of achieving equality, that is to say 50:50, by 2030. Germany will do its part to achieve this aim. We have therefore doubled our financial contribution to UN Women and are a member of the Bureau of the UN-Women Executive Board. This year, we are also leading the negotiations of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, where we aim to determine how the Agenda 2030 for achieving equality can be implemented. We will also be taking responsibility for women’s rights in the area of security policy, including during our OSCE Chairmanship this year.

A glance at the world on 8 March this year also reveals the extent to which sexual violence has become a widespread terrorist tactic. Terrorist groups use sexual violence to finance their activities; they use suffering in order to cause more suffering. I condemn this political economy in the strongest possible terms. We intend to put an end to this and to bring the perpetrators to justice and are working on this together with the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms Zainab Hawa Bangura. Moreover, we will also increase our support for the International Committee of the Red Cross’s efforts to help prevent sexual violence to two million euros.

On 8 March, I would like to pause and think about all those who are committed to the cause of women’s rights around the world. These people include not only women and girls, but also men and boys, many of whom go about their work under difficult conditions and away from the focus on current political crises. They deserve our recognition and respect.

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