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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Hiroshi Minami

Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

At the Open Debate of the United Nations Security Council

On the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict


30 January 2015


Mr. President,


At the outset, let me express my sincere congratulations to Chile on its assumption of the presidency of the Security Council, and my appreciation to you for holding this open debate focusing on the “protection challenges and needs faced by women and girls in armed conflict and post-conflict settings.”


I would also like to thank Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Helen Durham, the Director for International Law and Policy for the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Ms. Ilwad Elman from the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, for their respective briefings.


Japan concurs and associates itself with the statement delivered by Switzerland on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. In my statement, I would like to focus on the aspect of women’s empowerment under the conflict and post-conflict settings.


Mr. President,


Everyone caught living under the conditions of armed conflict suffers, but that suffering is spread unevenly. The fact is, in general, that women and girls suffer significantly worse. They suffer more because women and girls are too often targeted directly as pawns in some of the more insidious tactics of war. They suffer more because they are more susceptible to rape, forced marriage, forced prostitution, and other sexual and gender-based violence. Therefore, there are inherent needs and challenges to the protection of women and girls which require special consideration in the processes of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and peace building. This is precisely why women must participate in decision-making in such processes.


In this regard, it is absolutely crucial to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325. As we explained in the open debate of the Security Council on Women and Peace and Security in October of last year, the Government of Japan and Japanese civil society have been working together earnestly to develop our National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security through the framework of participation, prevention, protection, relief and recovery, and monitoring and evaluation. It is expected that we will be able to launch our National Action Plan very soon.


Mr. President,


In this statement, I would like to emphasize the aspect of women as active agents in society, especially within post-conflict settings, rather than women as objects of protection. Too often, women are seen simply as vulnerable beings that are passively dependent on the protection of others. However, the fact is that women play many positive and active roles in society, and their contributions are absolutely indispensable. It is often the very structure of society, especially in conflict and post-conflict settings, which hinders women’s capability to flourish. However, under suitable condition, women can shine.


In this spirit, Japan hosted the World Assembly for Women, or WAW!, last September in Tokyo. Approximately 100 world leaders participated in this Symposium. As an outcome of this Symposium, we adopted “WAW! TO DO”, which is a to-do list consisting of 12 items, including the empowerment of women in peace and security. In this regard, I am delighted to announce that WAW! will be held in Tokyo again this year.


Mr. President,


Policy implementation with sufficient budgeting is crucial for removing obstacles that hinder women from flourishing. Two years ago before the General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, pledged the implementation of ODA in excess of 3 billion dollars over the three years from 2013 to 2015 towards women’s empowerment and gender equality. We have already implemented approximately 1.8 billion dollars of this pledge so far.


Let me introduce some of the projects implemented through this assistance.


In November 2014, Japan began contributing to a project implemented by UNDP in cooperation with NATO and the government of Turkey, which is training some 200 female Afghan police officers at the Sivas Police Training Center in Turkey. As part of this project, in December last year, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) sent three experts to hold a three-day workshop on empowering these officers to improve their ability to tackle gender-based violence.


Japan has been assisting female internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from the Syrian conflict mainly in Jordan in achieving economic self-reliance through a project implemented by UN-Women in response to the crisis. We employ the method of “cash for work”, which hires internally displaced and refugee women for reconstruction projects in order to foster economic recovery and self-reliance. This project has already provided short-term employment for 950 female refugees, and will further provide skills training to 300 women toward their greater economic self-reliance.


Mr. President,


At the end of the day, whether or not these projects will bear fruits depends entirely on the successful restoration of a peaceful society after conflict. In order to make conflict resolution and peacebuilding effective, states need to reinforce their legal systems after conflicts. Working from this perspective, Japan has been assisting the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, and has become the number one donor to this office.


Mr. President,


In conclusion, considering both the special needs and the empowerment of women in conflict and post-conflict settings are the two main pillars in the field of women and peace and security. In order to address this issue more effectively, I believe that the implementation of policy should be guided by the principle of “human security”, which focuses on the well-being of every individual and seeks to build societies in which everyone can live with dignity by protecting and empowering individuals and communities that are exposed to actual and potential threats. Japan implements its ODA projects in the spirit of human security, and we urge all states to consider this approach as well.


I thank you, Mr. President.



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