Réception en l’honneur de la 53ème session du CEDAW
Madame la Présidente du comité CEDAW,
Mesdames et Monsieur les membres du comité CEDAW,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs,
Mesdames et Messieurs membres du Secrétariat du comité CEDAW,
Mesdames et Messieurs les délégués,
Je vous souhaite la bienvenue à la résidence de France.
As you may know, this is now a tradition that France organises a reception for the members of the CEDAW Committee.
The involvement of my country in the promotion and protection of women rights has been demonstrated in many occasions.
Among other examples, I can mention :
the adoption of resolutions on "Women, Peace and Security" in the Security Council, calling on States to strengthen the protection of women in conflict and strengthen the participation of women in peace negotiations and decision-making.
I can mention further the adoption of EU guidelines on violence against women during the French Presidency of the European Union, in 2008.
For its development cooperation activities, France has a strategic guidance document to incorporate a gender perspective. Since 2009, France has been implementing a cooperation program entitled "Gender and Economic Development", which aims at strengthening the economic empowerment of women and at promoting women’s entrepreneurship in several countries in West Africa.
Remember also that in 2010, for the 30th anniversary of the Convention, France has invited the CEDAW to Paris for a special meeting. Along the same lines, we welcome the initiative of Turkey to invite the Committee in Istanbul for its 30th anniversary.
Finally, France is attached to applaud and recognize the concrete work of women on the ground. This is why in one week from now I will award the Legion d’Honneur to an exceptional woman, Ms Benita Diop.
Because we are involved in the promotion of women rights, it is natural that we pay tribute to the CEDAW. Your committee plays a tremendous and central rôle among the treaty bodies but also in the whole UN system.
Unfortunately, terrible current events prove the necessity of your ongoing struggle.
We all know that women in Syria are victims of grave violations of their rights and that they pay the high price in current conflicts. The targeting of women must stop and Syrian women have to be part of negotiation for peace and of reconstruction.
The atrocities committed in the North of Mali remind us that any situation may regress. We hope that, following the useful visit of Assistant Secretary-General for human rights Simonovic, the proposals of cooperation between Mali and the OHCHR will lead to concrete action on the ground.
In that regard this is really timely that l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie organise next week a High-level Panel on promoting and protecting women’s rights in situation of conflict and post conflict, specially in highlighting the case of French-speaking Africa.
Obviously, the elimination of gender discrimination must be a goal also in non conflict situations. Even if the situation of women has improved in many parts of the word, a lot of challenges remain.
The implementation of the recommendations that you address to States parties is the key issue. We believe that more has to be done to facilitate this implementation. For instance, one must better articulate the application of your recommendations with development policies.
In that regard, the mainstreaming of your work is fundamental : not only within the UN system – because of course this is necessary that CEDAW cooperate with UN women – but also with regional organisations and specialised agencies. The convening of CEDAW alternately in New York and in Geneva is therefore important.
Our advice would be : do your best to seek more visibility. You work hard, you work well, let the outside world know and benefit from your expertise. Then you will get support for the concrete achievement of your recommendations.
Be ensured, dear experts of the Committee, of the support of France in your endeavour.
Before raising our glasses to pay tribute to the CEDAW and its experts, I would like to let Mme Ameline say a few words.