Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson.
Permanent Representative of Iceland
to the United Nations
Third Committee agenda item 64, 12 October 2005
Advancement of women
As this is the first time Iceland takes the floor in the third committee during the 60th Session of the General Assembly, allow me at the outset to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. I assure you of the full cooperation and support of my delegation.
Let me begin by saying that in 2005 important focus has been put on gender equality and the advancement of women at the international and national level.
At the United Nations World Summit our leaders reaffirmed the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration, the Platform of Action and the outcome document of the twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly. Iceland remains fully committed the Beijing platform of Action and the Beijing Declaration and the outcome document. We all have a duty to continue our efforts for further implementation of these commitments and we must translate them into action.
Iceland attaches great importance to Gender equality, both at the national and international level. We are firmly committed to implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol, both of which we have ratified. We urge all States that have not yet done so, to ratify the Convention and the Protocol as soon as possible. We are also concerned about the scope of reservations that countries have made to the Convention and urge states to withdraw them, for they are contrary to the objectives of the Convention.
We welcomed the political declaration adopted at the forty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), at which Iceland took a seat as a member. Iceland has emphasised the important work of the Commission on the Status of Women and looks forward to contributing actively to its work. Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Commission and gives us an important opportunity to reflect on its achievements and how to build on them in the work ahead.
An important instrument to ensure the advancement of women is the Security Council resolution 1325. This groundbreaking resolution is a challenge to all of us, for it requires a fundamental change in procedure, delivery, attitudes and habits. Women in war and women who have survived war must enjoy protection and justice and women must be full agents in the shaping and rebuilding of their communities in the aftermath of war. Iceland continues to support the full implementation of resolution 1325.
We welcome the report of the Secretary-General, contained in document A/60/38, on the Status of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on its thirty-second session.
Improvements have been achieved towards gender equality and human rights of women in the ten years since Beijing. While progress has been made, including through international instruments, we must recognise how much more has to be done. We therefore have to remain vigilant and energetic in continuing to work for women’s rights and gender equality.
On that note, we can not disassociate violence against women from the general advancement of women. When we have numbers that tell us that one woman in three will suffer gender-based violence in her lifetime, we know that despite the achievements, great changes still need to be made. We must combat all forms of violence against women, not least domestic violence. Iceland takes note of the interim report of the Secretary-General on violence against women, contained in document A/60/211. We look forward to receiving the in depth report at the sixty-first session of the General Assembly.
In this context, I would like to mention our fight against trafficking in human beings – a priority issue which affects all states, either as places of origin, transit or destination, with women and girls being the most frequent victims. Trafficking in women and girls amounts to a modern form of slavery, which is sadly on the increase. Iceland has emphasised the role of regional institutions in combating trafficking in human beings and has contributed actively to the anti-trafficking work of the OSCE.
Finally, Mr. Chairman,
During previous debates in the third committee on the advancement of women, Iceland has stressed its issues of concern such as hindrances on the freedom of movement of women in some countries, lack of women’s participation in political life, the unequal pay of men and women and the restrictions on reproductive rights of women. We repeat these concerns today.
Thank you Mr. Chairman,