UZBEKISTAN: UNFPA report links peace, security and development to women's rights

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Central Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding
Human Rights

Global Report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) "State of the World Population 2010" was launched at the National Press Center of Uzbekistan on 16 December.

UNFPA office in Tashkent and Women's Committee of Uzbekistan joined hands in organization of media-briefing to launch the Report and discuss the issues of women's rights and empowerment in times of crises.

This year's Report is entitled "From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal: Generations of Change" and it focuses on the role of women during humanitarian crises caused by armed conflicts and natural disasters. The report argues that when women have access to the same rights and opportunities as men, they are more resilient to conflict and disaster and can lead reconstruction and renewal efforts in their societies.

The theme of this year's report is especially relevant to our region's context, as it reflects the tragic events that took place on the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border in June this year. When hundreds of refugees fled neighboring Kyrgyzstan, among them children and women, the Government of Uzbekistan has spared no effort to organize immediate humanitarian assistance: set up camps and provide them with necessary items, such as food, clothes and medicines.

With support of Women's Committee of Uzbekistan, UNFPA, along with other UN Agencies, contributed to help improve the conditions of refugees residing in camps. Particularly, UNFPA and Women's Committee provided and distributed more than 3,500 dignity kits for women and girls.

As part of the discussion, journalists were also briefed on the activities of regional Centers for Social and Legal Support of Women and their Families, such as Center in Andijan, and their help during the events.

The global release of "State of the World Population Report 2010" coincides with the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council's landmark resolution 1325, which aimed to put a stop to violence against women and girls in armed conflict and to encourage greater participation by women in peacebuilding initiatives.

Resolution 1325, as well as other related resolutions of the Security Council guide the international community's response to conflict and establish the framework for actions to protect women and assure their participation in peacebuilding and reconciliation, "but they are not a substitute for grass-roots efforts to empower women and to build long-term resilience to crises of any sort," UNFPA Executive Director Ms. Thoraya Obaid wrote in the foreword to the report.

"Governments need to seize opportunities arising out of post-conflict recovery or emerging from natural disasters to increase the chances that countries are not just rebuilt, but built back better and renewed, with women and men on equal footing, with rights and opportunities for all and a foundation for development and security in the long run," the report argues.

Through the stories of individuals affected by conflict or catastrophe in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Timor-Leste and Uganda, the report shows how communities and civil society are healing old wounds and moving forward. However, more still needs to be done to ensure that women have access to services and have a voice in peace deals or reconstruction plans.

"This Report is a flagship product of UNFPA running annually for more than ten years. In these years, the reports have focused on variety of issues related to population and development," said UNFPA Representative Mr. Karl Kulessa in his welcome address to participants. "This year's Report shows that while women rarely wage war, they suffer the worst of its consequences. And women's participation in peace-building is a prerequisite to its success".

UNFPA works in Uzbekistan since 1993. In line with its Country Program for 2010-2015, the organization partners with national institutions, such as Women's Committee, in promoting gender equality, and advocating for the issues of reproductive health and rights, population and development.