Holy See: World seeing new forms of violence against women

2016-03-11 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See on Thursday said “crimes against women and girls…cannot anymore go unheard, unseen, overlooked or treated as an inevitable consequence in the horrible reality of armed conflict.”

Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Presentative to the OSCE, was speaking on Thursday about the commemoration on Tuesday of International Women’s Day.

“The Holy See is highly concerned about women who are discriminated against or undervalued solely on the ground of their gender and will continue to work with other stakeholders in promoting a culture that recognizes the equivalent dignity that belongs to women and men, in law and in concrete reality,” the Vatican diplomat said.

“The Holy See welcomes the progress already made in favour of women’s advancement but regrets, however, that, at a time when sensitivity to women’s issues appears stronger than ever, the world is still confronted with old and new forms of violence and slavery directed at women,” said Msgr. Urbańczyk.

“These include the use of rape as a weapon of war during conflicts; the trafficking of girls (who  are treated as merchandise); the abuse of domestic workers (that remains, at times, unpunished); kidnapping of young women, forced marriage, forced conversion and forced abortion” – he continued – “All these types of violence occur more frequently where poverty and social instability are prevalent or even where some legal systems and traditions continue to condone them and they cause serious and long-lasting physical, psychological and social effects.”

 

The full statement is below

 

STATEMENT

BY MONSIGNOR JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE 1092 MEETING OF THE OSCE PERMANENT COUNCIL

10 March 2015

RE: Dr. Ralf Kleindiek, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Germany for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth speech on the occasion of this year´s International Women’s Day (8 March)

Mr. Chairman,

The Delegation of the Holy See joins the previous speakers in welcoming to the  Permanent  Council  Dr.  Ralf  Kleindiek,  State  Secretary of the Federal  Ministry of Germany  for  Family  Affairs, Senior  Citizens, Women and Youth and expresses its gratitude for his insightful presentation.

My  Delegation listened with great interest to the reflections on the ongoing situation of women in armed conflict and the continued abuse they suffer as victims of inequality, trafficking and exploitation. We are grateful for this opportunity to reflect and to be able to take an active part in considering, with other participating States, the important issues regarding the multiple forms of violation of women’s dignity as well as the violation of human rights in their regard.

The Holy See, for its part, has been seeking to work together with all those of good will in giving priority to social policies aimed at the elimination of the causes of such violence. In particular,  the Holy See is highly concerned about women who are discriminated  against  or  undervalued  solely on the ground of their gender and will continue to work with other stakeholders in promoting a culture that recognizes the equivalent dignity that belongs to women and men, in law and in concrete reality.

The Holy See welcomes the progress already made in favour of women’s advancement but regrets, however, that, at a time when sensitivity to women’s issues appears stronger than ever, the world is still confronted with old and new forms of violence and slavery directed at women. These include the use of rape as a weapon of war during conflicts; the trafficking of girls (who  are treated as merchandise); the abuse of domestic workers (that remains, at times, unpunished); kidnapping of young women, forced marriage, forced conversion and forced abortion. All these types of violence occur more frequently where poverty and social instability are prevalent or even where some legal systems and traditions continue to condone them and they cause serious and long-lasting physical, psychological and social effects.

The Holy See encourages the participating States to pay more attention and to welcome women in all sorts of preventive diplomacy, mediation efforts, as well as in post-conflict situations and peace building. In effect, the role of women in peace and security should not be considered as an afterthought or simply as something politically correct; but it is an essential contribution to all our efforts to spare our world from further scourges of war and violence.

The authentic advancement of women entails respect for their inherent dignity, while acknowledging women’s critical roles not only in society, but also in the family, as equal participants in marriage as spouses. This Delegation is convinced that the best way to promote so-called “gender equality” - that is equality between women and men -  and to increase women’s participation, is to fight prejudices and stereotypes against women,  affirming the ontological equality in dignity and rights between men and women in all juridical, cultural and social areas.

In accordance with this, the Holy See wishes to see future official documents of the OSCE oriented towards the achievement of a true and authentic equality between women and men enshrined in the commitments agreed upon by the OSCE participating States,  while  eschewing any other aims that could distract the OSCE and its participating States from  achieving such equality and forestall effective and timely measures to address the original commitments.

Finally, we would like to stress that there is no doubt that much still has to be done to meet the enormous needs in a satisfactory manner, to address the issue of equal rights for women and men, and to effectively enable women to actively participate in all sectors of society. Thus we must do more and act more rapidly, because crimes against women and girls  –  our mothers, sisters, and daughters  –  cannot anymore go unheard, unseen, overlooked or treated as an inevitable consequence in the horrible reality of armed conflict.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(from Vatican Radio)