Welcoming Speech at Regional Conference and Consultations on Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the OSCE region
20 April 2015, Vilnius
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests,
Fifteen years ago the UN Security Council sent a powerful message:
the impact of armed conflicts on women is a matter of international peace and security.
It is obvious that there can be no security where women are exposed to violence and no peace where they are ignored.
Thousands of women still face real and immediate threats to their security and struggle for survival. And you don’t have to look far away for an example. It is happening in our region, just next door.
Continuous aggression has forced over one million Ukrainians out of their homes.
Approximately two-thirds of them are women who flee with their children, older relatives, and take care of them with very little support.
In the occupied parts of Ukraine gender-based violence has reached alarming levels. Women face physical and sexual abuse. The situation is very similar everywhere in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus, where we have frozen conflicts — Georgia, Moldova and Nagorno-Karabakh.
But women are not passive victims. They stand at the front lines, sustain their families and often they are the single reason why life continues even in the hardest of circumstances. Our main task is to create an environment for women to become active agents of peace, empower them to seek and maintain security.
Lithuania is among fifty states in the world to have and implement a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
Among other things, we have increased the number of women experts on the field in international missions; we are training Afghan police women and implementing numerous projects aimed to empower women in Afghanistan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova to be a part of political and economic decisions.
We all have the responsibility of promoting the importance of women’s participation in decision-making as it means greater national and international security.
This is one of the ways to transform the culture of violence into a culture of peace.
I wish you all a productive and result-oriented discussion.