UN Women Champions - File Photo
CAIRO – 2 November 2017: U.N. Women has convened a group of 12 champions to amplify the voices of women and defend their rights. The champions will advise U.N. Women on emerging issues for peace and security, and advocate for gender equality and women’s human rights in conflict-affected settings.
The group will work on some key issues, including increasing women’s participation and influence in peace processes; ending conflicts related to sexual violence, sexual exploitation and abuse; and increasing the financial resources available for women.
The champions represent different geographical areas: Charlotte Bunch (United States), General Patrick Cammaert Ret’d (Netherlands), Radhika Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka), Bineta Diop (Senegal), Anne Marie Goetz (Canada), Major General Kristin Lund (Norway), Shadia Marhaban (Indonesia), Luz Méndez (Guatemala), Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah (Namibia), Madeleine Rees (United Kingdom), Hajer Sharief (Libya) and Yasmin Sooka (South Africa). They also have different areas of expertise, ranging from peace negotiations to youth engagement in countering violent extremism.
Hajer Sharief (Libya) expressed how the role of women is vital, saying that when young women are given the opportunity to participate in peacebuilding, they make innovative contributions, as they have the capacity to shape the world. Meanwhile, Shadia Marhaban (Indonesia) said that if we want to succeed in building a more peaceful world, then women negotiators must be respected for their knowledge, capacity and experience, and not just on women’s issues, but on topics ranging from power-sharing to constitution-making.
Patrick Cammaert (Netherlands) added that deploying more female officers in peacekeeping missions is also key to building trust with the local community and bringing these crimes to light.
This group was established in response to calls from member states and civil society, echoed in the Global Study on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, to increase U.N. Women’s leadership regarding women, peace, security and human rights in the United Nations system and beyond.