Monday, March 16, 2015

NGO Forum Parallel Event: Women’s Right to Peace and Security in Ukraine

On March 10, 2015, the UN Church Center hosted a panel discussion “Women’s Right to Peace and Security in Ukraine.” The panel moderated by Katerina Levchenko, President of International Women Rights Center La Strada, consisted of Olena Suslova, founder of Women’s Information Consultative Center in Ukraine; Lyudmyla Porokhnyak-Ganovska, Chairwoman of the National Council of Women in Ukraine; Irina Lutsenko, Member of the Parliament of Ukraine; Sergiy Ustimenko, Deputy Minister of Social Policy on European Integration, and Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine.

In her intervention, Ms. Suslova stated that domination that is currently observed in Ukraine on multiple levels in unacceptable since nobody has the right to speak for women. Ukraine is the first country in the world to develop a national response plan during the conflict. This plan is being developed due to the need for security, an integral part of which should be gender parity and justice. 

The National Action Plan in line with the Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women. Peace. Security” aims to establish protection mechanisms for victims of conflict with special attention paid to the most vulnerable population groups – women and children. Such a gendered approach to decision-making and women’s participation in peace-building will be the foundation of Ukraine’s successful recovery from the consequences of the conflict.

Mr. Kyslytsya emphasized that despite considerable progress in regards to gender equality, Ukraine remains a very patriarchal society. The gap between men and women has been intensified by the conflict. Over 60 per cent of IDPs are women. Therefore, it is essential to maximize the satisfaction of their needs without waiting for the times of peace. Mr. Kyslytsya acknowledged the contribution of international organizations to the alleviation of issues in conflict-affected areas of Ukraine. Finally, he expressed his belief that with continued support from Ukraine’s international partners, the country will be able to tackle the existing challenges more efficiently.

Ms. Porokhnyak-Ganovska drew attention of the audience to the most vulnerable population groups in Ukraine and their concrete needs. She stressed the necessity of establishing aid centers that are crucial for the recovery of over 300 thousand women IDPs. According to Ms. Porokhnyak-Ganovska, special focus should be made on increasing the number of family doctors and psychologists that have gone through specialized training. The increase in the amount of medical professionals will allows for successful recovery from post-traumatic stress experienced by millions of Ukrainians.

Mr. Ustimenko noted that the protection of women’s rights is crucial on Ukraine’s path towards European integration. Therefore, gender issues have been solidly integrated into Ukrainian domestic policies. Deputy Minister noted that Ukraine strives to provide women and children with the special social support they are entitled to. Finally, the state acknowledges the importance of and will continue working towards promoting women’s participation in conflict resolution and peace-building.
Ms. Lutsenko encouraged the audience to not be indifferent and stand in solidarity with Ukraine. She drew a parallel between the current military conflict in the country and the Nazi regime. Ms. Lutsenko emphasized that the Nazi’s were defeated only through common effort. Therefore, it is important that we channel our efforts to protecting the most vulnerable. It is crucial that we all stand up for the European values that Ukraine is fighting for.

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