Archive for oktober, 2014

My speech in General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

131st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,
Geneva, 12-16 October 2014

General Debate: Speech by Ms Ulrika Karlsson
Achieving gender equality, ending violence against women

Mr President, Dear Colleagues,

One of the most dangerous thing you can do on this earth is to be born as a women.

Let me mention a few of the dangers young woman of today are facing.

In the year of 2014 – 14 million girls under the age of 15 will be forced into marriage. Some as young as 5 years old. And 7 million girls will be giving birth. Some as young as 11 years old.

In the year of 2014 – 800 women and girls will die – every single day – from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. That adds up to 300 000 deaths only this year. 70 000 of them are under the age of 15.

In the year of 2014 – 222 million girls and women lack access to contraceptive. And this year 47 000 girls and women will die due to lack of safe abortion.

My fellow colleagues

We are Parliamentarians. We do have power. We can change. And it is time for change now.

Today the world see the largest generation of young people in history. It is our job to ensure that they can exercise their right to education, a decent job and a dignified existence. Their sexual and reproductive rights must be fulfilled and protected. These young people deserve to make their own decision about who they love and if they wish to start a family.

To me, the link between young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services and sustainable development is vital.

Gender equality is not a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue. And requires all our participation. It is essential that you men get involve in the efforts. It is your fight too. We women cannot achieve gender equality without the cooperation and participation of you men.

Violence against women is a problem that affects all countries and hinder development. At a global level, it is estimated that one out of three women has been subjected to violence. Women continue to be targeted in conflict and rape is used as an instrument of war. Untold numbers of women and girls are affected as we speak.

With this in mind 260 parliamentarians from 134 countries meet in Stockholm this spring at the IPCI conference. The Stockholm Statement of Commitment, was agreed upon unanimously. And represents the strongest call ever.

With Stockholm Statement of Commitment we reached an important milestone in our achievement to improve life quality for millions of women, men and children especially young girls.

In Stockholm we Parliamentarians from all over the world agreed for the first time ever in history to set a minimum age of 18 years for marriage. For the first time ever we agreed to decriminalize abortion. For the first time we agreed that every child – both girls and boys – have right to comprehensive sexuality education. And we agreed to stop all forms of female genital mutilation including cutting.

The message was clear to our governments. We want sexual reproductive health and rights to be included in the new Post Millennium Goals.

Stockholm Statement of Commitment is a milestone that places the human being at the core of development. Among other things it stresses the need to keep the girl child, including married girls and pregnant girls, in school at all levels of education without discrimination.

From Stockholm Statement of Commitment we hear an echo across the world. We gets reports from new legislation, budgeting, actions and initiatives. From countries like Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kurdistan, Morocco, Yemen, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Kiribati and Tonga, Nepal, Vietnam, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, United Kingdom and Sweden.

Stockholm Statement of Commitment is not just a piece of paper it is an earthquake that improves lives of millions.

I brought Stockholm Statement of Commitment with. Please use it and join the movement that improves lives of women and men, girls and boys.

Remember we are Parliamentarians. We do have the power. It is our responsibility. We can change. And it is time for change now.

Thank you for your attention!




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My speech today at 131st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva at the third Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights.

Madam Chair,

We are here to address the interface and tension between the international commitment to protect human rights and some more traditional principles of interaction between States.

In many ways it is a tricky issue. The topic has burning actuality.

There are so many examples across the world. Let me focus on one.

In the horrifying ongoing emergency situation in Syria and Iraq people are under the jihadist’s knife of the Islamic State. IS/Da’ech is a non-state actor and it thrives on chaos. It is a group of vicious extremists killing women and children. Cutting off journalists and aid workers heads on social media. All to be seen on internet and in every household in the world.

Urgent attention is needed to the horrific situation of women and girls in the region of Syria and Iraq. Women and children are being kidnapped, sold into sex slavery, raped and forced into marriage. And babies are thorn from the arms of their mothers.

These horrifying facts needs to be addressed by us, by us in this room, by the IPU for the credibility of our commitment to the core values we share on human rights.

Let me ask you a question. Do we have an obligation to intervene to protect human lives?

And let me give my answer to that question. I would say yes we do. When diplomatic and peaceful means are inadequate we must consider other measures needed to protect civilians from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

It must be a priority for the international community to capacitate each individual State so that they themselves are capable of protecting their citizens. When, or if, they fail, as in this case, it is essential that we act in order to protect lives of civilians and vulnerable refugees.

It is our common responsibility to protect human beings from sex slavery, kidnapping, early and forced marriage and killings. We need to protect women and children from extremists and terrorists like IS/Da’ech.

The draft resolution underscores the prime responsibility of each State in implementing international human rights law at the national level. However, the protection of human rights is also the responsibility of the international community.

Let me highlight that we are all aware of the universal truth that there can be no lasting peace and security in our World without respect for human rights, including equal rights for men and women, fundamental freedoms, democracy and rule of law – and this is a legitimate concern of all of us.

Universal human rights is not only a national issue. It is an international responsibility.

It is our responsibility to act according to the well known principle responsibility to protect.

As a state you can not and must not hide yourself behind national sovereignty in order to oppress the population, commit genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.



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