LONDON, United Kingdom, February 4, 2019/ — President Sahle-Work Zewde has emphasized that Ethiopia will continue its commitment to enhance the participation of women in the military, police and civilian services of the United Nations Peacekeeping. The President, who was speaking at the opening of the 3 rd United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial preparatory meeting held at UNECA conference hall in Addis Ababa on Monday (January 28), emphasized that any peace keeping mission should give priority for the protection of women and other vulnerable groups; and underlined that the mainstreaming of women participation in peace keeping missions require effective coordination among the stakeholders. President Sahle-Work recognized that more was needed to be done to advance women in the peace and security agenda, adding, “Ethiopia welcomes the progress made in mainstreaming the agenda perspective in the works of the UN.”
The President said the collaboration of AU and UN should focus on ensuring the active participation of women and women’s groups in peace processes, conflict prevention, resolution, and peace building activity, as well as promotion of women’s human rights. She noted that more than 7,500 Ethiopian peacekeepers are serving under the UN Blue Helmets, and Ethiopia was proud of the fact, it was one of the leading contributors of female peacekeepers with more than 600 deployed under UN Peace Keeping Missions. Equally,
Ethiopia’s State Minister of Defense, Ambassador Lelaalem Gebreyohannes said that Ethiopia had deployed thousands of peacekeepers to the eight UN missions in which it had participated, adding, “This record reflects Ethiopia’s sustained commitment to supporting the idea that women truly make a difference in successful peacekeeping.” She said this was a clear testimony of an “unwavering commitment to continue playing an active role in peacekeeping in the years and decades to come.” She emphasized that women and children were predominantly the direct victims in contemporary conflicts, and stressed the need for the expanded role of women in peace operation to be reflective of this new reality.
Ethiopia co-hosted the two-day Preparatory Meeting on Women, Peace and Security with Canada and the UN. The Director-General of Peace and Stabilization of Canada’s Global Affairs, Larisa Galadza, commended Ethiopia’s remarkable work in regard to empowering and enhancing the participation of women in many areas, including in peacekeeping missions. She said “Ethiopia is showing some exceptional leadership at this time, at the United Nations, it is a leading troop contributor and it is also the country that is deploying the highest number of women in uniform to peace operations.” Ms Galadza also said Ethiopia was a wonderful partner on women, peace and security, “both from what is doing abroad and what is doing at home – leading in terms of gender equality and the very strong leadership of the Prime Minister is showing in the country.”