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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Ladies and Gentlemen, Heads of State and Government,

Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Madam Executive Director of UN Women,

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 1995, an unprecedented, almost unexpected event took place in Beijing: 50 years after having enshrined gender equality on the front of the United Nations Charter, the international community was moving from words to action by adopting for the first time and unanimity, a declaration and an ambitious agenda for women’s rights. A generation later, the time is not for commemoration or complacency, but for vigilance and remobilization.

It is no secret. In 2020, the Beijing declaration would have no chance of being adopted. This is where we are collectively. Everywhere, women’s rights are under attack, as are human rights from which they are inseparable. Hard-won progress is being called into question even in our democracies, starting with the freedom for women to dispose of their own body and in particular the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy. Inequalities in education, wages, domestic tasks or political representation have regressed only too little. This decline, I cannot, we cannot resign ourselves to it. This is why I wanted to make equality between women and men the great cause of my mandate and a priority of our diplomacy.

We owe it, we owe it to all the women who have been on the front line in the face of the health crisis we are going through – in hospitals, services and many of the most exposed professions. We owe it to all those who have suffered, harder than men, the direct or indirect effects of this epidemic; to the 11 million girls who may never find their way back to school after interrupting their studies, and who are also direct victims of this crisis; to women deprived of contraception who would be 7 million more this year to have become pregnant without having wanted to; to the victims of feminicides, domestic violence, the number of which is increasing thanks to the crisis.

We also owe it to those who carry this fight for equality and humanity, sometimes at the risk of their lives. Like Nasrin SOTOUDEH, lawyer sentenced to 148 lashes for having defended the freedom not to veil. Like the doctor Denis MUKWEGE threatened with death for having given the life to Congolese women wounded by the war, like thousands of activists committed around the world that France now supports through a fund of 120 million euros dedicated to feminist organizations active in developing countries.

We will continue this fight together with Mexico and under the aegis of UN Women, during the Generation Equality Forum that I will have the honor of hosting in Paris next June. 25 years after the Beijing conference, this forum will bring together all those – States, international organizations, civil society, businesses – who wish to make a concrete commitment to change things and make the next generation, that of our children, the true generation of legality.

We have a lot to do. This should not discourage us, on the contrary, it obliges us. We have to make up for commitments that we have not kept. We have new fights to wage and above all we have a duty to continue to denounce, even when it gets in the way, to act and help all those who denounce and fight relentlessly in their country.

You can count and you can count on our unwavering commitment.

Thank you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI