8 March, International Women’s Day: Didier Reynders on his commitment
On the occasion of International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is emphasising his commitment and that of the Foreign Affairs Department to promote and protect women’s rights. Belgium continues to fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against women, both in the foreign policy of Belgium and in the personnel policy of the Department itself.
Just last week, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Minister pointed out that Belgium remains an active member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which is currently focusing on violence against women. Belgium condemns such violence in all its forms and demands zero tolerance. Violence against women breaches fundamental human rights.
Every day, women in conflict areas fall victim to terrible sexual violence. Violence that is often sheltered by taboo and which goes unseen and unpunished. We must protect these women. Prevention and post-conflict policy, too, must be targeted on this problem. Belgium fully supports champions of women’s rights such as the Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege from the hospital in Panzi. Didier Reynders is concerned by the situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where serious breaches of human rights, such as sexual violence, continue to take place.
Belgium has signed Resolution 1325 of the Security Council and in 2009 it developed an initial national action plan to implement this resolution. A second national action plan entitled “Women, Peace and Security” is being prepared, aimed at protecting women and allowing them to participate in reconstruction and in maintaining peace.
Taking into account the specific external career at Foreign Affairs, the Minister considers it important to strive for a better balance between men and women within the Department. The personnel policy has been adapted to combine work and family life better. A work group has also been set up to propose extra regulations. Furthermore, the Department has organised an audit within FPS Foreign Affairs to work towards a better balance between men and women.
Finally, the FPS Foreign Affairs has for the first time made a short video on the occasion of International Women’s Day. This video gives voice to women who work at the Department: http://vimeopro.com/user13888689/corporate-identity/video/61004033