Thank you, Mr. President.
We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the murder yesterday of UK Member of Parliament, Jo Cox. She campaigned tirelessly for human rights and the principle of non-discrimination. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.
The UK wholeheartedly condemns attacks on all women. Women in political and public life must be able to participate fully in our societies, free from the fear of violence.
The UK fully supports the high priority attached by the Council to achieving the full and equal enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls, no matter where in the world they live.
Crucial to this is the eradication of sexual and gender-based violence, and the ending of all harmful practices, including FGM and child-, early- and forced marriage.
We welcome the important work of the Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women and of the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and in Practice.
Many women and girls are subjected to violence and discrimination not only due to their gender but also because of race, religion, disability, sexuality or other status; and are disproportionately affected by natural disaster, humanitarian crisis, or conflict. We would be keen to hear more from the Working Group about what they are doing to address the issues faced by these women and girls.
We all must - and can - do more to tackle sexual violence against women and girls, and challenge negative attitudes towards survivors. Effective prevention is key: the implementation of existing international and regional instruments; the provision of adequate support services and effective remedies to victims; and the prosecution of perpetrators. We would be keen to know more about how the Special Rapporteur intends to galvanise the UN system to take further action on this.
The UK reminds the Council that it is in all of our interests to achieve real and lasting progress on this issue. The strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which women are able to participate fully free from violence and free from the fear of violence.
Thank you, Mr President