Extremists and terrorists preying on women, Iran says

Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations (UN) has warned about the threat posed by violent extremism to women in the Middle East.

Gholam-Hossein Dehqani told a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Friday that women and girls have turned into targets for terrorist groups and extremists in parts of the region and are subjected to rape and sexual slavery.

The following is the full text of Dehqani’s speech before the Security Council Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security:

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin by thanking you as well as the Spanish Presidency of the Council for convening this open debate. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Secretary-General and UN Women for their valuable inputs to the debate on women, Peace and Security.

Fifteen years ago, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, focusing on the specific impact of armed conflict on women, the positive role they can play in conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peace building, and the inseparable links between empowerment of women and international peace and security.

Women are a key resource for promoting peace and stability. Research highlighted that women’s participation and inclusion makes humanitarian assistance more effective, strengthens the protection of civilians, contributes to the political settlement of disputes and maintaining sustainable peace and accelerates economic recovery.

Today, we find ourselves at a turning point for the cause of women and girls. The adoption of the agenda for sustainable development, the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 15th anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security all remind us that there is strong direct relation between sustainable peace and security and sustainable development, and the fact that women and girls must be at the forefront of programs designed to attain development, peace and security.

Mr. President,

Conflicts in the recent years, especially in the Middle East, have taken new and abhorrent forms and dimensions, and constitute unprecedented challenges to the stability in our region.

In some parts of our region women are grappling with the scourge of terrorism and extremist violence. The spread of violent extremism and takfiri ideology threatens in an unprecedented way the life and rights of women and girls in our region. News accounts and other reports in the past few years have indicated that women and girls have suffered the most and been targeted for systematic sexual violence and slavery and rape by extremists and terrorists. The international community should make clear at every step that there would never be any leniency for those who subject women and girls to the most inhumane acts of corporal and mental violence.

At the same time, it is already evident that this dangerous ideology and its consequences cannot be contained in one region and it will easily affect in one way or another other regions near and afar. It is also very unfortunate that women and girls are also fallen disproportionately victims to bombings in Yemen and violence in Syria and elsewhere.

Iran strongly condemns the barbaric acts of the terrorist and violent extremists groups as well as indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including women and children.

We support Secretary-General’s commitment to prepare and present his due “Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism” and his intention to include women’s participation, leadership, and empowerment as keys to address the drivers of extremist violence.

In closing, let me, Mr. President, stress that my Delegation believes that organizing such a debate in this Council should not undermine the work of the most relevant bodies for consideration of women related issues in the United Nations system namely CSW, ECOSOC as well as the General Assembly.