New York, 26. September 2008 Press release

Plassnik at the UN: "Women are the emerging power of the 21st century"

Statement by Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at the UN General Assembly

New York, 26 September 2008 – In today’s statement at the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik put a special focus on women: “No country, no society can succeed without recognising the contribution of women. Women are the most politically important ‘emerging power’ of the 21st century. Their contribution should be paid public tribute to, their integration encouraged and their potential fully used,” emphasised the Foreign Minister.

“At the same time we hear appalling reports of discrimination and violence against women. How can we speak of human rights for women, as long as one out of every three women worldwide has been beaten or abused? It is the responsibility of each and every government to take action. The United Nations, in particular, must take the lead by setting clear targets and establishing a network for the exchange of experience in fighting violence against women,” Plassnik continued.

The Foreign Minister reiterated her proposal for a thorough international review of the progress in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on the occasion of its 10th anniversary in 2010.

In her statement Minister Plassnik also referred to Austria’s commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Austria was spearheading a process for an international legally binding ban on cluster munitions: “The Convention on Cluster Munitions that was adopted in Dublin this May is a milestone in the field of international disarmament and humanitarian law. I appeal to all other countries to sign it as soon as possible so that this treaty can enter into force swiftly. We will continue to try to convince the others of its usefulness,” stated Plassnik.

“The non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction also has to be put back at the top of the international agenda,” Plassnik stated. “At a time when an increasing number of countries are looking towards nuclear power as a means to produce energy, courageous and creative solutions are called for to prevent nuclear proliferation. Within the framework of NPT and the IAEA Austria has presented a proposal that aims at the comprehensive multilateralisation of the nuclear fuel cycle. Our goal is a fair system under which all states who wish to receive nuclear fuel for an exclusively peaceful usage can do so under equal conditions through the IAEA’s international control,” Plassnik concluded.

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