Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand

10/04/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2023 14:23

United Nations General Assembly: Third Committee 78th Session – Advancement of Women

Ministry Statements & Speeches: 4 October 2023

Statement delivered by Senior Policy Officer Connor Tieman

Thank you, Chair.

New Zealand would like to thank the Special Rapporteur and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women for their reports.

Gender equality and women's empowerment are key human rights priorities for New Zealand. Ensuring gender equality and women's empowerment has tangible benefits not just for women and girls, but broader society.

New Zealand is proud of its legacy of empowering women and girls to lead independent and self-determining lives. In this session of the Third Committee, we seek to further promote, protect, and strengthen the rights of women and girls in all their diversity.

This is particularly important as these rights are increasingly challenged worldwide. New Zealand is deeply concerned with increased push-back globally on sexual and reproductive health and rights; regression in legislation, jurisprudence, and freedoms; and restricted access to services.

This push back, alongside an increase in sexual and gender-based violence, undermines hard-won gains in women's rights, and threatens internationally agreed standards and principles.

These concerns are manifesting at a time when the world is experiencing multiple and intersecting crises. Armed conflicts, widespread violence, climate change and disasters are leading to egregious human rights violations which exacerbate existing gender norms and inequalities.

Eliminating violence against women and girls is crucial to achieving gender equality, women's empowerment, and the full embodiment of their rights.

States must strengthen the protection of women and girls, particularly women's human rights defenders, in humanitarian emergencies, conflict, and post-conflict settings.

Women and girls must have power over their own bodies and their own lives. This includes the right to have full control over, and freely decide on, matters relating to their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and marriage.

States must do more to provide safe, accessible and quality reproductive and maternal health services that meet the needs of women and girls, and prevent maternal morbidity and mortality.

States must also recognise the compounding impacts of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination in the lives of women and girls. This includes women and girls who are indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse, part of the LGBTQIA+ community, have a disability, displaced, refugees, migrants, or who live in rural or remote communities.

New Zealand calls on States to continue to champion the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community through decriminalisation reform, full inclusion in society, and targeting discriminatory attitudes through social behavioural change.

New Zealand remains concerned at all forms of violence and discrimination based on a person's gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, including digital harm, online harassment, and violence directed at human rights defenders.

New Zealand looks forward to engaging in this session of the Third Committee to deliver positive outcomes for women and girls in all parts of the world.

Thank you.