|Statement by Counsellor Yao Shaojun of the Chinese Delegation at the 2014 First Regular Session of the UN-Women Executive Board|
The Chinese delegation welcomes the statement made by Madam Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN-Women. We appreciate the efforts undertaken by UN-Women in promoting gender equality and protecting women's rights and interests. After carefully studying the report on the Thematic Evaluation on the Contribution of UN-Women to Increasing Women's Leadership and Participation in Peace and Security and in Humanitarian Response, we would like to make the following comments:
First, UN-Women's strategic planning should be enhanced. We appreciate UN-Women's stronger leadership at the global level in increasing women's participation in peace and security and in humanitarian affairs as well as its closer coordination with other UN entities. At the same time, we have taken note of some problems identified in the report, including the lack of positive interactions, in some cases, between the UN-Women headquarters' policy development and the practice of the country offices. In general, China supports the recommendations in the report, especially those on continuing to enhance UN-Women's strategic planning capability, better documenting and drawing on experiences, strengthening strategic monitoring and assessment, and refining relevant mechanisms.
Second, UN-Women's work should be advanced in all areas in a balanced way. UN-Women's work covers the three pillars of peace and security, development and human rights. In its activities, UN-Women should assign equal importance and strictly adhere to all mandates, give equal weight to the issues of peace and security, development and poverty alleviation, so as to ensure their complementarity. In order to increase women's leadership and participation in peace and security and in humanitarian affairs, it is necessary first to promote women's development and economic empowerment to change women's vulnerable situations. At the same time, peace and security, if guaranteed, can create enabling conditions for women's development.
Third, the principle of national ownership should be upheld. In advancing women's role in peace and security, it is necessary to fully respect the ownership of the countries concerned. The international community must listen extensively to the views of the countries concerned, provide constructive assistance to them, and refrain from imposing views on them. UN-Women should design and implement field programs based on the practical needs of the countries concerned, strengthen its synergy with other UN bodies, and leverage each entity's advantages.
Women are the most vulnerable group in wars and conflicts. During the Second World War, the Japanese Army forcibly recruited large numbers of "comfort women" from China, Korea and many other countries as their sex slaves. Such serious crimes against humanity inflicted deep physical and psychological wounds on the victims. However, the Japanese government has not yet apologized or paid indemnities vis-a-vis the "comfort women" issue. On the contrary, it has been attempting to reverse the verdict on its history of aggression. Recently, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brazenly visited Yasukuni Shrine and paid homage to Class A WWII war criminals, willfully hurting the feelings of people in countries that had once been subjected to Japanese military aggression and colonial rule. This is an act of open provocation against all peace-loving peoples of the world, a blatant affront to historical justice and human conscience, and an insolent challenge to the world's victory against fascist aggression and the post-war international order based on the UN Charter. Abe's act have sparked strong opposition and condemnation from the Chinese government and people and the international community.
The Yasukuni Shrine is a spiritual tool and symbol of Japanese militarism in its wars of aggression. Exhibits in the Shrine still glorify and justify the Japanese role in the Second World War. The 14 Class A war criminals convicted by the Far East International Military Tribunal had planned and directly taken part in the Japanese wars of aggression, but they are still enshrined as deities. In fact, they were Japanese Hitlers. Abe's visit to the Shrine speaks volumes about his lack of soul-searching and a lack of correct understanding of the history of Japanese aggression. It also demonstrates that Abe stands against the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and chooses to side with the 14 Class A war criminals. This is dangerous and harmful to the International community, including Japan itself. The international community must stay on alert and warn Abe that he must correct his erroneous outlook of history, correct his mistakes and not slip further down the wrong path.
Thank you, Mr. President.