Statement by UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous on Ukraine
UN Women is gravely concerned at the intensification of the military offensive in Ukraine and in particular draws attention to its consequences on the lives and livelihoods of Ukraine’s women and girls. We are committed to supporting Ukraine’s people, especially its women and girls, at this time of greatest need.
The current situation jeopardises the safety of all Ukrainians and puts women and girls in particular at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence, especially those who are refugees or otherwise displaced from their homes. These factors must be taken into account in all efforts to monitor and respond to the situation in Ukraine, so that early warning signs of impact are met with an appropriate and proportionate response. Women's full and meaningful participation is also vital in improving peace and security processes. In this regard, we recognize the civil society organizations on the ground who are, as ever, our critical partners in the work to amplify the voices of women and girls. The inclusion of women themselves in the decision-making processes and humanitarian response is therefore essential to ensure that their rights are upheld.
The UN Secretary-General has called for an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation of tensions and a firm return to diplomacy and dialogue. He has underlined the multiplying humanitarian needs and the steps he is taking to enhance humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine. I urge the international community, as it rallies in support, to keep women and girls at the centre and to ensure that the humanitarian assistance planned and provided is gender-responsive.