International Council of Women (ICW)
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DATE : 16-04-26 15:04
ICW Meeting with UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon
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During our participation at the 60th Session of the Coommission on the Status of Women which took place at the UN Headquarters in New York, ICW President Jungsook Kim arranged for us a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at his office on the 18th of March. At the meeting, ICW Board Members Linda Liu, Elisabeth Newman, Martine Marandel, Jamal Hermes and Isin Atala, together with ICW UN Representatives Brigitte Polonovski, Iryna Kurowyckj, Elisabetta Karll, Jeanne Kim, as well as Minhee Lee from ICW Secretariat were headed by ICW President Jungsook Kim. We were also honoured by the presence of Mme Yun-sook Lee, former MP/Minister of Political Affairs II, R.O.K., in the group.

ICW President introduced the group members to the UN Secretary General and then made an informative speech on the background, aims, mission and activities of International Council of Women as well as her past and present achievements on women issues such as her founding the Korean Institute for Women and Politics (KIWP). The Secretary-General acknowledged the huge role played by the ICW, as the oldest organization of women in the world, in unifying women, fighting for peace and the betterment of the planet.

We started a discussion with Ban Ki-Moon and the representatives of UN Women who accompanied him, on women’s rights and issues in general and participation of women in decision-making processes.

Ban Ki-Moon said that as soon as he was elected UN Secretary General he promised to push for gender equality worldwide and informed us that he has appointed more than 150 distinguished women as Assistant Secretary General or Under-Secretary General. He added that he did his best to promote women at the United Nations and he called on governments, businesses and others to step up for gender equality like full respect for the human rights of women and girls everywhere.

Ban Ki-moon expressed his pleasure to have had, at the CSW60, so many distinguished women leaders from all around the world and stressed that he had been energized by the strength of the women leaders working for gender equality and gender empowerment.

Ban Ki-Moon added that he is proud to be the first man to sign up to the HeForShe campaign to mobilize men and boys and added that this helped the enlargement of his Network of Men Leaders fighting for full equality around the world. He then mentioned the Every Woman, Every Child movement the aim of which is no mother should die while giving birth.

                  Everywhere he travelled, he said, he tried to understand women’s concerns and was angered by their political exclusion in parliaments as women officials have always shown that leadership has no gender. At this point, Jamal Hermes, ICW Board Member, from Lebanon, told him that the rate of women in the Parliament of her country is only 2.8% which is very low.

The Secretary-General asked, then, the ICW delegation if they had any questions or special requests. Iryna Kurowyckyj, the Main Representative to UN  New York for ICW, said that a special focus should be given to women, imprisoned and tortured without any means of proving their innocence throughout the world. She mentioned one name, even if there are plenty of them, Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian officer, held in a Russian prison for over a year and a half, with the courts not taking into account any witnesses or evidence that would exonerate her anywhere else in a civilized country and asked that the Secretary-General to take an interest in this case and help a Ukrainian heroin obtain her freedom. Secretary-General Ki-Moon said that he was already very familiar with the situation and promised to personally discuss the issue of Nadia Savchenko with the Ukrainian President.

Ban Ki-Moon thanked us for all that we have done and invited us to work together to make this world better for all where women or men could live with human dignity. He concluded his words by saying that he counts on our strong leadership and commitment and added that as long as one single woman’s human rights are violated, our struggle will not be over.

Isin Atala, ICW Recording Secretary



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