New York, 15 March 2016

Mr. President,

It is an honour to address this distinguished forum at the 60th Commission on the Status of Women. 

Portugal’s vison (on gender equality, the empowerment of women and human rights of women) is integrated in the more enlarged vision  of the European Union and aligns itself with the statement made by the Netherlands on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

I would like to congratulate UN-WOMEN and the Bureau for the success in the preparations of this session, as well as for the efforts made in facilitating the participation of NGO’s (in this session), essential (partners) for the empowerment of women and the realization of the human rights of women and girls, at the global level.

Mr. President,

Gender equality, empowerment of women and girls and their human rights are essential for human and economic development in any country. This recognition must also integrate sustainable development.

The new 2030 Agenda (for sustainable development) must be transformative and must have as a main goal the elimination of obstacles that hinder gender equality , empowerment of women and the full realization of all human rights by women and girls.

National circumstances and cultural relativism cannot constitute a reason for the non-implementation and monitorization of the global commitments made, endorsed by all Member States at the highest level.

In what regards the SDGs, Portugal will reinforce its coordination mechanisms and promote the involvement of all sectors, with no exception, in the promotion of equality between women and men and in the fight against all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

We must move forward in the implementation of this progressive agenda and invest in public policies that bring about structural changes.

Besides implementing its strategic national plans in these areas of intervention, Portugal is preparing an educational programme for citizenship, to be administered in all public schools at all levels, with a view to promote human rights and gender equality.

Portugal is also elaborating new legislation for the establishment of gender quotas in the executive boards of state-owned companies and those on the stock-exchange market.

Portugal is developing a (legislative) proposal for our social partners to eliminate the gender pay-gap, raise the (mandatory) parental leave for men, reconciliate work , family and personal life and ensure that household responsibilities and unpaid care work are equally shared between men and women, valued and recognized, also at the international level.

In what concerns financing, Portugal subscribes the commitments made by the European Union at the Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development, and will give priority to, in our development cooperation, focused on Africa, projects that contribute to the implementation of all SGDs, including Goal 5.

Regarding the review theme (of this session), I would like to highlight that Portugal was the first European Union country to ratify the Istanbul Convention and it is on the forefront of countries that decided to strengthen its legal mechanisms to better prevent and fight (all forms of) violence against women and girls, including domestic violence. I appeal to the universal ratification of this (important) Convention by all Member States that haven’t done so yet.

Throughout the last 15 years Portugal has invested in the fight against domestic and gende-based violence, putting in place significant legislative changes, national awareness-raising and prevention campaigns and support to NGOs. However, Portugal wants to go beyond in its strategy and to implement a national response mechanism, with impact at the community level, involving local authorities, NGOs, security forces and other entities, in order to prevent femicide and avoid withdrawing victims from their households and communities and improve law-enforcement.

Therefore the Portuguese Government has assumed a strong commitment in order to reinforce public policies related to the fight against all form of discrimination and violence against women and girls, including against harmful practices. This fight is also a priority in our foreign policy in all international fora and bilateral relations.

In conclusion I would like to reiterate (Portugal’s)vision on the relevance of NGOs – they are irreplaceable partners in the design and implementation of public policies in this area of intervention.

I hope all Member States can commit to advancing the realization of the human rights of all women and girls in this session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

We must materialize Beijing’s commitments, bearing in mind the universality, indivisibility and inter-connection of the human rights of women and girls.

We have no time to waste!

Thank you.

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