By Joseph Toe
Monrovia, September 21 (LINA) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he has appointed more women to senior positions at the United Nations than ever before, telling the world, « I am proud to call myself a feminist. »
He said he was proud that UN Women came to life during his administration which, according to the UN boss, « is now our established champion of gender equality and empowerment aiming for a 50-50 planet. »
Ban made statement in his final address to the UN General Assembly meeting in New York Tuesday, during which he also touched on climate change and war, among other issues of global concern.
In his view, women hold up half the sky and are essential to meeting all the goals of his administration, adding, « I have been saying that the least utilized resource in the world is the potential for women. »
« So, we must do far more to end deep-seated discrimination and chronic violence against women in order to advance their participation in decision-making, and to ensure that every girl gets the start in life she deserves, » he emphasized.
Ban noted that he has been a proud defender of the rights of all people regardless of ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
He indicated that « our human rights machinery, » along with the human rights up front initiative, is placing those rights at the center, adding that they are the pillars of society and the antidotes to violent extremism and civic despair.
According to him, the United Nations has deepened support for the responsibility to protect and has made inroads against the death penalty.
He noted that landmark convictions by the International Criminal Court and other bodies have advanced accountability, but added « we still must do far more to prevent genocide and other atrocious crimes » for which civil society is essential for all these efforts.
« I ask all of you to join me today in saying « yes » to greater space for civil society and independent media, and « no » to cracking down on the freedoms of assembly and expression with continued progress which will require new heights of solidarity.