Juba — As the world commemorates International Women Day a South Sudanese civil society organisation has called on the United Nation General Assembly to consider a female successor to its current chief, Ban Ki- Moon.
South Sudan VP Riek Machar joins a group of women to cut a cake at Women Day celebrations in Juba (splmtoday)
Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), Sudan Tribune has learnt, launched the campaign Friday, with calls for worldwide support to have a female UN Secretary General (UNSG), after 68 years of male dominance.
"CEPO is calling for the General Assembly to elect woman to the replace Ban Ki-Moon, because we feel the position of the UNSG has not been gender sensitive since 1945, despite call from the UN for gender mainstreaming among its members states," Edmund Yakani, CEPO's program coordinator told Sudan Tribune from Sweden.
The CEPO official, who is in Stockholm to attend a training on the UN Security Council Resolution (1325), said calls for gender mainstreaming can only be meaningfully achieved, if a female is appointed at the helm of the world body.
The Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Security Council, with the selection subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council. However, although there is technically no limit to the number of five-year terms a Secretary-General may serve, none out of the eight previous diplomats to hold the position have served more than two terms.
Navi Pillay, the UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights marked International Women's Day by insisting that violence against women remains one of the most "pervasive" forms of human rights violations but observed that authorities responsible for protection and prosecution too often meet such acts with indifference.
"It is not enough simply to pass legislation. Almost every country in the world has some kind of relevant legal framework in place. Governments know they have an obligation under international law to prevent these crimes by working to eliminate underlying attitudes that discriminate against women and girls," said Pillay in an op-ed, published by Sudan Tribune.
She added, "Yet, in many countries, politicians, police, the judiciary and ordinary men - and women too - collectively shrug and look away when they hear of rapes and other sexual or gender-based crimes."
The UN Higher Commissioner says serious investigations into violent acts against women should become the norm, not just something police forces do when the media highlight a particular case.
"We need to shake this global torpor and wake up to reality: every minute of every day, on every continent, women and girls are raped and abused, trafficked, tortured and killed," stressed the senior UN official.
"This doesn't just happen in far-away conflicts. It happens in sophisticated capital cities, as well as in small towns and villages and the house next door".
The theme for this year's International Women's Day is "Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum".