(Tekst enkel in het Engels beschikbaar.)
Launch of the Agenda for Accelerating Country Specific Actions for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV
Monrovia, 18 October 2010
Your Excellency Madam President,
Mrs Loj, Special Representative of the Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My congratulations on the launch of this very important Agenda for Accelerating Specific Actions for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV.
I join the previous speakers in not only welcoming, but wholeheartedly supporting your efforts to highlight women's health issues in Liberia. Indeed, the HIV/Aids epidemic cannot be contained unless particular attention is paid to women, girls and gender equality.
The fact that Liberia has been chosen as a pilot country for this initiative by UNAIDS does not come as a surprise to me. And I feel privileged to witness this launch in Liberia.
Madam President, your commitment to rebuild your country and fight sexual and gender based violence and HIV is well-known throughout the world.
During one of your visits to my country, Belgium, we had the opportunity to exchange views on the work you had been doing in Liberia over the years. And on each of your visits I was struck by your message of hope and the vision you had to provide a better life for your citizens. You always placed particular emphasis on women and girls - so extremely vulnerable in a post-conflict situation.
Children's rights are universal. Women's rights are universal. The promotion and protection of these rights is of primary concern to us all. This is the reason why the Agenda we launch today is so important, with its additional links to the fight against poverty and to several of the Millennium Development Goals.
But allow me to stress one issue in particular - education. It is the key to both solving existing problems and preventing others arising. It is linked to the well-being of children; it gives access to the health system; it gives people, especially women, the possibility of becoming economically self-sufficient; it gives them the opportunity to decide on matters which concern their own lives; it gives them a voice with which to defend their own interests.
Your commitment to the specific protection of girls and women through this Agenda will be an example for many countries. Liberia will be able to show the way to a better health care system in the fight against HIV/Aids.
I wish you success in the implementation of the Agenda.