Welcome Address at ICAPP Special Workshop, Kathmandu – Jan 16, 2014

Welcome address by Hon’ble Sujata Koirala, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) Special Workshop, Vice Chairperson of the ICAPP Women’s Wing, Member of the Nepali Congress Working Committee and Head of the International Relations Department of the Nepali Congress Party, on January 16, 2014.

Rt. Hon’ble Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Government of Nepal

Hon’ble Chung Eui-yong, Co-Chairman of the Standing Committee and Secretary General of the ICAPP

Hon’ble Malahat Ibrahimqizi, Co-Chairperson of the ICAPP Women’s Wing, Member of Parliament and Member of the Political Council Yeni (New) Azerbaijan Party,

Hon’ble K. P. Sharma Oli, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Chief of the Intl. Department of CPN-UML, and Member of the ICAPP standing Committee

Hon’ble Park In-sook, Co-Chairperson of the ICAPP Women’s Wing, Member of the National Assembly, Saenuri (New Frontier) Party of Korea

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I extend a very warm welcome to our distinguished guests and esteemed delegates from ICAPP member states at this august gathering in this historic capital city of Nepal.

I welcome the presence of the Rt. Hon’ble Mr. Khil Raj Regmi, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and respected colleagues from political parties of Nepal, which underpins the importance Nepal attaches to the conference.

Human trafficking continues to persist as modern form of slavery. It is an offence and constitutes a serious threat to the enjoyment of human rights and human dignity. The overwhelming number of trafficked victims has been women and children. This challenge has assumed an alarming proportion at national, regional, and international levels.

It is distressing to see in many parts of the world including our own region that gender continues to shape one’s role at home, society, and the economy in the twenty first century. More so, birth of a girl child in a family often still stands as one of the most unfortunate things to happen. Girls remain powerless as they are largely excluded from opportunities that we consider as given. Let us never ever forget that gender disparities at young age have long-term impacts in national life, and prove to be more costly to overcome later.

It is encouraging to see the international development community recognizing gender equality and empowerment of women as one of the important and legitimate policy goals and its inclusion as in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Individual countries have recognized the gravity of the situation and come out with various mechanisms in developing and least developed countries. In the South Asian region, SAARC has adopted a Convention on Combating and Prevention of Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution in 2002.

Having duly recognized the grave consequences of gender differences and disparities, ICAPP has been organizing a series of meetings since May 2008 on women’s leadership and empowerment. These meetings have been a positive force at strengthening unity among Asian countries to bring the core issues to the fore and underlining the urgency to address the associated challenges in a comprehensive, coordinated and consistent manner. Asia and the Pacific region have increasingly acquired global attention because of its dynamism amidst vast diversity. It is both an opportunity and challenge on all of us to manage the rich diversity and enrich the unique unity among Asian countries to address the unfolding challenges of all sorts before us.

I am happy to report that the ICAPP has also been trying to reach out to political parties in Latin America and the Caribbean and share experiences from the best practices to advance the cause of women empowerment. It has also started coordinating with political parties in Africa to establish a similar organization. We aim to bring together political parties regardless of their ideological orientations from Asia, Africa and Latin America in 2014 and develop into a global institution. We hope that coming together of political parties from across the world would strengthen our quest for a more peaceful, equitable and prosperous world.

Human trafficking is a global issue, and therefore requires international coordination and cooperation to fight it. Several factors including gender disparities, economic inequality, lack of employment opportunities, absence of basic social services as well as other oppressive conditions especially affecting women and children create fertile nurseries leading to human trafficking. Tendency to imitate modern luxury life style, glamour, rising aspirations among others make them vulnerable to trafficking. It is painful to note the fact that more than 50% of Human-trafficking happens in Asia and the Pacific.

At the fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995, there was a commitment to ‘advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of humanity.’

It is my firm belief that we can best work to realize these goals by unleashing energies of our youthful population, and empowering them regardless of color or creed, ethnicity and economic status.

We look forward to valuable contributions from the distinguished participants and make the workshop relevant to the victims of this heinous crime to give them a dignified life.

At the end, I would like to thank Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for their valuable support.

With these words, I once again express warm words of welcome to the esteemed delegates, and respected friends and wish all of you a pleasant stay in Nepal.

I wish the Workshop a great success.

Thank you.

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