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Opening statement by Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director, on ‘Embracing the principle of co-responsibility in care and domestic work’ at the High-level Panel in the context of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly
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Inequalities between men, women, and diversities have historical roots of a structural nature, linked to the sexual division of labor; and of a social and institutional nature, related to the norms, biases, and stereotypes that define what is considered proper, appropriate or expected in terms of people's behavior according to the sex assigned at birth.
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Indigenous women's organizations recognize the progress made regarding respect and guarantees for the fulfillment of the human rights of indigenous women. However, they also call for greater protection, which is still insufficient today. General Recommendation No. 39 will guide the States Parties to CEDAW in implementing concrete measures to eliminate historical discrimination and the violation of the rights of indigenous women, considering their individual and collective rights.
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Ecuadorian anthropologist and feminist, Elizabeth Araúz, has dedicated her career to issues of gender, violence, humanitarian assistance, health, environment and interculturality. Since 2019 she has been the coordinator of the implementation of the Caminando project.
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Estefanía Corella is an international lawyer, a specialist in gender justice with experience in legal accompaniment work on issues of violence against women and humanitarian assistance projects in emergency contexts. She is currently part of the Caminando project.
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Omar Quichimbo has a master's degree in International Cooperation and Development. He has worked in social projects related to the defense of children's rights and citizen training, as well as access to information technologies for young people. He is currently part of the Caminando project as a technical assistant in humanitarian aid in Sucumbíos and Esmeraldas.
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Hugo Morán is an engineer in International Business and holds a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration. He has worked for several years in the areas of sustainability and social innovation. He is the UN Women humanitarian focal point on the southern border for the project "Promoting gender equality and empowerment for women in displacement and refugee situations in Ecuador".
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On World Humanitarian Day, as humanitarian needs globally have reached an all-time high, we salute and honour humanitarians’ life-saving work. They save and protect lives and ensure access to essential resources including food, shelter and health services in the toughest locations for the 305.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance worldwide.
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In Ecuador, in response to the migration and human mobility crisis, mechanisms and actions for reception, protection and humanitarian assistance have been implemented, especially aimed at women and girls who cross the border and who are at specific risks, such as being victims of gender-based violence, sexual violence, forced prostitution, human trafficking or sexual exploitation.
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In the year that has passed since the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan, we have seen daily and continuous deterioration in the situation of Afghan women and girls. This has spanned every aspect of their human rights, from living standards to social and political status. It has been a year of increasing disrespect for their right to live free and equal lives, denying them opportunity to livelihoods, access to health care and education, and escape from situations of violence.
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On August 14, 2021, an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale struck Haiti's southern peninsula. According to the latest report published by the Haiti Civil Protection, the earthquake caused 2,248 deaths, more than 12,763 injured, 329 houses damaged, 53,815 homes destroyed, the affected population is 690,000 people, and more than 650,000 people are in need. The most affected regions were Grande-Anse, Nippes, and, particularly, Les Cayes.
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Ageism is an issue of inequality, discrimination, and injustice. Without tackling it, we will not achieve gender equality by 2030. Ageism impacts everyone—young and old. Prejudices surrounding age are widespread and unchallenged—in our attitudes, beliefs, policies, and societies—and create a formidable barrier to young women’s full participation in their communities. Negative stereotypes can exacerbate harmful norms and stigmas that prevent young women’s full participation in their communities across the world. It is essential that we shift these destructive narratives and encourage and facilitate the leadership and full engagement of young women in decision-making, so that the shape of the future is informed by their views and knowledge.
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Ana Sáenz is a young feminist Guatemalan student of Political Science with studies in gender and feminism. She is committed to defending the rights of women and students to a quality higher education free of violence. She is the former Secretary of Gender of the Association of University Students "Oliverio Castañeda de León" (2017-2019). She is currently a member of the Inter-University Network Safe and Educated (RISE) and national gender activist of Guatemala for UN Women.
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Selina Raldes Herrera is a young Bolivian feminist and sexual and reproductive rights activist. She is a medical student in her ninth semester of psychology. She is the national coordinator of the National Platform of Adolescents and Youth for Sexual and Reproductive Rights. This organization works in schools in six departments in 16 municipalities in rural Bolivia to empower girls, adolescents, and young women. She represented Bolivian youth at the Regional Youth Consultation in Santiago de Chile (2020) and the XIV Regional Women's Conference (2020). At the end of 2021, she won a scholarship from the U.S. Embassy's Winter Institute for Young Leaders program. Also, she participated in the Generation Change Program of the Peace Institute in Colombia.
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Ljubica Fuentes is a young Ecuadorian-Chilean woman, 24 years old, feminist, and human rights activist. She is the youngest Civil Society Advisor for UN Women Ecuador and was declared a national gender activist in 2020. She is a law graduate, lives in Ecuador, and is the founder of the Feminist University Coalition, the first civil society space in the country to work on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence in higher education. In 2022, with the same objective, she founded the Citizens of the World Foundation, which was the only space at the country level to submit contributions to the Higher Education Conference (WHEC) 2022 of UNESCO. She was part of the coordinating team of the 2022 Youth Forum of the Fourth Regional Conference on Population and Development.
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Carolina Peña es economista, especialista en género, violencia y derechos humanos, maestrante en Economía del Desarrollo y activista feminista. Actualmente es coordinadora de proyectos y estudios de género en la Fundación Investoria, organización de la sociedad civil ecuatoriana orientada a promover el desarrollo sostenible a través de la investigación y generación de proyectos sociales. Ha investigado sobre la brecha salarial y la maternidad en el mercado laboral, la violencia de género laboral y la economía del cuidado. Carolina promueve el empoderamiento económico de las mujeres y la inversión en sistemas de cuidado.
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Renata Koch Alvarenga is a young Brazilian activist committed to gender and climate justice issues. She holds a degree in International Relations from Unisinos (Brazil) and is pursuing a Master's in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School as a Belfer Young Leader Fellow. At 22, she founded the multilingual initiative EmpoderaClima, to raise awareness about women's empowerment in climate decision-making spaces and advocate for girls' education for climate action. This summer, she interned at the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth.
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In this special edition, UN Women commemorates International Youth Day by kicking off our Intergenerational Peacebuilding Month, in which we seek to highlight the fundamental role of activists who lead peacebuilding and social cohesion.
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In August and September, UN Women makes good practices in the Latin American and Caribbean region visible through Intergenerational Peacebuilding Month and highlights the fundamental role of activists who lead peacebuilding and social cohesion, bringing together the voices of young women and historical activists.  
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María Victoria Martínez is 24 years old and is studying law. She is the executive director and impact secretary of the permanent representation of the Argentine Youth Organization for the United Nations (OAJNU) in Chaco, a province in northeastern Argentina. For the past six years, she has been a member of this non-profit NGO with over 500 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 who work in eight provinces throughout the country to empower more than 14,000 young people to build a more inclusive, democratic, and rights-promoting society.