Originally published on www.consilium.europa.eu

On Thursday 9 June 2022, European Council President Charles Michel, together with UN Women, Nadia’s Initiative and the Dr Denis Mukwege Foundation, co-hosted the second edition of “Women in Conflicts” in Brussels, bringing together women leaders and survivors of conflicts.

‘Women in Conflicts’: Brussels declaration on actions towards empowering women​

The event focused on support to survivors, on justice and reparation, and on women’s leadership in preventing, ending, and rebuilding from conflict. Participants highlighted the central need to ensure the rights of women and girls and their full participation in all efforts to bring about sustainable peace. Bringing together voices from women survivors, peace activists and world leaders, the event offered powerful testimonies combined with concrete and inspiring solutions to ensure that women have a say in prevention, crisis management and peacebuilding.

UN Women Director Sima Bahous recalled that the experiences and insights highlighted in the discussion require urgent and sustained action. Drawing on examples of UN Women’s work in conflict-affected communities, including in Afghanistan and Ukraine, she called on the international community move from policies to action, including though funding and political support to women’s work for peace. The importance of this work is clear, she said:

“Without peace and security, we will not have sustainable development, and without women, we will not achieve peace and security.”

The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, noted the gender dimensions of the war, and called on the global community not to forget about Ukraine, saying:

“We can say that every life in Ukraine is somehow broken, divided into before and after the war. But you cannot call us Ukrainian women victims. Every one of us has her own story of resistance.”

On the situation in Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel, stressed the importance of accountability:

“We are totally committed to support Ukraine as much as we can. It is our responsibility to act and to do everything in order to make sure that those crimes will be punished.”

The importance of accountability was echoed by Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize laureate:

“To break the cycle of violence, we need to empower women, survivors and marginalised communities everywhere with resources and security. We need to hold perpetrators accountable for sexual violence and end the culture of impunity.”

Other speakers included Habiba Sarabi, Former Minister of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan, Dr Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, gynaecologist, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Grace Achan, Co-founder, Women’s Advocacy Network Uganda, as well as other participants from Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, Sudan and Syria.

Following the ‘Women in Conflicts’ event on 9 June 2022, its co-hosts, European Council President Charles Michel, UN Women, Nadia’s Initiative and the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation issued a joint declaration.

The declaration highlights the importance of ending impunity and prosecuting those responsible for violence against women and girls in conflicts. It presents clear actions to support the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and girls in areas such as conflict prevention, crisis management and long-term peacebuilding.


  • Conflict, war
  • Executive Director
  • Intergovernmental processes
  • Peace and security

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