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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's comments on 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

New York, 7 October 2011

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, your impressions regarding the award of the Nobel Peace Prize this morning to three women activists. What are your feelings about it?

SG: This is wonderful news. This award could not be better chosen. This is a testament to the power of women's leadership. Above all, it underscores the vital role that women play in the advancement of peace and security, development, and human rights. I myself have met women who have been the victims of sexual violence. I have seen for myself women's leadership power in building and sustaining peace. And I have heard the voices of women calling for justice and democracy in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. This award to three inspirational women of courage and vision and commitment underscores my own determination to help advance the cause of women across the full spectrum of the United Nations. I really congratulate all three winners from the bottom of my heart.

Q: Secretary-General, particularly significant is the fact that these three women fight for democracy and women's rights. What are your views in that regard?

SG: This is a great encouragement, not only to women in their communities, but to all the people around the world. I believe that women's human rights and their economic, social and political opportunities should be promoted. Women [take up] half of the world's population, if not equal, if not more, they should be given [at] minimum equal opportunities and power. That is what the United Nations takes as its number one priority. I have reported to the General Assembly that advancing women's empowerment will be one of my top priorities for the coming five years.