On 16 November, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg were in Paris to attend the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2018.
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa made a speech at the event where she explained what she saw in her recent humanitarian trip to Lebanon last month and presented the actions she supports in favour of survivors of sexual violence in fragile environments. It was also the occasion for the Grand Duchess to promote the international conference “Stand Speak Rise Up!” which will take place in March 2019 in Luxembourg at the initiative of the Grand Duchess.
During her speech, the Grand Duchess stressed that “indignation is not enough” and that “action must be taken and relevant solutions found so that they can transform themselves from victims to powerful agents of change.”
After her speech, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa took part in a Questions and Answers session led by the Director of the Women’s Forum, Chiara Corazza. The Grand Duchess said: “Since my marriage in 1981, I have been aware of the privilege that it is to be in this position. That is why I have wanted to be a voice for those who are not heard, whether they live in Luxembourg or elsewhere around the globe. This has often led me to fight for difficult causes.”
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa said she got the idea of the conference during her first meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege: “I asked him how I could help the victims of sexual violence. He replied that he had just created a group of survivors, and he asked me to give them a platform. I decided then, with the help of my Foundation, to hold a conference so as to give them a voice.”
She announced that her foundation was collaborating with the Women’s Forum to prepare the conference and that it was partnering with the Mukwege Foundation and the NGO. We are not weapons of war. In addition to these announcements, the Cour created a new website for the Grand Duchess’s activities.
After her visit to Lebanon, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa said: “Rape as a weapon of war and submission is not new. It is the scale of it, and it is the fact that this crime, which has already claimed millions of victims throughout the 20th century, continues to be perpetrated on a large scale in the 21st century. My thoughts are with the thousands of rape victims in Libya, Syria, Myanmar and the Great Lakes Region of Africa – to name only a few. We can no longer close our eyes or keep quiet about the suffering that women endure! We must pass from emotion to action! I am convinced that by putting them at the centre of attention; they can transform themselves from victims to powerful agents of change.”