This includes a joint program with the Iraqi government to train health professionals to deal with the specific traumata endured by survivors. NATO-led forces have a responsibility to protect and defend women against violence, but we also recognize this cannot be separated from the issue of empowerment and participation.
Security Council Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, April 2018
There can be no protection without participation [ These commitments include engaging all parties to the conflict to prevent sexual violence. And they include ensuring that survivors and civil society organizations can voice their concerns about security, protection and limitations in service-provision, and that they can help shape inclusive new policies and laws. The Centers provide physical, legal, psychological and social support. Moreover, national gender based hotlines have been established since to help the victims of violence to report and get counseling.
We are also revising the Child Law to include the provision on conflict-related sexual violence against children. Women and girls fleeing conflict must be afforded safe passage and protection, including from sexual and gender-based violence, while in transit and at their final destinations. Persons belonging to minorities encounter a high risk of being targets of violence.
This was exemplified to us today by the testimony of Razia Sultana from the Rohingya community of Myanmar. Equally appalling is the fact that Da'esh continues to traffic Iraqi Yezidi women and girls into and across Syria as part of their campaign targeting minorities. The patterns of violence against women and girls belonging to minorities are embedded in underlying structural conditions, including inequality, gender-based discrimination and the neglect of the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
Ireland is particularly concerned to hear reports of the targeting of high profile female human rights defenders through crimes of sexual violence. Today we urge Member States to take measures to ensure the adequate protection of women in the civil society space. Ireland also urges the Security Council to assume its own responsibility in this, and to be consistent and timely in its use of sanctions against perpetrators of conflictrelated sexual violence. Sexual violence must therefore be fought throughout the process, from prevention to rehabilitation and reintegration.
Victim support programmes, such as those established in Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, are essential. Social, legal and medical services, including psychological and social support, as well as dialogue within communities, are crucial. That response must be quick, as demonstrated by the situation in the Central African Republic, where men and boys are also victims.
It is through the mainstreaming of these ideals in our global engagement that we can prevent sexual violence in conflict by creating stable, tolerant, and prosperous societies. The forms of sexual violence I consistently heard about from survivors and witnesses included: rape, gang-rape by multiple soldiers, forced public nudity and humiliation, and sexual slavery in military captivity.
Several survivors still bore visible scars, bruises, burns and bite marks, attesting to their ordeal. One woman showed me how she can no longer see out of her left eye, which was bitten by a solider during a vicious sexual assault.
I stand ready to mobilize for the benefit of the Governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh the interagency network that I chair known as UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, which supports efforts to deliver a coordinated, multi-sectoral response for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, including healthcare and psychosocial support. This year, in Myanmar and many other conflict situations, the widespread threat and use of sexual violence has, once again, been used as a tactic to advance military, economic and ideological objectives. And, once again, it has been a driver of massive forced displacement.
Let me be clear, both genders endure the horrific brutality of sexual violence in conflict. Sexual violence is also a very common method of torture of detainees. And, in many conflicts, most detainees are men and boys. But, overall, women and girls are disproportionately affected. Gender-based discrimination is the invisible driver of most crimes of sexual violence. For far too long, sexual violence has remained a grim and inevitable reality of armed conflicts, which has often been employed systematically and with impunity, to coerce, punish, humiliate and instill fear in the targeted civilian population.
Even as the international community has come together to collectively condemn such acts of unimaginable horror, sexual abuse of women and girls continues to be used as a tactic of war in conflicts around the world. The Maldives strongly condemns how sexual violence is being "weaponized" through targeting victims based on ethnic, religious, or political affiliation, which destroys social cohesion, leading to forced displacement, and deprivation from economic resources. We note with concern that the failure to address these issues has led to desperate recourse of more harmful magnitudes, including child marriage, withdrawal from educational and employment opportunities, and resorting to commercial sexual exploitation.
The importance of women in peacekeeping no longer needs to be justified. The evidence speaks for itself. With more female peacekeepers and police officers we can achieve more, and reach the whole population in a conflict area. Sweden is actively addressing factors that hinder the deployment of women peacekeepers, police, and corrections officers.
The UN should ensure that all peacekeeping training centers around the world include training to involve women in prevention and peace-building efforts. The United Nations also has a role to play in countering violence against women in the field through our peacekeeping missions. Women talk to each other, and more importantly, they understand each other. We should capitalize on this fundamental truth and do a better job recruiting and including more women in peacekeeping. Unfortunately, only four percent of uniformed peacekeepers are women. That number is even smaller in the most dangerous missions where women are suffering the most.
Deploying more women peacekeepers will provide valuable insights that male peacekeepers often cannot obtain. Separately, peacekeeping operations need to be equipped with appropriate gender-responsive conflict analysis and expertise. We are deeply concerned that cutting, downgrading, and under-resourcing gender advisors and women protection advisors positions may cripple the ability of peace operations to fulfill these critical tasks. We must also ensure that UN peacekeepers themselves are not part of the problem and condemn cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations.
Still much more needs to be done to tackle this scourge, ensure accountability, and fundamentally reconfigure our collective approach to make it victim-centered. The prevention of every form of violence against women in conflict and the protection of their legitimate rights and interests should be an integral part of peacekeeping operations.
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The importance of integrating women in peacekeeping missions can also be seen from this perspective. Host countries should be helped to prioritize the prevention of violence against women during conflict, ensuring the inclusion and active participation of women in all stages of peace processes. We continue to support UN action against conflict related sexual violence. We recognise that UN peacekeeping operations play a vital role in the protection of women, girls, men and boys as part of their mandated task of protecting civilians.
We also stress the importance of training peacekeeping personnel on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.
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We have also contributed to the Trust Fund for the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. To share our experience and promote best practices in peacekeeping, we have established a UN Peacekeeping Training Institute in Pakistan, offering specially designed modules to help peacekeepers respond effectively and protect innocent civilians from sexual violence.
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We also believe increased participation of female peacekeepers and encouraging more women to take up mediation roles will help in the stabilization and reconstruction phase of post-conflict rehabilitation. While the report looks primarily at sexual violence inflicted by armed groups and state actors, we cannot ignore cases of sexual exploitation and abuse or sexual harassment committed by those working for, or associated with the United Nations. It is rightfully gaining the attention and visibility it deserves.
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In this regard, we must remember that the privileges and immunities of the UN cannot and should not be understood as a trait to act impunity. Austria condemns such behaviour and welcomes the focus of the Secretary-General on this important issue and his initiatives in this regard. We wish to underscore the responsibilities that armed forces and peacekeeping operations have in preventing sexual violence in conflict.
It is important not only to ensure training in international humanitarian and human rights law in the specific context of sexual exploitation, but also establish strict monitoring and accountability within these systems to prevent abuse by these actors themselves. In this regard, we are pleased to note that all UN peacekeeping operations with mandates on protection of civilians have established monitoring arrangements and incorporated early-warning indicators of conflict-related sexual violence.
Women talk to each other, and, more importantly, they understand each other. We should capitalize on this fundamental truth and do a better job of recruiting and including more women in peacekeeping. Unfortunately, only 4 per cent of uniformed peacekeepers are women. That number is even smaller in the most dangerous missions, where women are suffering the most.
We must ensure that peacekeeping operations have the necessary capacity to implement their mandates. Protecting women is not optional; it is an absolute necessity that must be firmly anchored at the centre of operations. A Security Council resolution demanding an immediate end to violations against the civilian population in Rakhine State and measures to hold the perpetrators accountable would send an important signal.
It is critical that the Council call for humanitarian agencies to be given immediate, unhindered access to populations in need. The number of internally displaced persons and refugees continues to rise to unprecedented levels. In his report, the Secretary-General points to sexual violence as a driver of displacement and highlights the increased risks faced by displaced women and girls, who make up the majority of displaced persons.
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In June , the EU took over the leadership of the "Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies", a global initiative of more than 70 stakeholders to make sure that all humanitarian actors work together to prevent and mitigate gender-based violence, from the earliest onset of a crisis.
We observe how sexual violence is sometimes a factor in forced displacements in situations such as Colombia, Iraq or Syria; the risk does not disappear in refugee camps; and the fear of being sexually assaulted inhibits many displaced people from returning to their communities. The case of the Rohingya is particularly worrisome.
We are convinced that the global compact refugee negotiations provide a good opportunity to address sexual violence in these contexts. Myanmar strongly objects the use of such words as "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide" in reference to the situation in Rakhine State. Such irresponsible accusations based on unsubstantiated, one-sided allegations, fake news and tempered reports for political purpose, will only exacerbate the current situation and will lead to further polarization of different communities in the region.
I am committed to extending the full support of my Office, which can include technical assistance in law reform and capacity-building of the national armed and security forces to foster compliance with international standards, including zero tolerance for sexual abuse.
Gendered Peace: Women's Struggles for Post-War Justice and Reconciliation
Such support can be provided through my Team of Experts on the Rule of Law, which was mandated by this Council to help build the capacity of justice and security sector institutions [ To this end, an impartial, independent mechanism to support investigation would be an important step. Those who are found to be implicated in abuses should be removed from positions of command responsibility and prosecuted.
At the heart of this issue is the fundamental principle of women's full enjoyment of human rights, especially sexual and reproductive health and rights. The link between accountability and prevention is clear. This contributes to ending impunity as well as to ensuring victims' trust in accountable and effective criminal justice institutions.