Opening Remarks On The Adoption Of A UNSC Resolution To Combat Sexua

OPENING REMARKS ON THE ADOPTION OF A UNSC RESOLUTION TO COMBAT SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN ARMED CONFLICT

US Department of State

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United Nations Headquarters
New York City
September 30, 2009

The 6,195th meeting of the Security Council is called to order. The
provisional agenda for this meeting is before the Council in
document S/Agenda 6,195, which reads, and I quote: "Women and Peace
and Security," end of quote. Unless I hear any objection, I shall
consider the agenda adopted. The agenda is adopted.

I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters
from the representatives of 55 countries in which they request to
be invited to participate in the consideration of the item on the
Council’s agenda. In accordance with the usual practice, I propose,
with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives
to participate in the consideration without the right to vote, in
accordance with the relevant provision of the Charter and Rule 37 of
the Council’s Provisional Rules of Procedure. There being no objection,
it is so decided.

I invite the aforementioned 55 representatives to take the seats
reserved for them at the side of the Council chamber. And on behalf
of the Council, I wish to acknowledge the presence in the chamber of
the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina
Faso, His Excellency Minister Yoda, and the Minister of State for
Cooperation and Francophone of France, His Excellency, Mr. Joyandet.

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of item two
of the agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with
the understanding reached in its prior consultations. Members of
the Council have before them document S/2009/489, which contains the
text of a draft resolution submitted by Albania, Argentina, Armenia,
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia,
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ,
Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Lichtenstein,
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, the
Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal,
the Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore,
Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United Republic of Tanzania
and the United States of America.

I wish to draw the attention of members to document S/2009/362
containing the report of the Secretary General, pursuant to Resolution
1820. It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed
to the vote on the draft resolution before it. Unless I hear any
objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now. There
being no objection, it is so decided.

Will those in favor of the draft resolution contained in document
S/2009/489 please raise their hand?

(Show of hands.)

The result of the voting is as follows: The draft resolution received
15 votes in favor. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as
Resolution 1888 of 2009. Those against? Abstentions? None. (Laughter.)

I shall now have the privilege of making a statement in my capacity as
the Secretary of State for the United States, and I am very grateful to
speak before the Security Council on this important issue. I want to
thank everyone who has worked very hard to reach this point on this
resolution, and of course, to have it adopted unanimously, because
we’re here to address an issue that has received too little attention,
not only in these chambers over the last six decades, but I would
suggest in all of our halls of government across the world. It is
an important issue that goes to the core of our commitment to ensure
the safety of the United Nations member-states and their citizens.

Under the UN Charter, the 15 members of this Council bear primary
responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Now,
satisfying that responsibility includes us to protect the lives and
physical security of all people, including the women who comprise
half the planet’s population. This responsibility is particularly
acute in circumstances where peace and stability are challenged. Even
though women and children are rarely responsible for initiating armed
conflict, they are [email protected]~Ys most vulnerable and violated victims.

The resolution we passed today represents a step forward in our
global efforts to end violence perpetrated against women and children
in conflict zones, and it builds on two prior Security Council
resolutions: Resolution 1325, which called on all parties in conflicts
to respect women’s rights and increase their participation in peace
negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction efforts; and Resolution
1820, adopted last year, which affirms the ambitions set out in 1325,
and establishes a clear link between maintaining international peace
and security, and preventing and responding to sexual violence used
as a tactic of war to target civilians. Yet despite these actions
by the United Nations Security Council, violence against women and
girls in conflict-related situations has not diminished; in fact,
in some cases, it has escalated.

Now, reading the headlines, one might think that the use of rape as a
tactic of war only happens occasionally, or in a few places, like the
Democratic Republic of the Congo or Sudan. That would be bad enough,
but the reality is much worse. We’ve seen rape used as a tactic of
war before in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. In too many
countries and in too many cases, the perpetrators of this violence
are not punished, and so this impunity encourages further attacks.

Last month, I traveled to Goma in the Eastern Democratic Republic of
the Congo, where over 1,100 rapes are reported every month. I met with
survivors of sexual violence. And the physical and emotional damage
to individual women and their families from these attacks cannot be
quantified, nor can the toll on their societies.

The dehumanizing nature of sexual violence doesn’t just harm a single
individual or a single family or even a single village or a single
group. It shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings,
it endangers families and communities, erodes social and political
stability, and undermines economic progress. We need to understand
that it h us back. Also, our failure as an international body to
respond concretely to this global problem erodes our collective
effectiveness. So we must act now to end this crisis not only to
protect vulnerable people and promote human security, but to uphold
the legitimacy of this body.

Now, the international community has made progress. Many peacekeeping
mandates now include Security Council requests for strengthened
measures to prevent and respond to sexual violence. In Chad and
Sudan, UN peacekeepers have clear instructions underscoring their
responsibility to protect local populations against sexual and
gender-based violence.

And I recently met with the UN troops in Liberia, who provide an
excellent example of the steps a UN mission can take, Mr. Secretary
General, both through its own actions and in cooperation with the host
government to prevent violence against women and girls. It is also
very important that in Liberia, the United Nations mission includes
an all-women police unit from India. That all-women police unit has
helped to motivate more Liberian women to become police officers,
and the mission has launched a joint UN-Liberian campaign against rape.

Now, these steps are essential, but alone they’re not sufficient. So
this resolution identifies specific steps that the United Nations
and member-states can and should take to improve the UN response to
sexual violence committed during situations of armed conflict. It
calls on the Secretary General to appoint a special representative to
lead, coordinate, and advocate for efforts to end sexual violence. We
expect that person to engage at high levels with civilian and military
leaders to spearhead the UN’s activities on this front.

It also calls on the Secretary General to rapidly deploy a team
of experts to work with governments to strengthen the rule of law,
address impunity, and enhance accountability while drawing attention
to the full range of legal venues that can be brought into play,
including domestic, international, and mixed courts that bring judges
and prosecutors together to strengthen local justice systems.

We must also recognize that ending conflicts outright is the most
certain path to ending sexual violence in conflict. So pursuing
peace and successful post-conflict transitions should be our highest
priority. In states where conflict is taking place and those that
are moving beyond it, local police must receive better training, the
rule of law must be strengthened, and survivors must be ensured full
access to justice and protection throughout the judicial process. We
envision that this team of experts called for in this resolution will
help us strengthen initiatives like those.

Now, beyond the measures outlined in the resolution, the Security
Council should take additional steps. Protecting women and children
should be a critical priority for all troops who wear the blue
helmet. To reflect this, new and renewed peacekeeping mandates should
include language condemning sexual violence and giving further guidance
to peacekeeping missions to work with local authorities to end it.

We must seek to ensure that our respective military and police forces,
especially those who will participate in peacekeeping missions,
develop the expertise to prevent and respond to violence against
women and children. And this will be helped by increasing the number
of women who serve in UN peacekeeping missions. When I visited the
mission in Goma, I was very impressed at how integrated it was in
every way, from every country, every kind of person represented,
and many women in the leadership as well as in the ranks.

And let us not forget that it is often women who lead the call for
peace in communities shattered by violence. We have seen women in this
role from Liberia to Rwanda to Northern Ireland to Guatemala. Even when
they suffer terrible losses in conflicts they had no part in starting,
women have the will to reach across divisions, find common ground, and
foster understanding. As they seek peace, so must we by making sure
they are part of all efforts. So I urge foreign assistance programs
include measures to prevent and respond to violence against women
and children, and to ensure that women are included in designing and
implementing those programs.

In his speech at the General Assembly last week, President Obama
challenged nations of the world to assume responsibility for the
challenges confronting us. Certainly, the challenge of sexual violence
in conflict cannot and should not be separated from the broader
security issues confronting this Council. It is time for all of us
to assume our responsibility to go beyond condemning this behavior,
to taking concrete steps to end it, to make it socially unacceptable,
to recognize it is not cultural; it is criminal. And the more we say
that over and over and over again, the more we will change attitudes,
create peer pressure, and the conditions for the elimination of
this violation.

When I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I was told of an old
proverb that says "No matter how long the night, the day is sure
to come." Well, I hope our work today and every day going forward
will hasten the time when thousands of women around the world will
be able to feel comfortable in walking the streets of their cities
and villages freely again – to work outside their homes, collect
firewood and water without fear, play with their children, spend
time with their husbands, enjoy all the blessings of life in freedom,
peace, and security. That is our dream for a better future for them
and for us, and I thank this body for the strong commitment that this
resolution represents. (Applause.)

Thank you so much. I resume now my function as president of the
Council. I kind of like being a president, so I – (laughter) – this
may go on a little longer than anticipated. (Applause.) And I shall
now invite the distinguished Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. Ban
Ki-moon to take the floor.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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