Statement by Ambassador Wittig in the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

Dec 16, 2010

 (check against delivery)

Madame President,

 

Germany aligns herself with the statement which will be delivered by the European Union.

 

I would like to thank the United States as Presidency of the Security Council for giving this important issue a prominent role on this month’s Security Council agenda.

 

It is a great pleasure that SG Ban Ki Moon, USG Le Roy, UN Military Adviser Babacar Gaye and SRSG Wallström are with us today.
The appointment of Ms Wallström in February this year was an important signal, that increased and focused action will be undertaken in the fight against the scourge of sexual violence in conflict.

 

Madame President,

 

No one can deny that sexual violence in armed conflict is an abhorrent crime, which in some conflict areas is systematically used  to destabilise whole societies and thus constitutes a serious security problem requiring a systematic response, including by the Security Council. With the adoption of resolutions 1820 and 1888 the Council has given this issue the comprehensive and global attention it deserves.

We therefore highly welcome the Secretary-General’s report and its recommendations which are reflected in this very good new resolution adopted by the Security Council today.

We commend all Security Council members for agreeing on this important document in such a short period of time. This underlines the urgency of the problem and shows that the Security Council is sincerely committed to tackling this issue.

 

As exact data is indispensable for timely and concrete action to prevent and to react to sexual violence we fully support the creation of a new mechanism that may help to collect relevant data. This mechanism should work similarly, and in close cooperation with the one already existing on “children and armed conflict”, also taking into account the indicators the Security Council endorsed in October during its open debate on resolution 1325.

 

However, collecting data is not enough, but it is a much needed first step in the fight against impunity. Perpetrators have to be brought to justice! Bearing in mind the main responsibility of States to investigate and prosecute those abominable crimes, international cooperation and the continued leadership by the Security Council is also of utmost importance.

We therefore support the Secretary General’s proposal to set up a listing-/de-listing mechanism such as the one existing for sexual violence against children. Moreover, the Council must make full use of all  existing instruments at its disposal, such as relevant Sanction Committees to address sexual violence, including referring relevant cases to the ICC.

 

Moreover, we have to strive to find better ways of guaranteeing the safety and physical integrity of women and children during armed conflict. This includes early warning mechanisms as well as more awareness-raising campaigns and pertinent training, including the training of peacekeepers. Germany supports several training programs and awareness raising campaigns on sexual violence in close cooperation with UN entities.

 

Lastly, victims of sexual violence and abuse need help to treat the physical and mental scars left on them and their families and to re-enable them to actively participate  in communal life. States therefore have to provide adequate protection services and find prompt and unbureaucratic ways to support victims - where appropriate with the help of the UN system. Germany commends the valuable work done by United Nations organisations in this field, including the important activities of the “Trust Fund Against Violence Against Women”, which Germany has actively supported in the past.

 

Let me conclude by stressing that we can only make progress if all relevant entities within the UN system, including the newly created “UN Women”, work together closely, also actively involving civil society stakeholders.

 

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