Security Council: Statement by Ambassador Thoms on Women, Peace and Security

Oct 18, 2013

(Statement as prepared for delivery by Ambassador Thoms in an Open Debate of the Security Council on Women, Peace and Security)

"Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank Azerbaijan, as the presidency of the Security Council, for having organized today’s Open Debate.

My thanks also go to the Secretary General, Ms Pillay and Ms Balipou for their very insightful briefings. I congratulate Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka on her appointment and I thank her for her first briefing at the Security Council.

Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

Germany welcomes the detailed analysis of the Secretary General’s report, which identifies many achievements in the women, peace and security agenda in the past years. We also share the concerns addressed in the report, such as an increasing focus of the international community on women as victims of armed conflict instead of focusing on their role as actors in peace processes and agents of change in all spheres of society.

We therefore welcome that resolution 2122 adopted earlier today emphasizes the positive role that women can and will play, if they are fully included in all aspects of conflict prevention and peace building. The potential of women in building sustainable peace cannot be underestimated, nor can the imminent problems for post-conflict societies if those who bear the burden of reconstruction on the ground are not fully included in decision-making.

We should ask ourselves, what more member states and the United Nations could do to ensure an implementation of the full agenda as laid out in Resolution 1325. Let me make a few suggestions.

First, transitional justice and the rule of law are crucial elements for the prevention and solution of conflicts. We therefore very much welcome the theme of today’s debate, which emphasizes the importance of gender-sensitive systems. Women need to be part of all truth and justice commissions and women’s concerns need to be addressed in these fact-finding bodies. At the same time, perpetrators of violence, crimes and human rights violations need to be held accountable for their actions. This is the most promising way to promote lasting reconciliation. Germany has supported several projects in Rwanda and Burundi to train female police officers on the prevention and investigation of sexual and gender-based violence. In Cambodia and Uganda, Germany has supported the access of women to the justice system through legal and psycho-social counseling.

Second, forty-three countries have adopted National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security. This is an important first step. However, any progress on the ground depends on the political will to abide by these commitments. The German National Action Plan, which was adopted last year, covers the four focus areas set out in Resolution 1325 and additionally includes the areas of preparation for peace missions and prosecution of crimes, . The implementation of this Action Plan is monitored by an Inter-ministerial Working Group in collaboration with representatives from civil society. German diplomatic missions abroad have been instructed to support the implementation of Resolution 1325, for example by advocating for the inclusion of women in local crisis prevention, conflict management and post-conflict peace-building or by supporting gender-sensitive projects on the ground.   

Third, the Security Council for its part should start to systematically mainstream women issues in all relevant spheres of its work.  Whenever the Security Council is mandating or renewing UN missions or requesting briefings from Envoys and Special Representatives women, peace and security should be a central part of all considerations. We welcome that the resolution adopted today contains provisions addressing this.

Fourth, Women Protection Advisors play a central role in monitoring and reporting to the Council, training mission personnel on preventing and responding to sexual violence – and in engaging in dialogue with conflict parties.  Although we welcome that Women Protection Advisers have been deployed to the Missions in South Sudan and Mali, the remaining WPAs in MONUSCO, UNOCI and UNAMID, which were already mandated by the Council, should also be deployed as rapidly as possible, and where necessary, be included in mission budgets.

Germany will continue its support to UN Women and all other relevant actors, including civil society organizations, to ensure that women’s roles and their important contribution in conflict resolution and peace building are adequately taken into account.

Thank you, Mr Chair."

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Women's rights and gender equality

Sexual abuse, trafficking in women, domestic violence, forced marriage and genital mutilation are human rights violations which affect women and children almost exclusively. That's why the protection of women are central to Germany's human rights policy.