Statement by Ms. Saima Sayed, Counsellor, in the General Assembly on “United Nations Action on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse” under the agenda item: Strengthening of the United Nations system (10 March 2017)

Mr. President,

We thank you for this opportunity to dilate upon a subject that is of critical importance to us.

Today’s meeting is part of our efforts that began in September last year to address the issue of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse collectively and holistically with the aim of finding practical solutions to the problem.

We had talked about an overarching General Assembly resolution that should address this issue comprehensively, combining the efforts exerted in the different committees, including the C34 and the 5th Committee.

The resolution adopted today is a clear message that we all stand strong to root out this scourge from the UN system. It is a reaffirmation of the commitment to a zero tolerance policy to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse through strengthened measures in terms of prevention, reporting, enforcement and remedial action.

Mr. President,

Mr. President,

We appreciate the Secretary General’s proactive approach on this issue and his efforts for greater transparency and accountability. This resolution is also an expression of our support to the Secretary General’s efforts, strengthening his hands for future endeavours in combating this problem. We look forward to working with him, forming a strong partnership between the Member States and the Secretariat.

Mr. President,

The principal sponsors of this resolution include major troop and police contributing countries. It is also a reiteration that we take our responsibilities as a troop contributor very seriously. We fully support the policy of zero tolerance and strongly believe that protectors of the vulnerable, under no circumstances, can be allowed to become the abusers. This would be a travesty of justice and morality, and above all, of the sacred covenant that these peacekeepers take. The exemplary work of thousands of brave men and women cannot be allowed to be sullied by the abhorrent acts of a few.

Our sense of urgency on the subject is based on our collective aim, of course, to root out this problem that seriously affects the functioning of the UN system. We are ready to work with the Secretary General in implementation of his system-wide strategy to respond to SEA. As mentioned in his report, united in purpose, we can become a positive force for change.

I thank you.