Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at the Open Debate of the Security Council on Women and Peace and Security, New York,(24 June 2013)

Mr. President,

We thank Foreign Secretary Hague for chairing this session and the Ministers from Guatemala, France, and Morocco for their statements.

We deeply appreciate the Secretary Generalís special briefing today, his leadership on combating sexual violence in armed conflict, and his recent visits to meet the victims of sexual violence.

Special Representative Zainab Bangura, in a short span of time, has injected a sense of urgency for intensified action. We pay a tribute to her for her passion and hard work.

Ms. Angelina Jolieís personal commitment and strong advocacy of womenís rights has produced results.

The UK delegationís succinct concept paper has guided our preparations for this debate. We especially applaud the leadership role of the United States in the Security Council on Women, Peace and Security. We thank the US delegation for working skillfully and inclusively to forge consensus on the resolution adopted today.

Mr. President,

As the briefers have substantiated again today, the vile crime of sexual violence in armed conflict is a growing phenomenon. Women, girls, men, and boys Ė all are targeted. But women bear the brunt of sexual atrocities in wars and armed conflicts. They are harassed, molested, raped, maimed and disabled. Other forms of violence - sexual slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced pregnancies, and enforced sterilization - are rampant. Such violence /assaults human dignity; ruins the lives of survivors and their families; and subjects communities and societies to torture and trauma.

Sexual violence in armed conflicts is used to force displacement of population, illegally acquire natural resources, eliminate political opponents, and punish ethnic and religious groups.

Security Council resolutions over the years have established that systematic sexual violence, used as an instrument of war, is a grave threat to international peace and security.

By now, we have developed strong normative and institutional framework to fight this scourge.

The erroneous thesis that sexual violence in armed conflict is a cultural phenomenon has been rejected.

Yet, we know, implementation of the decisions has been slow and monitoring indifferent. Those who commit, command and condone sexual violence still, by and large, act with impunity.

The resolution adopted today will make an impact on implementation, as it translates the Secretary Generalís recommendations into concrete decisions.

Mr. President,

The Security Council, by todayís resolution, calls for targeted sanctions against perpetrators. It equips different bodies and entities with tools to oppose impunity; empower women to seek redress; strengthen international political response; and foster national ownership.

The Councilís call for immediate cessation of acts of sexual violence and implementation of time-bound commitments should be heeded by all parties to armed conflicts. These calls are not abstract. They should resonate to real life situations in Syria, Guinea Bissau, DRC, CAR and other armed conflicts.

It is important that measures against sexual violence are made an integral part of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration; and security sector reform processes. Before starting these exercises, mechanisms should be in place for womenís protection. More women should sit on the table where decisions are made on peace and ceasefire accords, peacekeeping, stabilization and reconstruction. As the distinguished French Minister said so aptly: women should be stakeholders not subjects.

Mr. President,

It is imperative to mainstream a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations. As one of the largest troop contributing countries, we can testify that appointment of gender advisors in the field has been very useful. Adequate resources should be allocated for the purpose.

Pakistani women peacekeepers have served as police officers, doctors and nurses in missions in Asia, Africa and the Balkans. We have made gender-sensitization a mandatory part of the training of our peacekeepers.

To conclude, Mr. President, I emphasize that we should also devote energies to addressing the root causes of conflicts.

While the Council takes punitive measures against perpetrators, its efforts are strengthened by the voice of the global citizens who help us nurture a culture of zero tolerance against unconscionable acts of sexual violence. In this context, the perspective of Ms. Jane Adong Anywar on behalf of NGO Womenís initiative for Gender Justice is important and directly relevant to our work.

I thank you, Mr. President.