At the UN Pakistan urges end to conflict-related sexual violence

New York, 18 April, 2018

At the UN Pakistan called for an end to sexual violence in conflict situations, condemning those who use it as an instrument to oppress people.

“From Myanmar to our own neighborhood, the world continues to watch in horror as several state and non-state actors employ rape and sexual abuse as a deliberate policy to subdue and oppress entire populations”, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi said while speaking in the Security Council open debate on ‘Preventing sexual violence in conflict through empowerment, gender equality and access to justice’,

She said that lack of verifiable and independent reporting from many of these hotspots was enabling those who commit and condone these acts go scot-free. She called for mechanisms to independently investigate and verify reports emerging from conflict situations where sexual violence is taking place.

For far too long, Ambassador Lodhi said, sexual violence has remained a grim and inevitable reality of armed conflicts, which has often been employed systematically and with impunity, to coerce, punish, humiliate and instill fear in the targeted civilian population.

The Pakistani envoy regretted that even as the international community has come together to collectively condemn such acts of unimaginable horror, sexual abuse of women and girls continues to be used as a tactic of war in conflicts around the world.

Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-member Council that Pakistan has always advocated integration of the gender perspective into the peace-building paradigm to promote the cause of sustaining peace.

As one of the world’s leading troop contributing countries, she stressed , Pakistan has set the highest standards in fulfilling peacekeeping mandates, including protection of vulnerable segments of population especially women and children from violence.

She expressed full support to the Secretary General’s policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse and said that Pakistan was among the first group of countries to sign the Secretary General’s voluntary compact on the subject.

She also told that Council that Pakistan has contributed to the Trust Fund for the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Talking about the UN Peacekeeping Training Institute in Pakistan, Ambassador Lodhi said that this was established ‘to share our experience and promote best practices in peacekeeping’. “The Institute offers specially designed modules to help peacekeepers respond effectively and protect innocent civilians from sexual violence”, she added.

Highlighting the role of women in peacekeeping, Ambassador Lodhi said that Pakistan believes in increased participation of female peacekeepers and it supports more women taking up mediation roles to help in the stabilization and reconstruction phase of post-conflict rehabilitation.

For my country, she said, protection of the vulnerable, including women and children is not only a global peace and security imperative but an obligation of humanity. “We remain resolute and steadfast in this commitment”, she concluded.