Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at the Security Council open debate on 'Preventing sexual violence in conflict through empowerment, gender equality and access to justice' (16 April 2018)

Mr. President,

My delegation commends your effort in organizing this open debate on an issue of critical importance.

We thank Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed and Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence, Pramila Patten for their informative briefings this morning.

Mr. President,

For far too long, 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.

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.

While sexual violence remains a designated war crime and a crime against humanity, for survivors its impact goes well beyond the ordeal of the harrowing experience itself. Stigma and marginalization often outlasts the conflict, and the trauma haunts survivors for the rest of their lives.

The recent Report of the Secretary General on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence has rightly emphasized how the effects of conflict related sexual violence “can echo across generations”.

Mr. President,

The Security Council has been proactively taking up this issue under its Women, Peace and Security agenda. The legal framework and institutional focus is there, but complicated geopolitics around various conflicts, and divisions within this Chamber have allowed perpetrators to continue carrying out these heinous atrocities with impunity.

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.

Lack of verifiable and independent reporting from many of these hotspots is letting those who commit and condone these acts go scot-free.

Mr. President,

In order to combat impunity for these crimes, and protect women and girls from systematic abuse, the international community needs to recalibrate its response. Let me make four specific points in this regard:

Mr. President,

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, Pakistan has set the highest standards in fulfilling peacekeeping mandates, including protection of vulnerable segments of population especially women and children from violence.

We fully support the Secretary General’s policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. Pakistan was among the first group of countries to sign the Secretary General’s voluntary compact on the subject. We have also contributed to the Trust Fund for the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.

To share our experience and promote best practices in peacekeeping, we have established a UN Peacekeeping Training Institute in Pakistan, offering specially designed modules to help peacekeepers respond effectively and protect innocent civilians from sexual violence.

We also believe increased participation of female peacekeepers and encouraging more women to take up mediation roles will help in the stabilization and reconstruction phase of post-conflict rehabilitation.

Mr. President,

For my country, protection of the vulnerable, including women and children is not only a global peace and security imperative. More importantly, this is an obligation of humanity. We remain resolute and steadfast in this commitment.

Thank you, Mr. President.