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Eesti ja Läti ühissõnavõtt Julgeolekunõukogu avatud arutelul konfliktidega seotud seksuaalvägivalla teemal, esitas Läti esinduse asejuht Inese Freimane-Deksne

15.04.2015

Madam President,

 

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Latvia and Estonia. We would like to thank you for organizing the debate on sexual violence in conflict. We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the European Union.

We also thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Ms Zainab Bangura and the representative from civil society Ms Hamsatu Allamin for their statements and their tireless work on this complex and sensitive issue.

 

Madam President,

We welcome the comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. It also addresses very disturbing new challenges - sexual violence perpetrated in the context of rising violent extremism. Sexual violence in the form of rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, forced pregnancy, torture, human trafficking, has been used by terrorist groups, most notably by ISIL, as a tactic of spreading terror, persecuting minorities, suppressing and forcibly displacing communities that oppose their ideology. Women and children are deliberately targeted and their rights are violated.

Latvia and Estonia strongly condemn all forms of sexual violence and its use as a tactic of terror and persecution on any grounds. We share the Secretary-General’s view in this regard that efforts to prevent and address sexual violence should be closely and strategically aligned with efforts to prevent violent extremism. The empowerment of women and girls and the respect for their human rights, as well as women’s full participation in decision making processes, including in conflict prevention and resolution, are crucial for ending conflict-related sexual violence.

 

Madam President,

The effectiveness of efforts to prevent and address conflict-related sexual violence is also undermined by underreporting, impunity and a lack of necessary support to sexual violence survivors. More coordinated efforts are needed to ensure that survivors of these crimes receive comprehensive care and assistance, including access to sexual and reproductive health services. 

The international community has to make sure that the culture of impunity for crimes of sexual violence in conflict ends. Ensuring accountability of perpetrators of sexual violence crimes, both State and non-State actors, is crucial for deterring and ultimately eliminating sexual violence and for bringing justice to survivors. While it is the primary responsibility of States to ensure the accountability, the International Criminal Court has a central role to play in cases when States lack the capability or political will to hold perpetrators accountable. Latvia and Estonia are supporting victims of gender-based and sexual violence in countries affected by armed conflict through the Trust Fund for Victims set up by the ICC.

 

Madam President,

This year is special for Women, Peace and Security agenda as we mark the fifteenth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325. Latvia and Estonia are looking forward to the High-Level Review of the implementation of this resolution and have already provided national contributions in this regard. Our governments have also endorsed the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2013 and supported the Statement of Action at the Global Summit in London last year. Moreover, we see the implementation of 1325 as an important element in our development cooperation strategies. Latvia has implemented projects aimed at supporting and promoting the role of women in Afghanistan, Iraq and Central Asia. Similarly, Estonia has contributed to different projects and supports also financially the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Team of Experts on Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict.

 

Madam President,

Too many individuals, families and communities have been affected and devastated by conflict-related sexual violence. Preventing and responding to sexual violence is vital to resolving conflicts, enabling development and building sustainable peace. The international community has to work together to respond to the urgency of this issue, and Latvia and Estonia are ready to be an active part of those efforts.

 

I thank you.  

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