Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset let me thank
the Secretary-General, the Special Representative of the Secretary
General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Ms. Zainab Bangura and Ms. Saran
Keita Diakite from the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security for their statements.
Estonia aligns itself with the statements on behalf of
the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security.
Estonia is dedicated to protecting and promoting
human rights and fundamental freedoms both nationally and internationally. As a
member of the Human Rights Council, Estonia’s particular focus is on the rights
of women and children; gender perspective in conflict settlement and fight
is proud for having co-sponsored the Security Council resolution 1820 (2008) on
Women Peace and Security where for
the first time in a Security Council resolution the sexual violence was
recognized as a tactic of war and where it is noted that rape and other forms
of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a
constitutive act with respect to genocide. We welcome the numerous steps taken
in this field in the frames of the United Nations and commend among others the
work of UN Women and the Secretary-General`s Special Representative on sexual
violence in conflict, Ms Zainab Hawa Bangura.
the latest developments in the UN, we
welcome the adoption of the agreed conclusions of the last session of the
Commission on the Status of Women, in which the Commission urges States to
strongly condemn violence against women and girls committed in armed conflict
and post-conflict situations and calls for effective measures of accountability
and redress as well as effective remedies. Estonia is also very satisfied that
the Arms Trade Treaty recently adopted by the General Assembly includes strong
human rights and international humanitarian law criteria. In assessing the
export of conventional arms, each country has to take into account the risk of
those arms being used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender-based
violence or serious acts of violence against women and children. We believe
that an effective implementation of this Treaty will make difference in the
world and we invite states to apply relevant articles provisionally pending the
entry into force of this Treaty.
We appreciate the Secretary-Generals report, on which today`s
discussion is based. The report gives shivering overview of how widespread the
terrible scourge of sexual violence still is and highlights pointedly the
emerging concerns such as the plight of children born out of rape, the practice
of forced marriages by armed groups, sexual violence against men and boys,
displacement of civilian populations and inadequacy of disarmament. We note
with serious concern that, as reported, sexual violence has been used to force
internal and across the borders displacements in many places of the world and
that women and children are also targeted both inside and outside refugee and
internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and settlements.
We share the assessment of SRSG Ms Bangura, that
fostering national ownership, leadership and responsibility in addressing
sexual violence are some of the most important aspects in the fight against
sexual violence. It is essential that the local communities consider sexual
violence as a crime. Regrettably, as noted in the SG`s report, often, as a
consequence of being raped in conflict, there are reports of coerced marriages
of survivors to either the perpetrator or family members. It is certain, as
noted in the report, that compelling rape survivors to marry the perpetrators
re-victimizes them. That results in impunity for perpetrators, and sends the
message that sexual violence is socially acceptable.
There is a wide
range of tools available for preventing sexual violence crimes, as well as for
holding the perpetrators accountable. The use of targeted sanctions by the
Security Council focusing on specific individuals or entities suspected of
bearing the greatest responsibility for sexual violence crimes is an important
aspect of deterrence. We welcome that the Council has expanded the designation
criteria to explicitly address sexual and gender based violence and look
forward to consistent application of this tool. Estonia welcomes if all the
Security Council sanctions committees will consider focusing also on sexual
violence crimes. It might be necessary in this context to harmonize designation
criteria for listed individuals and entities by including any relevant charges from the international justice mechanisms,
importantly also from the International Criminal Court.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) itself has a
unique role in setting a new tone in the fight against impunity for sexual and
gender-based violence. The Rome Statute of the ICC prohibits an
unprecedented number of gender crimes, including rape, sexual slavery, enforced
prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, and other forms of
sexual violence as war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.
The Security Council has an important role with regard to the ICC,
especially in the field of state cooperation with the Court. We strongly
support the Council’s calls on state cooperation and its commitment to an
effective follow up to its decisions in this regard. The Security Council
resolution 2085 (2012) on Mali and resolution 2098 (2013) on DRC calling for
AFISMA and authorizing MONUSCO to support the ICC’s efforts are important
examples of its commitment. We hope that the Security Council would continue to
find ways and means to further support international criminal justice within
to note, that Estonia confirms its commitment to ending impunity and fighting
sexual violence also through its financial contributions in this field. In 2013
Estonia has contributed already financially to a UNICEF project in Central
African Republic for prevention and response to gender based violence (GBV). In
2013, Estonia also contributes financially to the activities of the Office of
the Secretary-Generals Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict
and to the ICC Trust Fund for Victims.
view the next important step for the
UN would be the further implementation
of monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related
sexual violence. We would also urge the
further deployment of women protection advisors to the
Security Council mandated missions.
We have to support the NGO-s working in the field
and protect the women human rights defenders. It must also be noted that the
overall goal of women`s empowerment and participation in society is
inextricably linked with fight against gender based violence.
I would also take the
opportunity to commend
the Council work on Women Peace and Security,
including sexual violence in conflict and confirm my country`s strong support to even more systematic and
comprehensive approach to that important issue.
Finally, I would
like to quote what Ms. Bangura said lately: “I’m sure there will come a time
where the only place we can read about sexual violence in conflict is in the
text books“, Estonia will be there to support this aim.