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Statement by H. E. Mr. Margus Kolga, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations at the UN Security Council Open Debate on "Women, Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict-Affected Situations"

18.10.2013

I would like to join the others in expressing gratitude to the Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women, High Commissioner for Human Rights and NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security for their statements.

 

Mr President,

 

Estonia aligns itself with the EU statement delivered earlier.

 

In addition I would like to make the following remarks:

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 settlements, and fight against impunity. Estonia’s commitment to the fulfillment of this mandate is exhibited in its active engagement in the Council’s deliberations on accountability for serious violations of human rights and other atrocities.

 

Estonia firmly believes that the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations must promote justice and accountability in ways that further the rights of women including through legal and institutional reforms that are gender-sensitive. We believe that the equal right to decision-making and participation, along with women`s empowerment, is crucial in order to ensure a functioning society, and peace and justice in the aftermath of conflicts.

 

Additionally, as stated in the Secretary-General’s report, women representation in the justice sector plays a significant role in increasing the reporting of crimes and enhancing public trust in rule of law institutions. The importance of prevention must likewise be stressed – by enabling women to fully participate in judicial systems we can better tackle the root causes of impunity for violence against women.

 

Mr President,

Estonia welcomes the call by the Security Council in today’s resolution to Member States to comply with their relevant obligations to end the impunity and to thoroughly investigate and prosecute persons responsible for atrocity crimes. Estonia further agrees with the Council that the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern against women and girls has been strengthened through the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), ad hoc and mixed tribunals, as well as specialized chambers in national tribunals. ICC prosecutions will not, however, be sufficient to ensure complete accountability. Therefore it is essential that the Rome Statute’s gender provisions are translated into national prosecutions.

Justice for victims of atrocity crimes, however, entails more than just punishing perpetrators.

The Rome Statute further empowers victims by its broad victim-participation scheme and underlines its commitment to victims by its reparations provisions. Likewise, the ICC Trust Fund for Victims has been doing important work to alleviate the suffering of victims in countries where the court is conducting investigations. In acknowledging the importance of justice and in ensuring accountability, we combat the stigmatization of these victims. And in providing accountability, we work to restore dignity and personal autonomy to those who have suffered the most.

 

Estonia was honored to join the declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict during the High-Level week of the General Assembly. We were also glad to see how much interest there was in the topic of enhancing accountability for sexual violence in conflict, discussed at a side-event during the High-level week which focused on the role of ICC, hosted by the Estonian Mission. We would like to commend the important work of the Team of Experts on Rule of Law/Sexual Violence in Conflict and I am glad to note that Estonia has contributed to the activities of the ToE with 50 000 euros this year.

 

Mr President,

Estonia would also like to take this opportunity to emphasize that in addition to  conflict-related sexual violence, increased attention should be paid to the full range of violations and serious crimes experienced by women, including gendered impacts of enforced disappearances, foreign occupation, mass forced displacement, restrictions on humanitarian aid, conflict related trafficking and destruction of civilian infrastructure.

 

In addition, let me also commend UN Women for their work, targeted to raising the number of National Action Plans of UNSCR 1325 or other relevant planning instruments, as outlined in the recently adopted new strategic plan of UN Women. Estonia has developed its national action plan in 2010 and has advised some states on developing their NAPs. We would be ready to cooperate in this regard with other states also in the future and we are looking forward to hearing the results of the global study and we are looking forward to the High –Level Review in 2015.

We are glad to note that Estonia was among the co-sponsors of resolution 2106 (2013), which strengthens the monitoring and prevention of sexual violence in conflict and we are happy to co-sponsor the resolution adopted today.

 

Thank you for your attention!

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