Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC open debate “Women, peace and security: preventing sexual violence in conflict through women empowerment, gender equality and justice”

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC open debate “Women, peace and security: preventing sexual violence in conflict through women empowerment, gender equality and justice”

Mr. President,

Ukraine appreciates the initiative of Peru to hold this open debate. We thank Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten for their useful presentations.

Ukraine also aligns itself with the statement delivered by the EU.

After almost two decades since the adoption of 1325 (2000), the agenda item on Women, Peace and Security remains ever relevant in the face of rising violence, extremism and deadly conflicts.

The alarming figures in the Secretary-General’s report before us today, increase in severity and scale of conflict-related sexual violence in numerous conflict situations across the globe, are nothing but a testimony to this.

We note with deep concern that sexual violence has become a routine tactical element of war in many conflicts. Rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage and sexual torture constitute abhorrent violations of human rights and human dignity. In some instances, they surpass the level of war crimes and reach the scale of crimes against humanity or a genocidal slaughter.

Victims of these crimes do not just deserve justice — they are entitled to it. And it is a solemn duty of this Council, as well as of the rest of the international community, to do everything in their power to deliver it.

In this context, Ukraine believes that the Security Council should continue to pay priority attention to due implementation of existing WPS resolutions, in particular to overcome the gaps identified in the 2015 Global Study on the 1325 implementation. As a non-permanent Security Council member in 2016–2017, Ukraine did its best to contribute to this goal.

We proceed from the conviction that any forms of violence against women and girls is a major impediment to security, restoration of peace, achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Consolidated international efforts aimed at elaborating effective steps to address the issue of sexual violence will reduce the growing magnitude of violence against all women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence and harmful practices.

In this respect, we welcome the fact that the recent 62nd session of the UN Commission on Status of Women addressed the importance of the access of rural women and girls, who became victims of the gender-based violence, to justice and quality services.

Mr. President,

Ukraine considers equal and full participation of women in all activities in the area of prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping, to be of utmost importance.

In my country, the ongoing fulfillment of the National Action Plan (NAP) for Implementation of 1325 for 2016–2020 is aimed at achieving greater participation of women in decision-making, in particular in the matters of national security and defense and peacemaking, as well as ensuring protection of women and girls, including prevention and response to gender-based violence.

The Government of Ukraine pays particular attention to the 1325 implementation. For this reason, thanks to excellent cooperation with the UN Women Office in Ukraine, effectiveness of NAP’s fulfillment was assessed by the international experts. This contribution will be helpful in NAP’s updating in line with evolving situation, as well as in taking into account 1325 follow-up resolutions.

We will finalize this job by June 2018.

A State Programme on Equal Rights and Opportunities which was adopted by the Ukrainian Government just last week, will further strengthen the State’s response to gender inequalities, with a specific focus on women and girls experiencing multiple forms of discrimination.

Recently adopted State Programme for the Restoration and Development of Peace in the Eastern Regions of Ukraine, spanning until 2021, is another important element in overcoming the devastating humanitarian consequences of the Russian invasion, carried out by the Moscow regime as part of its overall aggression against the democratic world.

It is well known that the conflict has hit hardest the most vulnerable strata of population, particularly women, in the currently occupied territories. It has resulted in widespread human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence in war-affected areas of the country, as outlined in the relevant reports by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. These include a thematic report on conflict-related sexual violence in Ukraine, which puts forward a number of recommendations to the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Unfortunately, as of today, Russia continues to ignore this document, while the Government of Ukraine remains committed to prevent and address this challenge. For example, on our official request, the UN Women Office in Ukraine together with the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission developed a Strategy for Prevention of and Response to the Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Ukraine. We intend to integrate this Strategy, or al least some of its elements, into the 1325 NAP.

In closing and in view of the above, we would like to reiterate our request to the Secretariat to include the reference to the situation of Ukrainian women and girls affected by the Russian invasion in Donbas into all relevant Secretary-General’s thematic reports.

Finally, Mr. President, let me underline that Ukraine will remain actively engaged in international efforts aimed at promoting women’s rights, their participation in peace negotiations and in post-conflict reconstruction, and protection of women from sexual and gender-based violence.

I thank you.