Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council Open debate “Women, peace and security: sexual violence in conflict”

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council Open debate “Women, peace and security: sexual violence in conflict”

Mr. President,

Let me express my appreciation to the German presidency for holding this open debate.

I would also like to thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten, as well as the representatives of civil society for their emotional testimonies.

It is worth mentioning that Ukraine aligns itself with the statement to be delivered later by the representative of the European Union.

Unfortunately, after almost 20 years since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), not all objectives of the women, peace and security agenda have been achieved.

The tragic reality of sexual violence against both men and women, girls and boys continues to constitute a part of the fabric of each and every armed conflict around the globe, no matter whether it is internal or external in nature.

Since the establishment of the mandate of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict 10 years ago, the Security Council has adopted five resolutions focused, first and foremost, on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence. Nevertheless, the issue continues to plague vulnerable communities and — often — entire societies exposed to all kinds of violence and abuses in conflicts.

It is, therefore, imperative that the international community, and the Security Council in particular, continue to look for the most effective ways to enhance implementation of the existing resolutions on the WPS agenda in order to tackle and to prevent the atrocities from being committed, as well as to ensure accountability.

The report of the Secretary-General before us today clearly indicates that structural gender inequalities and discrimination are at the core of conflict-related sexual violence.

In this regard, we proceed from the conviction that the path towards prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls lies through, in the first place, genuine empowerment of women and their greater engagement at all levels of the decision-making processes.

Equally important is the task of guaranteeing the victims of sexual violence the right to justice, to life in peace and dignity free of stigmatization and any forms of discrimination. Impunity for these crimes is a rust on moral image of any society and should be eradicated.

Ukraine attaches great importance to equal and full participation of women in all activities in the areas of national security, conflict prevention and resolution, peacebuilding and peacekeeping.

Practical steps are being taken to integrate women, peace and security agenda in the on-going security and defense reform in my country. Active integration of gender equality into the activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine within the framework of the National Action Plan for Implementation of resolution 1325 for 2016–2020 fostered changes to the list of military specialties and positions open to women candidates.

In 2018, the Government of Ukraine updated the National Action Plan and integrated in it some aspects of the Strategy for Prevention of and Response to the Conflict Related Sexual Violence in Ukraine. The Action Plan, inter alia, includes education and training programs for the security sector on prevention, protection and response aspects, along with psychological assistance and rehabilitation program for survivors of CRSV, and envisages an information campaign on prevention on sexual violence etc.

For the first time, the Government Action Plan for 2018 outlined the priority of introducing gender advisers and gender mainstreaming in higher education institutions in the security and defense sector.

The Government of Ukraine enhanced its efforts to ensure protection of the women’s human rights, women empowerment in all spheres of public life, as well as necessary support and reintegration for women victims, who suffered from sexual violence as a result of the Russian aggression.

In light of this, I have to once again reiterate our regret on the omission of the reference to the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict and its victims in the latest UN Secretary-General’s thematic report.

In this regard, we would like to recall our request to initiate a UN special mission to investigate sexual crimes committed in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in the context of the conflict.

In conclusion, Mr. President, I wish to reaffirm Ukraine’s commitment to ensure full implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, promote women’s rights and protect women from sexual and gender-based violence.

I thank you.