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 an open debate on Women, Peace and Security focused on sexual violence in conflict.

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

Ukraine reiterates its full support for the mandate and work of the United Nations Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict. We reaffirm our commitment to the zero-tolerance policy regarding all forms of sexual violence and stand in solidarity with victims and survivors of such crimes.

It is worth mentioning that Ukraine aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.

This year provides a fitting opportunity to assess the effectiveness of two decades of implementation of resolution Women, Peace and Security 1325 (2000) and to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

As an elected member of the UN Security Council Ukraine and cosponsored the landmark resolution 1325 back in 2000 reaffirming an important role of women in prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction.

Unfortunately, in the recent years the global security environment has only worsened and this year it was further undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic. After years of joint efforts, the international community did not tackle main drivers of this violence.

The reality of sexual violence against both women and man, girls and boys continues to constitute a part of each and every armed conflict around the globe.

Sexual violence has become a part of warfare tactic, torture, terrorism, interrogation, repressions and even control of some territories. We are particularly concerned that sexual violence and related human trafficking could be used by terrorist groups for generation of revenue and lead to abductions of human being, especially women and girls for further sale.

The report before us clearly indicates that focus on 19 countries only points out the difficulties related to underreported incidents resulting from the intimidation and stigmatization of survivors as well as limited capacities of the United Nations staff.

At the same time, it is imperative to follow up on the UNGA resolutions which include provisions directly dedicated to the situation of human rights in conflicts and in the occupied territories. We expect that future SG reports on the topic will be more comprehensive and reflect the situation in major conflict affected zones. We fully support in this connection the SG recommendation to continue to include the sexual violence as stand-alone designation criterion for sanctions and targeted measures.

Since the establishment of the mandate of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict more than ten years ago, the Security Council has adopted a number of resolutions focused, first and foremost, on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence. Nevertheless, the list of perpetrators as presented in the annex to the SG report remains almost unchanged for years. This is a result of poor compliance with relevant obligations and commitments not only by non-state actors but also by states.

We could not tolerate such a behavior and should send a clear message to those who commit these grave violations under international law that statements about the inevitability of accountability and justice should not remain merely solemn declarations but be translated into concrete immediate actions. Perpetrators of sexual violence must, without any regard for their affiliation or rank, be held to account.

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.

In that light Ukraine, as the country that pioneered the issue of prevention and initiated the relevant process in the Human Rights Council, fully supports the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding strengthening of prevention efforts through demanding all state and non-state actors to make formal commitments in respect of addressing conflict-related sexual violence to include the prevention component to the security sector reform. But foremost the path towards prevention of all forms of gender based violence lies through genuine empowerment of women ensuring gender equality in all spheres of life.

Mr. President,

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.

With the aim of implementation of WPS agenda at the national level, Ukraine while facing foreign military aggression was among the first countries to adopt a comprehensive National Action Plan for Implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 for 2016-2020. The NAP aimed inter alia at achieving greater participation of women in decision-making, in particular in the areas of national security and defense, peacemaking, as well as ensuring protection of all victims of violence, including prevention and response to conflicts and gender-based violence.

This plan also included recommendation of the National Strategy for Prevention and Response to the Conflict Related Sexual Violence in Ukraine. Such as 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.

Active integration of gender equality into the activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fostered changes to the list of military specialties and positions open to women candidates.

Currently, the Government of Ukraine in cooperation with international and non-governmental organizations is developing a new NAP for the period 2021-2025, which is expected to be adopted by the end of this year.

The Government of Ukraine enhanced its efforts to ensure gender equality and women empowerment in all spheres of public life, as well as necessary support and reintegration for women victims, who suffered from sexual violence as the result of the ongoing foreign aggression.

In light of the above mentioned, 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 conclusion, I would like to inform that this May Ukraine joined the Group of Friends on Women, Peace and Security and will continue its efforts aimed at promotion of the WPS agenda awareness and strengthening its implementation within the United Nations, in particular advancing women's rights and protecting them from sexual and gender-based violence.

I thank you.