German Statement during the UNSC Open Debate on “Women, Peace and Security: Preventing conflict-related sexual violence through demilitarization and gender-responsive arms control”, 23 April 2024

UNSC Open Debate - WPS / CRSV

UNSC Open Debate - WPS / CRSV, © GermanyUN

23.04.2024 - Speech

The Statement was delivered by Michael Geisler, Political Coordinator.

Mme President, Excellencies,

Germany aligns itself with the Statements on behalf of the EU, and on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace, and Security.

In the face of numerous wars and geopolitical divergences we are living in a world where armed conflict is on the rise. We globally witness an enormous increase in military spending and we are confronted with an erosion of arms control regimes. The implication is clear: With more wars and less arms control regimes comes an increase in arms proliferation and more risk of conflict-related sexual violence. Member States must therefore fulfil disarmament obligations by which they are bound, establish effective arms and ammunition control regimes and take into account the risks of gender-based violence in arms export assessments as a means of prevention of CRSV.

It is particularly necessary to take account of the differential impact of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons on women, men, girls and boys, and to strengthen or develop, where they do not exist, response mechanisms to address such impacts. In our view, the review conference of the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects will play a crucial role in that regard.

While prevention is key, as long as CRSV is such a widespread scourge, we must also address the rampant crisis of impunity and ensure accountability of perpetrators.

Exactly five years ago today, on 23rd April 2019, UN Security Council Resolution 2467 was passed. By initiating this resolution, Germany put special emphasis on holding the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable and putting survivors‘ needs centre-stage.

The normative framework established by the Security Council and international law is clear: perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence must be held to account with due process of law, and survivors of these crimes deserve justice in a trauma-informed manner that puts their rights and needs at the centre. Tragically, the reality by far too often shows a different picture. We do not have a deficit in the definition of legal standards, but a deficit in action and implementation that we urgently need to address.

That is why Germany is staunchly supporting the United Nations Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict in order to build the capacity of Member States to investigate and prosecute conflict-related sexual violence crimes. The Team of Experts, under the strategic direction of Special Representative Patten, is and remains the only Security Council-mandated mechanism to work side by side with Member States to address these conflict-related sexual violence crimes using domestic justice systems. 

Germany calls on fellow Member States to support the Team's work and to scale up its resources to ensure that we meet our commitments: to guarantee that every Member State that so requests has the ability to address conflict-related sexual violence in a holistic manner and every survivor receives justice that she or he rightly deserves. 

I thank you.

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