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Thank you to the Netherlands, Côte d’Ivoire, France and Peru for convening this Arria meeting. The elimination and prevention of conflict-related sexual violence deserves to be at the heart of this Council’s agenda.
We thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, for her excellent and tireless work. We also thank all the panelists for their valuable insights.
I will focus on three points during my intervention:
1. What can the Security Council do?
- Many speakers today have highlighted the need for the Security Council to include sexual and gender-based violence as an explicit designation criterion within the UN sanctions regimes, such as in the case of the CAR sanctions regime. Germany fully supports this goal.
- One of the most outrageous situations, as documented in the SG´s report on conflict-related sexual violence, continues to be the rampant use of sexual and gender-based violence in South Sudan. The South Sudan sanctions regime is a positive example for how listing criteria can evolve to become more specific and targeted over the years; of course, implementation by means of listings remains key.
- More broadly, Germany will make the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda a priority of our Council membership over the next two years. We will use the yearly open debate on conflict-related sexual violence during our first presidency of the Council in April 2019 as an opportunity to further strengthen the Security Council’s normative framework on conflict-related sexual violence. We will also take over the co-chairmanship of the Security Council’s Informal Expert Group (IEG) from Sweden, and look forward to further strengthening this important tool of the Council in addressing specific country-specific and regional situations through a Women, Peace and Security lens.
2. Accountability beyond the Security Council
- Accountability for all grave violations of human rights is not just an end in itself; it is also a tool for prevention, reconciliation and deterrence.
- We need to go after those responsible for such atrocities with all means at the disposal of national authorities and – where national prosecution is not possible – the international community.
- In cases where prosecution is not yet possible, we must at least ensure the collection and preservation of evidence on atrocities. To this end, Germany supports several projects in the Iraq and Syria contexts.
- Prosecution in third countries is also an essential tool: In Germany the General Federal Prosecutor has been investigating crimes committed by ISIS in IRQ since 2014. Since Germany is offering refuge to numerous members of the Yezidi community, they are naturally one focus of the investigation.
3. Comprehensive, survivor-centered approach
- We need to take a comprehensive approach, thinking both about prevention, prosecution of perpetrators and supporting the survivors of sexual violence.
- Germany has received a large number of women and children who suffered traumatic experiences in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and we are funding projects in Iraq to provide comprehensive assistance.
- A survivor-centered approach needs to link accountability with psychosocial and livelihood support, and should not ignore one of these two pillars at the expense of the other.
Today’s event is a call to action. We are sending a strong signal to perpetrators, in particular those high in command: The international community is using the full toolkit at its disposal – in the Security Council and beyond - to end impunity for crimes of sexual and gender-based violence. You can count on Germany’s full support for these efforts.
Thank you, Mr. President.