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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, ladies and gentlemen, 

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.  

The Acceding Country Croatia[1], the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, align themselves with this declaration. 

I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström, Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous, and Ms Amina Megheirbi as the civil society representative for their statements. 

Mr President, 

Sexual violence in armed conflicts remains alarmingly widespread. It includes instances of systematic targeting of civilians by armed forces and groups with the aim to destroy and humiliate. It is a crime and a serious violation of human rights that remains underreported – due to stigmatisation, the possibility of reprisals, and the perception that justice and aid would be hard or unlikely to come by.  

We therefore welcome the report of the Secretary General and the work of Special Representative Margot Wallström on the implementation of the Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security.  The establishment of the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence has made an important contribution towards more systematic and detailed information flow to the Council. Equally, we appreciate the information provided on parties to armed conflict credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for acts of rape or other forms of sexual violence, and the annexed list of parties that are credibly suspected of patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict on the Council’s agenda. 

The systematic collection of accurate, reliable and objective information is a crucial basis for timely action to prevent and respond to conflict related sexual violence. We commend the coordination and cooperation envisioned in the implementation of these arrangements with the relevant parts of the UN system, including the monitoring and reporting mechanism on children and armed conflict, the OHCHR and the human rights components of the UN peacekeeping missions. We welcome the finalisation of the terms of reference of the women’s protection advisers and call for their swift designation within the UN missions’ human rights and gender components.  

Preventing sexual violence should be our utmost priority. We therefore welcome the development of early warning indicators specific to conflict related sexual violence and the scenario based predeployment training modules by the UN system, which we hope will enhance the capacity of the UN peacekeepers to respond. A holistic approach, which includes women’s full participation in decision-making in peace and security, is a key to effectively preventing and responding to sexual violence.  

It is crucial for sustained peace and development that we address the impunity for sexual violence. It is the duty of all states to investigate and prosecute these crimes.  We commend the efforts of the Team of Experts on Rule of Law, including their support to countries in ending impunity, e.g. through assistance to prosecution support cells established by MONUSCO and the deployment of female magistrates in DRC. We also encourage the Council to use all means at its disposal to end impunity for sexual violence in conflict, including through referrals to ICC, mandating commissions of inquiry and by explicitly condemning these violations.  

We call on the Council to continue to make use of the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict related sexual violence, including by using the list contained in the report as a basis for more focused UN engagement with the parties listed, including, as appropriate, measures in accordance with the procedures of the relevant sanctions committees. We hope that the Secretary General’s report will also encourage the inclusion of additional information in relevant country-specific reports and consistent reporting across different country situations.  

Mr President,  

The European Union continues to implement its dedicated policy on women, peace and security, adopted in 2008 and making use of tools as diverse as development cooperation, the Common Security and Defence Policy and political dialogue. Various EU support to initiatives related to women, peace and security support amounts to about 200 million euros a year. 

EU now has gender advisors or focal points in each of its crisis management missions around the world. We continue our work on specific training modules on human rights and gender in crisis management, ensuring a focus on sexual violence in armed conflicts.  

The EU continues to work closely with the UN: for example, through its support to UN Women in carrying out a project “Women Connect across Conflicts” aimed at building accountability for the implementation of the SC resolutions on women, peace and security across different geographic regions. EU also continues to support specific capacity building projects to support women’s networks in conflict affected countries. 

Mr President,  

The EU and its Member States highly appreciate the work of the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict as well as of the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict. We will continue to engage with the Office of the SRSG and welcome its contribution to strengthening the efforts of the UN, the Member States and all actors involved in preventing and responding to conflict related sexual violence. 

[1] Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

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