|Statement at the Security Council by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, on Women and Peace and Security|
August 7, 2009
I wish to welcome the Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon for his presence as well as for his briefing. I wish also to thank him for his report submitted pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1820.
Ten years ago, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on women and peace and security. In June last year, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 on combating sexual violence. The two resolutions laid the foundation for Security Council responses to questions relating to women and peace and security. In recent years, with the joint efforts of the UN, the member States, regional organizations and the civil society, concepts such as gender equality, empowerment of women, and the prevention of and the fight against sexual violence have been steadily gaining ground, and work in these areas has yielded multiple results. However, the cruel reality is that women remain the first victims in the many conflicts of today, and sexual violence against women remains a major problem. The international community still has a lot of work to do in protecting women and defending the rights and interests of women.
China condemns all acts of violence against women in armed conflicts, including sexual violence, and urges parties to conflicts to comply with the international humanitarian and human rights law. We call on governments of countries concerned to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of the crime against women in armed conflicts. We urge the States which have not acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Discriminations against Women to do so as soon as possible. We support the Secretary-General in applying the "zero tolerance" policy to acts of sexual exploitation committed by peacekeeping personnel and hope that troop-contributing countries will strengthen the training and supervision of peacekeeping personnel and their accountability in this regard, so that the United Nations' relevant code of conduct will be effectively observed.
(Photo Courtesy: Xinhua / Shen Hong)
I would like to make a few comments on the work to strengthen the protection of women in armed conflicts.
First, the Security Council can play a unique role and the relevant bodies of the United Nations should perform their respective functions and strengthen coordination and cooperation. In his report, the Secretary-General analyzed many characteristics of the question of sexual violence, and the most salient point in this regard is that this issue is closely linked to armed conflict. As the primary body in charge of maintaining international peace and security, the Security Council should handle this issue in the context of relevant political situations and peace processes, focusing on effective conflict prevention, the maintenance of peace, and post-conflict reconstruction, so as to create an enabling political, security, and legal environment for alleviating and eliminating sexual violence. The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Council, the Secretariat, and the relevant treaty bodies should play their due roles on the basis of focusing on those aspects within the purview of their respective functions. The Security Council should strengthen communication and cooperation with the abovementioned bodies to form synergy, working together to deal with the issue.
We are not in favor of the Security Council's frequent use of sanctions or the threat of sanctions; the Council should exercise caution in using sanctions in the context of fighting sexual violence.
Second, in all stages of peace processes, greater attention should be paid to the status and role of women and efforts must be made to nurture the awareness and culture of paying great attention to and respecting women. It is necessary to place great value on women's special needs and concerns in the stages of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, to enable them to fully enjoy the rights of participation and decision making in peace processes, and to create a favorable environment for women's survival and development. All this will contribute to fundamentally changing women's vulnerable position and effectively safeguarding women's rights and interests.
Third, governments bear primary responsibilities for protecting women of their respective countries with constructive assistance from the international community. Responsibilities to implement relevant Security Council resolutions to protect women rest primarily with their respective governments. Countries vary in conditions, and the international community should respect the governments of the countries concerned in making and taking measures in light of their specific conditions so as to let them fully exercise national ownership. It needs to be underlined that, be it countries submerged in or emerging from conflict, they are often faced with varieties of difficulties, and the international community should provide generous assistance to help them build up their capacities on the basis of abiding by the principles of the UN Charter and respecting the will of the countries concerned.
Fourth, efforts should be continued to encourage and support the participation of civil society in protecting women. Many men and women from NGOs are working hard to protect the rights and interests of women on the ground under difficult conditions. Their work deserves appreciation. China supports them in their continued efforts to play a constructive role in the protection of women in armed conflicts, and encourages them to keep in touch with relevant UN bodies and agencies, especially those directly involved in women's issues, and come up with appropriate proposals.
We take note of the recommendations presented by the Secretary-General to establish a commission of inquiry in the Sudan and DRC and Chad to investigate cases of sexual violence and to recommend to the Council the most effective way to ensure accountability. We would like to suggest that the Secretary-General fully communicate and coordinate with the countries concerned with regard to these issues and seek prior consent from these countries. At the same time, in addressing issues related to sexual violence, it is necessary to distinguish the acts committed by governments and rebel groups. We urge all parties concerned to deal with all acts of violence against women in armed conflicts in a comprehensive and balanced manner.
In dealing with the issues regarding women and peace and security, the Security Council should not only regard women as the victims of armed conflicts, but also consider the important role women can play in the peace process. Last October when China assumed the presidency of the Security Council, the Security Council seriously discussed the role women in the peace process and achieved desirable results. We hope that the Council will continue to attach importance to this issue in the future.
The Chinese government always attaches great importance to protecting the rights and interests of women and advancing the status of women. We will continue to work with the international community to further clamp down on sexual violence, and enhance the status of women in peace processed of countries concerned and implement all the targets in the field of women and peace and security through out the world.
Thank you, Mr. President.