In Presidential Statement, Security Council Urges States to Bolster Protection, Empowerment of Displaced Women, Girls

SC/11617
28 October 2014
7289th Meeting (AM & PM)

In Presidential Statement, Security Council Urges States to Bolster Protection, Empowerment of Displaced Women, Girls

During Day-Long Debate, Over 70 Speakers Take Stock of Progress, Recommending Targeted Solutions to Stem Threats from Violent Extremism

The Security Council today urged States, other parties to conflicts and the United Nations system to step up measures to protect and empower displaced women and girls and those facing threats of violent extremism, ahead of a day-long debate on women, peace and security.

Through a statement presented by María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, which holds the October Council presidency, the body reaffirmed its commitment to the full implementation of its resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions that call for protection of women in conflict situations as well as their empowerment to participate at all levels of peacekeeping and the formulation of peace processes.

The statement was presented following the introduction of the Secretary-General’s latest report on the issue (document S/2014/693) by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Head of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).  The report stated that “remarkable achievements” had been made at the normative level in 2013, but implementation was being challenged in the context of armed conflict that had displaced hundreds of thousands as well as targeted violence against women and girls linked to terrorism, extremism and transnational organized crime.

Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally-displaced Persons Chaloka Beyani also briefed the Council, along with Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations, and Suaad Allami, representing the Non-Governmental Organization Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.

In today’s presidential statement, the Council recognized that refugee and internally displaced women and girls were at heightened risk of abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination.  In addition to protection, it urged strengthening their access to justice, humanitarian assistance and basic services, including those for sexual and reproductive health.  It also urged their meaningful inclusion in policy development and implementation that affected them.

Also through the statement, the Council expressed deep concern at violent extremism that often resulted in increased displacement and led to serious human rights abuses against women and girls, including murder, abduction, hostage taking, enslavement, trafficking, forced marriage and rape.  The Council urged States to counter such extremism with full respect to international law and to empower women in such efforts, which it said could in itself stem radicalism.

Finally, the Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s commissioning of a global study on implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) ahead of a high-level review of the issue in 2015 and encouraged all stakeholders to contribute.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka noted that the number of displaced worldwide had reached a post-Second World War peak of 51 million and said that it was partly due to a shift in the nature of conflict itself, seen from Somalia to Syria, where violent extremists were taking over territory and enforcing their extreme practices.  She urged all not to forget the nightmares women and girls were going through in such situations.  “We must urgently stand against abuses,” she said on behalf of the Secretary-General, adding, “I call for immediate action to end impunity in such cases.”

She said that the Secretary-General called on all countries to participate in upcoming high-level reviews and the global study he had commissioned, which would be consulting with all stakeholders.  She stressed that the fifteenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000) presented an important opportunity to move forward the women’s empowerment agenda.

Mr. Mulet, in his briefing, said “we must recognize that the best way to protect and support [internally displaced] women is to help women help themselves,” providing examples of ways in which women had been given a voice in decision-making and control of socioeconomic resources, as well as outlining progress in women's empowerment in peacekeeping.  Ms. Beyani and Ms. Allami stressed the role of fear of sexual violence among the soaring displacement populations; Ms. Allami, telling the story of two Yazidi girls who had escaped to a camp after serial forced “marriages”, called for more support for traumatized displaced persons and greater investment in civil society human rights defenders.

Nearly 70 speakers took the floor following those briefings, most of them welcoming the normative progress that had recently taken place regarding women’s rights issues, but expressing deep concerns over systematic gender violence that they said had become characteristic of recent conflicts.  Condemning the use of women both as “spoils of war”, as the United States representative put it, and as part of strategies that instilled fear, many speakers underlined a need to end impunity for such practices, with some representatives calling on the Council to refer mass gender-based violence to the International Criminal Court.

Speakers also called for acceleration of the empowerment of women at all levels of peace processes; adequate services for displaced women and refugees; rehabilitation of victims of gender-based violence; and zero tolerance of sexual abuse by peacekeepers.  Chad's representative and others said that it was also important to address traditional practices that became exacerbated in conflict environments.

For concrete progress on the ground, many speakers expressed high expectations for next year, given the global study, multiple international events on women's rights and the start of a new development framework.  "Let 2015 be the year in which we move the dial forward in a significant way," the representative of the United Arab Emirates said.

Also speaking were ministers, senior officials and representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg, Russian Federation, Nigeria, China, Lithuania, Australia, Rwanda, Chile, Republic of Korea, Jordan, Argentina, Estonia (on behalf of Latvia), Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Jamaica, Thailand, Liechtenstein, Italy, Malaysia, Burundi, Qatar, Brazil, Guatemala, Pakistan, Canada, Spain, Slovakia, Portugal, Japan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Vietnam, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria (on behalf of the Human Security Network), New Zealand, India, Belgium, Uruguay, Croatia, Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ireland, Azerbaijan, Syria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Iraq, Poland, Zimbabwe (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community), Cyprus, Ukraine, Algeria, Indonesia, Sudan, Israel, Switzerland and Fiji.

The representative of the Russian Federation took the floor for a second time.

Representatives of the European Union Delegation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also spoke.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 6:45 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2014/21 reads as follows:

“The Security Council reaffirms its commitments to the full and effective implementation of resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013) and recalls all statements of its President on Women and Peace and Security as reiterating the Council’s commitments.

“The Security Council takes note with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on Women and Peace and Security (S/2014/693) for the purpose of implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and particularly welcomes its focus on implementation, sustaining progress and the need to translate commitments into improved outcomes.

“The Security Council reaffirms that women’s and girls’ empowerment and gender equality are critical to efforts to maintain international peace and security, and emphasizes that persistent barriers to full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) will only be dismantled through dedicated commitment to women’s empowerment, participation and human rights, and through concerted leadership, consistent information flows and action, and support, to ensure women’s full and equal participation at all levels of decision-making.

“The Security Council welcomes the efforts of Member States to implement resolution 1325 (2000) at the national, regional and local levels, including the development of national action plans and other national, sub-regional and regional-level strategies and implementation frameworks, and encourages Member States to continue to pursue such implementation.  The Council further stresses that United Nations entities should continue to support and supplement, as appropriate, efforts of Member States in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).  The Council recognizes the critical contributions of civil society, including women’s organizations to conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding and in this regard the importance of sustained consultation and dialogue between women and national and international decision makers.  The Council encourages the involvement of men in promoting gender equality and ending sexual and gender-based violence.

“The Security Council welcomes the additional steps taken to implement Security Council resolutions 2106 (2013) and 2122 (2013), and notes the importance of sustained efforts by the United Nations to improve the quality of information and analysis on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in all areas of conflict prevention and resolution, peacemaking and peacebuilding and the gender dimensions of these areas, and to systematically include information and related recommendations on issues of relevance to women, peace and security in their reports and briefings to the Council.  The Council reiterates its intention to increase its attention to women, peace and security as a cross-cutting subject in all relevant thematic areas of work on its agenda, including on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

“The Security Council recognizes that refugee and internally displaced women and girls are at heightened risk of being subject to various forms of human rights violations and abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence, and discrimination, which can occur during the various stages of the displacement cycle.  The Security Council reaffirms the primary responsibility of Member States in the protection of their populations, including refugee and internally displaced women and girls. The Council stresses the importance of the Secretary-General and relevant United Nations agencies, inter alia, through consultation with women and women-led organizations as appropriate, supporting the development and strengthening of effective mechanisms for preventing and providing protection from violence, including in particular sexual and gender based violence, to refugee and internally displaced women and girls. 

“The Council urges Member States to take measures to prevent refugee and internally displaced women and girls from being subject to violence, and to strengthen access to justice for women in such circumstances, including through the prompt investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of sexual and gender based violence, as well as reparations for victims as appropriate. The Council stresses that the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern committed against women and girls has been strengthened through the work of the International Criminal Court, ad hoc and mixed tribunals, as well as specialized chambers in national tribunals.

“The Security Council reiterates with grave concern that the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons fuel armed conflicts and have a disproportionate impact on violence perpetrated against women and girls, and exacerbate sexual and gender-based violence.

“The Security Council urges all parties involved in an armed conflict to allow full and unhindered access by refugee and internally displaced women to humanitarian assistance and protection, as well as basic services, such as education, health, housing and productive livelihoods, including assets such as land and property, in particular for those refugee and internally displaced women and girls at increased risk of marginalization.  The Council recognizes the importance of Member States and United Nations entities seeking to ensure humanitarian aid and funding includes provision for the full range of medical, legal, psychosocial and livelihood services, and noting the need for access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including regarding pregnancies resulting from rape, without discrimination.  The Security Council further recognizes that refugee and internally displaced women and girls are at increased risk of becoming stateless as a result of discriminatory nationality laws, obstacles to registering and the lack of access to identity documents, and urges States to ensure prompt and equitable provision of all necessary identity documents to such women and girls.

“The Security Council urges Member States, the Secretary-General and relevant United Nations agencies, to ensure meaningful participation of refugee and internally displaced women, as well as adolescent girls as appropriate, in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes for refugee and internally displaced women and girls at all stages of the displacement cycle.  The Council further calls for the systematic collection, analysis and utilization of sex and age-disaggregated data that is required to assess the specific needs and capacities of women, and to meaningfully measure to what extent recovery programmes are benefiting women, men, girls and boys, by all relevant actors.

“The Security Council expresses with deep concern that violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, often results in increased displacement, and is frequently targeted at women and girls, leading to serious human rights violations and abuses committed against them including murder, abduction, hostage-taking, kidnapping, enslavement, their sale and forced marriage, human trafficking, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence.  The Council urges all Member States to protect their population in particular women and girls, affected by violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism, whilst respecting all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and international humanitarian law.  The Council encourages Member States to engage the participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations, including refugee and internally displaced women, in developing strategies to counter violent extremism, and further to address, including by the empowerment of women, the conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism.

“The Security Council reiterates its intention to convene a High-level Review in 2015 to assess progress at the global, regional and national levels in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), renew commitments and address obstacles and constraints that have emerged in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).  The Security Council encourages those Member States, regional organizations as appropriate and United Nations entities who have developed frameworks and plans to support the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) to start reviewing existing implementation plans and targets, and to accelerate progress and prepare to formulate new targets, in time for the 2015 High-level Review.

“The Council welcomes the commissioning by the Secretary-General, in preparation for the High-level Review, of a global study on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), highlighting good practice examples, implementation gaps and challenges, as well as emerging trends and priorities for action.  The Security Council encourages Member States, regional and subregional organizations as appropriate, and United Nations entities to contribute to the study.  The Security Council invites the Secretary-General within his next annual report on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) to submit on the results of the global study and to make this available to all Member States of the United Nations.”

Opening Remarks

PHUMZILE MLAMBO-NGCUKA, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that unprecedented levels of displacement were testing the ability to protect women and girls and engage them in peacemaking.  “We must urgently stand against abuses,” she quoted the Secretary-General, who added “I call for immediate action to end impunity in such cases.”  Speaking also against discrimination, she said the Secretary-General called on all countries to participate in upcoming high-level reviews and the global study he had commissioned, which would entail consulting with all stakeholders.

Speaking on her own behalf and introducing the latest report on women, peace and security, she said that the total displaced population now exceeded 51 million globally, greater than at any time since the Second World War due to long-term and current conflicts, such as the situations in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.  She had travelled to many camps and was inspired by the humanitarian staff working in such difficult positions.  There had been a shift in the nature of conflict itself, from Somalia to Syria, where violent extremists were taking over territory and enforcing extreme practices, including abduction, rape, forced marriage and silencing of all criticism.  It was important not to forget the nightmares women and girls were going through in such situations.

Through regional and national action plans, however, progress had been made in efforts to protect and empower women.  Women’s participation in peace negotiations had improved.  Nearly half of peace agreements still said nothing about women's rights and needs, however, and 97 per cent of peacekeepers were still men.  Peacebuilding also failed to fully address women’s roles.  She stressed that empowered women and girls were the best hope for stability, development and countering the radicalization of youth.  Upcoming high-level meetings presented the best opportunity to push forward the women’s empowerment agenda.

EDMOND MULET, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said women often bore the brunt of protracted conflicts.  Displaced women were subject to heinous violations — acts that destroyed community identity and tore apart traditional ways of life.  Women were most at risk of facing sexual and gender-based violence, especially in overcrowded sites with little privacy and security.  They struggled to access support networks and health services.  “We know that the most effective and appropriate way of preventing violence towards internally displaced women and girls is to intensify protection mechanisms,” he said, while at the same time increasing support for women’s participation in political processes and governance, issues for which peacekeeping missions had advocated. 

By way of example, he said the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) emphasized consultation with women on political participation issues, while advocacy by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) had increased the representation and election of women as traditional leaders in eastern and equatorial States. “We must recognize that the best way to protect and support [internally displaced] women is to help women help themselves,” he said, by giving them a voice in decision-making and socioeconomic resources.  States must be supported in creating gender-sensitive policies in the justice and security sectors.  More broadly, it was critical to remove obstacles that impeded women’s full participation in peace and security, he stressed.

CHALOKA BEYANI, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, said that this year, he had visited Azerbaijan, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Kenya and Ukraine, missions that provided an early warning on the causes, conditions and situations of displacement.  “We started 2014 with an unprecedented peak of persons forcibly displaced within their own countries due to armed conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations,” he said, stressing that the 33.3 million internally displaced persons was the highest figure ever recorded.  Women and girls accounted for half of that population. 

Despite positive developments, such as the landmark Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), responses to internal displacement had not adequately addressed the concerns of women and girls, he said.  During conflicts, women fled to escape arbitrary killings, rape and torture, among other abuses.  “Women and girls are targeted as a means of armed conflict,” he said, at times to destroy communities or manipulate the demographic composition of them.  Displaced women faced double discrimination due to their status and sex, often assuming new roles, such as breadwinners, that in turn only exposed them to gender-based violence.  Their husbands would be killed while fetching water, for example, whereas women would be raped but spared death.

Other challenges for those women included inequitable access to assistance and psychological support, poor reproductive health care and exclusion from decision-making, he said.  Many displaced women and girls were at risk of statelessness.  Pre-existing discrimination in many such contexts was exacerbated during conflict.  If left unaddressed, protracted displacement generated further marginalization, inequality and vulnerability.  It could overwhelm the institutional capacities of States, many of which had no policy frameworks to respond to internal displacement.  Data collection disaggregated by sex, age and location was critical, as were efforts to collect, update, analyse and disseminate such information.  Gender sensitive training should be provided more systematically to police and military forces, while a stronger focus on prevention was required within internally displaced communities.

SUAAD ALLAMI, of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said she was speaking on behalf of activists who had been killed and whose lives were at risk as they protected women’s rights.  Many women were now fleeing because their daughters were at risk of being raped or sold into slavery.  There had not been significant progress in helping such women, she said, calling on the Council to act to push forward the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).  Supporting women’s rights defenders was key as was long-term investment in civil society organization.  Displaced women must have full access to services.

In Iraq, there were serious gaps in humanitarian services to deal with long-term effects of abuse, she said.  She conveyed the experiences of two Yazidi women who came to a displaced camp after serial trafficking and rape and had no services to address their trauma.  Conflict prevention, including disarmament and ending arms trafficking, were an important part of stemming violence.  Iraq’s national security strategy must reflect the important role of women in all such areas and social norms must be addressed.  The legal framework must protect women and girls and end discrimination and practices such as marriages outside the court.  “All human beings had the right to be safe and live in dignity,” she said.

Statements

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) welcomed progress in women’s participation in peacemaking and other critical activities.  “But this progress is incremental,” he added, saying that continued abuse and the relative rarity of women’s participation meant real change had yet to occur.  He urged all stakeholders to act to make it happen.  Unfortunately, the world situation, with its mass displacement, presented a great challenge to progress.  Noting his country’s extensive humanitarian aid for displaced persons, he said that it targeted women displaced from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.  Gender services must be further increased for such women, and women must be placed at the forefront of the fight against extremism represented by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS).  “We must redouble all our efforts in the important year that lies ahead,” he said.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said that the presence of many French officials today showed the priority of that issue to his country.  Women were key players in the maintenance of peace and security, he stressed.  He welcomed the United Nations peacekeeping gender strategy, but the attention to women’s issues must be felt on the ground.  Violence against women could not be considered collateral damage or otherwise minimized, particularly given the spike of sexual violence in such places as Syria and Iraq and the crimes of ISIL.  He regretted that the call for referral of sexual crimes to the International Criminal Court had been rejected and called for greater integration of women’s concerns into peacekeeping documents.  He also called for the full implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty, including its provisions on women.  Noting his country’s support for psychological and other services for displaced women, he called for greater access to such services as well as recourse to justice.  His country would continue to promote accountability.  “You can count on France to stay in the frontlines of this combat,” he said.

SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg), associating with the European Union, said 2015 would mark the fifteenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000), which allowed for reviewing progress.  “Conflicts do not create new discrimination,” she said, but rather, exacerbated that which already existed.  The situations in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan testified to the “sad state of affairs” for displaced women, who were among the most vulnerable.  Their rights to security, sexual and reproductive health and education were systematically violated.  A holistic approach among States, the United Nations and civil society was needed.  Impunity for the perpetrators of violence against women and girls must end, requiring support for State capacity-building.  Also, victims must receive compensation, she said, welcoming the guidelines published in June on access to reparations for conflict-related sexual violence victims.  Women’s participation in discussions on their rights and needs must be prioritized, while the Council’s field visits must include meetings with women’s groups.

Ms. JONES (United States) said ISIL had taken credit for rape, forced marriage and other abuses against Yazidi women and girls, claiming that such acts were sanctioned by religion.  Last week, a Syrian woman had been stoned to death.  Condemning the abuse of women as “spoils of war”, she recalled that last year, 51.2 million people had been forcibly displaced — a crisis that could not be solved without integrating the four pillars of the women peace security agenda: protection, participation, conflict prevention, and relief and recovery.  More women leaders were needed at national and local levels.  Citing examples in Iraq and Egypt, she voiced concern over election-related violence against women.  In the Horn of Africa, deadly attacks against parliamentarians, including women, must stop.  Maternal mortality in conflict and post-conflict countries was 60 per cent higher than the global rate.  States must strive to break multigenerational poverty, which required equipping women and girls with tools to “escape need”.  Equal legal protection was also essential, as was more investment in women’s empowerment projects.

EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) expressed serious concern over the killing of women as a result of indiscriminate or excessive use of force against civilians during armed conflict.  It was inadmissible to ignore or justify such crimes.  He took issue with the inclusion in the report of information about women who had no direct ties to the agenda on women, peace and security, saying that national action plans should be prepared on a voluntary basis, notably by States in situations of armed conflict or in a process of rebuilding.  The approach should take into account the specificities of each country.  The Russian Federation was hosting 830,000 Ukrainian citizens, 450,000 of whom had requested official status, including refugee status.  The majority of them were women and children, given the shelling of residential areas in southern Ukraine.  Refugees were being held in Russian regions and Russian personnel had provided medical and psychological aid, free meals and one-time allowances, while space had been made for children in schools.  He hoped the global study would galvanize State efforts to identify priorities for ensuring women’s full participation in settling armed conflicts, urging that the views of all States be taken during its preparation.

KAYODE LARO (Nigeria) welcomed the Council’s commitment to build on resolution 1325 (2000) and to place greater focus on displaced women and girls.  A holistic approach was needed to address their plight, with gender perspectives integrated into all related policies and efforts.  Noting his country’s signing of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, known as the Kampala Convention, as well as the passing into law of key principles of international treaties on refugees and displaced persons, he said he looked forward to work on the global study commissioned by the Secretary-General.

LIU JIEYI (China) said that progress had been made on the participation of women in peacemaking processes, but at the same time women on the ground were facing increased threats.  While efforts to strengthen the protection of women in conflict must be intensified, both the symptoms and root causes must be addressed.  National efforts to protect and empower women must be supported and all international and regional efforts for such support must work in synergy.  Increased development assistance was also critical, with a focus on national capacity-building.  Resolution 1325 (2000) must become an integral part of international efforts against terrorism and extremism, as those scourges had both increased women’s suffering and displacement.  He pledged his country’s support for the global study and for strengthening efforts on women, peace and security.

RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said numerous documents, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, provided a framework that applied international human rights and humanitarian law to the problem of displacement.  Yet the gap between existing legislation and conditions on the ground needed to be closed.  Considerable work was being done to improve gender mainstreaming through a range of efforts that included providing gender awareness training to peacekeepers, field staff and humanitarian actors, appointing gender advisers and developing concrete indicators to assess policy implementation.  In addition, it was extremely important to bring the perpetrators of sexual crimes against displaced women and girls to account under national and international law.  A systematic collection of accurate, reliable and objective information of crimes committed against displaced women and girls was key to pursing justice.  She said that actions that would help tackle impunity for such crimes included greater interactions between the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and sanctions committees as well as the regular inclusion of violence against displaced women and girls as a sanctions designation criteria.

NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA (Australia) said that her country had provided $3 million since 2013 to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support delivery of its action strategy against sexual and gender-based violence and $4 million to strengthen the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) response to sexual violence.  Exposure to sexual violence also exposed women and girls to dire health risks.  Services that enabled the safe termination of pregnancies from conflict-related rape and access to HIV testing and counselling services were fundamental to helping survivors of sexual violence restore their lives.  In 2007, Australia supported with $10.2 million a sexual and reproductive health programme in crisis and post-crisis-settings, known as “SPRINT”.  Displaced women and girls were not merely victims and their leadership and participation had to be used in preventing and resolving conflict and reconstructing post-conflict societies.  That included in refugee camps and displacement settings where women had to play a central role in the design and delivery of gender-sensitive programmes.

OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE (Rwanda) expressed hope that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) would ensure the safe return of hostages being held by the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR).  Noting that the Kampala Convention contained provisions for women and girls, including protection against sexual and gender-based violence and access to sexual and reproductive health, he cited an implementation gap in such frameworks.  The protection of women and girls in forced displacement situations required attention.  He urged increased deployment of female peacekeepers and more commitments from States to nominate them for such work.  Another step was to prevent women from venturing outside camps to collect firewood.  No measure would succeed without collective resolve to hold to account mass atrocity perpetrators.  The best protection for women and children was to ensure they did not become refugees and internally displaced persons.  He pressed the Council to shift its focus to prevention work.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile), associating with the Human Security Network, cited successes, such as the development of national action plans and the appointment of the first African Union Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security.  Yet, a gap persisted between legislation and implementation, while women were still under-represented in peacebuilding, among other efforts.  Mechanisms must be devised to prevent sexual violence in conflict and ensure women’s participation in peacebuilding and decision-making.  Further, peacekeeping missions, sanctions committees, commissions of inquiry and other bodies should foster a gender approach to their work by training and including advisors.  Barriers to implementing resolution 1325 (2000) would only be dismantled through duly financed multisectoral measures and initiatives to combat impunity.  Urging more access to health and justice services, he said displaced women must be protagonists in early warning efforts and participate in work to tackle the root causes of conflict.

BANTE MANGARAL (Chad) said Africa was a primary theatre for internal displacement, with situations in Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan having forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.  There were 2.7 million internally displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2.2 million in Sudan and about 3 million in other countries.  Chad hosted 50,000 refugees from Sudan, Central African Republic and Nigeria, more than half of whom were women and children.  Sexist traditions against women and children had barred their access to education, employment, sexual and reproductive health and decision-making.  As such, they faced additional challenges.  Without protection, girls had become victims of sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and human trafficking, among other abuses.  Citing a study, he said Chad’s response to such abuse between January and June had been immediate, including medical and psychological aid that had been provided to 95 per cent of victims.  While an “insignificant” number of cases had been brought before tribunals, there had been an increase over previous years.  The culture of silence around sexual violence hindered prosecutions, as did a lack of judiciary capacity to punish perpetrators.

PAIK JI-AH (Republic of Korea) welcomed continued efforts to implement resolution 1325 (2000), but added that much greater efforts were needed, especially given the heinous crimes of the past year.  Heightened security measures, zero tolerance of abuses by any armed forces, including peacekeepers, and the economic and political empowerment of women were all needed, including the participation of displaced women in all efforts that affected their lives.  Her country was supporting Afghan women refugees as well as multidimensional support to asylum seekers on Korean territory.  She affirmed the country’s continued support for all efforts to protect and empower women in situations of armed conflict.

MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) also noted increased violence against women in conflict situations despite progress.  The involvement of non-State actors in conflicts had greatly increased those challenges.  All parties must be held accountable and the Security Council should step up its referrals to the International Criminal Court in all instances of violence against women.  Zero tolerance of crimes by United Nations personnel should also be achieved.  He noted the asylum and services provided by his country to refugees from Syria, including education for 120,000 students, 94 per cent of them girls.  Much work had been done with United Nations agencies and their partners, including health and psychological services for girls.  In addition, he said, women had been systematically promoted in the Jordanian military and health services.  He supported targeted resources for the protection and empowerment of women, as well as upcoming reviews and studies of progress with a view towards creating a better future.

Council President MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina), speaking in her national capacity, described progress in the participation of women in her country in the military and peacekeeping operations and recalled the women who had spoken out against disappearances in Argentina.  The impact of conflict on women and girls was now known to be deep and complex, built on cultural patterns of discrimination and violence that occurred during peace time.  Sexual violence had now become a regular component of conflict although it was a war crime.  Extensively describing the abuses women suffered due to displacement and terrorism, she ascribed particular importance to the upcoming reviews of 2015, in which she looked for women to make strides in their own freedom and in their roles as creators of peace.

URMAS PAET, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, speaking also for Latvia, said forced displacement of women and girls was not only a humanitarian issue, but also a long-term development issue, a human rights issue, a peace and security issue and a key challenge for the women, peace and security agenda.  Unfortunately, a military conflict arose in Europe this year, causing suffering to the people of Ukraine.  About 66 per cent of the registered internally displaced persons in that country were women and 31 per cent children.  It was a duty of the international community and the Security Council to work towards solving the conflicts and to lessen human suffering.  Estonia had included the protection of women in national strategies on conflict prevention and had adopted a national action plan to implement resolution 1325 (2000).  Latvia had been focusing on the implementation of that resolution primarily through its development cooperation policy, he said.

PER THÖRESSON (Sweden), speaking also on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, encouraged States to develop national action plans on women, peace and security, as well as implement existing plans.  “Gender inequalities lie at the heart of the issue,” he said, urging attention to its root causes by changing social norms that denied women and girls their human rights.  It also meant pursuing policies that ensured women’s political and economic empowerment, secured sexual and reproductive health and rights, improved women’s security, and guaranteed their right to education.  The fight against impunity for sexual and gender-based violence was also crucial, as was the participation of both women and men in formal and informal mediation, peace and humanitarian processes.  Supporting women’s participation in displacement situations, he welcomed the good practices of camp management committees in eastern Nepal, saying that all mandates of United Nations missions should be based on a gender-sensitive conflict analysis.

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) highlighted the importance of the cultural, economic and social autonomy of women, who should enjoy a life free of violence.  Their participation in democratic society was vital.  Council resolution 1325 (2000) was reflected in her country’s public policy and the Secretary-General’s report highlighted specific measures undertaken in her country that other States might want to adopt as well.  One such measure was the participation of women in conflict resolution.  A number of women were represented on both the Government’s and insurgents’ sides, she said, noting that a peace process was unthinkable without the participation of women.  In 2011, her country had passed a law on reparations for victims.  With a mass outreach, the programme had reached 49 per cent of victims.  Under a new law against sexual violence, the burden of proof would not fall on victims, she concluded.

YANERIT MORGAN (Mexico), welcoming the Council’s attention to the new five-year gender-based strategy and action plan, recognized the trend towards greater representation for women.  Yet, the reality was not on par with the intentions of the international community.  One of the most alarming consequences of the increased conflicts was the growing number of refugees, including women and girls, who were at greater risk of becoming victims of sexual violence.  The international community needed to strive for integrated strategies in the field.  Using sexual violence as a weapon of war was deplorable.  She voiced support for the use of selective sanctions in that area.  Impunity had to be ended and the cases had to be remitted to international courts.  Prevention of conflict was a key tool.  She urged the international community to use women in early warning mechanisms to help prevent conflict.

OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) expressed deep concern over the increased displacement of women and girls and violence against them.  The gap between norms and the implementation of protection and empowerment of women was evident in the working methods of the Security Council; more systematic information gathering, implementation and monitoring of the situation was needed.  He praised United Nations investigations on abuses committed by peacekeeping personnel, but commented that they were slow and inconclusive.  In addition, he regretted that this year's report on women, peace and security did not have references to what he called atrocities committed against Palestinian women in the occupied territories.  He called for information on their situation to be included in upcoming reports.

SHEILA SEALY MONTEITH (Jamaica) said that resolution 1325 (2000) held much significance for her country as it was adopted during its tenure on the Council from 2000 to 2001.  Her country felt that the empowerment of women and their increased participation in decision-making processes were effective strategies that complemented other mechanisms in the maintenance of peace and security.  At the national and international levels, adequate funding was needed for the sustainability of programmes to effectively enhance the participation of women in peace and security initiatives, in keeping with the objectives of resolution.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, shared the Secretary-General’s emphasis on the need for enhanced engagement with civil society, human rights defenders and women peacebuilders.  He strongly condemned the continuing attacks and threats again women political leaders, media personnel and human rights defenders.  He also welcomed clear, global, regional and national commitments to fight the continued use of sexual violence as a method in war.  Impunity for crimes of sexual violence had to end and those crimes had to be properly investigated and prosecuted.

The European Union welcomed the increased use of human rights and sexual violence-related criteria in the Council’s sanctions regimes as well as the Secretary-General’s guidance note on reparations for sexual violence, which was published in June 2014.  The protection of women and girls should receive the attention of senior management in missions and other conflict resolution and peacebuilding mechanisms.  A total of 70 per cent of the European Union’s own missions deployed in 2013, including all military operations, had at least one gender adviser/trainer.

MARRIET SCHUURMAN, Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said time and again, it had been proven that women were “key assets” in preventing conflict, as well as in responding and finding lasting solutions to them.  Yet, they were too often an untapped resource.  Increasing awareness was essential.  NATO’s integration of a gender perspective in crisis management exercises, through scenarios that included possible indicators of sexual violence, for example, had bolstered understanding and preparedness.  In the coming months, it aimed to develop military guidelines to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict.

CHAYAPAN BAMRUNGPHONG (Thailand) said that women disproportionately bore the brunt of conflict.  Addressing the women, peace and security agenda required a comprehensive strategy entailing human rights, humanitarian, development and other perspectives.  For a country that had hosted hundreds of displaced persons from neighbouring countries, Thailand could offer valuable lessons learned, including the importance of ensuring the rights and safety of displaced women and girls.  It was important to mainstream gender perspective into peacekeeping operations, as their presence in peacekeeping missions and humanitarian activities could enhance security.  Thailand dispatched many female peacekeepers to United Nations missions.  In a prolonged displacement, it was essential to provide women with equal access to education and health services.  His country had offered income-generating projects and vocational training for displaced persons, particularly for women.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said displacement was a peace and security issue requiring adequate attention by the Council.  Displacement had also shown to exacerbate existing gender inequality, putting women in a particularly vulnerable position.  Internal displacement was unfortunately a long-term experience, lasting more than 17 years on average.  The assistance must be complemented by the protection from further harm and trauma.  States must also invest in prevention.  Furthermore, displacement was a development issue.  The rapid provision of identification documents, and equal access to asylum and education were key.  The World Food Programme’s (WFP) “Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy” initiative in Sudan, which provided fuel-efficient stoves, reduced expenses for cooking fuel and allowed women to buy other food items and improve nutrition and diet diversity of their families.  Three years after the launch of the initiative, beneficiaries no longer needed food assistance from WFP.

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) said that his country had become the first to call for the women, peace and security agenda to be introduced into the framework of the universal periodic review mechanism.  Italy’s new national action plan hinged on two main concepts:  enhancing coordination and integration between the various administrations dealing with women, peace and security; and mainstreaming gender-related issues into all socioeconomic initiatives.  While national plans were pivotal instruments, they were no longer enough 15 years after the adoption of Council resolution 1325 (2000).  “We need an international plan that connects all the national ones,” he said.  In a globalized world, where international issues became domestic and domestic problems became international, displacement was a challenge for many countries.  A new target was needed to treat women not only as victims but also as protagonists in the women, peace and security agenda.

HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia) said ending the culture of impunity and replacing it with one that promoted the rule of law, justice and accountability was crucial to ensure the protection and prevention of violence against women.  The lack of financial resources and poverty faced by women and their families in situations of displacement often led to negative coping strategies.  Providing stable and sustainable economic opportunities for displaced women was necessary in preventing that.  The burden shouldered by host communities that provided assistance to refugees and displaced persons could not be ignored.  Developing countries hosted 86 per cent of the world’s refugees and the top three recipient countries of refugees were located in Asia.  The influxes of displaced persons strained the coping mechanisms of local communities and affected the quality of humanitarian assistance that could be provided to them, particularly women and girls.  The high-level review of resolution 1325 (2000) next year would provide the platform for a comprehensive assessment of the gains and challenges in implementing the women, peace and security agenda.

Mr. NIYONZIMA (Burundi) said that since decolonization there had been 80 coup d’états and 40 civil wars in Africa and just as many civil conflicts.  Violent conflict had serious consequences for women and girls.  The role of women was essential in helping to settle conflicts.  Fourteen years after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), it was obvious that conflicts could not be settled without taking into account the participation of women, who made up half of humanity.  Yet women were often the target of violence and kept away from peace negotiations.  In addition, women found it more difficult to find access to basic social services during conflicts.  The abuse that women and girls experienced during armed conflict took many forms.  He expressed gratitude that the international law provided some support for women and girls, including the participation of women in rebuilding societies after conflicts.  Women’s role in peacebuilding and post-conflict was essential.  They needed to be regarded as partners.

MIROSLAVA BEHAM, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said enhancing ties between the OSCE and the United Nations was very important in order to share lessons learned, avoid overlapping and cooperate in many areas, thus boosting the impact of both organizations.  In collaboration with UNCHR and in close coordination with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, the OSCE had developed a handbook on the collaborative approach of addressing deployment and protection of displaced populations and affected communities in the conflict cycle.  That so-called protection checklist had been fully gender-mainstreamed and included separate references to sexual and gender-based violence against displaced persons, particularly women and children.

ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said that the Council's and the international community's attention to women, peace and security through the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) had shed light on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls.  Her delegation looked forward to a high-level review on the instrument in 2015, which would provide an opportunity to share good practices and highlight existing challenges.  She called on States to strictly enforce international law to protect women and girls from human rights violations.  She also welcomed emergency responses to achieve accountability and justice as the Arab world was increasingly plagued with displacement due to conflict and terrorism.  With 51 million people displaced in 2013, an increase of 6 million from 2012, Qatar had provided assistance to women and children.  Furthermore, humanitarian workers must be given safe access to those in need.

GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said prevention always was the best solution and diplomatic measures should not be discarded even after hostilities had begun.  Women should be empowered as key actors in all activities that influenced their future: from humanitarian assistance to decisions on displacement and repatriation; from the planning of economic recovery to the pursuit of accountability for serious crimes; from peace processes to peacebuilding initiatives.  As Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Brazil had convened in September an event on “Women, Everyday Peacebuilders”.  It stressed the crucial role played by women in reconciling former combatants and mending community divisions.  The Secretary-General’s Seven-Point Action Plan on Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding was a central reference.  Brazil had a long tradition of offering shelter and safety to victims of distant wars.  Since last year, it had granted visas of a humanitarian nature to more than 5,000 asylum seekers, including hundreds of women and girls who would otherwise be subject to a situation of extreme danger.

MÓNICA BOLAÑOS PÉREZ (Guatemala) said the full use of Council resolutions played a key role in ending conflicts.  Women and girls suffered the most devastating effects of conflict and were then stigmatized in their own communities.  The solutions had to take account of the trauma that women and girls suffered; counselling was necessary on a massive scale to help them rebuild their lives.  A child going into school, even in a bombed-out building, provided some sense of normalcy.  The work of international agencies was important, in particular the work of UN-Women.  Human rights violations could occur in different phases of the displacement cycle.  It was the responsibility of Member States to protect the rights of the displaced.  It was also important to increase the capacity-building of public institutions.  The empowerment of women should be a central part of the post-2015 development agenda.

SAHEBZADA AHMED KHAN (Pakistan), voicing support for the agenda of women, peace and security, said the Council’s mandate pertained to the prevention of sexual violence in armed conflict, as well as promoting women participation in post-conflict peace processes.  Focus should therefore remain on resolving armed conflicts and preventing relapse to conflict.  Perpetrators should be brought to justice and they should be removed from positions of authority and peace tables.  The Inter-Agency Network on Action against Sexual Violence was a useful platform.  The inclusion of women protection advisers in peacekeeping operations was making a difference on the ground, he said, pointing out that Pakistani women had served as police officers, doctors and nurses in various multidimensional peacekeeping missions in Asia, Africa and the Balkans.

GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada) said his country was committed to improving maternal, newborn and child health worldwide as well as bringing an end within a generation to the destructive practice of child, early and forced marriage.  Eliminating all forms of violence against women, including sexual violence, was integral to the future security and development of communities and countries.  ISIL had taken sexual violence in conflict to a horrifying new level of depravity.  Women and girls from ethnic and religious minorities were being raped, forced into marriage and openly sold as slaves.  His country was at the forefront of international efforts addressing the situation in Iraq and would collaborate with like-minded partners.  His Government had committed more than $62 million in humanitarian, stabilization and security programming, including up to $10 million to support not only survivors of sexual violence in ISIL-held areas but also investigations into those abuses.

MARIA VICTORIA GONZÁLEZ ROMÁN (Spain), associating her delegation with the European Union, said displacement exacerbated the vulnerability of women and girls vis-à-vis trafficking, armed groups, forced marriage, prostitution and sexual violence.  While the Council had been increasingly proactive in addressing the situations of women during conflict, States still bore the main responsibility for protecting people.  Women’s role must be bolstered in peacekeeping mandates and their rights guaranteed in post-conflict situations, especially in accessing health care.  As for progress, women had been able to place their concerns on the table in the context of the post-2015 agenda.  In addition, political and civilian staff were being trained to integrate a gender perspective into peacekeeping missions.  Among the challenges, she noted that since 1992 less than 10 per cent of peacekeepers had been women.  More women must be involved in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  “Women must be recognized as agents of peace,” she said.

FRANTIŠEK RUŽIČKA (Slovakia), associating his delegation with the European Union, said resolution 1325 (2000) underlined the importance of women’s equal and full participation in efforts to promote peace and security.  Yet, not all aspects of the text had been fully implemented.  Violence against women was a growing security issue.  While women’s role in peace and security was indispensable, the peace process remained mostly the domain of men.  Indeed, women’s participation in security forces increased legitimacy and credibility of those institutions.  Security sector reform, especially the investigation of and punishment for sexual violence in armed conflict, was a priority and she voiced support for the 2012 Integrated Technical Guidance Notes.  Ending impunity for crimes against displaced peoples was another priority and reform efforts were needed, including specialized judicial training.  Women-led social groups played an important role in combating violent extremism and they should be included in national, regional and international counter-terrorism initiatives.  “No women, no peace”, he cautioned.

ÁLVARO MENDONÇA E MOURA (Portugal) commended several organizations, such as the African Union and NATO, for nominating special envoys for women, peace and security, as well as the increasing number of countries that had developed national action plans to implement Council resolution 1325 (2000) and its successors.  It was now necessary to sustain and expand the progress achieved and the Council, as well as the entire United Nations system, had to maintain their commitment to that agenda.  Welcoming the expanding focus on sexual violence in conflict, she said that 2015 would provide a unique political opportunity for the advancement of women, peace and security with the high-level review of Council resolution 1325 (2000), the global study requested in Council resolution 2122 (2013), as well as the celebration of Beijing+20 and the discussions for the post-2015 development agenda.

HIROSHI MINAMI (Japan) said that his country had hosted a symposium, “World Assembly for Women: Tokyo 2014 — Toward a Society Where Women Shine”.  A set of 12 proposals as a summary had been issued, which included the need to document the role of women in peace and security and to create mechanisms to ensure the empowerment of women.  For the protection of displaced women and girls, Japan provided camps with solar lanterns, which converted sunlight into lamplight at night.  A lit tent deterred sexual violence and enabled those in the camps to work and study late into the evening.  His Government also supported economic empowerment of female refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly in Arab countries.  It also donated kimonos for use in dressmaking training for Palestinian refugees in Jordan and offered marketing courses on tailoring businesses.  His Government, in partnership with civil society, had been developing a national action plan on women, peace and security to be launched by year end.

KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan), pointing out that at least 3 of 10 United Nations peace agreements included provisions on women’s political participation and protection, stressed that such mechanisms must be included in every peacekeeping mission so women could serve as equal partners in field missions.  More women had been appointed as heads of missions, while over 90 per cent of directives for police components in those peace operations addressed women’s security.  Women must be engaged at every stage to reassert the rule of law and rebuild society.  As such, the Council must consider the full range of violations of women’s rights during conflict, while peacekeeping mandates should support national prosecution for serious international crimes against women.  Specifically, the Council’s mandates on women, peace and security should be a focus during at least one field visit in the coming years, and UN-Women must regularly brief the 15-member body.

LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said consistent leadership opportunities were needed within the United Nations system and other organizations that dealt with displaced persons.  She welcomed greater attention on prevention of gender violence and more inclusion of gender issues in Security Council texts.  Many challenges remained, however.  Impunity continued to be widespread and the rise of extremism, which her country condemned, had exacerbated the situation.  The collection of data should be a priority, as should efforts to ensure justice prevailed.  Her country had built family-specific facilities in camps for Syrian refugees and had worked at the international policy level on empowering women.  A holistic approach on forced displacement that focused on everyday needs and allowed women to work against extremism in their own societies was needed.  "Let 2015 be the year in which we move the dial forward in a significant way," she said.

Y. HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey) said that to tackle the challenges of gender violence it was important to eliminate root causes and increase women's participation and leadership in all aspects of decision-making.  His country had taken important measures to ensure assistance, protection and durable solutions for the women and girls who were taking shelter there from the "tragedies in Syria and Iraq unfolding right across its border", including providing gender-balanced education, safely-lit environments, safe houses for refuge from domestic violence and other psycho-social services.  Women's participation in camp administration was encouraged.

Ms. NGUYEN PHUONG (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said more conflicts were raging, and more women and girls were fleeing their homes.  Sexual violence and organized crime targeting women and girls was a serious concern in several regions.  Voicing deep concern over the growing number of refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless people, she emphasized that “When basic institutions are in tatters, one cannot hope for better basic services for women and girls.”  She urged a focus on the conditions that gave rise to conflict.  Conflict prevention mechanisms should be promoted, and gender equality bodies strengthened.  Furthermore, women’s participation in peace and security matters must be enhanced, as their participation was vital for promoting reconciliation.  Finally, normative standards on women, peace and security should be further integrated into relevant regional and national mechanisms, she said, welcoming the upcoming review of resolution 1325 (2000).

HARALD BRAUN (Germany), aligning his delegation with the European Union, said that over the past years, targeted violence against women and girls, frequently committed in front of family members, was used as a tactic of war to terrorize local populations and break down community structures.  The international community needed to ensure that women and girls, as well as men and boys, who also suffered from violence, received adequate psychological counselling and all necessary health-care services.  That would help them move from being a “victim” to becoming a “survivor”.  The refugees who spent decades away from their homes could not be forgotten and the international community needed to consider the long-term task of helping them lead lives of dignity.  Education was a key factor for children growing up in situations of displacement; only quality education could lead to change and enable those future adults to have a self-determined life.

JIRI ELLINGER (Czech Republic), expressing concern over the increase in displacement and violence against women and affirming support to the goals of resolution 1325 (2000), said that more support and attention must be given to "courageous" women human rights defenders who were running high risks by engaging publicly.  Displacement meant that the international community had failed to prevent conflict; he welcomed more attention to prevention and civil society in that regard.  He conveyed reports of lawlessness in Crimea and eastern Ukraine that had caused many human rights activists and other women to flee their homes, along with hundreds of thousands of other displaced persons in Ukraine.  That situation deserved continued attention of the Security Council in the context of the current debate.

ANDREAS RIECKEN (Austria), speaking on behalf of the Human Security Network, welcomed the presidential statement and expressed deep concern over the use of systematic sexual violence as a tool of intimidation, retribution, social control and forced displacement of populations.  The protection and empowerment of women and girls must be transformed from an exception to a norm through systematic incorporation into all relevant efforts.  Specific services for displaced women and gender-sensitive data disaggregation must be undertaken, along with progress in linking relief, rehabilitation and development.  Strengthening civil society was critical, as was women's participation in all stages of conflict resolution.  He placed importance as well on the global study and on upcoming reviews of progress, including one to take place in Vienna in November of this year.

CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) cited the challenge of implementing normative frameworks around the women, peace and security agenda, urging a focus on the needs of displaced women and girls.  Women and girls were uniquely exposed to the erosion of protection standards as traditional community-based frameworks for stability disappeared.  Incorporating gender indicators into early warning frameworks would be a practical step to identify vulnerabilities as quickly as possible.  Women and girls had an important role to play in preventing and resolving conflict.  As such, they must be consulted at every stage of peacebuilding and their leadership potential must be fully realized.  Furthermore, women must be recruited, trained and promoted, both in affected communities and in headquarters.

BHAGWANT SINGH BISHNOI (India) said women’s equal participation in power structures and involvement in the prevention and resolution of conflicts was essential, stressing that “women should occupy positions of influence”.  In 2013, 32,000 people had been displaced each day by violent conflict, three quarters of whom were women and girls.  However, he said she did not subscribe to the view that women should take part in the military component of peacekeeping operations.  They could play an important role in police functions, as they performed better than men in those duties.  As such, India would contribute an all-female unit to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).  In sum, there were no “off the shelf” remedies to mitigate the impacts of conflict on women.  Durable solutions were needed. 

PASCAL BUFFIN (Belgium), aligning with the European Union, said atrocities by groups such as Boko Haram and ISIL testified to the deliberate targeting of women and girls.  “This is a revolting development,” he said, stressing the importance of anticipating women’s specific needs in order to ensure their security.  States must take into account the requirements of women and girls in humanitarian assistance, as well as in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and security sector reform processes.  In addition, humanitarian organizations should prioritize their needs in the management of refugee camps, and support should be given to female heads of family.

CRISTINA CARRION (Uruguay) said that given the magnitude of displacement, her country had agreed to take in more refugees.  As a peacekeeping contributor her country had also seen first hand that violence against women had continued.  Prevention of sexual violence in conflict and other civilian protection was a priority for Uruguay's peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Also important was the rehabilitation of victims, accountability for perpetrators and zero tolerance for abuse by United Nations peacekeepers.  More participation of women in all areas of peacekeeping and negotiation was needed, particularly in the context of displaced persons situations and security sectors.  She noted the increased enrolment of women in her country's security forces.  Better coordination and clear roles for all actors on the ground was essential in protecting and empowering women.

VLADIMIR DROBNJAK (Croatia), aligning his delegation with the European Union, expressed concern over rising displacement and violent extremism.  His country had experienced war and a long refugee crisis, and knew well how severely war and displacement affected women.  Provision of adequate services and legal services was essential, but it was equally important that women participate in peace processes and efforts to guarantee the protection of their own rights.  Post-conflict societies, while presenting many challenges, also presented opportunities to transform societies for the benefit of gender equality.  The post-2015 development framework was another opportunity to do so.  In all areas, existing commitments must be translated into concrete action.  He affirmed his country's full support for the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands) said women must play an important role in addressing the root causes of conflict, as well as in decision-making on humanitarian issues, such as the provision of emergency assistance.  Urging that the work of women’s human rights defenders be recognized, he also supported the Secretary-General’s call for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights services in conflict-affected settings.  For its part, the Netherlands had prioritized the implementation of resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2122 (2013) and had invested in gender expertise at strategic positions to allow for more effective work on the women, peace and security agenda.  Further, the “National Action Plan 1325” empowered women in six focus countries with an annual 4 million euro budget.  Going forward, the challenges included incorporating the women, peace and security agenda into responses to violent extremism.

MIRSADA ČOLAKOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), associating herself with the European Union, expressed deep concern over the heavy civilian casualties, massive displacements of people, serious human rights violations and worsening humanitarian situations around the world.  In 2013, 2.5 million people from Syria had become refugees and 6.5 million had been internally displaced.  She called on the international community, the United Nations and major stakeholders for a comprehensive response to the crisis.  Her country was committed to the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, adopted by the Group of Eight in 2013, as the prosecution of such crimes and national ownership in addressing their root causes were central to prevention efforts.  “Sexual violence in conflict cannot be accepted as cultural phenomena,” she stressed, noting that the policy of her country, a police and troop contributor, outlined that one third of the candidates for peacekeeping missions must be women.

DAVID DONOGHUE (Ireland), associating with the European Union and the Human Security Network, said Syria had seen the largest one-year refugee exodus since the Rwandan genocide, with almost one third of the country involuntarily “on the move”.  In South Sudan, more than 1 million displaced people were surviving in dire conditions.  The challenge lay in translating political commitments into positive improvements in the lives of women and girls affected by armed conflict.  Women and girls also needed improved protection during humanitarian emergencies.  In Ireland, the national action plan on resolution 1325 (2000) was being updated and it prioritized access to services for refugee and asylum-seeking women.  More broadly, he supported the increased use of sex- and age-disaggregated data in programme design and implementation, underlining the need to ensure gender criteria and related commitments were given full attention in implementing the Arms Trade Treaty.

HUSNIYYA MAMMADOVA (Azerbaijan) said that in situations of mass displacement, ensuring physical security and protection of women’s rights should not be seen as an “add-on element”, but rather as an essential part of the protection agenda.  Greater and timely efforts to support gender equality were also important.  Urging special attention to the women and girls in protracted displacement, she said more must be done to strengthen State capacities and complement efforts of “hosting societies” to ensure social reintegration and rehabilitation of displaced persons.  She welcomed the creation of designation criteria for human rights and sexual violence within the sanctions regime as an important step towards making prevention and enforcement tools available, adding that peacekeeping missions’ capacity to identify early risks should be strengthened through regular training for gender advisers.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said his country had been trying to draw the international community's attention to the terrible impact of terrorism on Syrian women, including murders, rapes and abductions, calling on States that were arming such terrorists to stop.  Unfortunately, the main focus was on demonizing Syria in order to attack its sovereignty and create the kind of chaos that now dominated Libya.  Today's report and statements recognized the danger of terrorism, but it was too late.  The price was the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrian citizens and the suffering of millions.  States that had spoken in the Council of their aid for refugees did not mention that they had supported the forces that had created the crisis.  He called for a sincere and international effort to put an end to the activities of criminal groups and to hold accountable those who supported them.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) condemned the barbaric abuse of women in recent conflict, which he called a grave violation of international law.  It was up to all parties in conflict to protect civilians.  Non-State groups presented the greatest challenge in that light and were now committing some of the worst abuses.  As the protection of refugees was fundamental for human rights, adequate services should be available for them, protection should be ensured and their right to return should be guaranteed.  Displaced women must be able to participate in decision-making processes.

ZAHIR TANIN (Afghanistan) said 40 years of violence in his country had shattered lives, interrupted educations, threatened livelihoods and destroyed communities.  “Afghanistan remains the largest protracted refugee situation in the world,” he stated.  The past year had seen a rise in violence by the Taliban, terrorists and other armed opposition, as well as the greatest increase in civilian deaths of the last 13 years.  Yet, an important turning point had arrived, with last month’s election of a new President including millions of women as voters, and hundreds as candidates and campaigners.  Their involvement had set the tone for women’s equal contribution to the country’s future.  Just days ago, Afghanistan signed a women, peace and security national action plan, which aimed to advance participation, protection, conflict prevention and relief and recovery goals.

Mr. SINJAREE (Iraq), detailing his Government’s efforts to support women’s rights, drew attention to the Iraqi Council of Ministers’ two strategies to support women and the creation of a women’s commission.  In addition, a national action plan for 2014-2018 had been elaborated to implement resolution 1325 (2000).  Indeed, Iraq was among the countries with the most advanced rights for women in the Middle East.  Citing the Constitution’s article 49, which outlined that women must occupy 25 per cent of parliamentary seats, he said 80 of the 325 seats were occupied by women.  Iraq would continue to promote women’s role in society, despite challenges stemming from terrorist attacks that had eroded social cohesion.  Forced marriage, displacement and other practices were being combated, he said.  Underscoring how ISIL aggression had forced people to flee their homes, he urged support for medical care, especially vaccinations for pregnant women, pressing States to help combat terrorism, prosecute perpetrators and help victims.

PAWEŁ RADOMSKI (Poland), associating his delegation with the European Union Delegation, expressed deep concern over the situation of women and girls who were displaced or threatened by violence extremism.  Concurring with the Secretary-General's recommendations in that regard, he added that it was also critical to recognize the importance of women's economic empowerment in post-conflict situations.  His country had been supporting projects in many countries for that purpose, and had introduced improved asylum procedures, with special health services for the benefit of female asylum seekers.  Welcoming the launch of the global study, he hoped that by mid-2015 there would be guidance not only on how to make good practices standard, but also on how to utilize synergies between all agenda related to women, peace and security.  He called on the Council to ensure accountability for sexual exploitation and abuse.

FREDERICK MUSIIWA MAKAMURE SHAVA (Zimbabwe), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that displacement in Africa, already widespread, had worsened with recent conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Mali and Somalia.  Women were extremely vulnerable in those situations.  State responsibility for women's protection and women's economic empowerment was a critical element in improving their situation.  In that context, he summarized the SADC protocol on gender and development, which sought to harmonize commitments for achieving gender equality, and enumerated other programmes on the continental level to which SADC fully subscribed.  He urged the international community to collectively enact a holistic approach to the problems of displaced women that included addressing the root causes of conflict and held perpetrators of violence against women accountable.   

MENELAOS MENELAOU (Cyprus) said he deplored the fact that in current conflicts, sexual and gender-based violence was deliberately employed as a war strategy.  Three quarters of the refugee and internally displaced population today were women.  It was important that peacekeeping operations advance gender balance among mission staff, including senior management.  Putting women in peacekeeping operations empowered women in the host community, enabled women to train female cadets, provided a greater sense of security for women and children, improved local women’s access and support, and facilitated attention to the needs of female ex-combatants during demobilization.  Five women currently led peace operations, including Lisa Buttenheim in Cyprus.  His country had been under foreign occupation for 40 years and was familiar with the disproportionate effects of conflict on women.  For that reason Cypriot women had been particularly active in international humanitarian organizations and had made important contributions in aid campaigns.

Mr. VITRENKO (Ukraine), associating his delegation with the European Union, stated that his country was developing a national action plan in accordance with resolution 1325 (2000) that would promote women's greater participation in all sectors and would address the current challenges faced by women and girls in the context of what he called the ongoing foreign aggression against his country.  Ukraine was strongly committed to building on the momentum inspired by its "European choice" to ensure access to crucial services for those women and girls who were currently displaced, and to ultimately establish women as leaders and coordinators in the promotion of their own rights.  He expressed concern over deaths and abuse of women in the conflict-affected Donetsk region as well as abductions.  Disputing the credibility of Russian figures on Ukrainian refugees in the Russian Federation, he maintained that, in any case, the latter country had been the cause of the state of affairs.  Ukraine, he said, had been credited with proper management of the humanitarian situation caused by the crisis and had just adopted new legislation ensuring the rights and freedoms of displaced persons, including women.   

SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) encouraged more State support for female victims of violence, especially in ensuring their access to the justice system, regardless of their status.  He underlined the particular vulnerability of women and children among refugees and displaced persons, especially to discrimination, sexual violence and exploitation, stressing the need to prevent and respond to such abuse.  For its part, the United Nations should advance the deployment of women protection advisers and gender advisers in peacekeeping and political missions, as well as in humanitarian operations.  States had the primary responsibility to protect and assist refugees and displaced persons within their jurisdiction.  With that in mind, his Government had made “great efforts” to place women’s rights at the centre of national policy objectives.

YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), associating himself with ASEAN, said that United Nations missions could deliver on their mandate for internally displaced women and girls through prevention, specific assistance, and protection.  Gender mainstreaming should be continued among peacekeeping officers, and sensitization to humanitarian and gender issues should be an inseparable part of pre-deployment training.  There should be equal access to humanitarian assistance.  Furthermore, basic services, such as protection from gender-based violence, should be provided.  To effectively ensure that women and girls could thrive as leaders in emergency situations, they had to be empowered.  That could be achieved through enabling access to education services, as well as supporting improvement in their livelihoods.

MOHAMED IBRAHIM MOHAMED ELBAHI (Sudan) said Sudan’s office to combat violence against women and its independent commission for human rights were both headed by women.  His Government attached importance to combating violence against women in refugee camps, especially in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.  Sudanese women had been guaranteed the right to vote and run for election since the 1950s.  They held 28 per cent of parliamentary seats and they chaired some of most important parliamentary commissions.  To combat human trafficking of women and children, Sudan — a transit country — had enacted legislation, and on 13 October, hosted a regional conference on combating trafficking in the Horn of Africa.  Sudan also had signed border security agreements with its neighbours.  As for economic measures, he cited projects for women in rural areas and others to ensure microfinancing, adding that inheritance rights for women were guaranteed.  There were more girls than boys in school, and both infant and maternal mortality had dropped significantly.

DAVID ROET (Israel), relating the abuse of a Yazidi woman who was sold into sexual slavery after her husband was executed by ISIS, said that ISIS was just one of the radical extremist groups that subjugated women and sought to control all aspects of a woman's life.  In that context, he listed Boko Haram, Al-Qaida, certain militias in Libya, Al-Shabaab in East Africa and Hamas in Gaza.  He expressed disappointment that the issue had been politicized by some in this Council today.  He affirmed that supporting women's empowerment and development advanced security and prosperity for everyone.  Pointing to the many female leaders over Jewish history, he said that Israeli women were agents of change, drivers of progress and makers of peace.  There was work to do before that was true for all the world's women.  He called on all who wished to see a more peaceful planet to persist in efforts to advance gender equality and invest in women until all women could dress as they liked, be educated as they chose and be part of the decision-making process.

PAUL SEGER (Switzerland) stressed the importance of developing sound and context-specific policies that prevented exploitation and abuses of refugees and displaced women and girls.  More had to be done to prevent sexual violence in displacement settings.  It was vital to foster common action and coordination, and strive for a gender-sensitive one-system response.  That was why his Government would host the next United Nations Action Donor Conference on 12 November in Geneva.  More had to be done to ensure the access of refugees and displaced women to political decision-making, including peace processes.

PETER THOMSON (Fiji), affirming the importance of women's participation in conflict prevention, mitigation and recovery, and expressing concern over displacement and abuse of women, called for redoubled efforts to reinforce the rule of law to help ensure accountability for gender violence.  He also urged provision of support services for victims.  His country was committed to gender sensitization of its peacekeepers and was using the Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security for further guidance.  He outlined national initiatives in that regard.  He urged the impact of climate change on women and girls be taken into account in the Council's consideration of climate as a security issue.  He called on the United Nations system to provide more support to the formulation and implementation of data plans.

Taking the floor a second time, the representative of the Russian Federation said it was not “mythical Russian aggression” that had led to displacement and large numbers of refugees.  Rather, he blamed large-scale punitive measures by a country that were characterized by an excessive use of force.  He recalled that the last report had noted disappearances, murders, vandalism and detentions had been carried both by the Kyiv forces and the battalions under their command, notably Kyiv 1 and Kyiv 2.  Moreover, civilians had been the victims of the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and use of banned ammunition.  As for the protection of journalists, Ukraine had abetted the killing of two Russian journalists.  The Council had noted at various meetings that the lack of accountability for such crimes was unacceptable.

For information media. Not an official record.