I call upon all parties to conflict responsible or credibly suspected of acts of sexual violence to cease such violations and, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1960 (2010), to make specific and time-bound protection commitments that include: clear orders through chains of command and in codes of conduct (or their equivalent) prohibiting sexual violence; timely investigation of alleged violations in order to hold perpetrators accountable; immediate identification and release from their ranks of those most vulnerable to sexual violence, especially women and children; designation of a high-level interlocutor responsible for ensuring implementation of commitments; and cooperation with and facilitation of access by the United Nations to monitor compliance.
In this regard, I call on the Security Council to do the following:
- To increase pressure on perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict, including the individuals, parties and States named in my reports, through the adoption of targeted and graduated measures by relevant sanctions committees, and to consider means by which such measures may also be taken in relevant contexts where no sanctions committees are in place. Such actions by the Security Council should apply to those who commit, command or condone (fail to prevent or punish) sexual violence, consistent with the stipulations under international criminal law regarding those bearing direct, command or superior responsibility;
- To consider putting in place an appropriate mechanism or procedure of the Security Council to systematically monitor commitments by parties to conflict under its resolution 1960 (2010). I encourage the Council to support efforts by appropriate United Nations officials to engage in dialogue with State and non-State parties to elicit such commitments, including engagement, as appropriate, with the business community, diaspora, religious and traditional leaders or others who may exert influence;
- To employ all other means at its disposal to address sexual violence in conflict, including making referrals to the International Criminal Court, mandating international commissions of inquiry, explicitly condemning violations in its resolutions and presidential and public statements and considering sexual violence as a focus of its periodic field visits and its consultations with regional bodies such as the Peace and Security Council of the African Union;
- To systematically reflect sexual violence in conflict in all relevant country resolutions and in authorizations and renewals of the mandates of peacekeeping and special political missions through the inclusion of the specific language of its resolution 1960 (2010), calling, inter alia, for the cessation of sexual violence, the implementation of monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements as a basis for evidence-based actions, dialogue with parties to conflict with a view to achieving protection commitments and the deployment of women’s protection advisers;
- To remain seized of the status of deployment of women’s protection advisers to United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions. The number and function of women’s protection advisers should be systematically assessed during the preparation and review of each peacekeeping and political mission, in line with the agreed terms of reference for women’s protection advisers, and such posts should be included in mission staffing tables and budgets in all relevant situations of concern;
- To call for and monitor efforts to address sexual violence concerns in the context of security sector reform processes and arrangements, including vetting to ensure that those who have perpetrated or commanded sexual violence and other human rights violations are excluded from all branches of Government, including the armed forces, the police, the intelligence services, the national guard and any civilian oversight and control mechanisms; providing training for national security forces; ensuring the principle of no amnesty for perpetrators of grave human rights violations, including sexual violence crimes; and ensuring that the security sector is accessible and responsive to all segments of the population, in particular to women and children. In the context of demobilization, disarmament and reintegration processes, due consideration should be given to the establishment of protection mechanisms for civilians, particularly women and children, in close proximity to cantonment sites and the stringent requirement that armed forces and groups immediately identify and release all women and children in their ranks. In the context of justice sector reform, emphasis should be placed, inter alia, on support to national authorities in legislative reforms; and training and sensitization on sexual violence for police, prosecutors, judges and magistrates, including training of more women magistrates and lawyers. Due consideration should also be given to the prosecution for sexual violence crimes through transitional justice arrangements, as appropriate.
I call on the Security Council, Member States and regional organizations to ensure that mediators and envoys in mediation, ceasefire, peace and preventive diplomacy processes engage in dialogue with parties to conflict on conflict-related sexual violence, and address sexual violence as a method or tactic of conflict in peace agreements. Sexual violence should be included in the definition of acts prohibited by ceasefires and be monitored as part of ceasefire monitoring mechanisms. These concerns should also be reflected as specific provisions in peace agreements related to security arrangements and transitional justice. In this regard, I encourage the use of the United Nations Guidance for Mediators on Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Ceasefire and Peace Agreements.
I encourage Member States, donors and regional organizations to do the following:
- To ensure, as a matter of priority, that survivors have access to medical, HIV, psychosocial, legal and other multi-sectoral services, and to support the development and strengthening of the capacities of national institutions, in particular health, judicial and social welfare systems, as well as local civil society networks, in order to provide sustainable assistance to victims of sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations. Adequate and timely resources are required for response programmes by national authorities, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and civil society groups as part of comprehensive strategies to combat sexual violence in conflict, bearing in mind that the availability of services improves information on sexual violence;
- To ensure that multi-sectoral assistance and services are tailored to the specific needs of girls and boys as an integral yet distinct aspect of gender-based violence programmes. There should be adequate resources for further research, monitoring and reporting, prevention initiatives and service provision on particular dimensions such as sexual violence against men and boys as a specific tactic of conflicts; the plight of survivors who bear children as a result of rape and children born of rape; and sexual violence in the form of forced marriage involving children affected by conflict;
- To ensure that reparations awarded through judicial or administrative mechanisms are established and made available to victims of sexual violence in conflict. Multi-sectoral approaches to the provision of reparations should be strengthened as part of post-conflict transition initiatives and reparations programmes should receive consistent and sustainable funding;
- To give due consideration to accepting sexual violence in conflict as a form of persecution that should lead to the recognition of refugee status for the individuals affected, given information in numerous contexts of sexual violence being used to induce forced displacement;
- To facilitate improved data collection and analysis on the linkages between the widespread availability of illicit small arms and light weapons and conflict-related sexual violence, and put in place effective arms control measures at the national, regional and international levels. Member States are urged to take into account the need for full gender sensitivity in the context of relevant international instruments, including the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons;
- To draw upon the expertise of the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict to strengthen the rule of law and the capacity of civilian and military justice systems to address sexual violence, as part of broader efforts to strengthen institutional safeguards against impunity. I urge donors to ensure sustainable funding for this valuable resource for Member States.