On 24 June 2013, the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice was one of three speakers invited to brief the United Nations (UN) Security Council on sexual violence in armed conflict during the Council’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The debate was opened and chaired by William Hague for the United Kingdom (UK), which holds the Presidency of the Security Council in June. Following a presentation by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, briefings were provided by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura, Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Jane Adong Anywar, Legal Monitor for the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice.
Read the presentation by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice
Watch the live recording of the Open Debate
Immediately following the briefings, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2106 on preventing sexual violence in conflict. During the ensuing debate, more than 50 country representatives spoke, expressing their support for the Resolution.
Read UN Security Council Resolution 2106
The open debate focused on accountability for sexual violence in conflict at the national level. The debate, held at Ministerial level, was the first high-profile debate since the G8 Foreign Minister’s meeting hosted by the UK in April 2013, at which time the G8 adopted its Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.
In May 2012, the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague launched the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI), at an event accompanied by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie. The Women’s Initiatives has worked closely with the UK PSVI since its establishment including during the consultation phase developing the scope and strategic focus of this important new element in combating conflict-related sexual violence. In November 2012, the Women’s Initiatives was invited to participate in the Wilton Park meeting on preventing sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, and in February 2013, the Women’s Initiatives was one of the external experts invited to present to 30 senior G8 policy advisors on prosecuting, investigation and documentation sexual violence, in advance of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in April 2013. The Women’s Initiatives and representatives of its 147 DRC members and partners metwith the Foreign Secretary and Ms Jolie in March in Goma, Eastern DRC, to discuss the challenges to ending impunity for crimes of sexual violence, the impact of this form of violence on victims/survivors and their needs for justice, medical and psycho-social support, as well as economic and livelihood assistance.
The Resolution unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on 24 June, Resolution 2106, is the sixth resolution adopted by the UN Security Council as part of its Women, Peace and Security agenda: Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010).
Resolution 2106 underscores that more consistent and rigorous investigation and prosecution of sexual violence constitutes a key aspect of deterrence and the prevention of such crimes, and that the prevention of sexual violence in armed conflict contributes to the maintenance of international peace and security. The Resolution further urges the inclusion of sexual violence in the definition of acts prohibited by ceasefires and in ceasefire-monitoring agreements, and underscores women’s participation in prevention and protection responses. The Resolution also specifically acknowledges the important role of civil society organisations, including women’s organisations, in enhancing community-level protection against sexual violence and in providing access to justice and reparations for victims/survivors.
The Resolution expresses support for the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), ad hoc mixed tribunals and specialised chambers in national tribunals in the fight against impunity. The Resolution further encourages ‘Member States and donors to support national and international programs that assist victims of sexual violence such as the Trust Fund for Victims established by the Rome Statute and its implementing partners’.
Read UN Security Council Report on the debate: Security Council adopts text urging targeted sanctions against perpetrators of sexual violence during armed conflict
Read the UN News item about the debate, quoting Women’s Initiatives, Angelina Jolie, SRSG Bangura and UK Foreign Secretary Hague: Security Council strengthens efforts to end impunity for conflict-related sexual violence