Secretary Clinton delivered remarks on the adoption of a UNSC resolution to combat sexual violence in armed conflict.
Today, Secretary Clinton chaired a United Nations Security Council Session to adopt a strong resolution to end sexual violence against women and children in conflict-related situations. The resolution, drafted by the United States, outlines actions the UN and Member States can take to help prevent conflict-related sexual violence and end impunity. Secretary Clinton said:
"The resolution we passed today represents a step forward in our global efforts to end violence perpetrated against women and children in conflict zones, and it builds on two prior Security Council resolutions: Resolution 1325, which called on all parties in conflicts to respect women’s rights and increase their participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction efforts; and Resolution 1820, adopted last year, which affirms the ambitions set out in 1325, and establishes a clear link between maintaining international peace and security, and preventing and responding to sexual violence used as a tactic of war to target civilians."
Secretary Clinton continued: "[T]his resolution identifies specific steps that the United Nations and member-states can and should take to improve the UN response to sexual violence committed during situations of armed conflict. It calls on the Secretary General to appoint a special representative to lead, coordinate, and advocate for efforts to end sexual violence. We expect that person to engage at high levels with civilian and military leaders to spearhead the UN’s activities on this front.
It also calls on the Secretary General to rapidly deploy a team of experts to work with governments to strengthen the rule of law, address impunity, and enhance accountability while drawing attention to the full range of legal venues that can be brought into play, including domestic, international, and mixed courts that bring local and international judges and prosecutors together to strengthen local justice systems.
We must also recognize that ending conflicts outright is the most certain path to ending sexual violence in conflict. So pursuing peace and successful post-conflict transitions should be our highest priority. In states where conflict is taking place and those that are moving beyond it, local police must receive better training, the rule of law must be strengthened, and survivors must be ensured full access to justice and protection throughout the judicial process. We envision that this team of experts called for in this resolution will help us strengthen initiatives like those.
Now, beyond the measures outlined in the resolution, the Security Council should take additional steps. Protecting women and children should be a critical priority for all troops who wear the blue helmet. To reflect this, new and renewed peacekeeping mandates should include language condemning sexual violence and giving further guidance to peacekeeping missions to work with local authorities to end it.
We must seek to ensure that our respective military and police forces, especially those who will participate in peacekeeping missions, develop the expertise to prevent and respond to violence against women and children. And this will be helped by increasing the number of women who serve in UN peacekeeping missions. When I visited the mission in Goma, I was very impressed at how integrated it was in every way, from every country, every kind of person represented, and many women in the leadership as well as in the ranks.
And let us not forget that it is often women who lead the call for peace in communities shattered by violence. We have seen women in this role from Liberia to Rwanda to Northern Ireland to Guatemala. Even when they suffer terrible losses in conflicts they had no part in starting, women have the will to reach across divisions, find common ground, and foster understanding. As they seek peace, so must we by making sure they are part of all efforts. So I urge UN member-states to make sure their foreign assistance programs include measures to prevent and respond to violence against women and children, and to ensure that women are included in designing and implementing those programs.
In his speech at the General Assembly last week, President Obama challenged nations of the world to assume responsibility for the challenges confronting us. Certainly, the challenge of sexual violence in conflict cannot and should not be separated from the broader security issues confronting this Council. It is time for all of us to assume our responsibility to go beyond condemning this behavior, to taking concrete steps to end it, to make it socially unacceptable, to recognize it is not cultural; it is criminal. And the more we say that over and over and over again, the more we will change attitudes, create peer pressure, and the conditions for the elimination of this violation."
Read the Secretary's full remarks here.