General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Open Debate

Women, Peace and Security: Preventing Conflict-related Sexual Violence through Demilitarization and Gender Responsive Arms Control

23 April 2024

Statement by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj

 

Mr. President,

 

In the realm of global peace and security, the intersection of gender and conflict is a critical area that demands our attention. The United Nations Security Council's landmark resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, laid the foundation for recognizing both the impact of armed conflict on women and the indispensable role they play in peacebuilding. One of the central aspects of this resolution is addressing conflict-related sexual violence—a brutal weapon frequently used against women during conflicts.

 

 Mr. President,

 

 In recent decades, conflicts have become more fragmented, and the theater of conflict much more complex and volatile. Yet, the integration of a gender perspective into our collective efforts for conflict prevention, recovery, and reconstruction is still lacking.

 

Reducing military presence is a crucial step toward preventing conflict-related sexual violence. Demilitarization, intertwined with disarmament, calls for gender-responsive arms control. This approach recognizes the role of weapon proliferation in conflict-related sexual violence, advocating for arms control policies that address the specific vulnerabilities of women. An effective implementation requires a multifaceted approach, involving community engagement—particularly with women—in security and disarmament decisions.

 

 Mr. President,

 

 Regarding India's own commitments, our nation's dedication to the Women, Peace, and Security agenda is demonstrated through a comprehensive approach to combating conflict-related sexual violence. This approach includes international collaborations, national policy reforms, and grassroots-level initiatives.

 

Mr. President,

 

At the international level, India has contributed significantly to UN peacekeeping missions and has been very vocal about the need to incorporate gender perspectives into peace and security policies. I am proud to mention that India was the first country to deploy an all-women Formed Police Unit to Liberia in 2007, under the UN Mission. Indian female peacekeepers have played a crucial mentoring role in preventing conflict-related sexual violence. We take pride that Major Suman Gawani was awarded the UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year in 2019.

 

India was also the first country to contribute to the Secretary-General's Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and also signed the voluntary compact on sexual exploitation and abuse with the Secretary-General in 2017.

 
Mr. President,

Recognizing the pivotal role of empowered women as agents of change, the Indian Government recently amended its constitution to reserve one-third of the seats in national and state legislatures for women, underscoring their crucial contributions to peace and security.

 

Even during its Presidency of the G20, India drew the international community's attention to women-led development with a focus on women's empowerment and gender equality. The establishment of the G20 Women’s Empowerment Working Group represents a highly promising development in this regard.

Mr. President,

Combating conflict-related sexual violence demands a multifaceted strategy that integrates prevention, survivor support, perpetrator accountability, and societal change regarding gender-based violence. It necessitates collaborative efforts from governments, international entities, civil society, and individuals to ensure women's rights, peaceful conflict resolution, and to relegate conflict-related sexual violence to a bygone era.


I thank you.

 

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