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Statement by the Permanent Representative of Estonia, H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson at the Security Council Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, 16 April 2018

16.04.2018

Mr President, Excellencies,

I thank you Mr. President for convening the meeting on the vital topic. We are impressed by the comprehensive statements by the Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Amina Mohammed and the Special-Representative Ms. Pramila Patten. Estonia aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the European Union and reiterates its commitments to fight gender based violence, including sexual violence.

Sexual violence is among the gravest violations of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to multiple long-term physical and mental consequences for women and girls, men and boys. It also has very negative consequences to their families, communities, societies and countries as a whole.  But, sexual violence is not inevitable.  There are ways to prevent it. We fully support the Secretary General’s recommendation in his recent report to give due consideration to the early-warning signs of sexual violence when monitoring conflict situations. If we fail to act early, the human, political and economic costs can be devastating, as we know far too well. This calls for a more alert, coordinated and comprehensive approach by Member States and the UN System.

Mr. President,

It is of utmost importance to support survivors of sexual violence through adequate services so that they can rebuild their lives. Also, the survivors should always be provided with the option to document their cases for future accountability processes. In this regard, the role of the International Criminal Courtensuring the effective investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes cannot be highlighted enough.  Also, the work of UN Women and Justice Rapid Response is important, as its joint Expert Roaster has provided an effective tool for deploying experts that investigate and document sexual violence in conflict-driven zones.  

Estonia is fully committed to tackle gender- based violence and has a comprehensive Development Strategy for Reducing Violence from 2015 to 2020 domestically. It lays out concrete activities on how to reduce and prevent violence in its various forms, including sexual violence.  Globally, Estonia has been a strong supporter of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Ms. Pramila Patten and her mandate. Estonia is also proud to be a consistent contributor to the ICC Trust Fund for Victims,that alleviates suffering for the survivors.
 
Mr. President,

I would also like to emphasize the important role of civil societies.  Intergovernmental cooperation is extremely significant, however, everyone needs to be heard. Civil societies and non-governmental organizations, and in particular, women’s organizations have the ability to provide new insight and data that could otherwise be missed. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that NGO-s have larger platforms and more access in the UN meetings and Forums.  This, without any doubt, would help our efforts in ensuring that every detail is accounted for in achieving our goals in ending conflict-related sexual violence.

Our experience shows that National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security to implement Security Council resolution 1325 are essential in raising awareness of the need for inclusion of women in conflict prevention and sustainable peacebuilding. Estonia is currently implementing the second national action plan which was created and also is being implemented together with NGOs.

Mr. President,

A fundamental lesson that we have been taught through our experiences, also through the Secretary General’s report, is the sheer detail in which sexual violence in conflict driven zones has to be dealt with. Let us work together, domestically and globally, to halt sexual violence terminally.

Thank you.  
 

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