AT UN, Pakistan pushes for ‘practical action’ to end conflict-related sexual violence

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called on the international community to convert political will into practical action to end conflict-related sexual violence that poses a threat to world peace and security.
“The world has watched in horror as several state and non-state actors
have employed rape and sexual abuse as a deliberate policy to subdue and suppress entire populations,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the Security Council on Tuesday.
“We see this in Pakistan’s neighbourhood as well,” she said in an
obvious reference to the grave situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir where security forces are attempting to crush a resolute struggle by the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination.
“Unfortunately,” the Pakistani envoy added, “those who commit and
condone sexual violence are often not fully held to account.”
Speaking in a debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ambassador Lodhi
also said that the best way to eliminate conflict-related sexual violence was to prevent and resolve conflicts.
For too long, she said, sexual violence had been considered an
unfortunate and inevitable reality of conflict.
“For far too long, humanity has stood on the side-lines, seeking
justification for its collective inaction, in an evasive sense of fatalism,” the Pakistani envoy said, stressing that sexual violence was not an incidental by-product of conflict but instead an instrument employed specifically to humiliate and terrorize civilians.
While a number of Council resolutions had built momentum around the need to address the issue, progress had so far been both uneven and varied, Ambassador Lodhi said.
“The top priority should be to combat impunity for these crimes,” she
said.
“We must redirect the stigma and the consequences of sexual violence
from the survivors to the perpetrators of such acts. As prosecution is critical for prevention, emphasis should in particular, be placed to strengthen and enhance the capacity of national institutions and criminal justice systems in countries facing armed conflict.”
Attention should also be placed on providing support for victims,
addressing the special plight of migrant women and girls, integrating a gender perspective into the peacebuilding paradigm and resolving conflicts through a holistic and multisectoral approach, she said.
Also, the ambassador said that multidimensional peacekeeping missions
with protection mandates played a key role in combating violence against women. “As a leading troop contributing country, Pakistan remains committed to this cause”, she said, adding that gender-sensitization had been a mandatory part of the training for Pakistani peacekeepers. APP