Statement by Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the open debate of the UN Security Council on “Women and Peace and Security”. New York, 30 November 2012
Let me begin by thanking you for convening an open debate on women and peace and security. We appreciate the analysis and recommendations of the Secretary-General contained in document S/2012/732 which notes the significant progress achieved at the normative level. We believe that the focus should now be on implementation which must be consistent, coherent, and comprehensive.
Continuous engagement by the Security Council on the subject is required because mainstreaming gender perspective into conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict rehabilitation remains an unfinished business.
In this ongoing endeavor, civil society organisations have an important role to play - monitoring implementation, holding international and national leaders to account, providing ideas and feed-back on what works, and giving the voice to the most vulnerable groups.
Furthermore, as some countries are reviewing or are about to renew their national action plans, civil society organisations can provide useful inputs on the best practices and lessons learned, which would be helpful in further improving those plans.
Lithuania adopted its national action plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325 in December 2011. One of the first things we did in drafting the plan was to turn to women’s NGOs for their input. Their insights and practical experience helped to make our plan more focused and more results-oriented.
We will continue working with women’s organisations, including in developing gender awareness and gender advisor training programmes meant for future peace keeping and civilian police mission participants.
As a member of Friends of UNSCR1325 and Friends of mediation group, Lithuania concurs with the UNSG that gender dimension of mediation must be clearly and consistently articulated. Women must be part of the process, as mediators and as peace negotiators. Mediation efforts must take into account their needs for political, economic, and social empowerment.
UNSG Special Envoys, UN mediators, UN peacekeeping operations, political missions and peace-building support offices should regularly consult with women’s organizations on the ground and keep up their efforts aimed at facilitating and supporting women’s equal participation and full involvement in peace negotiation, post-conflict reconstruction, electoral processes, and recovery. We call on the Security Council to make sure that all UN peacekeeping missions’ mandates should have an integrated gender perspective.
One important factor for women’s greater participation in conflict resolution and post-conflict recovery is their safety and security. Sadly, women and girl activists and women’s rights defenders are often subject to intimidations and violent attacks, including sexual violence. We must step up our efforts to provide protection for women human rights defenders and must tackle impunity with all due severity and determination.
Creating an enabling environment for women’s equal participation also requires a change in mentality and overcoming existing gender stereotypes and prejudices. This in turn demands consistent efforts to involve male local activists, traditional leaders, and more generally, the male half of the communities concerned, including boys.
Furthermore, it is of utmost importance that sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff and related personnel should be fully eliminated. Although on the decline, such cases constitute a double breach of women’s safety and dignity who risk suffering or have suffered violence, including sexual violence in conflict zones, and end up being abused by those who are there to protect them. We fully support the UNSG in his call to enforce a zero tolerance policy vis-a-vis sexual exploitation and impunity.
My delegation would like to stress the importance of continuing to raise awareness of and to ensure consistent adherence to the implementation of necessary measures in codes of conducts of the armed forces of states. Sharing best practices and encouraging integration of measures for the protection of women in armed conflicts into operational documents should be a part of our efforts.
Let me also note that my delegation agrees with the Secretary General on the need to look into the gender aspect of armed violence fuelled by the availability, limited control and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. In this regard, my country is looking forward to the upcoming Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in March 2013 and strongly supports calls for a gender perspective in the future treaty, including the need to retain the obligation for exporting states to avoid arms being used to commit or facilitate gender-based violence or violence against children.
I thank you, Mr. President.