New York 24 June 2013
Statement by Mrs. Dragana Anđelić Deputy Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations at the Security Council debate on Women and Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Conflict
Thank you, Mr President. Primarily I would like to thank the Delegation of UK for organizing this important Debate and we welcome valuable contribution of Honorable Foreign Secretary Mr. Hague. I also thank the Secretary-General, and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura, who visited Bosnia and Herzegovina recently. ... [tbd] for their statements.
(Bosnia and Herzegovina aligns its self with the statement delivered today by the Delegation of the European Union).
Violence against women is certainly the most brutal manifestation of discrimination and we are fully committed to addressing all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual violence in conflict. Protection of women in conflict situations and ending impunity remain our utmost priorities. Sexual violence in armed conflict represents one of the most serious forms of the violation of the international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Furthermore, impunity for sexual violence in conflict is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated; therefore we advocate the importance of women’s access to justice in conflict and post-conflict settings. We also believe that more has to be done to address these ongoing crimes, including by permanent opposition to the traditional account that sexual violence in armed conflict is a cultural phenomenon, an unavoidable consequence of war or a less important crime.
Bearing all this in mind, we fully support the work of the UN in addressing sexual violence in armed conflict, particularly the mandates of the UN Secretary General's Special Representatives on Children in Armed Conflict and Sexual Violence in Conflict and we continue to closely cooperate with them. We acknowledge their active advocacy efforts, inter alia with Governments, in order to address these horrible crimes.
Тhe Security Council's recognition of this matter as a serious concern for international peace and security is of great importance for building solid framework for preventing and addressing such gruesome tactic of war. Therefore; the Council has significant role to play in accordance to the relevant resolutions --1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010) -- particularly in emphasizing the importance of national and international authorities strengthening the rule of law response. All appropriate mechanisms and procedures for monitoring commitments by parties in conflict should be supported by the Council. Also, UN Officials should be more engaged in dialogue with States and other stakeholders, who may exert influence, to elicit such commitments.
At this point I would like to elaborate on the achievements of my country in this regard.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to promoting the role of women in peace and security, through the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions. To illustrate our genuine commitment in this regard we need to point out that Bosnia and Herzegovina was the first country in Southeast Europe to adopt the Action Plan aimed at implementation of the aforementioned resolution. This Plan was used as sample document for the other countries of the region that drafted similar Action Plans. In addition, my country also adopted Gender Action plan and passed laws regulating prevention of violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Involving women in conflict prevention and mediation, deployment of women's protection advisers to United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions is crucial to building and reinforcing peace. We believe that women should play greater role as legitimate partners in international and national efforts to maintain peace and security which is fundamental for more effective performance on the ground. Recruiting women in civil, military and police components of peacekeeping missions can encourage local women to report incidents of sexual violence and can also contribute to establishing better communication with local communities. We spare no effort to advance this issue and, as result of our commitment, the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina have adopted a policy that one third of nominated candidates for peacekeeping missions must be women.
We are aware of the fact that national Governments bear the primary legal and moral responsibility for the protection of civilian populations. In this regard and with the aim of improving the overall situation of women victims of rape we make efforts to finalize drafting of the document “Program for victims of rape, sexual abuse and torture in BiH for period 2013-2016”, which will seek to improve the position of all the victims. One of the goals within this Program emphasizes the obligation of the State to provide access to programs for victims of war reparations and the need to provide legal and psychological support to victims and/or witnesses in court proceedings and after them.
We recognize positive steps in holding perpetrators to account at all levels. However, we expect that grater efforts need to be undertaken in this regard, including through the work of the International Criminal Court, the ad hoc tribunals and the national tribunals.
Finally, we would like to point out that the international community must permanently work on strengthening UN efforts to address sexual violence in armed conflict. Bosnia and Herzegovina stands ready to contribute to those efforts.
Thank you, Mr. President.