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Rede von Staatsminister Annen zur Eröffnung der Konferenz “Action with Women and Peace - Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ensuring a Survivor-centered Approach”

24.11.2020 - Rede

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I would like to congratulate Korea on hosting this conference. Covid-19 exacerbates gender-based violence all over the world, and particularly in fragile settings. Addressing a survivor-centered approach could not be more timely.

By adopting Resolution 1325 in 2000, the Security Council called on all parties to armed conflict “to take specific measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence” and stressed the need for states to “put an end to impunity”.

20 years later, we have to realize that this particularly horrific form of violence is still a common practice in conflicts around the world.

The annual report by the UN Secretary General on sexual violence in conflict gives a gruesome account of the spread of this crime.

The fact that High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is joining us today correctly reflects:

This is a security issue and a human rights issue at the same time. I would therefore also like to congratulate Spain and the core group for successfully introducing a resolution on Women, Peace and Security in the Human Rights Council on the occasion of this anniversary.

We must continue to work hard to protect civilians from sexual violence. Under our presidency, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2467 in April 2019.

The resolution urges member states to more consistently hold perpetrators to account. It urges the Security Council to make better and more active use of sanctions to deter these heinous crimes. In both respects there are some positive developments, including three new listings by the Security Council, but, in both respects, there is a lot of scope to do more.

Resolution 2467 also anchors a survivor-centered approach in the Women, Peace and Security agenda. It is a critical step towards ensuring that survivors of sexual violence get the help and support they need.

Germany has integrated the survivor-centered approach into our work in conflict regions.

We support initiatives by IOM and the Mukwege Foundation to develop redress and reparation measures. We support Medica Mondiale in their crucial work with survivors. And we fund the development of clinical guidelines for the development of all survivors, including men and boys.

However, one-and-a-half years after the adoption of the resolution, and twenty years after the adoption of Resolution 1325, we see little progress in overcoming conflict-related sexual violence.

There is so much at stake:

Sexual violence does not only destroy women and men, girls and boys. It also destroys families and entire communities.

In many conflict and post-conflict countries, sexual violence has become so common that it will take entire generations before people can live without fear of violence again.

That is directly opposed to our idea of democratic, stable and secure societies. It is a threat to peace and security. Investing in the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence therefore also means investing in the stability of societies.

During extensive travel in Afghanistan and the Middle East, I have spoken to survivors of sexual violence.

The stories of suffering of the survivors only hint at the horror that women, girls, boys and men went through. However, what impressed me most of the conversations with survivors is the courage and determination with which many stand up again, stand up and tell their stories.

Our job is to act upon it. For Germany, this means continuing our multilateral work for the equal participation of women in peace and security and protection from sexual violence in conflicts. In fragile contexts, Germany addresses impunity and effectively supports survivors of sexual violence. Cooperation with women peacebuilders, women human rights defenders, and other civil society is particularly important to us.

This is why we support a shelter for human rights defenders and women peacebuilders in Kabul, and fund the amazing work of civil society all over the world in preventing and overcoming sexual violence, and supporting survivors.

Support for survivors also includes ensuring their sexual and reproductive rights and their access to sexual and reproductive health services that ensure safe and effective treatment. There has been considerable pushback on this issue. Achievements made over decades are being questioned. We must courageously oppose these backlashes!

Let me again congratulate Korea on hosting this conference, which is being held as part of the Korean “Action with Women and Peace (AWP)” Initiative. I wish this conference all success.


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