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Abdullah bin Zayed stresses UAE's support for UN initiative to combat sexual violence in conflict situations

posted on 26/09/2013: 2118 views



New York, NY: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, yesterday urged governments to stand together to support the UN initiative to combat sexual violence in conflict situations, including condemning this crime and prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators in accordance with international criminal law.

He said this in a statement during a United Nations meeting on the "Initiative to combat sexual violence in conflict situations" on the occasion of the declaration of international commitment to end sexual violence in conflict situations, being held in association with the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

Sheikh Abdullah also reiterated the UAE's commitment to work with its partners from the international community to eliminate this kind of violence, which he described as a war crime.

He called for strengthening the sense of responsibility and the emphasis on the criminal justice system in countries where conflicts arise to reduce the incidence of these crimes.

The UAE Foreign Minister also mentioned the support provided by the UAE to both the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women, to strengthen international efforts to eradicate this phenomenon, and its partnership with the United Kingdom to support the efforts of the Somali government in the fight against sexual violence during conflict.

The following is the statement in full of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah: I am pleased to begin my speech by expressing my sincere thanks to my colleague, William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary, for leading this initiative aimed at preventing sexual violence in all its forms.

A great effort has been exerted to unite the international community and strengthen its determination to tackle this crime, stripped of all the meanings of humanity.

As I believe in the awfulness of this crime, and the necessity of the world consensus to clearly denounce it, so I agreed to be the "World Supporter" for this initiative.

We live in a world of increasing conflicts and wars, such as those in Syria, for example. The crimes of rape and other forms of sexual violence that occur during these conflicts are not a new phenomenon. They have been repeated throughout history as a means to degrade communities, humiliate opponents and destroy them .

We still remained committed with our partners from the international community to eliminate this barbarism. We can no longer accept that such crimes will be an inevitable result of conflicts in the 21st century. We have to refer very clearly to them as a war crime.

It is a crime from which millions of people are suffering, with the worst practices and techniques, as described by a Bosnian rape victim who said, "He took my life without killing me". There is nothing worse than that.

To address this issue, we start to promote a sense of responsibility towards the elimination of these crimes, so as to ensure that the criminal justice system in the states in which conflicts arise between different parties has sufficient expertise and capabilities to enable it to deal effectively with these crimes.

I know that Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, has made unremitting efforts with a number of governments to help strengthen the police, military, and judicial capacities to address these issues. Let me encourage you to continue these good efforts. I thank you for them.

We also need to make further efforts to strengthen the role of women and girls in all walks of life. I would like to emphasise that the UAE is a strong supporter of UN Women [the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women]. The country provided an amount of two and a half million dollars for UN Women in 2012 and recently committed to providing one and a half million dollars in partnership with the United Kingdom in order to support the efforts of the Somali government in the fight against sexual violence during conflicts.

We look forward to strengthening the role played by UN Women under the leadership of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The strengthening of the role and empowerment of women means ensuring that education is provided, as well as giving them the opportunity to invest their talents in the labour market and to participate in decision-making in government and business sectors.

There are no quick solutions in this regard, but we must do what we can, and the UAE will continue to support this important work.

Let me finish my speech by urging all governments to stand together to support this initiative and to speak with one voice to express our condemnation of this crime and our common resolve to prosecute and punish it in accordance with the law. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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