NEW YORK: Deputy of Kuwait’s Permanent Delegate to the UN Counselor Bader Al-Munayyekh urged world communities to boost UN peacekeeping operations, including women’s empowerment in post-conflict situations. It is important to back peacekeeping missions in war-torn countries, particularly with holding sexual assault perpetrators accountable and bringing them to justice, Munayyekh said during a UNSC session Friday night.
Wartime sexual violence is one of the most hideous crimes against humanity, especially since it targets women and children and leads them to a lifetime health, mental, and physical disorder, he noted. The cumulative effects of such violence could expand to generations, rule out any chance of achieving reconciliation and peace, and destabilize societies in the short and long-terms, said Munayyekh.
Terrorist organizations such as the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Boko Haram have used sexual violence to terrorize people and finance their criminal operations, he added. Sexual assault has also been used to target ethnic and religious minorities and displace them from their original homelands, such as the case of the minority Muslim community in Myanmar, said Munayyekh.
The international community and UNSC should bear their responsibilities and do their best to stop these intentional and systematic crimes and violations against humanity, and bring their perpetrators to justice, he stressed. So far, UNSC has succeeded in laying solid standards to thwart sexual assaults in conflict situations, but it has not implemented them fully yet, said Munayyekh.
He recalled UNSC resolution 1820 (2008), which affirmed the council’s intention, when establishing and renewing state-specific sanction regimes, to consider imposing “targeted and graduated” measures against warring factions who committed rape and other forms of violence against women and girls. Therefore, it is important to boost cooperation with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict in order to determine perpetrators of criminal sexual assaults and include their names in regimes’ sanction lists, he added.
The state has a primary responsibility to protect its citizens from sexual violence in conflict, Munayyekh said, adding the international community and UN bodies must cooperate toward building states’ potentials, boosting their security and judicial systems, and revive their civil societies. State societies also have the responsibility of denounce all forms of violence against women and children, preserve their full rights, build their abilities toward protecting themselves and families, and secure their safety when testifying in court against assault criminals, he added.
Munayyekh mentioned regional and non-regional organizations’ role in stopping sexual violence in conflict, lauding Arab League’s recent efforts to stop all forms of violence against women, particularly sexual assault, and provide all necessary resources to rehabilitate sexual violence victims. Achieving justice for war and conflict survivors is an inseparable part of attaining effective accountability, which would prevent and stop hideous crimes against humanity, he said, adding achieving justice for victims of sexual violence in conflict is also an inseparable part of attaining a permanent peace.
The Kuwaiti diplomat stressed the importance of bolstering close cooperation between the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict and member-states in order to empower survivors to obtain justice and compensations, respect to their cultures, care for their physical, mental and social health, and economic support to reach sustainable justice.
He also expressed his country’s support and encouragement of the efforts exerted by a number of international bodies specialized in monitoring most dangerous crimes and violations around the world, including sexual violence, and bringing their perpetrators to justice.
Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of UNSC resolution 1325, Munayyekh noted, hoping to contribute with UN partners in the forthcoming period to attain a quantum leap in empowering women effectively to achieve peace and stability in the world, particularly the Middle East region. – KUNA