Intervention by Ambassador Katalin Bogyay on Sexual Violence in Conflict at the open debate of the Security Council, held on 15 April 2015.
Your Excellency, Mme President,
Honorable members of the Security Council, Dear Colleagues,
I take a stand against the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war,
I fully support and have joined “ GET CROSS! “,
the global campaign with my crossed arms!
I wish to thank you, and Jordan for initiating “the old monster of humanity” as the topic of today open debate. I also wish to thank Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and and you Ms Hamsatu Allamin of Nigeria for sharing so openly all these personal account.
Hungary of course fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
I said “old monster”, because women and girls have always been particularly vulnerable victims during armed conflicts, but in modern history sexual violence is often used as a weapon of war, in order to demoralize women themselves, or the community they belong to. Sexual and gender-based violence also rarely cease at the end of hostilities, and continue well into the ‘post-conflict’ phase.
We just know too well from history that sexual violence is often used by people with guns and power as a multi-faceted strategy to terrorize populations, displace communities, to humiliate women, children and men and destroy their human dignity for the rest of their lives.
These crimes are serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and represent one of the cruelest forms of discrimination against women which the international community must not tolerate. In this context Hungary firmly supports the international efforts aimed at eliminating all forms of sexual violence in conflicts.
In this spirit, high-level Hungarian delegation participated at the Global Summit “End Sexual Violence in Conflict” held in London last June. The Hungarian Government joined the “Call to Action to End Violence against Women and Girls in Emergencies” and the “Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and forced Marriage”.
Honorable members of the Security Council,
We are deeply troubled by the harrowing accounts of sexual violence described in the report of the Secretary-General used as a tactic of war.
Sexual violence remains chronically underreported as a result of fear and stigmatization.
We support the urge of recognition that sexual violence can not only be employed as a tactic of war but as a tactic of terror. We would like to see more official women pecakeepers and women peacemakers strengthening and helping communication in the field.
Armed conflicts today have been increasingly characterized by extremist ideologies and ethnic or religious divisions which presents a new challenge for the international community.
Hungary is particularly concerned by ISIL’s targeting of women and girls especially the ones who are belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, Christians, Yazidis and women of other faith.
Also: the use of sexual violence as a form of persecution to forcibly displace populations is particularly worrisome. Displaced and refugee girls face particular risks and are more vulnerable to sexual abuse as is witnessed in refugee camps. A recent UN inter-agency report revealed that the rates of early marriage are on the rise in refugee camps which also puts girls at a higher risk of sexual abuse.
As today we agree with the Secretary General’s recommendation that effective counter terrorism strategies need to address the use of sexual violence as a tactic of terror and be adapted accordingly.
We firmly believe that these crimes must be prosecuted and punished under national and international law but, regrettably, impunity for perpetrators continues to be a major challenge. We support the efforts of the UN Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence aimed at assisting national authorities in criminal investigation and prosecutions, the collection and preservation of evidence, and criminal law reform.
The Declaration of Commitment to End to Sexual Violence in Conflict, endorsed by 144 Member States, including Hungary, in September 2013, is an important achievement in raising awareness and bringing an end to the silence surrounding this atrocious crime.
It is now imperative that the international community lives up to its political commitment by concrete and measurable actions.
Thank you, Mme President.