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Security Council Adopts Text Requesting Detailed Information on Suspected Perpetrators of Sexual Violence during Armed Conflict - resolution 1960 (2010) unanimously adopted

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Security Council
6453rd Meeting (PM)

Measures Proposed in Resolution 1960 (2010) Include Listing, Enhanced Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting

As it began a two-day open debate on women and peace and security, the Security Council today requested the Secretary-General to supply it with detailed information on parties credibly suspected of responsibility for patterns of sexual violence during armed conflict.

Expressing deep concern that sexual violence in situations of armed conflict continued to occur - becoming in some situations "systematic and widespread, reaching appalling levels of brutality" - the Council expressed its intention to use such a list of perpetrators as a basis for action, including the consideration of sanctions and other targeted measures.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1960 (2010), the Council called upon parties to armed conflict to make specific and time-bound commitments to combat sexual violence, prohibiting such crimes through clear orders down chains of command, codes of conduct and other means, while investigating alleged abuses and holding perpetrators accountable in a timely manner. It requested the Secretary-General to monitor the implementation of such commitments and regularly update the Council on their fulfilment.

By other terms of the wide-ranging text, the Council also requested enhanced monitoring, analysis and reporting on all sexual violence in conflict, and better cooperation between all United Nations actors for a system-wide response to sexual violence, while anticipating the appointment of more women protection advisers to peacekeeping missions.

Anticipating also the Secretary-General's elaboration of scenario-based training materials on combating sexual violence, the Council encouraged Member States to use those as a reference, as part of enhanced peacekeeper training. and to deploy more female military and police personnel. It encouraged the Secretary-General to improve the capacity of peacekeeping missions to communicate effectively with local communities for the purpose of protecting civilians.

Opening the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked Council members for adopting the resolution, saying: "You are putting in place a vital building block for holding perpetrators accountable." However, he also reminded them that even as they spoke, armed elements were targeting civilians, raping women, as well as men, while terrorizing entire populations.

Pledging to do everything possible to ensure that the resolution led to real protection for populations at risk, he outlined the steps already being taken by the United Nations system in the wake of the mass rapes in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo earlier in the year. In light of the critical importance of national efforts, he called on leaders around the world to join him in declaring "enough is enough".

Margot Wallström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said the resolution responded to the proposed system outlined in the Secretary-General's report. She said she had made ending impunity her top priority, stressing also the need for recognition and reparation. The aim was to bring perpetrators to justice, but also to bring justice to victims, she added.

"We cannot bring justice to every victim throughout the history of war. But what we are here to do today, and from this moment on, is to ensure that conflict-related sexual violence no longer goes unreported, unaddressed or unpunished," she said, welcoming the resolution's adoption while emphasizing that what mattered most was its implementation. She urged the Council to give the matter continuous consideration.

Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that in the course of 2010, his Department and the Department of Field Support had launched initiatives to improve protection mandates and support them. At the same time, peacekeeping missions were but one protection agency among others and could not guarantee absolute protection, he cautioned.

He said the operational concept for protection included guidance for the development of protection strategies within missions, training modules, assessment of resources, consideration of the processes necessary for the protection of civilians pre- and post-deployment, and capacity-building initiatives. He also underlined efforts to employ women in peacekeeping operations at all levels, stressing that their empowerment in relevant countries was critical, so that women could participate in shaping protective institutions.

Babacar Gaye, Military Adviser in the Office of Military Affairs in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and former Force Commander of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), stressed that the fight against sexual violence had been incorporated into the global strategy to protect civilians, with those in positions of leadership committed to coming up with a detailed strategy in support of national authorities and translating them into operational directives. He assured the Council that the present Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Office of Military Affairs were working diligently in that regard, in coordination with other actors.

Following those presentations, speakers agreed that the resolution just adopted was an important new tool to combat sexual violence, while stressing the key importance of implementation. They noted with deep concern the continued prevalence of sexual violence despite previous international action.

Ms. Wallström's focus on ending impunity and prosecution, while stressing care for victims, was met with wide approval, as was the listing of perpetrators proposed in the resolution. With regard to the latter, however, the representative of the Russian Federation warned that the effectiveness of such listings would be determined by their timeliness and accuracy.

Also speaking were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Mexico, France, Lebanon, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Uganda, China, Brazil, Gabon, Japan, Austria, United States, Armenia (as Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women), Germany, Liechtenstein, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Canada, Luxembourg, Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Israel and Ireland.

The meeting began at 3:14 p.m. and suspended at 6:32 p.m. It was scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Friday, 17 December.