Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, Permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council 20th Session, Geneva, Switzerland
Thank you Mr. Vice President.
Despite significant efforts by the international community, women still suffer disproportionately from poverty and violence. Tackling the underlying causes of violence against women requires not just the economic and political participation of women, but a concerted effort by States and civil society, including men and boys, to respect the human rights and dignity of women.
As recognized by UN Security Council Resolution 1820, rape and other sexual violence as a weapon of war are generally directed at women and girls. But women are also leaders who drive durable peace processes and make security inclusive and sustainable.
The United States recognizes the importance of engaging women in making and keeping peace. The U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security establishes new initiatives designed to ensure that women are represented effectively across the full range of conflict prevention, peacemaking, and relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts; that they are protected against sexual and gender-based violence; and that they are at the table in decision-making institutions during and after conflicts and during periods of transition.
Prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of violence against women are important components of a State's responsibility to protect and promote human rights. However, providing effective remedies outside the court system can also empower women who have experienced violence to reclaim their dignity and their lives.
Such remedies could include reparations for harm suffered; restitution; rehabilitation; and guarantees of prevention and non-repetition. This year, for example, the United States began work with private sector partners, in three pilot countries, to train and gainfully employ victims of trafficking, who in many cases are women and children, increasing their opportunities for social and economic inclusion.
To truly provide remedies that respond to all forms of violence against women—sexual, physical, and psychological, among others—women must have a voice in defining the crimes, the penalties, and the solutions. This involvement will not just build stronger institutions, but stronger and more resilient communities that respect and promote the human rights of women and girls.
Thank you, Madame President.