Inside The Security Council Open Debate On Sexual Violence In Conflict

By Ijechi Nwaozuzu, United Nations Security Council Monitor

Razia Sultana addresses the Security Council's open debate on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten)

On 16 April 2018, under the Presidency of Peru, the UN Security Council held its annual open debate on sexual violence in conflict. Responding to trends outlined in the 2018 Secretary-General’s report, the debate focused on preventing conflict-related sexual violence by empowering women, advancing gender equality, and ensuring access to justice. After years of coordinated advocacy, the WILPF’s coalition, the NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security, was successful in supporting the first Rohingya to ever brief the Council, Ms. Razia Sultana, as civil society speaker. Ms. Sultana highlighted the impact of arms transfers and the mining industry on renewed sexual violence and humanitarian crises across the globe, and called on member states to not to “turn a blind eye” to these issues.

This year’s focus on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict was pioneering in its approach by addressing root causes and recognising that strengthening women’s participation and rights is a critical part of preventing sexual violence and conflict. The Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten and the civil society representative’s statements also took on new ground in highlighting the importance of addressing militarisation and political economies of gender equality versus war. As WILPF’s analysis has shown, increased militarisation and the arms trade fuel conflict and sexual violence. In this light, further recognition and action are needed to support disarmament and political economies of gender justice and peace.

Read WILPF’s Analysis of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict here>>

Read Civil Society Statement delivered by Razia Sultana on behalf of NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security here>>

****Other UN Security Council open debates of April focused on Youth, Peace and Security and the Situation in the Middle East