Open debate in the Security Council on
"Women and peace and security"
and Security Council resolution 1820
Statement by Mr. Jón Erlingur Jónasson
Deputy Permanent Representative
7 August 2009
Let me at the outset thank you for convening this open debate and the Secretary-General for his thorough report.
Iceland subscribes to the recommendations put forth by the Secretary-General in his report as to how to better implement resolution 1820.
The international community has a responsibility to protect civilians from the widespread and systematic use of sexual violence as tactics of war. While states bear primary responsibility, the international community also has an obligation to assist those states that are not able to fulfil that responsibility.
To tackle the deliberate use of sexual violence it is essential to understand the nature and scope of the problem. An effective monitoring and reporting mechanism is pivotal to ensuring the successful implementation of 1820. Useful synergies could be established between the monitoring and accountability mechanisms established under resolution 1612 and resolution 1820.
Furthermore, efforts to address sexual violence, as set out in resolution 1820, would benefit from increased cooperation among United Nations actors involved in peacekeeping, development and human rights, including gender equality and the status of women. By promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in national and international development policies, as well as in peace processes as set out in resolution 1325, the international community can effectively reduce the use of sexual violence as tactics of war.
The UN must lead by example. UN peacekeepers must receive proper training; they must not betray the trust we have placed in them by perpetrating acts of wanton violence. Troop contributing countries must adopt the appropriate measures.
Lastly, as long as impunity for sexual violence continues, these crimes will be difficult to suppress. To effectively end impunity, a broad range of actions is needed. At the national level, urgent legal and judicial system reforms are required to punish perpetrators. This will require active cooperation and assistance from the international community. Moreover, the Security Council should use all measures at its disposal, especially when it comes to persistent violators. We encourage the Council to ensure that sexual violence offences are addressed in the work of its Sanctions Committees, and to use its most effective tools, including targeted sanctions, as appropriate for such crimes.
Finally, my delegation would welcome annual reports by the Secretary-General on the progress and implementation of resolution 1820.