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Side Event: Preventing Sexual Violence Crimes through Justice and Deterrence

Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán

June 20

Excellencies, distinguished guests, please take your seats so we can start the event. Thank you very much.

Excellencies, dear colleagues, distinguished guests, good afternoon, and welcome to this special event which marks the second formal observance at the United Nations of the “International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, 19 June”.

It is an honour for Argentina to be hosting once again, together with the Offices of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and for Children and Armed Conflict, a special event in commemoration of this international day. Allow me to express our deep appreciation to the Permanent Missions of Australia, Canada, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, the United States and Uruguay, and to the Delegation of the European Union, for joining us in co-sponsoring this event.

Today´s commemoration is being transmitted live through webcast via UN web TV and counts with interpretation in English, French and Spanish. Also, please feel free to join us in tweeting live during the event using the hashtag #EndRapeinWar.

Allow me also to acknowledge the presence of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, of our distinguished panelists, as well as of the high level representatives from co-sponsoring Member States.

We are gathered here today to commemorate the International Day, whose objectives are to raise awareness of the need to prevent, put an end and fight impunity for crimes of conflict-related sexual violence; foster solidarity with the survivors of sexual violence around the world; and to pay tribute to all those who are courageously working on the front-lines for the eradication of these crimes.

The international day was established by the General Assembly in 2015, through its resolution 69/293, which was an initiative put forward by the Government of Argentina, together with the offices of the then SRSGs on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Bangura, and for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui. The resolution was adopted by consensus, but most importantly the fact that it was co-sponsored by 114 Member States was and still is a clear display of the relevance and importance of the subject and the need to prevent and eradicate these heinous crimes, promoting accountability and fighting impunity and providing all necessary assistance to its victims.

The theme for this year´s observance is “Preventing Sexual Violence Crimes through Justice and Deterrence”. We wanted to highlight on this occasion the aspects of prevention, as well as those related to accountability, access to justice and the fight against impunity. As displayed during the recent open debate on conflict related sexual violence at the Security Council, it is more clear than ever that prevention and accountability are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Changing from a culture of condemnation to a culture of deterrence, through the provision of timely and adequate legal services, access to justice, accountability measures and the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes are fundamental factors to comprehensively prevent these heinous acts from taking place.

In that sense, it is imperative to shed a light to these crimes, which very often remain in the dark, and sometimes are considered as a by-product of war and conflict. For that, it is necessary to change that logic and generate one that imposes effective justice and accountability as a by-product of sexual violence crimes. It is only by delivering that accountability and redress measures and ending impunity that we will be able to effectively prevent such crimes from taking place.

Sexual violence in conflict is a despicable phenomenon that not only affects international peace and security, it is a human rights as well as a gender issue, a scourge that affects every society and prevents its full and sustainable development, as well as the dignity, integrity and human rights of each individual.

We hope that today´s event will help us in reflecting about this issue and the necessary steps and measures that are needed for putting an end to these crimes.

Thank you very much.

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