Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Madam President,

I’d like to begin by thanking Malta for organising this open debate and Deputy Prime Minister Fearne for presiding over this meeting. I also thank Special Representative Patten for her briefing.

As a survivor of the Darfur Genocide, Ms. Ahmadi exemplifies the resilience of the Sudanese women and girls in the face of unimaginable suffering. Her participation underpins the very core of the WPS agenda: women are not just victims—they are active agents of change and essential to peace and security.

Allow me to also thank UN Goodwill Ambassador Gurira for her powerful remarks.

Madame President,

As made clear in the Secretary-General’s report, and echoed by speakers today, crimes of conflict related sexual violence remain rampant—and the proliferation of weapons contributes to this grim reality.  

Weapons are not only used to commit crimes of CRSV, but their illicit proliferation can indirectly fuel conflict, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of such crimes taking place.

The United Arab Emirates unequivocally condemns all forms of sexual violence, not least of those perpetrated in conflict.

In this regard, I would like to make three recommendations that focus on how gender-responsive arms control can help prevent CRSV.

First, we must utilize all possible tools to address the scourge of CRSV and prevent the illicit flow of arms to armed groups, organized crime, and terrorist groups.

The Security Council must ensure its sanctions regimes are strong and robust, with standalone designation criterion to impose targeted arms embargoes upon individuals and groups perpetrating sexual violence.

The mandates of Expert Panels should include requisite gender expertise to better inform the Council of the gendered impact on conflict.

We should also leverage existing reporting mechanisms and technical expertise of entities from within the UN system—like UNODC and UNODA—to develop a more gender-responsive approach to this topic.

Second, we must improve data and reporting on both crimes of CRSV and the proliferation of arms.

By better understanding these two phenomena and their interlinkages, we can strengthen accountability for these heinous crimes.

The importance of disaggregated data cannot be overstated. As we heard today, 70 to 90 percent of CRSV incidents involve small arms and light weapons.

The existing challenges of reporting and data on CRSV are exacerbated with accelerated drawdowns of peacekeeping operations.

Networks with local communities are all the more important to avoid compounding existing blind spots.

Third, greater efforts to strengthen the gender responsive aspects of security sector reform are required. Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration and education programmes must be equipped to combat gender stereotypes and negative social norms. This can directly address the root causes of CRSV.

The design, development, and implementation of these programmes must ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women, particularly survivors of CRSV.  

Madam President,

It is simply untenable that most perpetrators of conflict related sexual violence have not been brought to justice to answer for their crimes. We must end the impunity that allows rape to be used as a weapon of war.

In our efforts to prevent sexual violence and the illicit proliferation of weapons, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. The international community, and in particular this Council, must continue to implement the normative framework to eliminate these crimes once and for all and the UAE remains fully committed towards this goal. 

Thank you, Madam President.