NEW YORK – At the United Nations’ Security Council, the UAE urged the international community to intensify efforts to combat impunity for sexual violence in conflict and reaffirmed its commitment to the UN’s ongoing efforts in addressing these heinous crimes.

H.E. Mrs. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, spoke at the Security Council’s Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, focusing her remarks on prevention through empowerment and gender equality. Ambassador Nusseibeh confirmed that the UAE stands with the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on conflict-related sexual violence, which affirms that women’s physical security is inextricably linked with their political, social, and economic status and rights.

“The importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment cannot be understated in efforts to prevent and respond to these crimes,” stressed Ambassador Nusseibeh. “Gender equality and women’s empowerment – fundamental principles of the UAE’s foreign policy – are core values, which, when woven throughout a society, can prevent violence against women.”

Ambassador Nusseibeh underscored that although the Council has adopted resolutions recognizing that sexual violence is used as a tool of war and a matter of international peace and security, there has been a failure in implementation. She called for strengthening the UN’s response to end these crimes and ensure accountability. 

Furthermore, Ambassador Nusseibeh underlined how terrorist groups such as Da’esh have utilized sexual violence to terrorize and displace victims and communities, with civilians living in fear that sexual violence will be used as a weapon of punishment against those who resist Da’esh’s sick world view. In light of these mass atrocities, Ambassador Nusseibeh stated that Member States should be vigilant against the continued risk of the trafficking of women and children who remain under Da’esh’s control. 

She also shed light on the alarming plight of the Rohingya population and called on the international community to ensure accountability for these victims – mainly women and girls, but also men and boys – who are unacceptably targeted for their religion or ethnicity.

“The UAE believes that smart foreign policy is inclusive foreign policy – one that puts the rights of women front and center and at the heart of our collective response,” expressed Ambassador Nusseibeh. “The UAE will continue to do all that it can to address these crimes, and to continue to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as a critical element of this agenda.”