NEW YORK – On 23 April 2019, at the UN Security Council Open Debate on sexual violence in conflict presided by Germany’s Foreign Minister H.E. Heiko Mass, the UAE reconfirmed its commitment to ending sexual violence in conflict and reviewed its efforts to implement the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda.

H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, underlined that although ending conflict-related sexual violence was a daunting task, it was a moral imperative for the international community.

“We all agree that sexual violence in conflict is a particularly heinous and vicious crime, as well as a threat to international peace and security,” Ambassador Nusseibeh underscored. “Some armed groups, however, continue to use sexual-based violence as a tactic of war with no fear of consequence to subjugate and humiliate, or to retain recruits.” In this regard, she pointed out that despite recent loss of territory and defeats, not a single member of Da’esh has been held accountable for the sexual violence it has inflicted, as described by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad Basee in her briefing the Council at the start of the debate. She also underlined how unconscionable it was that no one has been punished for the sexual violence directed at the Rohingya. She stressed that ending impunity was an essential deterrent against future crimes.

Ambassador Nusseibeh emphasized the need for survivor-centered approaches that remove the barriers, like stigma and lack of resources, that can prevent survivors from coming forward. She urged the international community to raise awareness around the stigma surrounding rape and offer resources and support in a way that empowers survivors. In addition to supporting the Secretary-General’s recommendations on addressing conflict-related sexual violence, she called on Member States to focus on documenting and tracking cases to better measure the effectiveness of global efforts in eradicating sexual violence and to hold individuals accountable. She also called for supporting national efforts to address impunity and mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment in foreign policy and development programming.

In her review of the UAE’s efforts to uphold its commitments to the implementation of the WPS agenda, Ambassador Nusseibeh highlighted the military and peacekeeping training program for Arab women launched by the UAE and UN Women in early 2019. The program aims to build the capacity of women in the Arab region and will strengthen the pipeline of women for deployment to peacekeeping operations in the future. The first cohort consisting to 134 women completed the training recently, and the program will expand to include women trainees from countries beyond the Arab region.

During the meeting, Ambassador Nusseibeh announced that as part of the UAE’s efforts to further the WPS agenda in the next phase of implementation beyond 2020, the UAE will launch a panel series with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. The series aims to examine the important role of women across the social, political and economic post-conflict reconstruction and to elevate research and better inform data-driven policy and practice in- a critically under-studied area of the WPS agenda.