Ambassador Le Hoai Trung. Photo: VOV

ASEAN is strongly committed to the prevention and fight against sexual violence, particularly sexual violence in armed conflict.

Ambassador Le Hoai Trung, head of the Permanent Representative Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations, made the statement on behalf of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) at a working session of the UN Security Council on April 25 in New York, which focused on sexual violence in violence in armed conflict.

He said sexual violence in both armed conflict and post-conflict situations continues to affect and threaten the well-being of women and girls in many regions of the world, affirming that ASEAN strongly condemns all forms of violence against women and girls, in particular sexual violence.

ASEAN therefore welcomes the important actions taken by this Council to address this atrocious crime, including its landmark resolutions 1325 (2000), as well as subsequent relevant resolutions and presidential statements, Trung added.

He noted that these actions, together with enormous efforts by the entire United Nations and the international community, have helped raise awareness about the catastrophic impacts of sexual violence in armed conflict and post conflict situations, which need to be addressed in a comprehensive manner.

ASEAN is of the view that the international community, with the United Nations at the center, must double its efforts to address the three inter-related dimensions – namely, prevention of sexual violence, care for its victims and empowerment of women, Trung said.

He stressed that prevention of armed conflict-related sexual violence must be addressed at its root cause that is prevention of armed conflicts itself, and that raising awareness are essential to the prevention of sexual violence and protection of victims.

Victims of sexual violence must be provided with multi-sectoral assistance and services tailored to their specific needs and they must be protected against stigmatization and exclusion, and given the opportunity and capability to re-engage and re-integrate with their communities.

Trung also underlined the need of full and equal political, social and economic participation of women, saying that this is key to addressing sexual violence at its roots.

He said all ASEAN Member States are parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and have supported all relevant Security Council resolutions and presidential statements related to women, peace and security, including on sexual violence in the context of armed conflict.

At regional level, ASEAN have established the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children.

Initiatives like “Stop Violence Against Women” and Workshops on Women, Security and Peace in ASEAN are also important steps taken by ASEAN to raise awareness on the issue.

At the session, other participants also proposed measures to fight against sexual violence in armed conflicts.

They emphasised the important role of the UN peacekeeping force as well as initiatives and joint efforts of all countries and international organisations in dealing with the crime.

In his speech, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed that sexual violence in armed conflicts is an urgent issue that need to be addressed thoroughly.

He said UN experts are working closely with several countries, such as Colombia, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, South Sudan and Somali to better the countries’ judicial system for effectively dealing with the issue.

Source: VNA