Mr. President,

I would like to thank Albania, the United Kingdom and the United States for organizing this event.

I would like to warmly thank the briefers, as well as for the courage with which you told us about the persistence of sexual violence in the world, and with which you also described the painful and long-term consequences of these crimes, the lack of progress in terms of prevention, the duty of accountability, but also the lack of funding for these efforts.

That is why, Mr. President, I would like to raise the following points:

Firstly, it is crucial to take warning signs seriously and use prevention tools. As soon as a conflict breaks out, reports of sexual violence in conflict immediately emerge. We must do something about these human rights violations by putting the subject on the agenda and raising public awareness. We must put in place appropriate mechanisms to prevent the escalation of such violence and to ensure that information is collected in a safe, ethical and effective manner. The information provided by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Patten's office is extremely relevant, including for the sanction’s committees. In peacekeeping missions, we need to ensure that women protection advisers are deployed and have sufficient resources. In this respect, we must work diligently with our colleagues on the Fifth Committee.

Secondly, up to 90% of incidents of sexual and gender-based violence involve a weapon. The illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons promotes and exacerbates these incidences and thus reinforces gender inequality. Our prevention efforts must therefore make more systematic use of gender-sensitive arms control and disarmament tools.

Thirdly, accountability requires long-term work and investment. Justice must be guaranteed for survivors. The criminalization of such acts must be ensured at international and national level. I would like to highlight the usefulness of the model legislation and guidance on investigating and prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence published by the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Patten.

The prosecution of sexual violence in the context of terrorism at the global level remains a persistent gap that needs to be filled. To this end, Switzerland is supporting a study on the subject by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), conducted in partnership with the team of experts on the rule of law and sexual violence.

Mr. President,

Conflict-related sexual violence is a tactic used against both civilians and combatants. To prevent, combat and deal with these despicable crimes, Switzerland calls for absolute respect for international law and the holistic application of the aforementioned instruments.

I thank you.