On 14 July, the UN Security Council held an open debate on the topic of «Conflict-related sexual violence». The year 2023 marks the fifteenth anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1820, which calls for a complete end to sexual violence in conflict and stresses the importance of ending impunity for such violence. Despite the progress made since then to implement this important resolution, sexual violence still affects thousands of people in conflicts every year, particularly women.
The UN Secretary General's Annual Report 2022 highlights 20 countries in which sexual violence is perpetrated. «Fifteen years after the adoption of Resolution 1820, sexual and gender-based violence in conflict persists, as does impunity. We must fully and sustainably implement the requirements that the Council set itself in this resolution», said Simon Geissbühler, Head of the FDFA’s Peace and Human Rights Division, at the debate organised by the United Kingdom.
During the open debate, Switzerland stressed that strengthening capacities and expertise of UN missions and national institutions was essential to preventing and deterring such crimes in the future. Furthermore, Switzerland has pointed out that the prevention of sexual violence also requires the inclusion of women in arms control and disarmament processes. The illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons increases the risk of conflict-related sexual violence.
Switzerland is also in favour of an approach that focuses on survivors and takes their needs into account. «Without protection against sexual violence, there can be no equal participation. And, as we well know, the commitment of women is a precondition for lasting peace», concluded Simon Geissbühler.