Security Council Debate on Women, Peace, and Security – Report of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
(New York, April 17, 2013)
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations
First of all, I would like to congratulate Rwanda on your presidency of the Security Council during this month of April. I would like to thank the Secretary-General Special Representative, Mme. Zainab Hawa Bangura for the report and also to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, Mme. Louise Mushikiwabo, for their statements, and we would like to express Rwanda solidarity in the month that marks the teenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.
I would like also want to state Colombia's special recognition to Mrs. Bangura work and progress on the implementation of the provisions in the Security Council resolution 1960.
Colombia reiterates the importance of the work conducted by the Security Council which accompanies various agreements, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, amongst others.
Nonetheless, Colombia regrets that these situations continue to occur in different parts of the world.
Now, regarding the content of the Secretary-General Report on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts, I would like to highlight how, according to resolution 1960, the collected information on sexual violence should be timely, accurate, reliable, and objective. Colombia considers that in order to take the appropriate preventive and corrective measures by our authorities, it is essential that the information contained in the report has to be more accurate. Therefore, it is strange for us that some of the cases presented about the situation in Colombia do not have enough supporting information related to the incidents mentioned in the report.
We emphasize that for Colombia is important to fight all forms of sexual violence against women, children and adolescents and it is a source of concern, therefore, that the report states generically about increasing pressure on those responsible for acts of sexual violence in conflicts, including individuals, the parties, and the states alluded to in different reports.
Colombia would like to explain its position clearly here. Colombia understands that my making this plea the report of the Secretary-General is referring to the situations listed in the Annex to the report. That is, those situations that are under consideration by the Security Council and the sanctions committees established in connection with such situations, according to the provisions of operative paragraph 3 of resolution 1960.
Consequently, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General would act in accordance with the mandates and establishing clear distinctions with situations mentioned in the body of the report, but that are not part of the Security Council's agenda.
My delegation reiterates its position regarding the possible establishment of talks with state and non-state parties to obtain commitments. Such talks should always respect local law and domestic policies.
For this reason, we must insist that Colombia's policy regarding any dialogue between the United Nations and illegal armed groups operating in the country can only be done with prior and explicit consent from the Colombian government.
The Colombian Government attaches great importance to the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of sexual violence in armed conflicts and therefore is willing to address this complex problem.
Colombia has launched a number of public policies and it has taken concrete steps to protect the rights of victims of sexual violence in armed conflicts, such as the 1257 Act of 2008 on the Prevention and Sanction of Forms of Violence and Discrimination Against Women and the 1146 Act of 2007 for Sexual Violence Prevention and Comprehensive Care of Children and Adolescents Sexually Abused, and Decree 552 of 2012 that created the Inter-sectoral Commission for the Prevention of Recruitment and Use of Women, Children and Adolescents by Illegal Armed Groups acting outside the law.
Regarding the justice sector and the Colombian armed forces, as acknowledged by the report, Colombia has adopted the "Zero Tolerance Policy" which has been supplemented with a manual and protocol to guide members of the armed forces to address sexual violence that may occur as a result of the armed conflict. This document is widely disseminated among members of the Colombian security forces.
As can be seen, and as highlighted by the Secretary-General's report, Colombia has differential policies and guarantees that mark a breakthrough in the Government's efforts to address this complex issue with a comprehensive and reliable approach.
Also, there is ongoing work in coordination with the United Nations, the Presidential Office for Equality for Women and twenty-two Colombian Government agencies, to outline additional preventing measures, according to the experience in the field and international standards.
The establishment of provisions for monitoring, analyzing and reporting on sexual violence in conflict situations should look primarily to comply with accurate, objective and verifiable information in order to promote measures to prevent sexual violence in conflict situations and to achieve effective responses for the victims benefit.
In this regard, it is imperative to assist states in the development and implementation of early warning mechanism and procedures to facilitate reporting, collection, and verification of data.
With the same purpose, the different agencies of the United Nations must continue to strengthen the coordination to decrease duplication of efforts and building a coherent approach in the field, in order to assist the Security Council in its consideration of appropriate measures.
Thank you very much.