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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the Security Council Open Debate on "Women, Peace and Security"
New York, 19 June 2008



Madam President,

I thank you for coming to New York to preside over today's meeting. I'm attending this discussion on behalf of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. At the outset, please allow me to convey to Your Excellency the cordial greetings of Minister Yang. I also thank Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his statement.

Madam President,

Nearly eight years have passed since the Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, which constitutes a basis for cooperation among all the parties concerned in the field of women, peace and security. However, as the features of conflicts change and various complex elements cut across each other, the resolution is yet to be implemented fully and completely. In today's many conflicts, women continue to be the most direct victims and violence against women remains an extremely grave concern.

China condemns all violence against women, including sexual violence, and urges all parties involved in conflict to comply with international humanitarian law and human rights law. We call upon governments concerned to investigate and bring to justice those who have committed crimes against women. China urges all countries, who have not done so, to take measures for an early accession to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. We support the Secretary General in his pursuit of the policy of "zero tolerance" against sexual exploitation committed by peacekeepers and urge troop contributing countries to step up training and monitoring of their peacekeepers so that relevant norms of conduct of the United Nations can be complied with and implemented.

On this occasion, I wish to emphasize the following points in relation to the protection of women in conflict:

  • I. While the Security Council has a unique role to play in addressing violence against women, organs and agencies of the United Nations should strengthen their coordination and cooperation. Sexual violence in conflict is closely related to armed conflicts. Bearing primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council should focus its efforts on prevention of conflicts, peace keeping and post-conflict reconstruction. Sexual violence should be addressed with a comprehensive approach as an integral part of the peace process and political developments. It should not be treated as a stand alone issue, nor should attention be given to its symptoms only. In addition, the Security Council should strengthen its coordination with the General Assembly, the ECOSOC, the Secretariat and the relevant treaty bodies in a joint effort to address violence against women.
  • II. Governments of the states concerned should bear main responsibilities for protection of women and the international community should provide extensive assistance. Primary responsibility for the implementation of Resolution 1325 and the protection of women lies with governments concerned. However, countries in conflict or emerging from conflict are often beset with various difficulties and require generous contribution from the international community to build their capacity. Meanwhile, external assistance should be provided in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, while respecting the will of the country concerned and not undermining its sovereignty.
  • III. The participation of women in each stage of the peace process should be enhanced and more attention should be given to their status and role. To respect and protect women is the hallmark of a civilized society and social progress. It is also an important element in any mature social system. Respect for and protection of women's rights should be mainstreamed throughout the peace process so that their special needs and concerns will be accommodated and more power for participation and decision making be given to them. Recent years have witnessed a great number of positive measures taken by the Secretariat to increase the ratio of women in senior positions and at the head of peacekeeping missions. More efforts are needed in this direction in the future.
  • IV. Civil society should continue to be encouraged to join the efforts to protect women. Our colleagues from the NGO community deserve our appreciation for the work they carry out in the field to protect the rights and interests of women under difficult circumstances. China supports the constructive role that the NGOs continue to play in the protection of women in armed conflict and encourages them to increase their communication with UN agencies, especially those with a direct mandate for the issue of women, and make good proposals.

Madam President,

I am very pleased to note that, under your personal guidance, the US Delegation submitted a draft resolution on elimination of all forms of sexual violence under this agenda item. China supports adoption of this resolution. The resolution requests the Secretary General to submit a report on its implementation before 30 June 2009. I'd like to point out that, a few months ago, the 62nd Session of the General Assembly adopted Resolution 62/134 on the same issue, which requested the Secretary General to submit a report on its implementation at the 63rd GA Session. To save resources and avoid duplication of work, we hope the Secretary General will strengthen coordination and make good use of all the information available so as to submit high quality reports both to the Security Council and to the General Assembly.

Madam President,

The outcome document of the 2005 World Summit reaffirms that the progress of women represents the progress of entire humanity. The same is true in the field of peace and security. The comprehensive implementation of Resolution 1325 constitutes an important guarantee for achieving this target. We support the Secretary General in his continued efforts to implement the Plan of Action for the Entire UN System. The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the protection of the rights and interests of women and the improvement of the status of women. We are ready to work with the rest of the international community in a joint effort to reduce sexual violence in every corner of the world and achieve all the targets in the field of women, peace and security.

Thank you, Madam President.



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