Envoy expounds on China's position on conflict-related sexual violence

(Xinhua) 10:25, July 15, 2023

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Friday expounded on his country's position on conflict-related sexual violence, stressing conflict prevention and resolution.

Sexual violence is a heinous violation of human rights. China firmly opposes the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and strongly condemns all acts of sexual violence, said Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

"We call on the international community to make joint efforts and take comprehensive measures to eliminate sexual violence in conflict as soon as possible and promote new progress in women, peace and security," he told a Security Council open debate on conflict-related sexual violence.

Geng stressed the importance to strengthen conflict prevention and resolution.

Sexual violence in conflict cannot be eliminated in isolation. Only through the cessation of hostilities and restoring peace can women and children be fundamentally free from harm and their basic rights protected, he said.

"To achieve peace, we must adhere to a political settlement to disputes and increase efforts in negotiations, mediation and facilitation. We must practice true multilateralism and translate the purposes and principles of the UN Charter into action. We must also focus on addressing root causes and investing more in achieving common security."

Security Council resolutions explicitly prohibit sexual violence as a means of warfare. But this red line of international law has been repeatedly breached. Unless past crimes are effectively punished, it will be difficult to deter and prevent new violations. The international community must strengthen the rule of law and implement the requirements for combating sexual violence in conflict, so that perpetrators can be held accountable and justice can be served for the victims, said Geng.

The countries concerned shoulder the primary responsibility for the prevention and elimination of conflict-related sexual violence and the protection of women and children. The international community, on the basis of respect for their sovereignty and leadership, should support the countries concerned in strengthening security-sector capacity-building to effectively combat terrorist and violent extremist forces, strengthening the rule of law, improving the legal and regulatory system for the protection of women's rights and interests, and strengthening humanitarian efforts and helping victims of sexual violence obtain assistance and reparation, he said.

In conflict situations, sexual violence is often intertwined with issues of discrimination and poverty. In addition to a peace-focused approach, the international community should also address this issue from the perspective of women's empowerment and sustainable development. Efforts should be made to eliminate gender discrimination and differentiated treatments to address the livelihood challenges and development gaps faced by women, said Geng.

Digital and information technologies are important means of empowering women and critical tools for early warning of conflicts, victim assistance, and investigation and accountability. China advocates for the use of digital technology to enhance the protection of women, amplify the active role, participation, and transformative power of women in peace and security, he said.

As the host country of the Fourth World Conference on Women, China has always been an advocate for gender equality, a protector of women's rights, and a practitioner of women empowerment. China will continue to work with the international community to make active efforts and greater contributions to the advancement of women globally, said Geng. 

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Wu Chaolan)


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