Pakistan committed to eliminating conflict-related sexual violence: Maleeha Lodhi

'Rape, sexual abuse employed as deliberate policy to subdue, suppress populations,' she told Security Council

APP May 16, 2017
Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi says the best way to eliminate such violence is to prevent and resolve conflicts. PHOTO: INP/FILE

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan, on Tuesday, called on the international community to convert political-will into practical action to end conflict-related sexual violence that poses a threat to world peace and security.

“The world has watched in horror as several state and non-state actors have employed rape and sexual abuse as a deliberate policy to subdue and suppress entire populations,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, a permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations (UN), told the Security Council.

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“We see this in Pakistan’s neighbourhood as well,” she said in an obvious reference to the grave situation in the Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) where security forces are attempting to crush a resolute struggle by the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination.

“Unfortunately,” she added, “those who commit and condone sexual violence are often not fully held to account.”

Speaking during a debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ambassador Lodhi said the best way to eliminate conflict-related sexual violence was to prevent and resolve conflicts.

The Pakistani envoy said that sexual violence had been considered an unfortunate and inevitable reality of conflict.

“For far too long, humanity has stood on the sidelines, seeking justification for its collective inaction, in an evasive sense of fatalism,” Lodhi said.

She stressed that sexual violence was not an incidental by-product of conflict but instead an instrument employed specifically to humiliate and terrorise civilians.

While a number of council resolutions had built momentum around the need to address the issue, progress had so far been both uneven and varied, Ambassador Lodhi continued. She said, “The top priority should be to combat impunity for these crimes.”

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“We must redirect the stigma and the consequences of sexual violence from the survivors to the perpetrators of such acts. As prosecution is critical for prevention, emphasis should, in particular, be placed to strengthen and enhance the capacity of national institutions and criminal justice systems in countries facing armed conflict.”

Attention should also be placed on providing support for victims, addressing the special plight of migrant women and girls, integrating a gender perspective into the peace-building paradigm and resolving conflicts through a holistic and multisectoral approach, she said.

The ambassador said that multidimensional peacekeeping missions with protection mandates played a key role in combating violence against women.

“As a leading troop contributing country, Pakistan remains committed to this cause”, she said, adding that gender-sensitisation had been a mandatory part of the training for Pakistani peacekeepers.


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