Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman Charge D'Affaires a.i. and Deputy Representative of Turkey to the UN at the Security Council Open Debate on the Women, Peace and Security

Fazlı Çorman 07.08.2009
Mr. President,

I thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive briefing. We are also thankful for his detailed report.

A great number of casualties in armed conflicts continue to be civilians and the numbers are constantly increasing. We have been witnessing serious challenges in securing a safe environment for women in different parts of the world. Sexual violence particularly against women and children are also on the rise within this context. We condemn in the strongest possible terms all deliberate attacks on civilians including women and children as well as any kind of sexual violence used as a tool of war in armed conflicts.

It is within this frame of mind that we welcome Secretary-General's report which gives us a comprehensive account of the latest situation on various theatres and the difficulties encountered. The report shows the huge task we are faced to. We should have a collective effort to prevent sexual violence against women with the primary obligation and responsibility resting first and foremost with the states.

The Secretary-General's report brings forward useful recommendations. They are all pertinent, detailed and well crafted and we support them all in principle. However, we also believe that any issue related to protection of civilians including women and children should be handled carefully since they are all sensitive cases. In this vein, I wish to make four preliminary observations.

Firstly, we agree with the necessity of having a fresh look to protection of civilians in particular women and children within this Council. A few days ago, we adopted a resolution here in this Chamber to protect children in armed conflicts in a comprehensive manner. We believe resolution 1882 was a right step in the right direction. However, while establishing new mechanisms we should be careful as well. A plethora of institutions carry the risk of causing duplications. As Secretary-General rightly pointed out in his report, the UN should "deliver as one" to prevent and respond to sexual violence. Therefore, taking into account the system-wide coherence process, we should first efficiently implement and perhaps sharpen the present tools and mechanisms, including all the avenues and special procedures of the Human Rights Council and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to their fullest extent.

Secondly, as rightly indicated in the Secretary-General's report, data needs to be more systematically collected, preserved and analyzed. However, we are also aware of the difficulties that UN agents and NGO workers are confronting while collecting data.

Thirdly, we believe that another important issue is the situation of refugee and IDP camps. Protection of the civilian nature of those camps is vital. The UN and the hosting countries are responsible for preservation of their civilian status. Violation of this status either by outsiders or insiders who bear arms, will only jeopardize the vulnerable persons in those camps in particular women who could face the most heinous crimes.

Fourthly, we must prevent sexual violence, fight against impunity and address the issue of discrimination against women both in legislation and in practice. This effort should be accompanied by assistance to victims. We should also look into enhancing the possible role of peace keeping forces to prevent this unacceptable crime.

Mr. President,

Finally, I would also like to stress that it is only through strengthening of the rule of law, enhanced political participation, human rights, democracy and good governance that we can secure the long-term and lasting protection of women.

Being party to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) since 1985 and having ratified the Optional Protocol of CEDAW in 2002, my Government believes that it should be our priority to encourage all nations to adhere with the principles of those international documents. We also support the "Global Campaign to End Violence Against Women" initiated by the Secretary-General at the opening of the 52th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in February 2008.

While concluding, I would like to emphasize that Turkey is ready to participate in and positively contribute to every effort to eliminate sexual violence and discrimination against women.

Thank you.