STATEMENT by TURKEY on "Sexual violence in conflict" at the Security Council

Güven Begeç 15.05.2017
Mr. President,

At the outset I would like to thank you for organizing this debate and the Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Amina Mohammed for her statement.

Let me also congratulate Ms. Pramila Patten on her appointment as Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and wish her success in her endeavors. I would also like to take this opportunity to assure her of Turkey’s firm support to her mandate. We also commend the work of the team of Experts on the Rule of law and Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Mr. President,

Today, the severe effects of conflicts in various regions, especially on women and girls, continue to constitute a significant challenge that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, the annual report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence once again reveals a daunting picture. The current trends and emerging concerns pertaining to the increasing use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and terrorismrequire robust international response.

We welcome and support the Secretary-General’s strong emphasis on the importance of prevention. We also agree with his approach that prevention of sexual violence is an integral part of wider conflict prevention.

When used or commissioned as a tactic of war or as a systematic attack against civilian populations, sexual violence significantly aggravates the severe effects of armed conflicts. Perpetrators continue to employ sexual violence mostly combined with other crimes such as killings, forced displacement, arbitrary detention and torture. In fact, the nexus between conflict-related sexual violence and terrorism, human trafficking and organized crime has become more pertinent than ever.

With this in mind, the despicable acts perpetrated against women and girls by terrorist organizations such as DEASH and Boko Haram deserve every condemnation. The use of sexual violence, including the sale and trade of women and girls, as a tactic of terror by DAESH in Iraq and Syria reflects the appalling nature of this terrorist organization. While Turkey continues to fight DAESH with all its means, we believe that it is high time for the international community to act in unity for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to eliminate the root causes of this menace.

Although in a different context, it is also befitting to underline that terrorist organization PKK/PYD likewise resorts to abuse and exploitation of women and children. The terrorist leadership of PKK/PYD is known to commit sexual violence and abuse, even towards its female recruits, including rape, forced pregnancy and abortion as well as carrying out of sexual-abuse related executions.

Mr. President,

We are witnessing new complexities surrounding the nature of conflicts. Increasing number of protracted conflicts, forced displacement and humanitarian emergencies create an environment conducive for trafficking of women and girls. Trafficking often involves sexual violence and exploitation. Turkey attaches utmost importance to the fight against human trafficking, which constitutes a violation of human rights and an offence to the dignity and the integrity of the human being. In this regard, we recall the importance of Security Council Resolution 2331 (2016), which Turkey has co-sponsored.

Mr. President,

As the crisis in Syria enters its seventh year, sexual violence continues to be used by various parties as a systematic tactic of warfare, terrorism and torture. Millions of Syrians, particularly women and girls, continue to live under the threat of sexual violence.

The horrific acts of sexual violence perpetrated in the detention facilities run by the Syrian regime have been documented in various UN reports. In this context, Turkey’s efforts pertaining to the release of detaineesand prisoners by the conflicting parties within the framework of the Astana talks are all the more relevant.

Furthermore, as a neighboring country, we continue to follow an “open door” policy towards Syrians fleeing war and violence in their own country. There are now over 3 million Syrians living in Turkey. The empowerment and assuring self-reliance of especially Syrian women and youth, without any bearing of sexual and gender-based violence, is of crucial importance forus. This is why we exert every effort to provide security and safety for them.

Mr. President,

Last but not least, I would like to underline that, Turkey attaches utmost importance to strengthening the efforts aimed at implementing the policy of zero tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. In this regards, we commend and support the Secretary General’s efforts towards making zero tolerance a reality.

Thank you.