UAE and UK Permanent Representatives to United Nations honour fight against sexual violence in conflict

WAM NEW YORK, 15th April, 2014 (WAM) — The U.A.E. and U.K. Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Lana Nusseibeh and Sir Mark Lyall Grant, have hosted a working lunch for a number of UN Permanent Representatives in honour of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura.

As the UN’s spokesperson and senior advocate on this issue, Bangura explained, “Sexual violence in conflict is a crime that has hurt too many people for far too long, but the international community is working together to finally put an end to this scourge.

“Sexual violence in conflict is a peace and security issue, but it is also an economic and social issue because it undermines a country’s pursuit of the development agenda. We must ensure that we end impunity for the crime of sexual violence in conflict and provide services and support for survivors. The international community is united in its fight to end sexual violence and working together we can eradicate this abuse that affects not only individuals, but families and communities and destroys the social fabric of society,” she continued.

Lana Nusseibeh detailed the U.A.E.’s national policies and international efforts to institutionalise prevention measures against sexual violence in conflict.

Nusseibeh shared lessons learned, and used as an example the U.A.E.’s approach to human trafficking and how it evolved into a four pillar action plan. Nusseibeh noted that H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was one of the early global champions for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative that led to a historic declaration endorsed by 144 countries.

The initiative was led by U.K. Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who continues to be a leading global voice on this subject along with Ms. Bangura.

In her remarks, Nusseibeh thanked the U.K. government and Ms. Bangura for their leadership on this critical issue, and said, “We need to move from thinking not only about the impact of conflict on women – but thinking about the impact of women on conflict. We must apply the lens of women as agents against sexual violence, not only as victims.” U.K. Permanent Representative, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said, “Over the last eighteen months, the political will to tackle these terrible crimes and injustices has increased exponentially. But political commitments don’t automatically lead to change on the ground. This summer, the Foreign Secretary will host the largest ever Global Summit on this issue with the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie, to help turn political will into practical action.

WAM/Ahlam/Moran