UAE pushes UN on sexual violence in conflict zones

Country confirmed its commitment to global progress on the issue

Violence against women in areas of conflict, including parts of Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen and other global hotspots, has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. AP 
Violence against women in areas of conflict, including parts of Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen and other global hotspots, has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. AP 

The UAE has urged the UN to tackle the causes of conflict-related sexual violence, including structural gender inequality and harmful social norms.

In a statement to the UN Security Council, the UAE said sexual violence in conflict zones would remain a key priority for the country, which is seeking election to the council for 2022-2023.

As a contribution to the council’s annual debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the UAE outlined its efforts to confront the issue, including the recent launch of the country's first national action plan.

The 15-nation security council has pushed for women’s rights for decades, notably in a resolution from 2000 that tackles sexual violence in war zones and pushes for more women peace negotiators.

In its national plan, the UAE focuses on the meaningful and effective participation of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as well as protecting women from sexual and gender-based violence.

In its statement, the UAE confirmed its commitment to global progress on the issue.

It pointed to its $10 million donation to sexual and gender-based violence response through the UN Population Fund.

This includes $2m to address the violence experienced by the Rohingya Muslim minority group and to enhance access to sexual and reproductive health services for victims of violence.

Additionally, the UAE said that it has expanded its contribution to Nadia’s Initiative – a non-profit organisation that advocates for survivors of sexual violence and aims to rebuild communities.

This will support the reconstruction of Sinjar, Iraq, and the voluntary return of survivors of sexual violence in safety and dignity to their homeland.

The UAE said that gender inequality is a root cause of sexual and gender-based violence. It called for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, including girls and survivors of sexual violence, in decision-making processes.

In addition, the country announced it will be concluding an agreement with the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs to undertake projects focusing on increasing women’s participation and leadership in politics.

The UAE also recommended that the international community collaborate to guarantee that law enforcement agencies have the capacity, empowerment and necessary tools to effectively address cases of conflict-related sexual violence.

Updated: April 17, 2021 09:48 AM

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